Today I am featuring a book called Poplollies and Bellibones, by Susan Kelz Sperling. We know that new words come into being as they are needed, either deliberately coined, or just popping up in speech and entering our usage. This book is about words which were once in common use but are heard and seen no more. The author presents the idea that these words should be preserved. “…a little-known or rediscovered word can not only be a source of pleasure in itself but may also open up fascinating insights into the past. “
She has written short stories using many of the words she has collected, with lists of the words and their meanings. Here are some; many are picturesque and would be amusing to use. Others? Well, think twice before you describe a young woman as ‘Bellibone’, even though this comes from the French ‘belle et bonne’—beautiful and good.
Bellytimber = food
Chinkers = coins
Dimpse = twilight
Earthapple = potato or cucumber
Fadoodle = nonsense
Gundygut = glutton
Hardhewer = stonemason
Kissing-comfits = candy to make the breath sweet
Lubberwort = junk food
Mubblefubbles = depression; the blues
Enjoy all this fadoodle!
Many words say more than their meaning. They may show what we once did or thought.
Take ‘sunrise’ and sunset’. We have long known the sun does not rise or set, but we have kept these poetic words to describe our sense of the opening and closing of day.. The stars don’t ‘come out’ but have been there all along.
When we ‘call’ someone, we don’t go out and holler their name: “Buddy, come in to supper!” Even in this instance of a child summoned back to a meal, it may well be by way of his phone. We always use the phone to speak to a friend or neighbor not present, or even to someone in another part of the house. When the conversation is over, most of us don’t ‘hang up’ the phone but simply press a button.
We may get a bit of news in an email, to which we respond, “I had not heard that!” We still haven’t. To ‘hear’ has broadened to mean to ‘learn’.
To ‘write’ is not necessarily to take pen or pencil in hand. It is likely to be typing poems on the computer, or dictating a novel to be transcribed later.
We may say we ‘read’ a book when we listened to it on tape.
In contrast to all this, sometimes we need to make distinctions not formerly made. Does anyone else say as I do, “I ‘saw’ that movie” when I went to the theater, and “I ‘watched’ that movie” when I did so at home?
A few days ago, driving to and from Sam’s school for Grandparents’ Day, I had the great pleasure of noting the beauty of spring. The eight miles outside Warrenton had it all.
The distant hills were a soft gray-blue, while the nearer ones were textured in shades of green. Splashes of white dogwood and the delicate brush strokes of redbud accented the view. The median strip was stippled with gold, which I believe to be mustard.
The absence of heavy traffic, and in some stretches even of telephone wires, made it possible to appreciate the experience as far as is possible from the driver’s seat of a car.
During my growing-up years, I remember experiencing car travel from the back seat of the family Ford. Fewer cars, less noise and truck fumes; more interest along the road and in villages; those years were pre-superhighway. And pre-development in large part. As we drove out of D.C. on the way from Indiana to Petersburg, Virginia, we noted that Arlington was to be observed as cattle farms.
Coming back home, my brother and I were saddened by the goldenrod along the road. This bright sight meant fall, —and school.
I am glad there is still this eight-mile segment, and more beyond, where passing through, we can watch the seasons change.