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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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MESS HALLS

IT IS A TRADITION AMONG SAILORS TO REFER TO THE MESS
HALLS AS RESTAURANTS. CONNECTED WITH THIS, ARE THE
JOKES AMONG THE MEN AS TO WHO IS BUYING, FLIPS
TO SEE WHO WILL PICK UP THE TAB, AND MAKING SURE
ONE GETS ONE MEAL TICKET PUNCHED WHILE IN LINE IN
THE MESS HALLS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Home

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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BLANKET PARTIES

WHEN MEN ARE OVERSEAS, CROWDED ABOARD A SHIP, IT IS
FREQUENTLY THE CASE THAT TEMPERS RUN RATHER SHORT, AND
FLARE UP OVER DAILY OCCURRENCES. ONE SUCH INSTANCE
INVOLVES THOSE SAILORS WHO LACK GOOD HYGIENE HABITS,
THERE BEING A SOURCE OF AGGRAVATION TO HIS FELLOW
COMPARTMENT MATES. THERE IS A REGULAR NAVY TRADITION
FOR THE HANDLING OF JUST SUCH A SITUATION. FIRST,
THE GUILTY INDIVIDUAL IS GIVEN VARIOUS HINTS THAT HIS
"FRIENDS" ARE NOT PLEASED WITH HIS CLEANLINESS (BARS OF
SOAP UNDER HIS PILLOW, WET WASHCLOTHS IN HIS BUNK, ETC.)
AND IF THIS DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM, THEN A "BLANKET"
PARTY IS THE LAST RESORT. IN THIS, A BLANKET IS THROWN
OVER THE GUILTY INDIVIDUAL, AND HIS ROOM MATES BEAT HIM
FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES. THE NEXT MORNING, IT IS USUALLY
THE CASE THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL IS THE FIRST ONE IN THE
SHOWER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Daily Life

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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OMENS OF SPRING

IF YOU SEE A RED CARDINAL BUILDING A NEST IN A TREE, THAT MEANS THAT
SPRING IS ONLY A MONTH AWAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Measure of time Winter
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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ALBATROSS

IT IS BAD LUCK FOR AN ALBATROSS TO FOLLOW A SHIP. IF SHE DOES,
SHE MUST BE SHOT WITH A GUN ARMED WITH SILVER BULLETS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.32

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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RED LIGHTNING

THE BANNER OR INSIGNIA FOR VF 194 WAS THAT OF RED
LIGHTNING, SO DESIGNATED FROM THE SAFE RETURN, THROUGH
A RED LIGHNING THUNDERSTORM, OF ALL OF VF 194'S FLYERS IN
YUMA, ARIZONA.

Data entry tech comment: A WAR STORY?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Sign Color

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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U. S. S. NEVERDOCK

THERE IS A NAVY TRADITION CONCERNING THE GOOD SHIP
U.S.S. NEVERDOCK, A VESSEL WITH AN UNKNOWN PURPOSE
AND UNKNOWN CREW THAT SAILS ABOUT, NEVER COMING INTO
DOCK TO PORT. SHE HAS A POOL TABLE, BOWLING ALLEYS,
SWIMMING POOLS, AND MANY OTHER LUXURIES ABOARD, AND
ONLY A SELECT FEW ARE CHOSEN TO BE FLOWN ON THE SHIP TO
JOIN HER CREW. IT IS A STANDARD JOKE AMONG ALL SAILORS
WHO ARE AWAITING ORDERS THAT THEY WILL BE DESTINED FOR
THE U.S.S. NEVERDOCK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.6

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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HANGER QUEENS

IT IS AN OLD NAVY TRADITION THAT EVERY OUTFIT MUST
HAVE A HANGER QUEEN. THIS IS SUPPOSEDLY THE BEST
AIRPLANE IN THE SQUADRON, IN WHICH EVERYTHING WORKS
THE BEST, DROPS THE MOST BOMBS, ETC. IN ACTUALITY,
HOWEVER, THIS IS THE PLANE IN WHICH NOTHING WORKS
AT ALL, AND SO PARTS ARE ROBBED FROM IT TO FIX
THE OTHER PLANES.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Product or activity of man or animal P477.6

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS CONSIDERED VERY BAD LUCK TO TRIP ON A GANGPLANK
THIS ESPECIALLY HOLDS TRUE BEFORE GOING ON LIBERTY
AND SHOULD THIS OCCUR, IT IS BELIEVED THAT A VERY BAD
LIBERTY WILL RESULT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

James Callow Keyword(s): LIBERTY=LEAVE, VACATION, TIME OFF ; MARITIME

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Water craft or boat propelled by human, wind, mechanical or other force
BELIEF -- Sign Geometric figure Angular forms
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS VERY BAD LUCK FOR A SAILOR TO SIT WITH HIS
HAT ON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bad luck Clothing (dress, hat, shoes, suit, etc.)
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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A SAILOR GETTING OUT OF THE NAVY WILL NEVER LOOK
BACK AT THE SHIP HE IS LEAVING, THE BASE, ETC.
TO LOOK BACK IS TO BRING BAD LUCK TO YOUR FUTURE
CIVILIAN LIFE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- P535
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS VERY BAD LUCK WITHIN THE NAVY AIRBORNE TO
LET ANYONE ELSE WEAR YOUR FLIGHT JACKET. THIS IS
ESPECIALLY TRUE IF YOUR FLIGHT JACKET HAS YOUR
NAME TAGS ON IT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- P535
BELIEF -- Bad luck Activities

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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FLIGHT SCHEDULES

THERE IS NEVER AN EVENT 13 WRITTEN IN THE FLIGHT SCHEDULED EVENTS
FOR ANY DAY ON ANY SHIP IN ANY SQUADRON. EVENTS GO FROM 12 TO 14,
AND 13 WOULD BE CONSIDERED VERY BAD LUCK, AND PILOTS WOULD REFUES TO
FLY THESE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TOLD AT INFORMANTS HOME ; ALMA ; ROUTE 2 ; W JEFFERSON RD

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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ON BOARD A NAVAL VESSEL, IT IS BAD LUCK TO WALK UP
A LADDER ON THE PORT SIDE OR DOWN ON THE AFT
SIDE OF THE SHIP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

James Callow Keyword(s): POSITION DIRECTION

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Water craft or boat propelled by human, wind, mechanical or other force
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Bad luck Objects

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS NOW CONSIDERED VERY BAD LUCK TO RECEIVE ORDERS
ABOARD THE U.S.S. ORISKANY (CALLED THE BIG O), FOR
SAILORS FEEL SHE IS A DEATH SHIP.

Data entry tech comment: BECAUSE OF THE NAME? O RISK ANY?

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Means of transportation Water craft or boat propelled by human, wind, mechanical or other force
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Bad luck Objects

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS CONSIDERED VERY GOOD LUCK FOR PORPOISES TO
FOLLOW A SHIP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Good luck Animals

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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Tongue Twister

WHO GOT SHOTT?

A duel was lately fought by Alexander Shott and John Nott. Nott was shot and Shott was not. In this case it is better to be Shott than Nott. There was a rumor that Nott weas not shot, and Shott avows that he shot Nott, which proves either that the shot Shott shot at Nott was not shot, or that Nott was shot.

Notwithstanding that circumstantial evidence is not always good. it may be made to appear on trial that the shot Shott shot shot Nott, or as accidents with firearms are frequent it may be possible that the shot Shott shot shot Shott himself, when the whole affair would resolve itself into its original elements, and Shott would be shot and Nott would be ot. Anyway, it is hard to tell who was shot.

Data entry tech comment:

Motifs Added By TRD

James Callow comment:

Besides, what is this? A Tongue Twister?

Where learned: ALMANAC ; Curious Duel

Keyword(s): ALLITERATION ; Shot ; TONGUE TWISTER

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

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Entry filtered.

THURSDAYS

Historical record from James Callow Folklore Archive.

IN THE ALMA AREA IT IS CONSIDERED THE SIGN OF THE QUEER
IF HE WEARS GREEN ON THURSDAYS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMOSEXUAL ; SLANG: QUEER FOR HOMOSEXUAL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Color

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SICK BAY

IT IS CUSTOMARY TO REMOVE ONE'S HAT WHEN ENTERING SICK BAY WHILE
IN THE NAVY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA ; ROUTE 2 ; W JEFFERSON RD

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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SAILORS' HATS

IN EVERY SERVICE BAR, THERE IS A SIGN HANGING OVER THE BAR THAT
READS: "HE WHO WEARS HIS HAT IN HERE/ BUYS THIS BAR A ROUND OF
CHEER." THIS COMES FROM THE OLD TALE CONCERNING THE THREE BRITISH
SAILORS WHO WERE IN AUSTRALIA DURING THE WAR, ALL IN THE SAME BAR,
AND ALL DRINKING WITH THEIR HATS ON. LATER ALL WERE KILLED, EACH
STILL WITH HIS HAT ON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA ; ROUTE 2 ; W JEFFERSON RD

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being

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