Author Archives: Wilson Knapp

Quazi Minono

Behind a kickball field in Pasadena, there is a house that belongs to an old lady that all the kids call Quazi Minono. She lives in the house directly behind the tall fence at the back of the kickball field. Whenever Garret and his friends play kickball, they never go to retrieve their ball if someone kicks it over the fence. It is said that a boy climbed over the fence one time to get the ball and the old lady Quazi Minono killed him. Apparently, no one has ever seen what Quazi Minono looks like or exactly how old she is. However, she has a husband, or what the kids believe may not be her husband, who everyone can see because he sits in his wheel chair on the third floor of the house constantly peering out the circle window that faces the kickball field. He sits facing out the circle window for most of the hours of the day without ever moving. It is rumored that the old man sitting in the wheel chair is actually the kid who Quazi Minono killed. Instead of killing him, she kept him prisoner in his house. He can never leave because he has a full body paralysis. So, he sits almost all day staring out the window wishing he could leave and play kickball again. Garret and his friends never ever go over the fence to get the kickball.
Most likely, a killer old lady does not live in the house, and the man in the window is her husband enjoys looking outside instead of sitting facing a wall all day. It is sad to think that kids can think up such a scary story for the situation the old man is in.

Baseball superstitions

John and his team had certain traditions and superstitions for baseball. One of the biggest superstitions was to never touch the chalk lines when running onto field to get in position. It was bad luck to touch the chalk lines, and it was known to bring misfortune to the player and the team.
Whenever a player was designated to be the pitcher for the upcoming game, the pitcher would have to get to the field exactly two hours before the game started to get ready. The pitcher and one of his teammates would then warm up with a drill they called two ball. They would toss two baseballs at the same time using both their left hand and their right hand to the other person who would have to catch both baseballs. The notion behind showing up two hours before the game and practicing hand eye coordination with the two ball drill was that it significance of two. In order “two” win or in order “two” beat the other team, they needed “two” work twice as hard as the other team.
In addition, when it came to the actual game, each batter would perform a ritual with their bat and the home plate. Each player, before he batted, would touch his bat to the top right corner of home plate, then the top left corner, then touch the middle of the plate. This ritual was performed in order to create a better chance that the batter would reach both ends of the field and then return home.
Even though these traditions and superstitions did not work every time, the players still would follow them because they just might mean something.

An Irish blessing

Every Saint Patrick’s day, Christmas, and Easter, Joey and his family have family dinner. His dad recites a specific Irish Blessing before they eat that goes as follows:
“May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sunshine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May god hold you
In the hallow of his hand”

The blessing is said in order to bring good luck to everyone in the family. It is a prayer as well that provides protection for the family. The blessing is written and hung in multiple places in the Jones household. Joey’s grandma originally gave them the Blessing, and taught them the tradition of saying it on Saint Patrick’s day.

Santa Margarita Burning

Every year at the end of the school year, a few seniors who are graduating from Santa Margarita High School meet at the 12th hole of the Coto de Caza golf course. They bring all of their high school text books, work books, notebooks, and their school uniforms with them. They walk to the sand trap near the green of the 12th hole and throw all of their High School paraphernalia into the sand pit. Next, they pour lighter fluid all over the books and clothes for exactly twelve seconds. The number twelve marks the years of schooling they have been through; they are graduating from the 12th grade. After twelve seconds, each person involved lights a match and throws it into the pile of books and cloths. They stand around the burning sand pit until all the cloths and books are turned to ash. This ritual is meant to symbolize the moving on to the next stage of life: college.
It is natural that Ian and his friends would do a book burning because of the way American society is future oriented. We are always looking into the future and treat the past as something that is behind us. In another culture, people might find it wasteful or dumb to burn old books because they contain knowledge. However, the future oriented society we live in makes it acceptable to burn books and move on to whatever comes next.

Kookaburra Christmas Song

Hannah’s Aunt lives in Australia and would visit Hanna in California every other year for Christmas. It was a tradition after Christmas dinner to sit in the living room and play games and sing songs together. One year, her Aunt changed the lyrics to the Kookaburra Song and sang it to everyone. After that Christmas, it became a tradition that every year her family would sing the Kookaburra Christmas song. The song went like this:

Kookaburra sits in the Christmas Tree
Merry, merry Christmas king of the bush is he
Laugh Kookaburra! (*everyone would laugh) Laugh Kookaburra! (*everyone laugh)
What a life you lead

Kookaburra sits in the Christmas Tree
Merry, merry, merry Christmas bird is he
Sing Kookaburra! (*everyone would sing ahhh) Sing Kookaburra! (*everyone sing)
Sing your song for me

Kookaburra sits in the Christmas Tree
Eating all the sugar plumbs he can see
Stop Kookaburra! (*everyone would yell stop) Stop Kookaburra! (*everyone yell)
Leave some there for me

Kookaburra sits in the Christmas Tree
Counting all the elves he can see
Stop Kookaburra! (*everyone would yell stop) Stop Kookaburra! (*everyone yell)
That’s not an elf that is me

Hannah and her family continue to sing the Kookaburra Christmas song every Christmas even without her Aunt. The Christmas adaptation to the song is a unique way of taking a cultural song from Australia and integrating it into a fun family song that Hannah’s family can sing that symbolizes Christmas.

The Bird and the Cow

Giovanni’s grandfather will occasionally tell the story of the Bird and the Cow to his grandchildren in order to instruct them on a lesson in life. The story goes as follows:
There once was a bird that was flying south for winter, but he had left too late into winter that the air was extremely cold. While he was flying, his wings began to freeze, and he could no longer continue to fly. He became completely frozen and fell to the ground. While on the ground freezing to death, a cow happened to walk past and noticed the freezing bird. The cow takes a crap on the bird and then walks away. The poo actually warms up the bird, and eventually the poo thaws him out. When the birds mouth is thawed out, he begins to sing for joy, knowing that he eventually will be out free. Then a fox that is walking by hears the singing bird thawing in the cow dung. The fox digs the bird out of the cow dung, and then he eats the bird.
There are three lessons that are meant to be learned from Giovanni’s story. The first is that not everyone who shits on you is your enemy. The second is that not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend. Lastly, when you are deep in shit keep your mouth shut.

The Witch on Louisiana Avenue

In West Los Angeles on Louisiana Avenue, there was a certain house where an old lady lived by herself. She would yell at the children walking by if they came too close to her house. It was rumored that she was a witch who would take the lives of children walking by in order to keep her alive. It was said that if you walked past her house and stepped too close to her lawn, you would get stuck on her grass because the grass would grow around your ankles. Then she would come out of the house screaming and take you inside of her house. Once taken, you were never seen again. However, it was said that she planted another rose in her front garden for each child that she took.
Danny and his friends would always cross to the other side of the street when they got near the old lady’s house in order to avoid walking to close to her lawn. Sometimes, Danny and his friends would pressure someone who thought they were brave to walk on the old lady’s lawn. They would play a game to see who could get closest to the house or who could stand on the lawn the longest. Most likely the witch on Louisiana Avenue was just an old lady who yelled at all the kids who would constantly ware out her lawn.

Little Willie mean as hell, threw his sister in the well, mother said when drawing water, “Gee it’s hard to raise a daughter.”

Will’s grandparents would watch him and his siblings when his parents went on trips. Whenever Will would act up or do something wrong, his grandpa used to say to him “Little Willie mean as hell, threw his sister in the well, mother said when drawing water, ‘Gee it’s hard to raise a daughter.’” When his grandpa would say this to him, it was a sign of disappointment. It was a way of making Will feel bad about whatever he had done wrong without actually getting angry with him. Will would protest and say that he wasn’t mean, and he would try and disprove his grandpa the first few times his grandpa would say the phrase to him. There were other versions of the saying that Will’s grandpa used to say to him, but he can’t remember exactly what they were.

Cool Plays

Charlie and his cousins would play a game they called Cool plays. The game was a mix between baseball and football. There would be two teams of four, but if there was one bigger person (and generally there was always one kid who was a lot bigger than everyone else) then they would have a team of five and a team of three (the team of three would have the big kid). The team on offense would stand out a little past half the field length, while the defense would stand a third of the way to half field. One person on defense would stand a third of the way from the end zone with a bat, while one person on offense would stand a few feet away to pitch the ball. The special thing about Cool Plays is that the ball is a basketball-sized tennis ball. The pitcher would throw the ball with one bounce at the batter, and then the batter would try and hit the ball as far as he could. With a successful hit, the people on offense would try to get the ball to the end zone without being tackled by the batting team. If the offense made it to the touchdown, they got three points. However, if the defense tackled the person with the ball before they got to the end zone, the defense got a point. Each person on defense bats one time before they switch sides. The team who gets to ten points first wins.

You Are My Sunshine

As a morning ritual before school days, Cat’s mom would always come into her room to wake her up. Since Cat was such a terrible morning person, her mom would try and perk her up by singing the song: “You Are My Sunshine.” He mom would come into the room singing You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray, you’ll never know dear how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away. Every time that her mom got to the line “love you,” her mom would pull off Cat’s covers to lovingly force her out of bed. Because her mom would pull her covers off every day on the same line, Cat would clutch onto her covers as strong as she could to try and thwart her mom. However, every day Cat’s mom would always succeed in waking her up to go to school. They performed this ritual every school day morning from Fifth grade through senior year of High School.