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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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POLISH SUPERSTITION

IF YOU DROP A PIECE OF BREAD ON THE FLOOR, YOU MUST PICK IT UP
IMMEDIATELY AND KISS IT, OR ELSE YOU HAVE SINNED.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM HER POLISH MOTHER WHEN SHE WAS VERY YOUNG.

Where learned: NEW YORK ; YONKERS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal
SPEECH -- Gesture

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MISCELLANEOUS CUSTOMS

A SEAMAN LEAVING THE FORECASTLE TO GO AFT, EITHER FOR HIS TRICK AT
THE WHEEL OR OTHER WORK, GOES AFT ALONG THE LEESIDE OF THE VESSEL,
UNLESS HIS IMMEDIATE DUTY LIES TO THE WINDWARD.
A SEAMAN SUMMONED TO THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN REMOVED HIS CAP AND
DROPPED IT TO THE DECK JUST OUTSIDE THE DOOR.
A MARINER ENTERING A NEW SHIP, OR EVEN AN OLD SHIP, FOR THE FIRST
TIME MAKES CERTAIN THAT HIS RIGHT FOOT IS THE FIRST TO TOUCH THE
DECK.
IT WAS A BREECH OF ETIQUETTE FOR A SEAMAN TO LOCK HIS SEA CHEST
WHILE ON BOARD HIS SHIP. OFFENDERS OFTEN FOUND, WHEN THEY
RETURNED TO THE FORECASTLE FROM THEIR WATCH ON DECK, THAT THE
COVER HAD BEEN NAILED DOWN.
IN THE BRITISH AND UNITED STATES NAVIES, A SCARF OF BLACK SILK IS
WORN, ORIGINALLY AS A MARK OF WARNING (MOURNING?) FOR THE DEATH
OF LORD NELSON.
IN THE ROYAL NAVY, OFFICERS WHO HAVE BEEN ROUND EITHER THE CAPE
OF GOOD HOPE OR CAPE HORN MAY PUT ONE FOOT ON THE WARDROOM TABLE;
BOTH CAPES CARRY THE RIGHT TO PUT BOTH FEET ON THE TABLE.
BY NAVAL CUSTOM THE SENIOR OFFICER PRESENT IS ALWAYS THE LAST
INTO A BOAT AND THE FIRST OUT OF IT.

Submitter comment:

CAPTAIN LUMAS SAYS THAT HE HAS LEARNED THESE CUSTOMS THROUGH THE
YEARS THAT HE HAS BEEN SAILING, BOTH IN THE U.S. NAVY AND UP AT
MACKINAW ISLAND.

Data entry tech comment:

Updated by TRD

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MACKINAW ISLAND

Keyword(s): British ; Captain ; Etiquette ; Language ; Lingo ; Naval ; Navy ; POSITION ; Seaman ; Ship ; Uniform ; United States

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION ; LEFT ; POSITION ; RIGHT

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Overall body coverUpper body and arms
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Number Last events: the last person to the table...
SPEECH -- Gesture

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PADIDDLE

I AM NOT SURE OF THE SPELLING, BUT THIS IS THE WAY THE WORD IS
PRONOUNCED AND IT INDICATES A CAR WITH ONLY ONE OPERATIVE
HEADLIGHT. WHEN YOU ARE WITH A GIRL YOU GET TO KISS HER IF YOU SEE
SUCH A CAR AND YELL OUT PADIDDLE BEFORE SHE DOES. IF SHE DOES, SHE
GETS TO HIT YOU IN THE ARM.
ALSO GIRLS KEEP COUNT OF HOW MANY SUCH CARS THEY SEE BY THEM-
SELVES. THE FIRST BOY THEY SEE WHEN THEY HIT FIVE HUNDRED IS
SUPPOSED TO BE THE BOY THEY WILL MARRY.
A "GERONIMO" IS A CAR WHICH HAS ONE LIGHT BRIGHTER THAN THE
OTHER DUE TO AN ACCIDENT OR ONE ON WHICH THE HEADLIGHT FAILS
AS YOU ARE WATCHING IT.

Submitter comment: THE FIRST TIME I EVER HEARD THIS WAS IN THE EIGHTH GRADE. I
BELIEVE IT WAS IN A MOVIE WITH JAMES DEAN. AFTER THAT SOMEONE
EXPLAINED IT TO ME AND I HAVE HEARD IT COUNTLESS TIMES SINCE
THAT IN DETROIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; QUICKNESS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number P686.3.500
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 12-00-1963

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IT IS CONSIDERED A SIGN OF GOOD LUCK TO "STAMP"
THE FIRST FEW ROBINS ONE SEES IN THE SPRING. THIS
MERELY CONSISTS OF LICKING THE THUMB AND THEN
PLACING THE WET SPOT ON THE BACK OF THE OTHER
HAND. THEN THIS SPOT IS "STAMPED" A COUPLE OF
TIMES WITH THE OTHER FIST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; Lansing

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Animals
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-01-1968

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SNAP A ROBIN

IN THIS ACTION TO INDUCE GOOD LUCK, WHEN A PERSON
SEES A ROBIN, HE LICKS HIS RIGHT THUMB, TOUCHES IT
TO HIS LEFT PALM, THEN PLACES THE RIGHT FIST INTO
THE LEFT PALM MAKING A SNAP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Animals
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 09-10-1969

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IF YOU LIFT UP YOUR FEET FROM THE FLOOR AND TOUCH
YOUR HANDS TO THE CEILING WHILE GOING OVER A
RAILROAD TRACK IN YOUR CAR, YOU WILL HAVE GOOD
LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Leaving Entering Returning home Travel
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN DRIVING OVER RAILROAD TRACKS, IT IS GOOD LUCK
TO PUT YOUR HAND, PALM SIDE UP, ON THE ROOF OF THE
CAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Leaving Entering Returning home Travel
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN HOCKEY, THE PLAYERS ALWAYS TAP THE GOALIE'S PADS
BEFORE THE START OF THE GAME FOR GOOD LUCK. THEN
THEY SKATE BACK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 881 Games / Pastimes / Sports
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 02-09-1972

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BREATHING ON THE DICE BEFORE THROWING IS SUPPOSED
TO GIVE YOU GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT HEARD FROM MANY GAMBLERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 881 Games / Pastimes / Sports
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IF YOU KNOCK ON WOOD, YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; EAST DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 04-03-1967

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IF SOMETHING GOOD HAPPENS TO YOU, KNOCK ON WOOD TO
KEEP YOUR GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-00-1971

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KNOCK ON WOOD THREE TIMES FOR GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM ONE OF HER FRIENDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Thirds / Thrice / Three / Triple
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 02-11-1971

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IF YOU TOUCH A HUNCHBACK, YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: MRS. CONROY LEARNED THIS ITEM FROM HER MOTHER, MRS.
GERTRUDE ALLISON, AS A CHILD, IN DETROIT. (CA. 1920).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; BIRMINGHAM

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00-00-1920

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IF TWO PEOPLE SAY SOMETHING AT THE SAME TIME, THEY
SHOULD KNOCK ON WOOD FOR LUCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): TALK

Subject headings: 686 Seconds / Twice / Two
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 01-20-1971

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TO START DONNA'S CAR, IT IS NECESSARY FOR EVERYONE IN
THE CAR TO SHAKE HER HAND FOR GOOD LUCK, OR ELSE THE
CAR WILL OFTEN NOT EVEN TURN OVER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
BELIEF -- Good luck Activities
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-27-1971

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YOU WILL HAVE GOOD LUCK WHEN YOU BEND OVER
BACKWARDS AND KISS THE BLARNEY STONE (IN IRELAND).

Where learned: NEW YORK ; WILSON

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Good luck Objects
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN GERMANY, TOUCHING OR SEEING A CHIMNEY SWEEP IS
CONSIDERED GOOD LUCK.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT WAS TOLD OF THIS GOOD LUCK BELIEF ON A RECENT
TRIP TO GERMANY.

Where learned: GERMANY ; MINNESOTA ; DULUTH

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 06-25-1969

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COUNT 100 RED CONVERTIBLES (CAR), A LADY IN A PURPLE
DRESS, A MAN IN A GREEN TIE, AND THE FIRST BOY YOU KISS
AFTER THAT YOU WILL MARRY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Number Counting beliefs
BELIEF -- Number P686.3.100
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 12-04-1967

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IF FOUR PEOPLE CROSS HANDS, WHEN SHAKING HANDS, THERE
WILL BE A WEDDING.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: 686 Fourths / Quarters
Observation
BELIEF -- Marriage
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 03-18-1968

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IT IS BELIEVED THAT IF YOU SNEEZE ON A TUESDAY, YOU
WILL KISS A STRANGER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.8
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 10-02-1968

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