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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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IF YOU'RE GOING TO PUSH ON THE THROTTLE,
DON'T PULL (DRINK) ON THE BOTTLE.

Submitter comment: A WARNING!

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE CAR ; DRINKING DRUNKENNESS

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Food Drink
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb Proverb
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
Food Drink -- N447

Date learned: 11-00-1971

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A DRIVER'S NIGHT PRAYER

NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP,/ I PARKED MY CAR ACROSS THE STREET.
AND IF IT ROLLS BEFORE I WAKE,/I PRAY THE LORD TO PULL THE BRAKE.

Submitter comment: TAKEN FROM INFORMANT'S AUTOGRAPH BOOK.

Where learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): IMPERFECT RHYME ; QUATRAIN ACCIDENT AUTOMOBILE PARODY OF PRAYER ; RHYME: AABB

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse Lyrical Verse
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse

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A LITTLE SPARK, A LITTLE COIL,
A LITTLE GAS, A LITTLE OIL,
A LITTLE TIN, A LITTLE BOARD,
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER AND
YOU'LL HAVE A LITTLE FORD.

Where learned: DETROIT ; MICHIGAN, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Autograph Verse Wisecracks, gags, silly stories, insults

Date learned: 00-00-1928

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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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TALE

A MAN HAD JUST PURCHASED A NEW CAR. AFTER DRIVING IT FOR TWO
WEEKS, HE DISCOVERED AN AWFUL RATTLE IN THE DOOR. TAKING IT TO
A GARAGE TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS WRONG, HE DISCOVERED AN EMPTY
COKE BOTTLE WAS LODGED IN THE DOOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BIRMINGHAM

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; COKE=COCA COLA: BRAND NAME FOR SOFT DRINK.

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Jest Anecdote
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land

Date learned: 00-00-1965

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RACING DRIVERS WON'T HAVE A GREEN CAR. GREEN IS AN
UNLUCKY COLOR. A GREEN RACING CAR IS CALLED THE
"DEATH CAR."

Where learned: SCHOOL

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Bad luck Objects

Date learned: 03-05-1968

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VAN DECORATING IN DETROIT

SINCE 1970 IT HAS BECOME A WIDESPREAD FAD IN THE DETROIT
AND SURROUNDING METROPOLITAN AREAS TO DECORATE VANS TO SUIT
THE PERSONALITY AND CHARACTER OF THE OWNER.
THIS HAS TAKEN ON A NEW ASPECT IN AUTOMOBILE CIRCLES AND HAS
BECOME A MONEY-MAKING VENTURE FOR MANY. THE VANS ARE
PAINTED WITH CUSTOM DESIGNS THAT COST $300.00 OR
MORE, THE INTERIORS ARE CARPETED AND FREQUENTLY CONTAIN A BED, SMALL
REFRIGERATOR
AND NUMEROUS OTHER COMFORTS OF HOME. THEY INVARIABLY ALSO
HAVE A SOPHISTICATED STEREO SYSTEM, AND HIGHLY POLISHED CHROME
WHEELS, IT HAS BECOME THE STATUS SYMBOL TO DRIVE ONE OF THESE
VANS INSTEAD OF THE LUXURY CARS CURRENTLY PRODUCED.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE VAN

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land

Date learned: 11-11-1974

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SONG

JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS,
JINGLE ALL THE WAY,
OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO RIDE,
IN A HORSE DRAWN CHEVROLET.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; TRAVERSE CITY ; CAMPUS

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; PARODY

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery

Date learned: 12-00-1973

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SONG

JINGLE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS,
JINGLE ALL THE WAY,
OH WHAT FUN IT IS TO RIDE,
IN A CRACKED UP CHEVROLET.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT ; TRAVERSE CITY ; CAMPUS

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; PARODY

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Ill humor Ridicule Mockery

Date learned: 12-00-1973

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LUCKY CROSSING

IF YOU LIFT YOUR FEET OFF THE FLOOR OF YOUR CAR WHILE CROSSING A
BRIDGE OVER WATER YOU WILL ALWAYS REACH THE OTHER SIDE SAFELY.

Submitter comment: THIS WAS A MORE COMMON BELIEF IN THE EARLY 1900S WHEN PEOPLE WERE A
LITTLE MORE WARY ABOUT DRIVING CARS OVER BRIDGES.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; SAINT CLAIR

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; MAGIC

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails
BELIEF -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 00001960S

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IF ONE NOTICES A RAMBLER TRAVELLING AHEAD OF YOU IN TRAFFIC, THE
BEST COURSE OF ACTION IS TO FIND ANOTHER ROUTE QUICKLY,
FOR RAMBLERS
(ABOUT 99 %) ARE KNOWN TO TRAVEL ON THE AVERAGE ABOUT 15 MPH UNDER
THE SPEED LIMIT AND TEND TO CONFUSE TRAFFIC TO AN ABSURD DEGREE.
IT IS THOUGHT THAT ALMOST 85% OF RAMBLERS, ANCIENT THOUGH THEY BE,
ARE STILL TRYING TO MAKE IT HOME FROM THE SHOWROOM.

Submitter comment: THIS BELIEF WAS DERIVED THROUGH YEARS OF OBSERVATION.

James Callow comment: RAMBLER=SMALL AMERICAN MOTORS CAR
CK[ AUTOMOBILE

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Vehicle propelled by mechanical or other force on land
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 09-22-1972

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CUSTOM

SIGN OF THE CROSS AFTER COMING ACROSS AN ACCIDENT OR
FUNERAL PROCESSION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROSEVILLE

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Cross and its various modifications
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 11-30-1972

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THAYER'S GRAVE

THAYER'S GRAVE IS IN A CEMETERY IN FARMINGTON, MICHIGAN.
YOU DRIVE INTO A GRAVEYARD, DOWN A HILL PAST THAYER'S GRAVE.
PUT YOUR CAR IN NEUTRAL AND THAYER PULLS YOUR CAR UP THE HILL
BACKWARDS. THE CAR ALWAYS STOPS RIGHT BY HIS GRAVE

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE MODERN

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal

Date learned: 11-08-72

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PROVERB

DON'T RACE YOUR MOTOR.

Submitter comment: FROM UNCERTAIN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; AUTOMOBILE ; IMPATIENCE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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PROVERB

DON'T SKID YOUR SPARE TIRE.

Submitter comment: FROM UNCERTAIN

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE

James Callow Keyword(s): ADVICE: NEGATIVE ; AUTOMOBILE ; PRECAUTION

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 00-00-1964

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JAMAICAN METHOD FOR EXORCISING SPIRITS

IF THERE IS A BAD SPIRIT OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE AND YOU WANT TO GET RID
OF IT, BURN A CAR TIRE. THEN YOU, BUT ONLY YOU, WILL HEAR IT SCREAM
AND KNOW IT IS GONE.

Submitter comment: THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF MODERN FOLKLORE.
DONALD LEE LEARNED THIS ITEM IN BUFF BAY JAMAICA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE TIRE

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: 10-31-1975

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AN OLD SUPERSTITION THIS INDIVIDUAL LEARNED WAS THAT ONE COULD
ASCERTAIN THE AMOUNT OF YEARS ONE HAD REMAINING IN LIFE BY COUNTING
THE NUMBER OF CARS IN THE NEXT FUNERAL PROCESSION TO PASS BY. EACH
CAR REPRESENTED AN ADDITIONAL YEAR TACKED ON THE PERSONS LIFE SPAN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; NUMBERS ; SYMBOL

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Number

Date learned: 10-00-1975

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RIDDLE

HOW DO YOU FIT SIX ELEPHANTS IN A V.W.?
PUT THREE IN THE BACK, TWO IN THE FRONT, AND ONE IN THE GLOVE BOX.

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM SCHOOL FRIENDS

Where learned: OHIO ; WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- Riddle Question

Date learned: 10-07-1967

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LYRICAL VERSE

OH, I DON'T CARE IF IT RAINS OR FREEZES,
LONG AS I HAVE MY PLASTIC JESUS,
RIDING ON THE DASHBOARD OF MY CAR;
THUNDER ROAR AND LIGHTNING CRASH,
I WON'T FEAR; HE'S ON THE DASH,
TAKE HIM WITH YOU WHEN YOU TRAVEL FAR.

OH, I CAN DRIVE FROM COAST TO COAST,
LONG AS I HAVE MY HOLY GHOST,
RIDING ON THE DASHBOARD OF MY CAR;
GOIN' NINETY I AIN'T WARY,
CAUSE I GOT MY VIRGIN MARY,
GUARANTEEIN' I WON'T GO TO HELL.

OH, I DON'T CARE IF IT'S DARK AND SCARY,
LONG AS I HAVE MY VIRGIN MARY,
RIDING ON THE DASHBOARD OF MY CAR.

Where learned: UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT ; TOLD AT ; SAILING CLUB PARTY

Keyword(s): BIBLICAL ; FEMININE RHYME ; IMPERFECT RHYME: FREEZES JESUS ; RELIGION ; RHYME: AABCCB ; SLANG FOR DASHBOARD CLIPPING ; STATUES USED AS AMULETS IN AUTOMOBILES ; TRAVEL

Subject headings: Favorites
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Lyrical Verse

Date learned: 10-23-1971

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HEADACHE

IF YOU LET A STRAND OF HAIR FLY OUT THE CAR WINDOW THE PERSON TO WHOM
THE HAIR BELONGS WILL GET A HEADACHE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN, ASSUMED ; BLOOMFIELD HILLS

Keyword(s): AUTOMOBILE ; CAUSE

Subject headings: Favorites
BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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