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I learned fairly early that "Lt." was the abbreviation for the word "lieutenant", and was very proud of myself for knowing such a fancy word. Except... it was years before I figured out that the "lt. blue" crayon wasn't "lieutenant blue".
In first grade, I thought that if I've never heard of a word before, then it wasn't a word.
I used to like reading Marvel comics and such like. Quite often a story ended with a quote from the editor: "Nuff Said". I used to think that 'Nuff' was a person but I could never find any other references in the comics, no matter how hard I tried. I thought that everyone else knew who Nuff was but I didn't and I always felt kind of outside the gang. Gave me a real complex. Took me till adulthood to finally figure that out.
I was told, at the age of 5, that "No Vacancy" at a hotel meant that no animals were allowed. (we were on vacation, I was talkative, parents were saying anything to answer my questions so I would shut up) Well, I grew up, but I never put two and to together, just would see a hotel/motel and believe that no vacancy meant they didnt allow dogs/cats. At the age of 11 (yes, 11!!) I was walking with some of my parents friends in Orlando, FL, and I mentioned "Wow, alot of places around here dont allow animals!!" Well... with alot of laughs,I finally understood. :-)
When my sister, aged 10,was reading a book in the 1940's she said 'Dad, whats a brothel?' My father replied 'a sort of soup kitchen'. She believed this until she was married!
There was a Chinese takeaway near us called the Orient Express. I thought it was Onion Press. Yeah.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Virginia Lee Burton wrote and illustrated children's books about anthropomorphic vehicles. There was a steam shovel named Mary Anne, a snow plow named Katy, a cable car named Maybelle, and others.
Several of these stories were collected in a book called something like "Tales of Modern Machinery". (The copy I read to pieces when I was little was probably an original printing that one of my parents had owned since childhood.) I'd never heard the word "modern", before, but I deduced from this book that it meant "old fashioned". Those vehicles looked like the ones in the old photo albums from when my grandparents were newlyweds...
When I was 6 or 7, I received a children's one-volume encyclopedia. At the end of some entries, it would suggest that you "Look Up" a related subject. I could not understand why the book wanted me to look up. I tried staring at the ceiling but nothing happened.
When i was young, maybe 8 or 9, I had seen the movie 'The Bodyguard'. And in that movie, they mentioned that the bad guy had 'masturbated' on the bed of the victim. Well, my dad was driving me to school one morning, and i asked him what maturbate meant. He got really angry and told me it was a dirty word and that i should never say that again or think about that! I eventually looked it up in the dictionary at school, and still didn't understand it...what the heck was 'manually stimulating oneself to achieve orgasm' supposed to mean to an 8 year old?! So i just wrote the meaning down in my diary. My then teenage brother ended up stealing my diary, and when i asked him if he had seen it, he said: "Masturbation?" Talk about embarressing!
I once saw the phrase "infrared light" in a physics book I had. I thought the light has been infrared, as if "to infrare" (pronounce inf-rare) was a verb.
I used to think that oxymoron had something to do with oxygen...
I learned about opposites from Sesame Street and naturally assumed EVERYTHING in the world had to have an opposite. Spanish was the opposite of English, the sun was the opposite of the moon, candy was the opposite of vegetables, recess was the opposite of classtime, rollerblades were the opposite of bicycles, and cats were the opposite of dogs.
I used to believe that the people on magazines and books could see you. (waayy before the Harry Potter moving picture thing) So when in the loo I'd have to turn the faces over or put them in a cupboard so they couldn't see me using the toilet.
When was 6-7 i wasn,t very good at reading big words, and every evening i would sit with my Dad and read to him out of the newspaper, and when i came to a word i couldn,t say, he told me to say Wheelbarrow, and one friday in school we always had reading out load, so when i was asked to read , i kept saying wheelbarrow when i came to a word i didn,t know, so after a while the teacher said Janice why do you keep saying wheelbarrow, and i told her my Dad told me i could always say that word if i came across a word i could not read.
Sadly my Dad died when i was 9years old but i shall never forget my time spent with him while he lay in bed.
I began reading the Harry Potter series when I was 10 and, according to the books, you get your letter to Hogwarts on your 11th birthday. I was completely convinced these books were real and cried for hours on my 11th birthday when no letter of acceptence to this magical school came.
One time when I was younger my family went out to dinner at a restaurant right next to a store called David's Bridal (wedding store, obviously). I did not know what "Bridal" meant, but I did know that you put a "Bridle" on a horse when you wanted to ride it. So I concluded that David's Bridal must be a horse store. It didn't help that there was a large statue of a horse nearby.
One of my big sister's friends was reading a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. I was afraid of it because I believed if you read it, you would actually be transformed into an animal.
I believed the book Babar was how my name was spelled.
When I was 8... I read the book Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, which is written as part of the harry potter books.
I read the entry about a Letifold which the book said was a big black blanket-like animal that slithered under the door and ate people. I made my parents keep my bed facing the door so i could always see if there was one crawling in. Then I read the book again and noticed that it said they could only be found in tropical areas. So i was safe.
Then my parents made me go on vacation to Hawaii. I cried myself to sleep because I was so scared. After we went home my parents managed to convince me there was no such thing.
I used to think that the "rod" in a "Rod and Gun Club" was the tamping rod used to push everything down the barrel. I thought that people in these clubs only fired old fashioned muskets.