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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THERE WAS A MAN UPON THE STAIRS,
GEE I WISH HE WASN'T THERE.
HE WASN'T THERE AGAIN TODAY,
GEE, I WISH HE'D GO AWAY.

Submitter comment: INFORMANT LEARNED THIS FROM HER MOTHER MANY YEARS AGO.

Data entry tech comment: YESTERDAY UPON THE STAIR, I SAW A MAN THAT WASN'T THERE.
HE WASN'T THERE AGAIN TODAY,
OH, HOW I WISH HE'D GO AWAY (THAT'S THE WAY I HEARD IT)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): CHIASMUS CONTRADICTIONS QUATRAIN ; FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE ; REPETITION METER: IAMB. RHYME: IMPERFECT, DOUBLE ; RHYME AABB ; SLANG CONTRADICTION ; WISH GHOSTS FEAR

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Verse without Music

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MISS SUSIE

MISS SUSIE HAD A BABY,
SHE NAMED HIM TINY TIM,
SHE PUT HIM IN THE BATHTUB,
TO SEE IF HE COULD SWIM.

HE DRANK UP ALL THE WATER,
HE ATE UP ALL THE SOAP,
HE TRIED TO EAT THE BATHTUB,
BUT IT WOULDN'T GO DOWN HIS THROAT.

MISS SUSIE CALLED THE DOCTOR,
THE DOCTOR CALLED THE NURSE,
THE NURSE CALLED THE LADY,
WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE.

IN WALKED THE DOCTOR,
IN WALKED THE NURSE,
IN WALKED HE LADY,
WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE.

MUMPS SAID THE DOCTOR,
MUMPS SAID THE NURSE,
MUMPS SAID THE LADY,
WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE. MM[
OUT WALKED THE DOCTOR,
OUT WALKED THE NURSE,
OUT WALKED THE LADY,
WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE.

Submitter comment: ACCOMPANIED BY HAND-CLAPPING SAYS THE COLLECTOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; WESTLAND

James Callow Keyword(s): HAVE ALSO HEARD THIS AS A JUMP-ROPE RHYME.

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

Date learned: 09-15-1969

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LEGEND OF BEAR ISLAND

THERE IS AN INDIAN LEGEND THAT TELLS HOW THE FAMOUS MICHIGAN BEAR
ISLAND WAS MADE. IT WAS SAID THAT A MOTHER BEAR AND HER TWO CUBS
WERE ATTEMPTING TO SWIM ACROSS LAKE MICHIGAN, BUT THEY EACH WERE
OVERCOME BY EXHAUSTION BEFORE THEY COULD EVEN SWIM 5 TO 6 MILES.
THEIR BODIES NOW FORM THE BIG BEAR ISLAND AND THE TWO SMALL BEAR
ISLANDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; BATTLE CREEK

Keyword(s): AMERICAN INDIAN ; SLEEPING BEAR SAND DUNE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Mammal
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name

Date learned: 00-00-1954

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IF A WOMAN'S SECOND TOE IS LONGER THAN HER BIG TOE, IT
MEANS THAT SHE WILL BE THE BOSS OF HER FAMILY.

Submitter comment: LEARNED IT FROM HER MOTHER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): ALSO HAVE HEARD THIS MEANS YOU ARE DESCENDED FROM ROYALTY.

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Feet, toes, toenails

Date learned: 00001967 FALL

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PRACTICAL JOKE (PIMP)

PUT CELLOPHANE WRAP UNDER THE TOILET SEAT AND OVER THE TOILET BOWL
IN A GIRL'S BATHROOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY ; EAST LANSING

James Callow Keyword(s): SARAN WRAP (CLEAR, PLASTIC FOOD-WRAP)

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: 00-00-1973

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MNEMONIC DEVICE

MY VERY EDUCATED MOTHER JUST SERVED US NINE PICKLES.

Submitter comment: THIS SENTENCE HELPS TO REMEMBER THE PLANETS IN THE ORDER OF NEAREST
TO THE SUN TO FURTHEST FROM THE SUN
INFORMANT SAID HE LEARNED THE DEVICE FROM SOME OF HIS FRIENDS AT
SCHOOL. HE DIDN'T REMEMBER WHO TOLD IT TO HIM BUT SAID IT WAS USED
BY ALMOST EVERYONE IN HIS CLASS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; MADISON HEIGHTS

James Callow Keyword(s): FUNCTION ; NEPTUNE ; PLANETS: MERCURY, VENUS, EARTH, MARS, JUPITER, SATURN, ; PLUTO ; URANUS

Subject headings: Favorites
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- MNEM

Date learned: 10-00-1973

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WHEN A SLIP IS SHOWING, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE GIRL IS LOOKING FOR
A HUSBAND.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): UNDERWEAR

Subject headings: Observation
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress Overall body coverUpper body and arms
BELIEF -- Marriage Signs of availability

Date learned: 11-00-1972

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NEW YEARS'S CUSTOM

ON NEW YEAR'S A BUNCH OF KIDS KNOCKED ON THE DOOR SHOUTING LET THE
NEW YEAR IN. RUN AROUND THE TABLE THREE TIMES SHOUTING LET THE NEW
YEAR IN AND GET MONEY ON WAY OUT - GO TO THE NEXT HOUSE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): VISITING AND GIFT-GIVING ON NEW YEAR'S.

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's

Date learned: 11-30-1972

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WHEN WE VISITED SOMEONE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE FIRST OF THE
YEAR WE HAD TO TAKE THEM SOMETHING. IF THE FAMILY WAS NOT
TAKEN SOMETHING THEY WOULD BE IN NEED FOR THE REST OF THE
YEAR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN

James Callow Keyword(s): GIFT-GIVING AT NEW YEAR'S SEASON

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- January 1 New Year's
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Year
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- December 21 solstice to March 20

Date learned: 10-20-1972

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RIDDLE

OVER THE GROUND,
UNDER YOUR NOSE
IT HAS AS MANY HEELS AS TOES. (A PAIR OF SHOES).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; FARMINGTON ; TOLD IN

James Callow Keyword(s): CLOTHING (A) WEARING APPAREL (A)

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Riddle True Riddle

Date learned: 09-26-1972

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CHILDREN'S BELIEF

IF YOU WEAR YOUR SOCKS TO BED, YOUR FEET WILL NOT GROW.

Where learned: CANADA ; ONTARIO ; DORM ; UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR

James Callow Keyword(s): SLEEPWEAR ATTIRE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Measure of time Sleeping
BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 09-22-1972

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DON'T TURN YOUR HAT BIBB BACKWARD. THIS IS UNLUCKY.

Submitter comment: BIBB= BRIM.

Where learned: DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): DIRECTION OR POSITION: BACKWARDS ; WEARING CLOTHES: HAT

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck

Date learned: 10-00-1972

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PIECE EARS

IF THE MOON IS FULL WHEN YOU PIECE YOUR EARS,
YOU LL FEEL NO PAIN.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): PIERCE YOUR EARS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Body part Senses
BELIEF -- Moon

Date learned: 10-00-1974

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BELIEF

IF YOU SIT ON THE TABLE, THE ANGELS WILL CRY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): TEARS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Angel

Date learned: 03-01-1970

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IF IT RAINED WHEN A PERSON DIED, IT MEANT THAT THE ANGELS WERE
CRYING FOR HIM AND HE WENT TO HEAVEN.

Submitter comment:

THIS WAS TOLD TO INFORMANT WHEN HE WAS 10 YEARS OLD, BY HIS
PARENTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; GROSSE POINTE FARMS

James Callow Keyword(s): TEARS

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Angel
BELIEF -- Cloud Fog Mist Rain Hail Ice Snow Frost Dew
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

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RIDDLE

Q: WHO ALWAYS GOES TO BED WITH HIS SHOES ON?
A: A HORSE

Data entry tech comment: ANOTHER EXAMPLE IN THE 5 X 8 CARD FILES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANIMAL (A) ; LITERAL NONOPPOSITIONAL ; WEARABLE (Q) ; WISDOM

James Callow Keyword(s): HORSESHOES

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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RIDDLE

Q: IT IS NOT A SHIRT, YET IT IS SEWED;
IT IS NOT A TREE, YET IT IS FULL OF LEAVES;
IT IS NOT A PERSON, YET IT TALKS SENSIBLE.
A: A BOOK.

Submitter comment: ORIGIN: HARVEY GOLDMAN, 12YR. OLD CAMPER AT LAKE GEORGE, NEW YORK (9)

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ACTIONS (Q) ; NATURAL PHENOMENON (Q) ; WEARABLE (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 07-25-1964

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RIDDLE

Q: WHY IS A TIGHT BOOT LIKE AN OAK TREE?
A: BECAUSE THEY BOTH GIVE CORNS.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN BY COLLECTOR

Keyword(s): EATABLES AND DRINKS ; NATURAL PHENOMENON (Q) ; WEARABLE (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 10-23-1968

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ARAB RIDDLE

Q: WHAT IS THE SIZE OF AN ELEPHANT BUT YOU CAN FOLD IT TO THE SIZE
OF A HANDKERCHIEF?
A: A MOSQUITO NET.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): ANIMAL (Q) ; ENTERTAINMENT AND SPORT GOODS (A) ; WEARABLE (Q)

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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