Semester 1 Sample Glossary
Bleak House: A run-down home across the alley from the St. Vincent convent, but not nearly as dilapidated as the house next to it, the “locker room.” The nuns fixed up Bleak House and allowed impoverished families to live there for free. “Going Bleak” meant that a family was housed there. No kid in any grade wanted that. Both houses were gifts to the church from dead parishioners.
Brat: (braht) Bratwurst, a fatty, flavorful sausage eaten at every meal in Stillwater Springs. OK, not every meal, but one could always find a Weber grill any time of day all aglow with brats for a Fry Out. Most Springs folks believe that what got Dry Landry so riled up the day Sister Dick Butkus was on Sunday Work Patrol was not so much that she objected to Dry doing servile work on Sundays, but that when she put Dry In Stir, his brats burned. Brat: (pronounced with a short-“a” sound) means “bad child.” Nobody ever grilled brats in Packerland County, but the nuns said the devil would take care of that in due time.
Carnaby Street: London’s fashion hub, somewhat unlike Stillwater Springs, Wisconsin; therefore, there was perhaps a bit of jealousy between the two places, with likely a bit more coming from the Wisconsinites than the Londoners. Any time a Packerlander objected to what someone was wearing, Carnaby Street was blamed.
Chair and Tables: In 1966, there were no cheerleaders at St. Vincent, and there was only one sport for girls: spring volleyball on the playground, with practices and games often cancelled because of bad weather. Therefore, the girls, hungry for any kind of sports-related action, ruthlessly competed to dress up as the mascots, Chair and Tables, and cheer at all sporting events. That year, the nuns chose Cindy Sauger as Chair and Donna Schultz as Tables. The guys joked that they got appointed because both had great legs. Ha!
Charitables: Nickname for the St. Vincent sports teams. We were originally the “Red Devils.” When the new principal came along in 1956, Sister Mary Madonna Bernadette, she was outraged at the original nickname and threatened to abolish all sports teams at the school unless the nickname was changed. Her strong suggestion: “Charitables,” based on the work of St. Vincent DePaul. As usual, the turnout for the first football game of the 1956 season was heavy. Several alumni came with Red Devils shirts and pennants. As soon as she saw that, Madonna Bernadette grabbed a bullhorn, announced the game had been canceled and said she would do the exact same thing for the next game if “that demonic name and those Satanic symbols are not buried” and “Charitables” had yet to become the accepted new nickname. Word gets around fast in The Springs. No further games were canceled.
Dickie’s Thou-Shalt-Nots Dirty Dozen: Dickie Fleegle, “perfect” Catholic boy until the last day of The Seventh, confesses how he bombed regarding that reputation and ruined his image through 12 major snafus. See "Nukes." (Not to be confused with the St. Vincent Dirty Dozen, a subculture in The Eighth made up of chosen Waywards and members of the Fine Nine. I was not chosen to be in that Dirty Dozen.)
Dry BZ’s Rickshaw Confessional Post-Bus-Body Crush Solution: A funny-but-deemed sacrilegious marketing-idea story that Lamar’s dad told at a Hardware Hank’s I’m Still Not Dead, Ha! Christmas party in 1966. The story led to the nuns and my mom pressing Dry BZ Lander’s wife, Lorraine, to divorce the man. In my eyes, but not in the eyes of Mary Berrysherry, the rickshaw story was much more unacceptable than Richard Fleegle Senior’s food-tasting joke that resulted in an attempted lawsuit for misogyny.
F word: Feminism. Pronounced “faminism” by some guys in Packerland County.
Full Cleveland, The: For the guys: White shoes, white belt and white tie, usually with a red shirt and the kind of plaid pants one might see on a golf course. Maybe white socks, maybe orange. Abnormal fashion development for The Springs, as somehow this get-up originated at a big Ohio fashion-setting city and hit Packerland County simultaneously. (See "Leisure Suit" for the normal clothing time lag in Packerland County.) Dickie Fleegle was one of the trendsetters in The Eighth, sporting the Full Cleveland first, largely because I had my paper route money to invest in making fashion statements. I wore my Full Cleveland the night of the Scholar Athlete Banquet, and the guys and girls in The Eighth were damned impressed.
Got Out Of Prison Party: After graduation in The Eighth, Strap’s parents went to visit his sister sister in Milwaukee for a night. Strap stayed home. He hosted a party in the woods. We had a bonfire and burned papers and other things associated with The Eighth. I had never seen Strap so relieved yet so, pardon the pun, burned out.
In Stir: Subjected to an intense upbraiding by a nun, often with time only to interject, “Yes, Stir!” or “No, Stir!” “Stir” is a shortened form of “sister.”
Klubowski All-Praises-to-Richard-Feminist-Fleegle Fun Fest for Five Bucks: How Jeanie made the first move on paperboy Dickie, that crafty wench. Her parents would get to detest me over time, but when they first met me, they loved me. Jeanie saw to that.
Lechery and Abomination business: Strip clubs.
Menstraining: The mentoring of men. Period. OK, that’s what confused Gary Long. Gary to me: “Menstraining means that men get taught stuff.” Me: “I think you are combining the words ‘mentoring’ and “training.” Gary: “I think the British guys like Shakespeare and Slim Whitman who made up the language did that making up stuff.” Me: “OK, let us assume that there is such a word and it does mean that men get taught stuff.” Gary: “Then why do they use the same word for a girl’s period?” Me: “That’s a different word, Gary.” Gary: “No it ain’t. I’ve heard it pronounced. And I ain’t dumb. I know some words can have different meanings. So I figured it out. Men’s training is to know when a girl is on her period and stay away. Period. That’s why ‘menstraining’ is called a ‘period”!” Me: “Gary, we need to talk. Maybe we can both go to the library and sneak a peek at that medical book and get this straightened out. Let’s go find Dougie so he can forge a parent note.”
Misogynist defamation: In 1966, nobody had ever heard of this in Packerland County. However, my dad would soon learn, as Mary Berrysherry accused him of it. It seemed absurd. I did not know the complete story of Mary’s motive for such a drastic, foolhardy lawsuit threat until I interviewed her lover, Pug Gotsinger, in 1991, and my dad the same year.
Mouthwash, The: Oral English was canceled one Friday after the nuns heard some mass cursing on the playground. Sixteen Waywards were rounded up and marched to the stage in the basement assembly hall. Their mouths were washed out with soap. Then a rosary was said. On the way back to class, that’s when Dickie finally found Jesus.
Mixed party: Boys and girls together. The adults believed that keeping them apart for as long as possible was the best strategy. Of course, the prohibition intensified the attraction.
Muffin: Delta Zone. Olga, are you still pulling that Sharon Stone Basic Instinct stunt? You sure got Hernando in a tizzy in 1981. Hernando, did you ever recover from that tizzy?
Nosing around for sport: A rigorous activity of total involvement in others’ business. Dry BZ Lander used the term regarding the vigilance and interventions of the nuns in the lives of St. Vincent parishioners.
Oral English: Sometimes just referred to as “Oral,” it was scheduled for each Friday and consisted of various types of speeches and presentations. The two most memorable Orals in Dickie’s Eighth were Jeanie’s speech on feminism (for the boys, it yielded ten detentions) and Johnny “Strap” Ellerman’s stand-up routine on Poverty, Chastity and Obedience (P-C-O) that nearly got Ellerman and Dickie a repeat stint in The Eighth. That P-C-O speech allegedly was the prompt that put Sister Albia Virgin Mary over the edge, as she needed four months of rest time after the P-C-O Oral. The most moving Oral, however, came from a 10-minute tribute to Cesar Chavez by Lamar Lander for his “Contemporary Heroes” speech. Most 60s activists turned out to be selfish, superficial blowhards. Not Chavez, champion of migrant workers. By the time Lamar had finished his speech about injustice and the humble, nonviolent Chavez cause, many girls were crying and even a few of the guys were misty-eyed. “Ya know, fellow students, certainly my dad is outspoken, and I do not agree with him on everything. But it was Dad who asked me to speak about Chavez: “Lamar, this man is the American Gandhi” he said. “When all the dust settles from this Sixties tornado, Chavez will be one of the few real heroes still worth honoring.”
Poop sheet: A list of all St. Vincent parish families and the amount of money they gave to the church in a given year. The list was stuffed into a January issue of the church bulletin handed out after masses.
Raucous Rooster or Rooster, The: The howls of the horny Waywards, Gaywards, Wayward Gaywards, or Gayward Waywards (they were known by all four names) normally reserved for the playground but once executed by Dickie in the hallway at lunch, thus resulting in an afternoon suspension. Sometimes the Waywards were known as “The Raucous Roosters” or simply “The Roosters.”
RMHC: Raging Male Hormones Club, a term only ever heard uttered by Coach Llaves. Llaves coached all boys’ sports in The Eighth at St. Vincent.
Rosary jam: Sheriff Meredink predicted that places like The Springs would suffer major traffic-flow problems as hippie-wannabe kids began to commit more mortal sins on the streets and nuns were forced to travel those thoroughfares in search of sin, as did Butkus and Albia when they discovered Dipsy in the mini-skirt, although Butkus and Albia’s In Stir and impromptu traffic rosary encounter was fortuitous, not planned, as they were actually headed to the grocery store for more ingredients for split pea soup when they busted The Dips. AKA: “RJ” in sheriff’s lingo.
Satan’s blowtorch: The devil was in charge of burning off one’s sins in purgatory.
Seer: Cute way they pronounced “Sir” in Peru. It definitely makes a guy feel like a prophet.
Set shouting: What we all have done at one time or another: yelling at the television set. Example: Mr. Lander to a TV commercial when his wife was out
Shopping: “Yeah, you take it off Noxzema girl; you’re the one who should be taking it all off! Yeah!”
Simple Simon! Sometimes cough-scoffed as a synonym for “Pieman!”
Suckometer (sometimes prefaced with “’ol.”): Not a real measuring device, but just a word to connote that people were watching and unofficially measuring a kid’s influence with an adult or, sometimes, an adult’s influence with another adult. To my knowledge, only one person ever was rated below zero on a suckometer, Lamar Lander’s dad, Dry BZ, after his car wash In Stir with Butkus where he claimed she forced him to burn his bratwurst.
TDS: The Deafening Silence. Not speaking in order to deal with pain, like after a Packer loss or an offensive shortcoming revealed by a spouse.
That is SO EIGHTH! We said that a lot in high school. Duh! Another way of saying that something is embarrassingly juvenile.
Toilets: “Did you know that the average person spends three years of life on the toilet?” Dad told me. He and Coach Llaves were Glazers. Dry BZ Lander was a Toilet Chute Processor and Wet Sponge Specialist. Sneezy Shireman’s father was a Drainage Hole Carver. Margaret Seehorn’s dad was a Kiln Baker. Before he retired, Hardware Hank was a Pressure Hoser and Excess Cutaway Specialist. These were specialized crafts, and in the eyes of all Kulero workers, they always deserved capitalization. Despite that Kulero made sinks and tubs, American Dream Porcelain Fixtures was always known as “the toilet plant.”
Truman: The school in Lima, Peru, run by educators mostly from the United States and attended by students from many different nations.
Tutorial: Copying somebody’s homework.
Twister: Near occasion of sin body-positioning game played on the floor.
War Department, The: While at work, how most of the toilet plant workers referred to their wives.
WDNM: One of two AM radio stations in Packerland County, both transmitting from Stillwater Springs. People said the call letters stood for “We’re Definitely Not Madison.” “Speak Yer Onions” with Jimmy Twaddle was the station’s anchor show. Twaddle bragged that “90 percent of Packerland County listens to ‘Onions.’ The other 20 percent just remain ignorant.”