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Names change with time

May 29, 2011
By DON WILLIAMS , For The Leader Herald

When I was a boy we called the Great Sacandaga Lake the Sacandaga Reservoir. On June 20, 1968, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller signed the legislation changing the name from Reservoir to Great Sacandaga Lake. The name was changed to prevent "outsiders" from thinking that it was a "posted" drinking water source. And, in my day, the bridge across the 125-mile shoreline, man-made lake, was known as the "Upside-Down Bridge," because of the steel guiders being underneath instead being above the bridge like the Northville Bridge.

When we went from our country farm to the village in the old days we went "overstreet." The mail truck that delivered the mail from Northville to Wells and Lake Pleasant was called the "stage," a throwback to the days when real stagecoaches delivered the mail from the Northville train station. Times change and with it some names are changed.

We hung our clothes in the "clothes presses" when we were kids - it was not called a closet in those days. With the accumulation of clothes we never throw away today, "clothes press" seems to be a more fitting term. "Drawers" in the dressers were simply "draws." "Drawers" were underwear, sometimes also called "union suits." Luggage was called "suit cases," and, in some cases, became "coat cases." Ladies' pocket books and the small cases we called "doctor's bags" were known as satchels. We not only spoke "Adirondackish," we sometimes had different names for everyday items.

Our heavy work shoes were referred to as "high-tops," or "high-top shoes." Suspenders were simply "spenders." The Adirondack river drivers who cut their pant legs off for safety's sake when moving the logs down the rushing rivers called them "stags." Today, we have fancy names such as "pedal pushers," "Bermudas," and "Capris" for pants with shortened legs.

The campgrounds maintained by New York state were once "campsites;" today they call them "parks" or "State Parks," which, in my estimation, misleads those whose definition of a park is not a tenting ground. Roadways were once known by the place of destination - the road to Northville was the Northville Road; we had the Benson Road, the Wells Road, the Speculator Road, etc. Today, our Adirondack roads have become "trails" or "byways."

My mother crocheted and knitted "fascinators," which to me were simply triangular kerchiefs or hoods. She, and all her friends, wore them back in the 1940s. Today, "fascinators" refer to the fancy hats wore at the Royal Wedding and at the racetracks. All the canvas and rubber shoes worn for sports in my day were "sneakers" or "sneaks"

Our wintertime sleds were called "hand sleighs" and the bicycles we pedaled were simply "bikes." Motorcycles were motorcycles, not "bikes." Trucks were trucks and cars were cars and with the limited models available it was easy to identify them-a Chevy, a Ford, a Buick, a Desoto, etc.. No fancy names or styles were there to confuse us when playing the "car-naming game" on a trip.

And, of course, there was the "necessary"-another name for the privy or outhouse. Today, it may be the toilet, the bathroom, the rest stop, or the potty, but it is still necessary!



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