I was listening to a song on the radio not long ago and the singer said something about slipping into her PJs. I had one of those flashbacks to childhood and the words we used for things when we were small.
At my house we didn't say either PJs or pajamas. We said "sleepers". "Go put on your sleepers," my mom would say, and off we'd scamper to the lid of the hamper, grab our sleepers and merrily get ready for bed.
Okay, it wasn't that easy for my mom, my golden days-colored lenses are filtering out a lot of whining, caterwauling, and back-sassing.
But it's interesting, as I roam through that memory bank, what other words I recall we used for garments, and how they reflect a certain middle class sense of functionality. Perhaps it had something to do with German roots.
The German language is full of words cobbled together from basic parts that describe things in functional terms. Like the word telefongesprach, which means telephone conversation. All well and good. Although most people would just call it a call. I had a call. I got a call. I had a telefongesprach.
So we called the refrigerator an "icebox" and instead of the word robe, we used the word "housecoat." Which certainly makes a lot of sense, as it was an additional coat-like layer one would wear over one's sleepers. "I'm a little cold, I'm putting on my housecoat."
Likewise for slippers. We used the term "houseshoes." Because, in fact, that's where we wore them. Should we wear our houseshoes outside of the house my mom would have a conniption fit. That’s how she described it. She'd say, "I'm gonna have a conniption fit" and consequences would ensue.
I think conniption is a German word for paddle-your-butt.
America, ya gotta love it.