1960s Elementary School Hand Gesture

AH is the informant, my mom, and PH is myself.

PH: Do you have any folklore for my project?

AH: I don’t think I know any folklore…
(She then mentioned some stories that are told by other family members, but wasn’t comfortable telling herself.)

PH: You know so much folklore and you don’t even know it! It’s not just ghost stories, it’s sayings or games or hand movements you do, anything that you were taught in an unofficial capacity… Like, when you were younger, didn’t you put your hand up in a C or something?

AH: Oh yes, how do you know about that?

PH: You’ve told me before!

AH: How do you remember this?

PH: I just remember! Now, can you explain this to me as if I’ve never heard it before?

AH: When I was a kid in the ‘60s, and someone called you a name on the playground, teasingly or not…and now [current day] maybe you’d say “same to you, or something”…

PH: Like, “I know you are, but what am I?”

AH: Oh, yes, we had that too… So, then we would hold our hands up, and form our hands in the shape of a C with the thumb on the bottom, and curve it in the shape of a C, and so that whatever they said would zoom around the curve and go back to them like a boomerang

PH: Okay, anything else to add?

AH: Well then they would put their hands up and do the same thing and it would go back (laughs)

PH: You said “their hands”? Plural?

AH: They, as in people in general, but just one hand…. So that would’ve been the late ‘60s when people started to say “cool” and “man” and stuff like that

PH: Do you remember how you learned that?

AH: No, it was…I don’t know if it was made up in our school or if it was something everyone did at that time

PH: What age would you do this?

AH: I’d say.. Probably second through fifth grade

PH: Do you think it was an age thing, that everyone at that age was doing it, or a time period thing, as in people from different age groups were all doing it at that time…?

AH: I doubt if high schoolers would do it… It might’ve gone to middle school..

PH: Does this have a name?

AH: Ohh… shoot. I don’t know.. “Back to you?” I don’t know.

PH: So there was a name?

AH: No probably not.. I wonder if it had anything to do with Star Trek, which was around that time too! (laughs)

PH: Really? Just because it’s a hand movement?

AH: No, I don’t know! (Laughs)