50 years after graduation, a lot of new words are in our vocabulary

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Column by Jim Clark

Last week, while on vacation, I had given thought to going to my high school’s 50th class reunion for the Class of 1961.
Where most schools have the ceremony in the fall of what would have been your senior year, Bergen Catholic does it three months after the 50th anniversary of the actual graduation day in June 1961.
I don’t travel as well as I used to, so I dutifully filled out the questionnaire but didn’t make the trip.
In going over those 50 years, it made me think of things that have come into our language in all that time. If you had mentioned some of these words back in 1961, and if you’re someone who remembers picking up the phone and hearing “Number, please,” then here are the responses you would have gotten:
What’s a microwave oven?
What’s a personal computer?
What’s a hard drive?
What is software?
What is the Internet?
What does “online” mean?
What is cyberspace?
What’s a webcam?
What’s a blog?
What is cable television?
What is satellite television?
You mean all programs will be telecast in color some day?
What’s a VCR?
What’s a DVR?
What is Tivo?
What’s a remote control for the TV?
What does “The Eagle has landed” mean?
Who is Neil Armstrong?
Where is Vietnam?
What are the Twin Towers?
Who is Osama bin Laden?
What’s a Chunnel?
Actor Ronald Reagan was elected as what?
Who is Jimmy Carter?
Who is George Bush?
What’s a touch tone phone?
Why do I call 911 when things go wrong?
You have to pay how much to mail a letter?
What’s a ZIP code?
What’s a shopping mall?
What’s a debit card?
What is direct deposit?
Marion County’s population is what?
What’s a gated community?
You have to pay how much for a gallon of gas?
You have to pump your own gas?
Why won’t your doctor come to your house when you’re sick?
What’s an MRI?
What is CPR?
Who are the Rays and Marlins?
You mean they play hockey in Florida?
You mean someone will break Roger Maris’ home run record?
What do steroids have to do with playing baseball?
What’s a wild card race in sports?
And finally, a question I’m still not sure how to answer: What’s a tweet?

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.