Author Archive
Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine

Vick’s Vapor Rub Cold Remedy

One thing is you put Vick’s vapor rub on your socks and feet. It’s supposed to help clear up congestion. I heard about it when my daughter was a baby, because I couldn’t give her cold medicine. You’re supposed to put menthol on their feet with socks on, because you can’t put it on their chest.

I had not heard of this, but this sounds like folklore that would be shared more with new parents or babysitters.

Folk Beliefs
Folk medicine

Cinnamon and Honey Cold Remedy

Cinnamon and honey, eat it with a spoon and it’s supposed to sooth your throat and help you stop coughing. My niece was coughing all the way to school once, and I just gave her a dixie cup of honey and cinnamon and she stopped coughing. And it tastes really good too.

I’ve heard of this before, though I can’t recall where. I haven’t personally had much luck with it, but I can vouch for it tasting very good.

Customs

Train Letters

Train letters. Basically letters that you write to your friends. Historically it would be you write this letter, and then your friend or you lover on the train ride back—but on the ride back from camp. I wrote several for my cabin mates.

I had never heard of this practice before, but it seems cute and thoughtful. I like the historical tie-in, and how it no longer has anything to do with trains but it’s still called such.

Musical

Parody of Happy Birthday song

Happy birthday to me

I’m a hundred and three

I still go to pre-school

And miss my mommy.

My mommy’s at work

She thinks I’m a jerk

And I told the teacher

The dog ate my work

 

She heard it from multiple friends at school, during another classmate’s birthday party and after they sang the traditional Happy Birthday song. She likes it because she thought it was funny, and it was fun to try adding on new lines with her friends.

I have never heard of this song before, though I remember hearing lots of parodies and variations of the Happy Birthday song while growing up. It’s such a prominent song in kids’ lives, with the childhood importance of growing older, so it makes sense that new variations are still happening today.

Humor

Two Olives

So like, there’s two olives on the table. And one rolled off the table. And the other olive rolled closer to the table and said, “Are you okay?” and the other olive said, “Olive!” (pronounced like “I’ll live”).

She was told this joke by her dad, who she believes heard it told to him when he was younger.

This is a cute wordplay joke that I think I’ve heard before.

Musical

Barney Theme Song

I hate you

You hate me

Let’s go kill Barney

With a smack on the face

And a kick on the knee

Hee hee hee hee hee hee hee

 

She claimed to hear this from her friends at school. This song is just something that’s sung on the playground, for the purpose of humor.

Growing up I definitely heard a lot of variations of the Barney TV show theme song, and distinctly remember the words “I hate you, you hate me”. I don’t remember there being killing or violence, so the song seems a little more morbid than what I remember.

Musical

The Swinging Song

My cheeks are red

My mouth is singing

My heart is beating

And my brain is thinking

I like to swing, but that’s not all

My favorite thing is to sing this swinging song

 

This is a song that was heard on the playground at school, and is sometimes sung by the students while playing on the swings. She also sings it on her swingset at home. She likes it because it’s a fun song to sing.

I’ve never heard this song before, so it may have come about recently.

Legends

California Poppy

I was probably like six years old, and out in front of our house in Campbell, at the base of the light post by the sidewalk, there was a clump of poppies. I saw it, and I grabbed one to pull it up, and my friend Joe Bloom who was a little older than me, probably 8, said “you can’t pick those, it’s against the law and you’ll go to jail”. Clearly that moment stuck with me. From that moment with forward, and I probably shared it with everyone that I came into contact with. Fast forward to when my daughter is the same age, she heard the same thing from her friends.

This is something I definitely heard too when I was younger, from my friends while I was in elementary school. In reality however, the law is that you aren’t allowed to pick any flowers on state property, so it’s interesting that this legend has persisted.

Legends
Narrative

Bloody Mary

I was probably in fifth grade, and my friends were describing how you would go into the bathroom, and turning off the lights – and this was on the playground at my elementary school – that you’d close your eyes, turn around three times and say “Blood Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary,” and when you open your eyes you’re supposed to see Blood Mary in the mirror. And the lore was someone’s cousin did it, and Bloody Mary came out of the mirror and killed him. My brother had nightmares for years around that stuff, because he heard the same stuff.

I heard this growing up as well, around third grade from a friend. I remember it very distinctly as well, because it was so scary at the time. I never wanted to be in a bathroom with the lights off, fearing Bloody Mary would appear even if I didn’t do the ritual.

Legends
Narrative

Mirror Shoes

When I was at Campbell Junior High in the 70s, there was this teacher that had been infamous for wearing mirrors on shoes. His name was Mr. B. He was rumored to use them to look up girl’s skirts and got in trouble with the school district the previous year. When I became a seventh grader, I heard that rumor. I was four years ahead of my brother, and I had never mentioned it to him. Fast forward four years, one of the first things my brother came home and said was that Mr. B had gotten in trouble for wearing mirrors on his shoes last year—the same story I heard when I was in school. I remember laughing so much because I had heard the same thing years ago.

This is a really interesting legend, as it was not only the content that persisted, but the time frame of the event happening “last year” that persisted as well. The informant likes this because it’s a bit of folklore he shares with many people who went to the same school as him.

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