Author Archive
Folk speech

I’m tough! I’m gonna get up!

Informant: My informant, S. G., is 19 and was born and raised in Southern California. Sawyer lives in Chino Hills and has two mothers who both work as P.E. teachers for high school and middle schools. She has one older sister and one younger brother with the family having ties to its Swedish heritage.

Folklore: As a child growing up, Sawyer was taught a saying by her two mothers that goes, “I’m tough! I’m gonna get up! And keep going!” Her parents taught her to repeat this every time she experienced a difficult obstacle in her life where she felt she couldn’t overcome the challenge. Sawyer grew up learning the phrase since she was young by her mom who was taught the same saying when she was growing up.

Analysis: I have never heard this saying before, but I do like the positive message that it teaches. A short, strong saying like this helps enforce confidence in young children and help them to get the courage to tackle problems that might seem unconquerable. I really like the message and it’s something I might use in the future to teach my kids.

Humor

Bar Joke

Informant: My informant, L.K., is 19 and was born in New York but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia from age 5 to 18. L.K. father is working for a tourist agency and part time water polo referee and his mom is a financial manager for a restaurant in Croatia. He has a younger brother and sister with his family being fully Croatian, but has integrated small values from his time in the United States.

Folklore: “There is a black guy, a white guy, and an Asian that all get kidnapped and are being held against their will. The man who kidnapped them tells the three men that he will let them go on the condition that the size of their penis’s put together must me 20 inches or bigger. So the black guy whips it out, and it’s a whopping 13 inches! The white guy decides to go next and pulls his out. It’s a solid 6 inches. The Asian guy pulls his out last and its only one inch. The kidnapper, making good on his promise, lets the three men leave. On the way out the black guy says to the other two men, ‘Man, you guys are just lucky that I have such big dick.’ The white guy then says, ‘No, you guys are just lucky that I have such an average sized dick.’ And then the Asian guy says, ‘No, you guys are just lucky I had an erection.’” L.K. was told this joke from a tour guide when he visited Jamaica over winter break. Similarly, this joke was told in the presence of only men at night after the tour was over. L.K. said they would drink and tell jokes after the end of each day and was a nice way to end a long day.

Analysis: This joke is a classic variation of three guys walk into a bar joke. The joke focuses on the stereotype of the length of penis varies by nationality. Again, I’m fan of guy jokes and this was the best dick joke I think I’ve ever heard.

Folk speech

Hawaiian Rocks

Informant: My informant, D.L., is 20 and was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. D.L. mother works as an admissions director for his high school. He has one older brother who also attends USC. Both of D.L. parents are full Chinese, but have completely adopted the Hawaiian culture. D.L. spends most of his free time at the beach and considers himself more Hawaiian than Chinese.

Folklore: “There is a rule in Hawaii that you’re not supposed to take rocks from the beach. The rocks on the beach are said to be the home of the Goddess of Fire, Pele. It is said that if you were to remove the rocks from the island you will suffer Pele’s curse which says that any visitor who takes rock or sand away from the Hawaii islands will suffer bad luck until the native Hawaiian elements are returned.” D.L. was told this story from his brother when he was little to scare him and make sure he wouldn’t take the rocks. Now, D.L. is skeptical that the myth is true but still is superstitious about doing. Whenever he sees tourists taking rocks or sand from the beach he does get angry because he feels like they’re disrupting the flow of the beach.

Analysis: The warning is well known in Hawaii, but it is a modern legend and some people attribute it to an irritated park ranger who was sick of people carting off rocks from the beach. Still others think tour guides made up the curse to discourage tourists from bringing dirt and sand onto the buses. Either way, each year hundreds of visitors send packages back to Hawaii full of rocks, sand, and other natural materials in an effort to relieve their consciences and change their luck. For me, I try not to read into stories like these, but never try to chance my luck.

general

Chamomile Tea

Informant: My informant, G.L., is 19 and was born and raised in West Lake Village. G.L. parents both run their own company together. She has one older brother and her family is mainly Italian but is completely Americanized.

Folklore: “My grandma use to use this formula on my hair when I was younger to get it smooth and softer. She would boil water and make chamomile tea when I was taking a shower. After it cooled down she would place the tea in a large cup. At the end of your shower she would gradually poor the tea on my hair and let it soak in for 15 minutes. The tea was meant to enrich hair color and radiance and prevent dandruff.” G.L. was taught this from her grandma when she was really young but stopped doing it when she got older. G.L. cannot remember if the process worked when she was young, but she tried to do it once in high school and didn’t feel like it had much effect on her hair. Although, she did say the tea did make her hair smell pleasant for following couple of weeks.

Analysis: I can’t say that I’m too knowledgeable in homemade formulas for women’s hair, but I have never heard of this formula before. I did grow up with a twin sister and she told me she has never heard of doing this either. I think it’s interesting to see how this formula got started because it seems so random, but there are stories on the internet that say this formula works

Proverbs

Education Proverb

Informant: My informant, G.L., is 19 and was born and raised in West Lake Village. G.L. parents both run their own company together. She has one older brother and her family is mainly Italian but is completely Americanized.

Folklore: “One day you may lose your friends, you may lose your money, you may lose your home… but the one thing no one can take away from you is your education.” G.L. was told this saying from her mom multiple times when growing up. Whenever G.L. was having trouble in school or her parents felt that she wasn’t giving it her full effort, they would tell her this to try and push her back on the right track. Her parents are firm believers in the importance of education, and have always made sure to emphasize how important this was to G.L. and her brother when they were growing up. G.L. says that at times she felt way too overwhelmed to focus on school, but she knew that her parents were right to keep pushing her.

Analysis: My parents are also strong advocates in education and my mom told me that her dad would say this phrase to her when she was growing up. Her dad was a grocery store owner in Vermont and struggled to get by, but he did everything he could to get all of his kids through college so they could go on to have a more prosperous life than he gave them. Sometimes I might take my education for granted but in the long run I do value the importance education can have on your life

general

Love or Riches

Informant: My informant, G.L., is 19 and was born and raised in West Lake Village. G.L. parents both run their own company together. She has one older brother and her family is mainly Italian but is completely Americanized.

Folklore: “When money stops coming through the door, love flies out the window.” G.L. heard this story from her dad after he found out one of his friends from college was getting divorced to his wife of 20 years after going through financial problems for several years. He told her this saying as a lesson for her to never let money be the reason to get in the way of a relationship. She said that her parents have been together for almost 30 years now, and have never considered getting a divorce even when her family was struggling financially when they first got married.

Analysis: I’ve never heard this piece of folklore like this but have always heard of people splitting up because of their financial status. To me it just felt like this was common sense because people who are constantly struggling to make ends meet usually lose their love along the way. This is a very common phrase known around the world now, and its origin is unknown.

general

Upset Stomach Remedy

Informant: My informant, G.L., is 19 and was born and raised in West Lake Village. G.L. parents both run their own company together. She has one older brother and her family is mainly Italian but is completely Americanized.

Folklore: “The ingredients and instructions to cure a stomach ache for a baby or small child was taught to me by my mom. When a baby has an upset stomach, you boil water and when it reaches boiling temperature you mix in fresh mint in the water. You’re supposed to let it keep boiling for ten to fifteen minutes and then let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s cooled down, you put the mixture in a baby bottle and feed it to the baby and it’s supposed to settle the baby’s stomach.” G.L. learned this recipe from her mom when she decided to start babysitting when she was in middle school. Her mom wouldn’t necessarily call it a family recipe, but more of common, natural cure she learned from her small town growing up. G.L. said she’s only need to use the cure once when she was babysitting and said it actually worked.

Analysis: I’ve never heard of this cure before, but when I asked my mom she said she used the exact same process when she was taking care of me when I was a baby. I tried to find the origin of the cure, but it seems to widespread now to try and track down it original origin. G.L. mom claims that her family has known this little trick for many generations now so it could possibly be Italian.

Proverbs

Drinking Proverb

Informant: My informant, L.K., is 19 and was born in New York but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia from age 5 to 18. L.K. father is working for a tourist agency and part time water polo referee and his mom is a financial manager for a restaurant in Croatia. He has a younger brother and sister with his family being fully Croatian, but has integrated small values from his time in the United States.

Folklore: “Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker.” L.K. heard this rule for drinking when he came to the United States his senior year in high school from one of his friends. He told me that everyone from his high school lives by this rule in order to avoid a rough night of blacking out or throwing up. L.K. claims that this rule isn’t actually true and has never affected him anytime he has drunk, but has seemed to work for the people he went to high school with.

Analysis: I have heard this rule when I started drinking in high school from a friend, but I have to agree with L.K. in saying that I don’t actually believe it’s true. Unfortunately, I have had a fair share of nights where I have blacked out, but I have tried to use the rule and have never really worked for me. For me, I believe that the only reason you black out is due to how much alcohol you drink as whole rather in what order you drink it in.

general

Energy Drink Recipe

Informant: My informant, L.K., is 19 and was born in New York but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia from age 5 to 18. L.K. father is working for a tourist agency and part time water polo referee and his mom is a financial manager for a restaurant in Croatia. He has a younger brother and sister with his family being fully Croatian, but has integrated small values from his time in the United States.

Folklore: “The recipe for a homemade energy drink containing:

Spinach

Apple

Lemon juice

Half of a banana

Pineapple

Ginger

Parsley

Plant based powder (bought at local store in Croatia).”

When L.K. reached high school and was still playing water polo, he always seemed to be feeling more tired than when he was younger. School became a lot harder and he was forced to give more effort than he had in the past to try and keep his grades up. He told his dad his situation and told him about the family recipe that his parents had taught him for a homemade energy drink. Every morning he would make the exact same smoothie and he felt that like he was getting his energy back. He still uses the same recipe every day, but he now he has to substitute the plant based powder only found in Croatia with kale and spinach.

Analysis: I like hearing about healthier recipes like this because I do believe that recipes that are natural always seem to work better than ones put out by companies. The plant based powder is a Croatian product that is similar to a powder that is found in the United States but L.K. and his family still has the powder shipped from their town in Croatia. L.K. family is reluctant to change their family recipe and would rather spend the extra money that try something new.

Proverbs

Make it a great day

Informant: My informant, L.K., is 19 and was born in New York but raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia from age 5 to 18. L.K. father is working for a tourist agency and part time water polo referee and his mom is a financial manager for a restaurant in Croatia. He has a younger brother and sister with his family being fully Croatian, but has integrated small values from his time in the United States.

Folklore: “Make it a great day or not, the choice is yours!” L.K. heard this phrase every day from his principal in high school back in Croatia. The principal would finish the announcements over the school speakers every time with this phrase. L.K. came to hate the phrase after hearing it repeatedly every day, but does look back and understands the meaning behind the phrase.

Analysis: My mom would often find similar phrases like this and hand them up in our rooms. The message to be taken from the phrase is that people have a choice as to how they live every day. You can either choose to look at the negatives and consider that today is a bad day, or you can choose to look past the negatives and decide to make it a great day every day. Looking this phrase up online tells that its original origin is said to be linked to Buddha, but has apparently spread across the world. The phrase is being used worldwide for the exact purpose of a positive reminder in morning announcements in schools.

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