The Word I Didn’t Have Permission To Say (but I said anyway!)


I loved the song "Surfin' USA" ~ it was (bleep!)

I loved the song “Surfin’ USA” ~ it was (bleep!)

Back in the sixth grade when I attended Louis G. Zeyen Elementary in Garden Grove, California, I liked spicing up my vocabulary with “bitchin.” I used the slang word liberally as in “The Beach Boys are so bitchin.” Or whatever I thought cool, wonderful, awesome, I called it bitchin.

That was the word my classmates used, in the same way the children of the 80s used “rad.” My dad overheard me use the word bitchin one day and said to me with a serious frown, “Don’t ever use that word again.”

“It means cool, something really good,” I told him.

“I don’t care what it means,” he told me, “I don’t ever want to hear you using that word again.”

How ancient can my dad be? I thought. His generation didn’t even have television in their childhood. I continued to say “bitchin” when my dad was out of ear shot.

Now, here I am today feeling out of touch with the times.


Children recently visited my home and noticed my collection of vintage typewriters as well as our landlines, phones with cords attached to the wall that Jerry and I use daily.  The children seemed all agog over the strange contraptions. “May I call my mom?” one asked and after I said, “Sure,” he pushed each button on the dial with serious delight. His brother asked if he could type on the typewriter and said, “I love typewriters!”

I thought to myself how funny life is that items I thought of as normal, ho-hum, everyday objects have become wonders of invention to the children of today.

I now feel ancient myself. But I realize also that getting older has its benefits. Here are a few that come to mind.

1.       Senior discount! Restaurants, craft stores, movie theaters, museums award you a discount for living a long time. This is when I definitely admit to my age. I only wish I would be “carded” and someone say, “Oh, c’mon, you’re not a senior! Let me see your i.d.”  In reality, it doesn’t happen that way. A month ago, a young cashier said to me with a big grin, “I added in your senior discount.” I didn’t ask for a senior discount and this reminded me that young people are a very bad judge of who wants a favor.


2.       No PMS! I’m calm and serene now (well, most of the time). Back in my PMS days, I could get very upset over the slightest thing. I can’t remember now what made me upset as that’s the joy of being older, you forget very conveniently. I do remember, though, Jerry saying to me, “Bronwyn, please warn me before the onset of PMS. I need to know so I can prepare myself for the horrendous stress you put me through.” With that in mind, I began outlining the expected PMS days on the calendar, using a purple Sharpie. Jerry then knew ahead of time what days to prepare for. Sometimes, when I sounded a little grouchy, Jerry asked, “Is this a purple day?” If I said yes, he’d start running to the garage for refuge and safety.



3.       You no longer care what people think. I used to get upset if Jerry planned to wear a t-shirt and jeans to a party and would ask him to pleeeeze change his clothes. I would tell him I would have to pretend I didn’t know him if he chose to go dressed in that manner. He would sigh heavily, tell me he’d change for me but let me know that he was quite perturbed, after all “proper dress code for parties” isn’t in the marriage vows. Today, now that I’m older, whatever Jerry wears is fine with me. If he chooses to attend a party in his underwear only, I’m good with that. I let Jerry be Jerry and who cares what others think? Jerry is a good man with a good heart, that’s all I care about now.

This man, of course, is not Jerry. But I'm sure I wouldn't be too upset if he chose to dress this way--after all it's Denny's not the Ritz.

This man, of course, is not Jerry. But I’m sure I wouldn’t be too upset if he chose to dress this way–after all it’s Denny’s not the Ritz.

4.       You have more time to invest in travel, plants, pets, and friendships. Older people flock to cruise ships so they can travel while relaxing on a deck chair. This is also the time of life when older people get tiny little dogs the size of bedroom slippers. When not walking their cute little slipper or yakking with their travel agent, they enjoy the little things of life more than when younger. It’s a great payback after running like madwomen in our working mom years, and that’s working as a full-time chauffeur~a job that never allows you a minute out of your car. You drive the kids to soccer, football, birthday parties, sleepovers, music lessons. I know! I didn’t get out of the car until my son’s 16th birthday, the year he got a car of his own and I could move back into our house.

Friends reminisce of the days when they had young children at home and thought PMS meant license to kill.

Friends enjoy tea together and discuss the good ol’ days when PMS gave them the freedom to scream and yell and be excused for erratic behavior. 

5.       Last of all, the best thing about being older is you’ve lived life long enough that you’ve learned from your mistakes and you know what works and what doesn’t~so you avoid the pitfalls younger people get into. That’s why I have trust issues with young doctors who look the age of 11…(You’ve only operated on two people? One died? The other in a coma?). Or with young authors (it’s the whole lack-of-experience thing that bothers me. Nothing personal). Or a young accountant named  “Travis” who is working for his CPA license. “What! You’re a CPA-wannabe and you’re charging me $285 to fill out my tax forms?” Travis replied, “That charge is a discount for you since I didn’t do Schedule C.” Well thank goodness for Schedule C.

You mean? You're my doctor?

You mean? You’re my doctor?

A book arrived in the mail yesterday and I hadn’t ordered it. I called the company to find out why I received such a nice book? After much detective work tracking down the order number, it was discovered my dad had sent it to me. Perhaps, I’m thinking, he meant it as a late birthday gift. The book, titled Strength for Today by Dr. James Kennedy, Ph.D., reminds me I do need strength each day. I think I’ll call him and say “Hola!” (he likes Spanish). “This is your hija and thanks for the bitchin book.”


6 thoughts on “The Word I Didn’t Have Permission To Say (but I said anyway!)

  1. Phyllis Ritterr

    I enjoyed reading this!! I said bitchin’ too. I got my butt whooped by my dad when he heard me say it. I never said it again within earshot of my dad or mom. Also, groovy was one of my favorite words. Back in the good old days!!!

  2. Layla Lean

    My 6 year old grandkid didn’t know what a newspaper was either along with the typewriter and rotary phone.
    You didn’t mention the alternative to getting older which can also be a pretty good incentive for becoming older.
    I think your blog is very “cool!” That’s a word that seems to have spanned several generations or am I the only one who still uses it??

    1. Bronwyn Wilson Post author

      Thanks Layla, and I think you used the word bitchin too (if I remember right)! But probably not around your dad. But your dad used to joke with me and you and said “Say what you mean!” I’ve tried to follow that advice throughout my life.


    I read your blog about us meeting in the family style restaurant with our picture, too. Selling a book is hard at this when everything is accessible in the internet. I admire what you’re doing. Our Dad wrote a book just for family and friends. He took years to write that one book. You seemed to be a nice person, so together, we agreed to buy four books to start your day as good luck charm “buena mano” or translated “Good Hand”. We look forward to a good reading. By the way, you mentioned 4 retired siblings normally don’t travel on long road trips but we made it back after driving thru 18 states. It was not without challenge, though. Good luck.

    1. Bronwyn Wilson Post author

      Cynthia, I hope you received the four books I sent you as I was notified by USPS that it was left on your porch. I knew you probably were still on your road trip so I hope you have it … It was a blessing for me to meet the four of you and I will remember your kindness and your joyful spirit always!


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