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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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"BLOCKHEAD"

IF SOMEONE CALLS YOU A BLOCKHEAD, BACK IN COLONIAL AMERICA,
PEOPLE WHO WORE WIGS
WORE WIGS KEPT THEM ON WOODEN BLOCKS (SHAPED THE SAME AS THEIR HEAD
IF THEY WERE RICH ENOUGH), AND CALLING SOMEONE A BLOCKHEAD IS
COMPARING HIS HEAD TO ONE OF THOSE BLOCKS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
SPEECH -- Folk etymology

Date learned: 11-00-1974

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CUSTOM

IT IS A CUSTOM IN OUR FAMILY TO GIVE THE FIR'ST SON HIS FATHERS
NAME AS A MIDDLE NAME, SUCH AS JOHN--EDWARD JOHN--KEITH EDWARD.

Submitter comment: I AM NOT SURE WHEN THIS CUSTOM ORIGINATED, BUT I CAN TRACE IT BACK
TO 1900.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: CA00001960

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FIBS

PINOCCHIO NOSE IS A NAME CHILDREN ARE TOLD THEY WILL BE CALLED IF
THEY TELL FIBS. THIS IS TAKEN FROM THE STORY ABOUT THE BOY WHOSE
NOSE GREW EVERY TIME HE TOLD A LIE.

Submitter comment: MY MOTHER TOLD ME MY NOSE WOULD BE JUST LIKE PINOCCHIO'S.

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Nose
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 00001955-00001958

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NAMES

IN SICILY, THE FIRSTBORN SON MUST BE NAMED AFTER THE PATERNAL
GRANDFATHER AND THE FIRSTBORN DAUGHTER MUST BE NAMED AFTER THE
PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER.
NOT TO COMPLY WITH THIS MEANT DISGRACE AND EVEN EXILE BY
THE FAMILY FOR THE PARENTS OF THE CHILD. IT IS CONSIDERED
AN INSULT TO
THE PATERNAL GRANDPARENTS NOT TO.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT, MY FATHER, HAD TO NAME ME MARY AFTER HIS MOTHER AND MY
OLDER BROTHER BENEDICT AFTER HIS FATHER. I ALSO HAVE FIVE COUSINS
NAMED MARY AND EIGHT COUSINS NAMED BENEDICT.

Where learned: DETROIT ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 09-14-1972

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"BARGE-BOTTOM"

ONE SUMMMER OUR FAMILY RENTED A CABIN WITH A BOAT. ONCE, MY
SISTER AND I GOT IN THE BOAT AND IT STARTED ROCKING.
WE BOTH SAT DOWN, CAUSING EVEN MORE MOTION. MY DAD CALLED
US BARGE-BOTTOMS BECAUSE OUR WEIGHT HAD CAUSED THE BOAT TO
SHIFT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

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QUEEN OF SHEBA

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD THIS EXPRESSION IN THE YEAR 1938 FROM HIS FATHER

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WARREN ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 09-12-1972

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NAME

PECKER CHECKER: } THIS IS THE NAME USED BY THE SEA SERVICES GIVEN
TO A HOSPITAL CORPSMAN. THIS IS DUE TO THE PRACTICE ON MANY SHIPS
OF THE CORPSMAN HAVING TO CHECK THE MEMBERS OF THE CREW FOR V.D.
UPON THE RETURN FROM A EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME ON LIBERTY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FARMINGTON ; TOLD IN

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535

Date learned: 09-27-1972

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NAME

LIFER: } A NAME GIVEN BY ALL MILITARY MEN ON THEIR ENLISTMENT
TO REFER OFTEN CONTEMPTUOUSLY TO THE INDIVIDUALS MAKING THE MILITARY
A CAREER.

Submitter comment: I AM SERIOUS IN MY USE OF THIS TERM SINCE IT IS USED FREQUENTLY IN
THE NORMAL COURSE OF A CONVERSATION.

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 09-27-1972

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DANCE ALL DAY ON A WHITE OAK LEAF. DESCRIBES A VERY SKINNY PERSON.
MAUREEN'S INFORMANT WAS HER GRANDMOTHER EVA HARMON 82 OF
FRENCH DESCENT CURRENTLY RESIDING IN ALGONAC, MICHIGAN.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 11-08-1972

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PROVERB

DON'T BE CHOOSY KATHY,
SO YOU WON'T OVER CHOOSE;
SO YOU WON'T GET A SPARROW
INSTEAD OF A CANARY. (TRANSLATION)
NIE PRZEBIERAJ KASIU,
ZEBYS NIE PRZEBRALA;
ZEBYS ZA KANARKA
WROBLA NIE DOSTALA. (POLISH)

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT USED TO REMIND HER DAUGHTERS OF THIS PROVERB WHEN
THEY WERE DATING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): BIRD

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; PERSONAL PROVERB ; RHYME (IN THE ORIGINAL)

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Verse in Other Group of Folklore C800.200
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb

Date learned: 02-07-1971

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KNOCK KNOCK JOKE

KNOCK KNOCK
WHO'S THERE?
CHESTER
CHESTER WHO?
CHESTER MINUTE AND I'LL SEE.

Where learned: LIVING ROOM

Keyword(s): PERSONAL NAME

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 12-03-1967

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SUPERSTITION

IF A PERSON IS DEADLY SICK ONE SHOULD GO TO THE RABBI
AND HAVE HIM GIVE A NEW NAME TO THE ILL PERSON.
THE NEW NAME WILL EXTEND HER LIFE.

Submitter comment: HER MOTHER TAUGHT HER THIS BUT SHE DOES NOT BELIEVE IT.
WHEN HER FATHER WAS DYING HER SISTER SENT A TELEGRAM
TO THEIR OLD RABBI ASKING FOR A NEW NAME. HE GAVE
HER ONE BUT THE FATHER STILL DIED.

Where learned: DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
Favorites
BELIEF -- Remedy

Date learned: 04-00-1965

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HICCUPS

HOLD YOUR BREATH AND SAY YOUR BOYFRIEND'S NAME 10 TIMES.
DRINK A GLASS OF WATER UPSIDE DOWN.
IF SOMEONE HAS THE HICCUPS SCARE THEM AND THE HICCUPS WILL GO AWAY.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THESE THINGS WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG ABOUT 1950.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Keyword(s): FEAR

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
686 First / Once / One / Newness
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 00-00-1950

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POLISH GIRLS AT BIRTH ARE NOT GIVEN MIDDLE NAMES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth

Date learned: 12-00-1977

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PROVERBIAL PHRASE

WIKCIA SPIEPSZEM,
MEANING,
VICKY WITH PEPPER.

Submitter comment: STELLA KRZYZANOWSKI LEARNED THIS POLISH PROVERB FROM HER MOTHER
JULIA WASIELEWSKI. VICKY WITH PEPPER IS USUALLY SAID BY A PERSON
WHO OBSERVES SOMEONE RUSHING, YET NOT GETTING ANYTHING
ACCOMPLISHED. THE REASON FOR THE NAME "VICKY" IS NOT KNOWN.
THE USE OF PEPPER IN THE SAYING REFERS TO HOW UPSET A PERSON GETS
WHEN TASTING PEPPER ALONE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

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SPEECH

GLUCHA MATYLDA,
MEANING,
DEAF MATILDA.

Submitter comment: THIS IS A POLISH COMMENT MADE WHEN THE SPEAKER REPEATS HIMSELF
A NUMBER OF TIMES AND THE LISTENER STILL DOESN'T UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS
SAID, THE SPEAKER COMMENTS, "GLUCHA MATILDA".

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 10-20-1977

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PERSON NICKNAME

BLOOD

Submitter comment: WHAT ERIC CALLS HIS BROTHERS

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Subject headings: Person / Nickname

Date learned: 07-00-1978

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POLISH NAMING CUSTOM

IT'S A CUSTOM AMONG POLISH PEOPLE TO NAME THEIR CHILDREN AFTER
THE SAINT WHOSE FEAST DAY IS CLOSEST TO THE BIRTH DATE OF THE
CHILD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary
BELIEF -- Religious hero

Date learned: 02-00-1979

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REGIONAL NAME FOR TOURISTS

IN ST. IGNACE, MICHIGAN, TOURISTS VISITING NEARBY MACKINAC ISLAND
ARE CALLED "FUDGIES" BY THE LOCAL RESIDENTS BECAUSE OF THE
FUDGE SOLD ON THE ISLAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SAINT IGNACE

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
SPEECH -- FamilyGroup
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

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NEW BORN CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS NAMED AFTER A DEAD RELATIVE, NEVER ONE
THAT IS LIVING. THERE ARE NO JUNIORS OR SENIORS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; SOUTHFIELD

Subject headings: Person / Nickname
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 01-06-1972

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