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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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THINGAMAJIG

ACCORDING TO INFORMANT, WHEN THE NAME OF A TOOL OR SOME OTHER PIECE
OF EQUIPMENT IS NOT KNOWN, THEN IT IS REFERRED TO AS A THINGAMAJIG.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): INDEFINITE NOUN

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Common Word

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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AWHATZIT

ACCORDING TO INFORMANT, WHEN THE NAME OF A TOOL OR SOME OTHER PIECE
OF EQUIPMENT IS NOT KNOWN, THEN IT IS REFERRED TO AS AWHATZIT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): INDEFINITE NOUN

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Common Word

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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PREVENTIVE MEDICINE

THE FOLLOWING WAS GIVEN TO INFORMANT EACH SPRING BY HER FATHER TO
PREVENT ILLNESS. EQUAL PARTS OF SULPHUR, EPSOM SALTS, AND CREAM OF
TARTAR ARE MIXED, GIVEN BY THE TEASPOON AND TAKEN ORALLY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Means of Causing or Avoiding Illness

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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HERE'S THE CHURCH

THIS RHYME IS RECITED WITH HAND GESTURES ACCOMPANYING THE RHYME.
THIS RHYME IS USUALLY RECITED BY CHILDREN AS A SORT OF GAME. HERE'S
THE CHURCH (HANDS ARE JOINED TOGETHER WITH FINGERS INTERLOCKED--
SIMILAR TO PRAYING), HERE'S THE STEEPLE (BOTH INDEX FINGERS ARE
RAISED STRAIGHT UP AND HELD TOGETHER KEEPING HANDS AND REST OF
FINGERS IN SAME POSITION PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED), OPEN THE DOOR AND
SEE ALL THE PEOPLE (TURN HANDS PALMS UP, INTERLOCK FINGERS WITH
FINGERS STICKING UP).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Athletic sport and exercise Gymnastics

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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IF SOMEONE IS SUSPECTED OF LYING

THIS WAS COMMONLY SAID BY INFORMER AS A RETORT TO SOMEONE SUSPECTED
OF LYING.OH, YOU'VE GOT A PIMPLE ON YOUR TONGUE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): SYMBOL

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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WHAT DO YOU WANT?

THIS IS SAID IN A JOKING MANNER TO SOMEONE WHO IS BEING A NUISANCE.
WHAT DO YOU WANT, SIX MONTHS IN A HOSPITAL (SHAKE LEFT FIST AT
PERSON), OR SUDDEN DEATH (SHAKE RIGHT FIST AT PERSON)?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): THREAT CHOICE

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula
SPEECH -- Gesture

Date learned: 09-18-1972

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FORECASTING WEATHER

ACCORDING TO INFORMANT. THIS IS A METHOD FOR KNOWING WHAT THE NEXT
DAY WILL BE LIKE IN ADVANCE. RED SKY AT NIGHT/ SAILORS DELIGHT/
RED SKY AT MORN/ SAILORS FOREWARNED/

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

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

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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WHO WILL BE THE NEXT VISITOR?

A METHOD OF PREDICTING WHO THE NEXT VISITOR WILL BE. IF A PERSON
DROPS A FORK, HE CAN EXPECT A MAN VISITOR. IF HE DROPS A KNIFE,
HE CAN EXPECT A WOMAN VISITOR. IF HE DROPS A SPOON, HE CAN EXPECT
A CHILD VISITOR.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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IF YOUR PALM ITCHES

ACCORDING TO THIS BELIEF, IF A PERSON'S PALM ITCHES, HE CAN EXPECT
BILLS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: Spirit / Mind / Body
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails

Date learned: 09-25-1972

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LOCK THE DOOR AND THROW AWAY THE KEY

THE INFORMANT WITNESSED THE FOLLOWING IN A KINDERGARTEN CLASS. THE
GESTURE WAS MADE BY THE TEACHER. THE MEANING WAS FOR THE CHILDREN TO
BE QUIET. IN GESTURE FORM THE TEACHER MADE BELIEVE HER MOUTH WAS A
LOCK AND IN HER HAND A KEY. SHE PUT HER HAND UP IN FRONT OF HER
MOUTH AND MADE BELIEVE SHE WAS LOCKING THE DOOR. SHE THEN THROWS THE
MAKE BELIEVE KEY AWAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): PANTOMIME

Subject headings: Shadow / Pantomime
SPEECH -- Gesture
SPEECH -- To Be Seen

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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BAD LUCK

ON A VISIT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN A FEW YEARS AGO THE
INFORMANT LEARNED FROM AN ANONYMOUS PERSON THAT, "IF A FRESHMAN STEPS
ON THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SEAL IMPLANTED IN THE SIDEWALK AND
LOCATED IN THE CENTER CAMPUS SQUARE AND AREA, THE FRESHMAN WILL
FLUNK HIS FIRST YEAR'S EXAMS."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- School

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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MORTUARY SLOGANS

THE INFORMANT AT ONE TIME DELIVERED FLOWERS FOR A }
FLORIST AS A PART-TIME
JOB, DURING WHICH TIME HE RAN ACROSS A NUMBER OF
MORTUARY SLOGANS. "YOU KILL 'EM, WE CHILL 'EM."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): FINAL ITERATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.537
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb C880.400
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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MORTUARY SLOGANS

I, AT ONE TIME DELIVERED FLOWERS FOR A FLORIST AS A
PART-TIME JOB,
DURING WHICH TIME I RAN ACROSS A NUMBER OF MORTUARY SLOGANS.
"BETTER BODIES BY K AND S." THE FUNERAL HOME WHERE I GOT THIS
SLOGAN IS THE KARRER-SIMPSON FUNERAL HOME.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): ALLITERATION

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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MORTUARY SLOGANS

I, AT ONE TIME DELIVERED FLOWERS FOR A FLORIST
AS A PART-TIME JOB,
DURING WHICH TIME I RAN ACROSS A NUMBER OF MORTUARY SLOGANS. "YOU
STAB 'EM, WE SLAB 'EM."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): FINAL ITERATION

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Custom Festival C840.537
Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Proverb C880.400
PROVERB -- Blason Populaire

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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IF LOST

IF A PERSON IS LOST AND IS NOT SURE WHAT DIRECTION TO TAKE, HE
SHOULD SPIT IN THE PALM OF ONE HAND, AND SLAP THE SPIT WITH THE
FIRST TWO FINGERS OF THE OTHER HAND. THEN MERELY TRAVEL IN THE
DIRECTION THAT THE SPIT FLEW. THIS METHOD WILL PUT THE PERSON IN
THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION LOCATION

Subject headings: Observation
BELIEF -- Body part Senses Hands, palms, fingernails

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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Entry filtered.

SNAKES IN A DEPARTMENT STORE

LATE ONE SUMMER NIGHT IN 1971, A WOMAN WAS TRYING ON A COAT AT THE
K-MART STORE IN PORT HURON. WHEN SHE STUCK HER ARM IN ONE OF THE
SLEEVES, SHE EXPERIENCD WHAT FELT LIKE A HUNDRED PIN PRICKS. UPON
EXAMINATION SHE DISCOVERED A SCORE OF BABY SNAKES AND THEIR MOTHER
NESTING IN THE LINING OF THE SLEEVE. THE WOMAN WAS RUSHED TO THE
HOSPITAL AND GIVEN A POISON ANTIDOTE. THE COAT HAD BEEN MADE IN
AND SHIPPED DIRECTLY FROM A FAR EAST COUNTRY. THAT IS WHERE THE
SNAKES HAD COME FROM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): ANIMAL REPTILES

Subject headings: Favorites
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Animal
PROSE NARRATIVE -- Product or activity of man or animal
Filter - Mature Content

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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CAPTURE THE FLAG

THIS IS A TRADITIONAL Y.M.C.A. SUMMER CAMP GAME, I LEARNED AT "Y"
CAMP WHEN I WAS NINE YEARS OLD. TEN OR MORE CHILDREN ARE DIVIDED
INTO TWO GROUPS. THEY PLAY ON A FIELD APPROXIMATELY FIFTY YARDS
LONG AND TWENTY-FIVE YARDS WIDE. THE FIELD CAN BE BIGGER OR SMALLER
DEPENDING ON THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN PLAYING. BOUNDARIES ARE USUALLY
MARKED BY A CHALK LINE. THE RECTANGULAR FIELD IS DIVIDED IN HALF.
TWO CIRCLES APPROXIMATELY TEN FEET IN DIAMETER ARE DRAWN AT EACH END.
ONE CIRCLE HOUSES CAPTURED PRISONERS. THE OTHER CONTAINS THE FLAG
(A STICK OR POLE STUCK IN THE GROUND, ITS HEIGHT IS USUALLY ABOUT
FOUR FEET). THE OBJECT IS FOR EACH TEAM TO GO OVER TO THE OTHER
TEAM'S SIDE, TRY TO GRAB THE FLAG FROM THE CIRCLE AND BRING IT
BACK TO THEIR OWN SIDE. IF TOUCHED THEY MUST GO TO THE OTHER TEAM'S
CIRCLE FOR PRISONERS AND REMAIN THERE UNTIL FREED BY BEING TOUCHED
BY A TEAM MATE, OR UNTIL ONE SIDE HAS CAPTURED THE OTHER SIDE'S
FLAG. EACH TEAM THEN, NOT ONLY TRIES TO CAPTURE THE OTHER TEAM'S
FLAG, BUT KEEP THEIR OWN FLAG FROM BEING CAPTURED. AN OPPOSING
TEAM MATE CAN ONLY BE CAPTURED WHEN IN ENEMY TERRITORY (THE ENEMY'S
HALF OF THE FIELD). THE GAME IS OVER WHEN A FLAG IS CAPTURED AND
BROUGHT BACK BY THE OPPOSING TEAM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Special Object or Implement

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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BACK-FORTY

I LEARNED THAT WHEN SOMEONE REFERS TO "BACK FORTY", THEY ARE
REFERRING TO THE BACK YARD, BACK LOT, OR OUT IN THE FIELD.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Common Word

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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TITS

ACCORDING TO INFORMANT WHO IS STUDENT AT UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT, A
COLLEGE STUDENT (MALE) WILL REFER TO SOMETHING AS BEING "TITS" WHEN
MEANING GREAT, FANTASTIC, OR WONDERFUL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

James Callow Keyword(s): FEMALE BREASTS=TITS?

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Trade & commerce

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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TAKE A DIVE

I WORKED IN A BAKERY IN PORT HURON ONE SUMMER WHERE I LEARNED THAT
THE TERM FOR BEING ABSENT OR MISSING A DAY OF WORK IS "TO TAKE A
DIVE."

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; PORT HURON

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Trade & commerce

Date learned: 10-30-1972

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