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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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GRADUATION CUSTOMS

IT IS CUSTOMARY AT AMHERST HIGH SCHOOL IN BUFFALO,
NEW YORK, THAT THE SENIORS SKIP A DAY OF CLASSES
NEAR THE END OF THE SEMESTER. ALSO, THEY PULL PRANKS
SUCH AS POURING ACID ON THE GRASS OF THE SCHOOLYARD
TO READ OBSCENE WORDS, OR PUT SOMETHING ON THE
FLAGPOLE AND GREASE IT SO NO ONE COULD GET IT DOWN.

Where learned: BUFFALO ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A MIXTURE OF OIL OF WINTERGREEN (2 DROPS) AND HARD
APPLE CIDER (GLASSFUL) MAY BE TAKEN INTERNALLY TO
ACT AS A CURE FOR ARTHRITIS OR RHEUMATISM.

Where learned: ROCHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Plant
BELIEF -- Method of Curing

Date learned: 03-00-1969

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MY PARENTS

ONCE IN MY OLD NEIGHBORHOOD, THERE WAS THIS ONE KID WHO
ASKED HIS FATHER IF HE COULD MARRY THE GIRL NEXT DOOR.
HIS FATHER SAID NO AND TOLD HIM THAT THAT GIRL WAS
REALLY HIS DAUGHTER AND TO MARRY HIS SISTER WOULD
NEVER DO. HIS MOTHER TOOK HIM ASIDE LATER AND TOLD
HIM NOT TO WORRY AND THAT HE COULD MARRY THAT GIRL
BECAUSE HE WASN'T REALLY HIS SON.

Where learned: BUFFALO ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): HUMOR

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Married couple

Date learned: 10-00-1968

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THE FATHER BAKER STORY

IT IS A COMMONLY ACCEPTED FACT THAT WHEN THEY WERE CONSTRUCTING
FATHER BAKER'S HOME FOR BOYS (BUFFALO, NEW YORK), THERE WAS GOING
TO BE A SHORTAGE OF OPERATING FUNDS. WHEN THEY WERE GOING TO TAP
THE GAS PIPE, FATHER BAKER SAID NO, POINTED TO A DIFFERENT SPOT,
AND SAID, "DIG THERE." THEY FOUND A NATURAL GAS WELL.

Where learned: BUFFALO ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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SCHOOL CUSTOM

IN SCHOOL, IT IS A CUSTOM TO RAISE YOUR HAND TO BE
CALLED UPON FOR AN ANSWER.

Submitter comment: I LEARNED THIS IN SCHOOL IN 1955-1956.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: 602 Body Parts
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School
SPEECH -- Instructions Directions

Date learned: 00001955-1956

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WHEN SOMEONE TELLS A STORY TO SOMEONE ELSE IN ORDER
FOR THE OTHER PERSON TO FEEL SORRY FOR THE PERSON
WHO IS TELLING THE STORY, THE PERSON WHO IS BEING
TOLD THE STORY MAKES LIKE HE IS PLAYING A VIOLIN
AND IS SARCASTICALLY SAYING THAT "MY HEART REALLY
BLEEDS FOR THE PERSON."

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Mock sympathy and mock enthusiasm

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN A PERSON SAYS SOMETHING TO ANOTHER PERSON AND
THE OTHER PERSON DOESN'T LIKE IT, AFTER THE PERSON
WHO SAID IT TURNS AND WALKS AWAY, THE PERSON WHO IT
WAS SAID TO STICKS HIS TONGUE OUT AT THE
PERSON WHO SAID IT. THIS INDICATES A DISLIKE
ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PERSON WHO SAID IT.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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WHEN PEOPLE ARE MAD, SOMETIMES ITALIANS, THEY SHAKE
THEIR CLENCHED FIST AT THE PERSON THEY ARE MAD AT.

Where learned: PORT CHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Derision Scorn

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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NEVER WALK UNDER A LADDER THAT IS STANDING AGAINST
A BUILDING.

Where learned: ROCHESTER ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Daily Life

Date learned: 03-11-1972

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IN A SMALL TOWN IN NEW YORK STATE, A YOUNG ENGINEER
WAS TRYING TO PURCHASE AN OLD TWIN ENGINE AIRPLANE.
THE OWNER TOLD HIM THAT THE PLANE HAD BEEN BURNT
DOWN TO THE SKELETON OF THE PLANE YEARS BEFORE.
THE PLANE BURNT QUICK BECAUSE IT WAS A FABRIC-
COVERED PLANE. THE ENGINEER STARTED THE PLANE UP WITH
THE HELP OF THE OWNER AND THEN HE SAT ALONE IN THE
COCKPIT READING THE GAUGES. SUDDENLY, A MAN WITH AN
OLD BROWN FLIGHT JACKET AND LEATHER HELMET TAPPED
HIM ON THE SHOULDER AND SAID, "GET OUT QUICK, PLANE'S
ON FIRE!" THE ENGINEER JUMPED OUT AND RAN FROM THE
PLANE. WHEN HE TURNED AROUND NOTHING WAS LEFT BUT THE
SMOLDERING SKELETON.
WHEN THE OWNER ASKED HIM WHAT HAPPENED, WHEN HE
RETURNED, THE ENGINEER TOLD THE WHOLE STORY AND
DESCRIBED THE MAN WHO WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. THE
OWNER REPLIED, "THAT SOUNDS LIKE MY BROTHER." THE
ENGINEER THEN ASKED WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. THE OWNER
THEN SAID, "HE DIED WHEN THE PLANE BURNT THE FIRST
TIME YEARS BEFORE!"

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): REPEATED TRAGEDY

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN A SMALL TOWN IN NEW YORK STATE, A YOUNG ENGINEER
WAS TRYING TO PURCHASE AN OLD TWIN ENGINE AIRPLANE.
THE OWNER TOLD HIM THAT THE PLANE HAD BEEN BURNT
DOWN TO THE SKELETON OF THE PLANE YEARS BEFORE.
THE PLANE BURNT QUICK BECAUSE IT WAS A FABRIC-
COVERED PLANE. THE ENGINEER STARTED THE PLANE UP WITH
THE HELP OF THE OWNER AND THEN HE SAT ALONE IN THE
COCKPIT READING THE GAUGES. SUDDENLY, A MAN WITH AN
OLD BROWN FLIGHT JACKET AND LEATHER HELMET TAPPED
HIM ON THE SHOULDER AND SAID, "GET OUT QUICK, PLANE'S
ON FIRE!" THE ENGINEER JUMPED OUT AND RAN FROM THE
PLANE. WHEN HE TURNED AROUND NOTHING WAS LEFT BUT THE
SMOLDERING SKELETON.
WHEN THE OWNER ASKED HIM WHAT HAPPENED, WHEN HE
RETURNED, THE ENGINEER TOLD THE WHOLE STORY AND
DESCRIBED THE MAN WHO WAS NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. THE
OWNER REPLIED, "THAT SOUNDS LIKE MY BROTHER." THE
ENGINEER THEN ASKED WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. THE OWNER
THEN SAID, "HE DIED WHEN THE PLANE BURNT THE FIRST
TIME YEARS BEFORE!"

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DEARBORN ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): REPEATED TRAGEDY

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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PROVERB

DUMBER THAN YOU LOOK

Where learned: BUFFALO ; NEW YORK, ASSUMED

James Callow Keyword(s): STUPIDITY

Subject headings: PROVERB -- Proverbial Comparison

Date learned: 11-00-1968

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