Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 09:29:29 PDT
From: tom creswell creswell[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CROWN.NET
Subject: Re: Another Lexical Item
Apparently none of the subscribers to ADS-L had the
advantages I did--being raised in neighborhoods of
two- and three-story apartment buildings on the south side
of Chicago, which in the Twenties were most commonly
referred to, except by realtors, as _flat buildings_..
I must have been in my thirties before
hearing anyone refer to the concrete walking
place between buildings as anything other than a
As a very young child, on the _sidewalk_ running parallel
to the street, I played hopscotch and a game called Sky Blue,
involving patterns drawn with chalk.These games were not
sexually discriminatory and were jointly played by boys
and girls., In later childhood, sexual discrimination having
raised its ugly head, boys only rolled marbles called "
commies" (obivously for "common") at other, more highly
valued marbles, known generically as "canicks," such as
"aggies" (made of agate) and "moonies" (pearly white, resem-
bling opals), which had differing values stated
in terms of the number of squares from which a player had
to roll at them. If your commie hit the canick, it was yours;
if not, the owner of the canick, who sat on the sidewalk
beyond his prize with his legs spread aside to catch them,
kept your commies. The most valuable canick I remember was
one owned by my brother Sam--a 25 square, very small aggie.
As a squarewas about four feet long, you had to roll your
commie about 100 feet to hit the tiny aggie. No one ever hit
it; My brother Sam had ten or twelve cigar boxes full of
commies--more than any other boy in the neighborhood..
If I seem to have wandered far from the subject of sidewalks,
please excuse the garrulity that unfortunately accompanies