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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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YOU KNOW HOW THEY GOT HONEYMOON? IN ENGLAND, IF THEY
DRANK HONEY UNDER THE LIGHT OF THE MOON ON THEIR
WEDDING NIGHT, THEY WOULD HAVE GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Explanation of a name
BELIEF -- Marriage
BELIEF -- Good luck

Date learned: 07-25-1968

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WHOEVER CATCHES THE WEDDING BOUQUET WILL BE THE NEXT ONE
TO GET MARRIED.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Marriage Bouquet toss

Date learned: 00-00-1973

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WEARING "SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED,
SOMETHING BLUE BRINGS GOOD LUCK.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Color
BELIEF -- Good luck

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WORD ORIGIN

MR. FINK AND HIS BEST FRIEND THEY WERE IN LOVE WITH THE
SAME GIRL AND IN TURN THIS GIRL WAS IN LOVE WITH BOTH
OF THEM, SO THEY DECIDED THEY WOULD HAVE A BOW AND
ARROW DUEL OVER HER. MR. FINK ASKED HIS FRIEND TO PUT
AN APPLE ON HIS HEAD AND HE WOULD PUT ONE ON HIS AND WHO
EVER COULD SHOOT THE APPLE OFF WOULD WIN THE GIRL. AND
MR. FINK, THE BASTARD, SHOT FIRST AND HIT HIS FRIEND
RIGHT HERE (POINTS BETWEEN THE EYES). AND THEY JUST
ADDED THE "RAT" TO "FINK" AND THAT MEANS TO DO YOUR
FRIEND IN.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

James Callow Keyword(s): RATFINK--SLANG

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name

Date learned: 07-25-1968

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IF A BIRD FLIES INTO THE HOUSE, THAT HOUSE WILL BE VISITED BY
DEATH WITHIN THE WEEK.

Submitter comment: TOLD TO MY INFORMANT BY MR. JOSEPH SCHECHTER, NEW YORK CITY,

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; TENNESSEE ; NEW YORK ; NASHVILLE

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour

Date learned: 07-24-1968

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IF I USED THE NAME OF GOD IN VAIN, THEN GOD WOULD STRIKE
ME DEAD.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK ; SIGNET BOOK ; THE NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY ; PAGE 82

James Callow Keyword(s): CURSING ; SWEARING

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 00-00-1945

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RIDDLE

WHY ARE MOST OFFICES CONSIDERED OVENS?
BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE MAKE THEIR BREAD.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

James Callow Keyword(s): SLANG: BREAD = MONEY

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

Date learned: 05-00-1990

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WHEN A GREEK COMPLIMENTS A KID, YOU HAVE TO BLOW
ON HIM TO GET THE EVIL EYE (SPIRIT) AWAY, BECAUSE
THE EVIL EYE IS JEALOUS.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Curse

Date learned: 07-25-1968

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IN ORDER TO RID YOURSELF OF A WART THE FOLLOWING IS NECESSARY.
EACH MORNING BEFORE BRUSHING YOUR TEETH PLACE SOME OF YOUR
SALIVA ON THE WART. THE WART WILL DISAPPEAR IN TWO WEEKS.

Submitter comment: MR. MOORE ACTUALLY DOES THIS IN ORDER TO RID HIMSELF OF A
WART AND CLAIMS THAT IT WORKS.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 03-28-1970

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OMENS

IF THE WIND IS BLOWING FROM THE SOUTHWEST
WHEN A CHILD IS CONCEIVED IT WILL BE A BOY.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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OMEN

ST. ALBERT SAID THAT IF THE WIND IS BLOWING
FROM THE NORTHEAST WHEN A CHILD IS CONCEIVED
IT WILL BE A GIRL.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY

Subject headings: Observation

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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APPLAUSE: INSTEAD OF CLAPPING ONE'S HANDS, SNAPPING OF
FINGERS WAS SUBSTITUTED, PARTICULARLY IN COFFEE HOUSES
OR THE LIKE.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
SPEECH -- Congratulations Appreciation

Date learned: 00001959-1960

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PROVERB

CONFUCIUS SAY, "SOME SQUIRRELS WORK AND WRESTLE WITH TREES
TO GET NUTS. WISE SQUIRRELS TAKE TIME AND SPREAD LIMBS."

Submitter comment: THIS SAYING MEANS THAT SOMETIMES THERE IS AN EASIER WAY
TO ACCOMPLISH SOME GOALS.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

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TRADITIONAL OCCUPATION

THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE STRUCTURAL STEEL WORKERS
IN NEW YORK CITY WHO WORK ON THE FRAMING FOR SKY-
SCRAPERS, ARE NAVAJO INDIANS WHO BECAUSE OF AN INBORN
SENSE OF BALANCE HAVE PASSED THIS HAZARDOUS JOB
DOWN FROM FATHER TO SON.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY

James Callow Keyword(s): BUILDING TRADES ; SKYSCRAPERS.

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Work Commerce Business

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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RIDDLE

WHAT IS IT THAT BALD-HEADED FOLKS HAVE NO NEED FOR?
KEYS, BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T ANY LOCKS.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

James Callow Keyword(s): LOCKS OF HAIR - PUN

Subject headings: RIDDLE -- True Riddle

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FUNERAL SUPERSTITION

MY MOTHER WAS PREGNANT AT THE TIME AN IRISH RELATIVE
DIED. MY SUPERSTITIOUS IRISH RELATIVES TOLD HER THAT
IF SHE ATTENDED THE FUNERAL, HER CHILD WOULD BE BORN
DEAD. MY STUBBORN GERMAN MOTHER LAUGHED AT THEIR
WARNINGS, AND ATTENDED THE FUNERAL. A FEW MONTHS
LATER SHE GAVE BIRTH TO VERY HEALTHY TWINS (UNDERLINED.)

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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IT IS BAD LUCK TO OPEN A TELEGRAM.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: 03-28-1970

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I HAD OBSERVED THIS TRADITION FOR MANY YEARS, BUT IT
WAS TOLD TO ME BY MY INFORMANT ON A PARTICULAR OCCASION
AND WAS CONFIRMED BY MANY OTHER PEOPLE AS BEING A
REAL TRADITION.
A REAL IRISH WAKE IS ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY A BIG PARTY.
IT IS TO REPRESENT THE JOY FELT BY ALL THAT THE DEAD
PERSON HAS FINALLY LEFT THIS WORLD OF TROUBLE TO
RECEIVE HIS HEAVENLY REWARD. THERE IS ALWAYS PLENTY OF
FOOD AND DRINK TO GO ALONG WITH THE REMINISCING.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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PROVERB

WAMMER FLUCHT IHERM FISCHE, FANGT MER NIX.

Submitter comment: IF YOU SWEAR WHILE FISHING, YOU WILL NOT CATCH ANY FISH.
TRADITION OF PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH.

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Keyword(s): ADVICE ; SUPERSTITION

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Metaphor

Date learned: 10-00-1965

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BAR MITZVAH

MY IRISH (VERY MUCH SO) SISTER ATTENDED THE BAR
MITZVAH OF A NEIGHBOR'S SON. THERE WAS A STROLLING
VIOLINIST AT THE VERY GALA, VERY JEWISH FETE, WHO WENT
FROM TABLE TO TABLE PLAYING REQUESTS. WHEN HE CAME
TO THE TABLE WITH MY VERY IRISH LOOKING SISTER AND
HER VERY IRISH LOOKING HUSBAND, THE VIOLINIST DIDN'T
EVEN ASK FOR A REQUEST, BUT UPON TAKING ONE LOOK AT
THE COUPLE, STARTED TO PLAY, "WHEN IRISH EYES ARE
SMILING."

Where learned: NEW YORK CITY ; NEW YORK

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Maturity

Date learned: 00-00-1966

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