USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Family Legend’
Legends
Narrative

Haunted House

Informant (A.G.) is an 18 year old student from Los Angeles.

A.G.: “My mom is really religious and my grandma is really religious. I was raised Catholic and I used to go to church and stuff”

While his “dad is Italian” and his “mom is Colombian,” they “both grew up in Columbia” to come here when they were “18 or 19.” Alex’s mom is a “stay at home mom,” and his dad does “construction” and owns some local “properties.” We grew up in the same area of Los Angeles, and started to hang out in high school. He was telling some ghost stories at a party one weekend, so I set up an interview for the following Saturday afternoon. I picked him up and brought him to our mutual friend’s house to conduct the collection.

A.G.: “In my apartment building, we used to live in one of the back apartment units.”

While the family still owns the apartment building, A.G. has since upgraded to a nearby house.

A.G.: “At the dinner table… my brother and sister used to talk about stuff that would happen to them because our house was super creepy.”

Here “our house” refers to the family’s apartment building.

A.G.: “The roofing in the house used to be really fucked up and you could see through the roof to the wooden beams. My sister and brother said that every night there were these two green dots up there looking down into the bunk bed. My sister said that one night it just wasn’t there anymore. They said it looked like eyes or something.”

By only sharing their unpleasant supernatural experiences attached to the old building after moving out, A.G.’s siblings expressed relief in the move to the family. As A.G.’s siblings’ description of the unidentified eyes don’t doesn’t mention them belonging to any particular entity, I inferred that the building itself was responsible. Further, A.G.’s description of the building suggests it was not an ideal environment to grow up. I interpret A.G.’s siblings’ scary story as expression of both happiness for having moved, and fear for the condition of the apartment building.

Customs
general
Legends
Narrative

Abuela Blanca

The informant’s family originated in Cuba. Her mother was born and raised in Cuba but her father was born and raised in America. Her Cuban culture and background comes from her mother’s side and folklore that her mom picked up over the years and shared with her. The folklore from this informant comes from family stories that are shared amongst the family as lessons or as advice. 

Magic Abuela Blanca

Informant…

“It is a wide spread belief through santeras (witch doctor) is that if you were to catch lice that it was most likely from a dead person. Having lice from a dead person meant that you would carry that dead person’s spirit with you or you were possessed by them leading so you would be shunned from your family and society. My great great great grandma Abuela Blanca was a saint in her community. She was an amazing woman who taught at an elementary school in the country side. For a few days in a row one student, a young girl, wasn’t showing up to school and Abuela Blanca was concerned. She went to the young girl’s house and asked the parents why she hadn’t been to class and they proceeded to tell her what happened. The young girl caught lice from a dead person and the family was in the process of pushing her out of the home so she would be shunned from society. Abuela Blanca cared for the girl and didn’t accept the situation. Being the saint she was Abuela Blanca took the girl home, cleaned her hair and got rid of all the lice and sent her home. From that point on Abuela Blanca was talked about in the community as being a miracle worker or being able to perform magic.”

Analysis…

When I thought about folklore before, I didn’t realize that folklore could be held within and amongst family members. The specific informant gave me folklore that isn’t necessarily known widely by lots of people but rather held in her family and it is significant to her and important to the family because it actually means something to them. It is a story that tells them about their ancestor and the way that she lived her life.

Abuela Blanca sounds like an incredible woman. The way that she saw other people and was caring in her community really is an expression of her character. The informant expressed to me that she was amazing and I could tell by the way she spoke about her. Having a figure like her to look up to and try to live like is probably beneficial in a family. If they all look up to the same person and base their life after the same person there are probably a lot of similarities within the family.

 

general
Narrative

Namesake: The Londoner

So my name is Bailey London, and I come from a family that has been multi-generational Angelenos. I’ve lived in LA for a long time, and my great-great-grandfather was born in Latvia and was in the trade industry, and he did a lot of business in the city of London. And they – his friends in Latvia had nicknamed him “The Londoner” because he was going back and forth so much, and he decided to move his family to the United States and they took a little stop in New York, and then made their way out to Los Angeles to start little Jewish businesses that were very typical. And he raised two sons in Los Angeles. Samuel, who’s my great-grandfather, and Milton, who’s my great-uncle. And Milton – Zevudnik – decided that he wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor in Los Angeles. And Milton Zevudnik applied for admission to the University of Southern California. And at the time there were quotas – how many Jewish students were accepted every year. And Milton Zevudnik was not accepted. To the USC. So he came home and he was really upset, and he thought, “Y’know, I’m really qualified. I know I’m more qualified than other people who got in to school.” And he decided that everyone had always called his father “The Londoner” and he was going to go to city hall and change his name to Milton London. So he went to city hall, changed his name to Milton London, and then he was a little bit concerned that the university would do some snooping into the rest of the family. And he convinced his brother to change his last name to Samuel London. And so everyone became the Londons instead of the Zevudniks. And Milton applied to med school at USC as Milton London and got in. And became a very successful doctor and was really instrumental in the formation of Cedar Sinai Medical Center and he had his academic success and growth at USC, which originally did not want him to come to school here based on the fact that he was Jewish. And I love that many people in my family have now gone to school and graduated from USC, myself included, and now I find my career at USC. and I’m very appreciative that my name is Bailey LONDON, and not Bailey Zevudnik, although I do keep this story very dear to my heart. I really connect to this story because I think it shows a lot about the community in Los Angeles and the community at USC, and the way a family that didn’t get into school here is now a part of the professional team.

Who told you this story?

It’s been passed down – for YEARS I heard about how, “Don’t go to USC. They didn’t let Uncle Milty in” and that my grandfather – so, the son of Sam is my grandfather – isn’t that a movie? – so he’s my grandfather – he went to UCLA. So even more reason that they didn’t want me to go to USC, but my grandmother on the other side went to USC. And when I got in it was a big deal –  “YOU KNOW, THEY DIDN’T LET MILTY IN at first” and it was a big thing in our family. I always knew this story – and I actually told this story at my job interview because another thing about my name is people always assume I’m not Jewish. Because Bailey London does not sound very Jewish. Which I hate when people say. And they asked me in my interview – which I actually thought was inappropriate – and I told this story. And I made a joke that they owed me the job now. Because of what they did to my family. Clearly it worked.

I have heard many stories among Jewish families about how their name came to be the way it is – I’m accustomed to Ellis Island/arrival stories, since there’s one like it in my family. It is not uncommon for Jewish immigrants to have had their names changed to “sound less Jewish.”

general
Legends
Material

Anderson Family Legend

Context:

My parents and I were lounging around in our rental house over Spring Break, and we got to talking about family. My father is from somewhat rural Kentucky, and has told a few stories about his family to me before. So I asked my father if he knew of any family legends, and my mother, overhearing the question, suggested to my father, who was trying and failing to come up with something, to talk about the family silver.

 

Interview:

Me: Do you know of any family legends or anything like that?

Informant: Family legends…family legends…

Mother [in background to informant]: The silver. Your silver.

Informant: Ah. I’ve got a family legend for you. Yes. You know the silver we have at home? For when we have company?

Me: Uh…vaguely?

Informant: Okay. You know that the initial that is on it is an H, not an A?

Me: Okay…To be honest, I’ve never noticed an initial on it before.

Informant: Well there is an initial on it, because part of the custom for having stuff like this is to have a family crest or family initial on it. And the initial on this one is H, because this came from my Uncle Charlie. Charlie Hatfield.

Me: Okay. As in Hatfield and McCoy?

Informant: Yes. As in Hatfield and McCoy. And the story is that…um…let’s see…where did I get this silver from? Ah, yes, I got this silver from my grandmother, my mother’s mother, whose husband, my mother’s father, was first cousin to somebody named Nelia who was married to someone named Charlie Hatfield. Kay? This would have been back in the late 19th century. And I think Charlie Hatfield was a successful merchant. So cousin Nelia…

Me: And how do you spell that?

Informant: N-E-L-I-A. Probably from Cornelia. Her name was probably Cornelia. Acquired this silver that is inscribed with an H, as in Hatfield. And part of the story is that in Kentucky, everybody is related to either the Hatfields or the McCoys in some way. So we are apparently related to the Hatfields in some way. How I don’t know. Kay? And it may be no more than just the coincidence of the name. But in Kentucky, this would be the story of how we’re related to the Hatfields. So cousin Charlie, which is what my grandmother called him, because he was the cousin by marriage of my grandfather. Write this down.

Me: Yeah.

Informant: Cousin by marriage of my grandfather may have been related to the Hatfields. And that’s the story of the family silver.

Me: And what is the story of the Hatfields and the McCoys?

Informant: It’s a kind of Romeo and Juliet story. The Hatfields and the McCoys were two families from Eastern Kentucky in the mountains where people are very family proud and they had some kind of enmity between them. But a boy from one family and a girl from the other family either ran off or got it together in some way. Or he may have abducted her, I don’t know. But this started a feud, a shooting feud.

Me: Oh.

Informant: Kay? And so lots of people got killed in the conflict between the Hatfields and the McCoys. But Kenucky is not a very big state, so it is possible that Uncle Charlie was somehow related to the Hatfields of Eastern Kentucky although Uncle Charlie was in Western Kentucky. But most of the people in Western Kentucky came from one of two places. One is people with English names like mine came from Virginia. They came from across the mountains mostly after the Revolutionary War to steal land from the Indians, because part of what the Revolutionary War was about was opening up the West, as the British prevented the colonies from expanding Westward. So the Andersons came that way. Basically through West Virginia, the Cumberland Gap, through Tennessee . Kay? And into Western Kentucky. So it is entirely possible that someone named Hatfield from Western Kentucky could be related to someone named Hatfield in Eastern Kentucky because these are English names. How’s that for a family legend?

Me: That’s good. Thanks, Dad.

 

Analysis:

This family legend is, like all family legends, about both people and stuff. The people are Charlie Hatfield and Nelia. The stuff is the family silver that my father inherited from his grandparents. The Hatfields and the McCoys are famous names in Kentucky, and everyone in Kentucky is said to be related to either the Hatfields or to the McCoys. Whether Charlie Hatfield was truly related to the Hatfields of Eastern Kentucky or not is unknown, but he shared the name, so it is possible. Thus, this legend may or may not be true, and my father and I will probably never know if “Uncle Charlie” was a relative of the famous Hatfields, but the possibility of this being true is what makes this legend compelling. As it stands, I am set to inherit this silver, and I will certainly want to keep its history alive and tell my kids, when I have them someday, this legend. It is a compelling story, and connects my family to one of the most well-known names in my father’s home state.

 

Childhood
Festival
general
Narrative
Tales /märchen

The Girl in the Attic

Context: It was Halloween night at USC’s New Residence Hall, the perfect time and place to tell a ghost story. When I first asked my friend [the Informant], if he would be willing to share one of his numerous family ghost stories he was hesitant. After much coaxing, the Informant finally decided to open up and share with me a part of his haunted heritage. I quickly grabbed my camera and sat him down in a chair, as a small group of friends gathered around to listen in on the story. This was Halloween, and of course who could resist hearing a good ghost story? What follows is the story as it was presented to me:

Interview Verbatim:

Informant: “Okay, so this is not my ghost story, this is my family’s ghost story… uh I heard it from my dad, who heard it from his mother… uh, it has been passed down for a couple of generations. So, I guess that makes this my story as well. But my dad’s great Uncle John, okay so he bought this house on the kind of like wrong side of town, well back in that time it was still the good side of town, but you know how cities develop, now it’s in the bad part of town… uh this is Kansas City Missouri by the way. So he bought this house on the wrong side of town but, the nice side of town then…I’m sorry if I’m being confusing.”

Me: “It’s alright, continue. I get you.”

Informant: ”So it’s an old house… and uh, he moves in with his family and all of a sudden he starts complaining about like weird experiences there, but no one believes him because he kind of had a reputation for being crazy… uh, in fact… uh when his mother was dying in the hospital, because of some argument he had had, he refused to see her and she died before he could get there… uh to visit her and I don’t think he had any intention of visiting her… uh so she died and… uh a couple of weeks after she died, Uncle John started claiming that he had been visited by her spirit, and that she was tormenting him for uh… never saying goodbye uh… but he was crazy. The family actually had him committed and no one really thought much of it or of the house that he had purchased. And had complaints about occurrences inside of it…uh a family tradition of mine is that usually the house uh my family has this tradition of moving into other relatives homes once they are gone. So… uh, Uncle John’s son who was also named John, John II. My family also has a habit of passing on names along with houses, but now I’m going off topic, but uh…So John II moves into his dad’s home, after his dad’s been committed, and one day, this is a couple of weeks after they have moved in, uh he’s throwing a birthday party for his little girl…and…all the kids are up in the attic playing, and they all come down for cake and ice cream. And there’s this one kid in the group who’s really freaked out, and no one knows why, and so John (II) asks the kid, ‘Hey what’s up’ and the kids like, ‘Where’s that other kid?’ like there is someone missing from the party. And John II says, ‘No there isn’t’. So they do a head count of all the kids and they aren’t missing anyone, but this kid swears to God that there is another kid who is missing. And they ask this kid, ‘What did this other kid look like?’ and he explains that it was a little girl with ghostly pale skin…and since that…uh, John (II) and his family kept seeing this little girl in their house from time to time amongst other weird ghostly visitations. It was never malevolent in any way. It never did anything bad, it was just kind of there…so…”

Me: “I understand. Okay. Now when did this happen? Were you alive at this point in time?”

Informant: “No, this was far before I was born.”

Me: “So this pre-dates you?”

Informant: “Yeah, this pre-dates my dad. Because my home, the house that I live in which is also a relative’s home…that was built in the 1950s, and that was my dad’s other great uncle’s house…so I assume this happen around the 40s.”

Me: “Alright. Have you ever been to the house personally?”

Informant: “No, I’ve never. It passed out of family hands.”

Me: “Okay, I see. So it’s someone else’s problem now. Any ideas as to what you think it was?”

Informant: “My family is Irish Catholic, so… we were always kind of a superstitious bunch. And I would personally like to believe in the ghost story…uh…my family kind of treats it with this weird pride, so they can say, ‘We once owned a haunted house!’, so yeah…  

Analysis: This story, as it was presented to me, appears to have more validity then a typical FOAF (friend of a friend) story due mainly to the fact that this is a supposedly true story that continues to be passed down from generation to generation. The thing that really convinced me of this story’s potential credibility was, perhaps, not so much the story itself, but the way it was presented to me in context. While the Informant told us his story, he seemed distanced and quiet, very different from his typically energetic attitude. Whether he was simply setting the tone for his story or he was just expressing a deep amount of reverence towards his family’s home remains to be unknown. While I have heard this same type of story before, the playful child ghost appears to be a popular motif present throughout ghost belief, this should not be used to discredit the story in any way. In my opinion, the story is probably just a family tradition that continues to be told from person to person.

general
Legends
Narrative

The Legend of How a Family Came To America

Item:

“My great grandfather, or so the legend goes, was an apprentice in a barbershop in the Ottoman empire in this town of Gaziantep, and um one day um the chief barber was out um and so my great grandfather was just sweeping up, just engaging in sort of barberly, apprentice activities, and some official of the sultan came in for a shave, and my great grandfather really wasn’t prepared to engage in the art of shaving with a straight razor because it’s quite arduous, um, you need to be trained to do it or else it can be quite ugly, um but seeing it was an opportunity to win favor, you know, with the sultan, and it’s interesting to note that although Jews were not the majority religion they still favored the rule of the sultan, who had invited the Spanish-Jewish refugees to come live in the ottoman empire and treated them quite well, they favored him to the secular young Turks who for Jews to serve in the army, and the Jews who were an observant people and had their religious beliefs and observed dietary laws and what not didn’t want to eat food that wouldn’t have been kosher and to not observe their holidays and secularize, they wanted to have their own educational system and what not, so they were more on the side of the sultan than they were on the side of the secularizers. So as a result I think he saw this probably as a way to win some of the favor of the sultan, give him a good shave or whatever, so he, the apprentice goes and gives this guy a shave, um… you know what happens next (claps hands)…you know like blood dripping down from a terrible botched shave and this guy, this official in the ottoman government, like, like threatens to like kill him, like run him out of the country. So what the next thing that happens, according to family legend, is that he runs away…to America, and that’s how we got here.”

Context:

This is a story that the informant, a 19-year-old USC student born and raised in Los Angeles, has been told “many times over” by his family. He is not sure about the “actual, factual element of it,” though he claims it “has been passed off as something that actually happened.” He says that it “has been told so many times” that it has become a part of his family’s legacy. “It can’t be true,” he says, “or could it?”

Analysis:

That the informant says that the story “can’t be true” and then immediately returns with “or could it?” coupled with its real-life setting indicates that it is a legend. That said, that the story has been passed down and told so frequently points to its important position within the informant’s family history. Whether or not it is true is irrelevant; what matters is that a prominent event in a family’s history, its moving to America after being rooted in the same place for hundreds of years, is remembered as an extraordinary event.

 

 

Legends
Narrative

Elsie the Cow

Item:

“During the Anglo Boer war my great grandmother (Dirkie Joubert) was a young married woman living on a typical farm of the time;  in the old Transvaal province of South Africa. It was the year 1900. The Anglo Boer war that started in 1899 had been continuing for a couple of years. This was the war between the British and the Afrikaners rebellion against British rule.

The men have all gone to fight on the battle field, leaving the woman and children behind, alone on the farms. As the woman continued with keeping the farms going they could supply the Afrikaner fighters with fresh supplies whenever they were in the area.

The British soon discovered this source of supply and started burning the farms, removing the supplies for self-use including the live stock.

My  great grandmother had a cow called Elsie. She was a very clever cow and very quickly caught on to what was happening. She became so smart that whenever she saw the dust from the approaching British troops she would run and hide and wait until they were gone to re-appear and help keep my family alive.”

Context:

The three items of folklore I collected from this informant were the only three out of all the items in my collection that were not a result of face to face interaction. The text above was sent to me, from the informant, via email. I also corresponded with the informant over the phone to receive the context behind her stories. That said, the informant’s  great grandmother lived until she was 94. The informant, who lived most of her life in South Africa (she moved to Dallas, Texas with her family in the 90’s), used to go her house after school. The informant had a very special bond with hear great great grandmother, and used to hear this story from her all of the time. Her  great grandmother had five children, and during the course of this war, she and four of her children were taken from their farm and put into a concentration camp. The oldest son went off to fight in the war. In the concentration camp, her four children died. It was not until she was older that the informant learned of this terrible reality; her great grandmother would never talk of the concentration camp.

Analysis:

That the informant’s  great grandmother would tell the story of Elsie the cow and not any of the darker stories of what happened during the war, show that it was a happy story for her. The story is a light anecdote that occurred during a very dark time, and whether or not it actually happened, it most likely helped her get through some very tough years after her traumatic experience in the concentration camp. The informant told the same story to her own kids when they were young, ensuring that this positive story from their family’s history would be passed down.

Festival
Game
Initiations
Rituals, festivals, holidays

German Pickle Tradition

Every Christmas, my informant’s family will hide a pickle ornament in the tree and whoever can find it first gets a jar of pickles as a prize.  She said that this is how they also initiate people into the family.  She remembered when her brother-in-law first came to the house for Christmas and he was very confused and thought that it was weird.  She says people always get this look on their face when they walk in the door and are told “Ok, now find the Pickle!”

While typically this tradition is for children on Christmas morning, my informant’s family has changed this to a family tradition that helps the test people who are new to the family such as a potential spouse.  The emphasis for this traction is on family ties and having a game that includes everyone, even the new comers.  It’s an initiation ceremony.

general
Legends
Narrative

A Grandmother’s Genocide and Post-Genocide Family Narrative

Informant “When they went to the, what do you call it, desert, to walk. And one night before, they were having dinner, having good time, everyone laughing. They heard a knock on the door. (hits glass with spoon) and they come in these soldiers, they said men of the family, if you have one son, two sons, three sons, we want to take them. So father and the son, they took them.”

Other guest “Where’s Eintop?”

Informant “Uhm, Western side of Turkey. Do you want me to continue? It’s a sad, very sad story.”

Me “Only if you don’t mind telling me.”

Informant “So the father and the brother were gone, and they heard that they shot them and they killed them on the way. That’s what they do, they take them and they shoot them. From the beginning I didn’t want to tell my children these things, because they were young and they would be scared, you know. So that’s why I didn’t tell them anything. But then they needed to learn what happened to this family. On the way, they were walking for miles and miles and miles, and the mother got sick. And that’s it, she died. Without Turkish soldiers, she died. And then, they started, the two sisters started walking again, and the soldiers come and otherwise they’ll start killing them if they don’t do it.

They saw a building over there. (she points to the distance). One sister says “Look, there is a young woman with a baby.” Both sisters they go, and they ask to this young lady, Turkish woman. One asks, my sister is only nine years old, but if you need any help, anything, but she’ll take care of your baby if you give her glass of water and some bread.

The woman said okay, she loved it, the idea. But that’s not the point.

But it started different way. A sheik came, he wanted to get married with two sisters. He wanted to have them as his wives. So the sisters, they were very intelligent thinking, and they knew it was time. And when they did it, Yepraxy was saved. With this Turkish woman, nobody would take her.

After that, before Sheik came, they hand in hand, two sisters, threw themselves in the Euphrate river rather than get married with Muslim man. Then young woman, who knows what happened to her, she sends letters to things to Sheik in Iraq. I have this beautiful young girl, and she is orphan, and I would like to sell her to you. He said okay. So he came, who knows how much he paid, and he took my mother. He loved my mother. Because she had long blond hair and blue eyes. Because of course, he was Muslim, darker people, he loved that.

A few years later, in the meantime, my mother says, I loved that man. He would bring me fruits and things. I didn’t know my real father, but he became my real father to me. And she cried when the English came, looking for orphans to go to the orphanage. And she said, I don’t want to go, I don’t want to leave my father. He was good to my mother. My mother told another orphan in that house, a boy, that she didn’t want to go, she didn’t want to be hungry again (in a sad child voice). Then this boy said, if you don’t go, you know what will happen? You will get married with a muslim man, and I will kill you if you don’t go. You have to keep your religion. He was older than my mother. She would cry every April 24th, the day that happened.

So the English soldiers came, when she was nine. She said, I was okay, because they were good to me, the mother of the orphanage.

In the meantime, my father was Turkish soldier. That’s why he was survived, because he was a Turkish soldier. He wasn’t muslim. They kept him because he took care of their horses. There was no one to take care their horses besides my father. Anyway, he ran away, from wherever he was working from the soldiers. He wanted to find his parents – his parents, all of them were gone, all of them killed. Then the mother of the orphanage, told him, Avedis, because he would clean the orphanage because he loved the orphanage and cleaning the place. The mother told him, you should get married. And he said, how should I get married? I have nobody, all of my family is gone. And the mother told him, you have us. There is a beautiful young girl – this girl is from your country, your village wherever they come from in Eintop – why don’t you come and take a look at her, she is gorgeous! So they got married, and the same day, my father comes home, and my mother is jumping rope with the other girls, and from the distance, he said oh my god, what a beautiful hair, it is blond and so long. And when he comes closer, he said it’s his wife. She was only fourteen years old – he was twenty-five. Well, it wasn’t completely normal because my father was in love with my mother’s sister. He didn’t know. You know how it happened? He got married, and my mother told him, I miss my mother, I miss my sister. And he asked her, what family do you come from, in Eintop, what is the family’s name? Debrohosian. And he said, did you have a sister? No sorry, two sisters? Did you have two sisters? And she said, yeah, I had two sisters. And can you imagine? He wanted to get married with her sister, my grandmother said go find somewhere else to find your wife, you are uneducated, go find somewhere else.  Because my family came from highly educated people. And how many of them were priests, and doctors, and highly educated from Eintop. No other city had college but Eintop. And then he was happier ever, he would always tell me that she’s an angel.”

My informant, a grandmother, is from Detroit, from Jerusalem, of Armenian descent. Both her parents survived the Armenian Genocide, and their survivals have transformed into family narratives that she likes to share at family gatherings, when the time is right to share them. She doesn’t share them often, but rather on rare occasions when the topic comes up.

It is interesting to note the emphasis on religion in this survival account that has become family folklore. Rather than simply a story of survival, it is laced with the notion of being faithful to one’s religion. Two sisters drowned themselves in the Euphrates River rather than being married to a Muslim man. A boy threatened to kill the informant’s mother had she stayed with the Sheik due to his religion. Considering the context of Armenians of the diaspora, which my informant and her mother were a part, the emphasis on staying faithful to religion at extreme measures makes more sense. Retaining Armenian identity focuses on two things: language and religion. Geographic location does not make so much a difference to identity in this context because Armenians went just about everywhere following the genocide. In analyzing my informant’s story from the perspective of who originally told it to her, her mother, it is telling her daughter that in order to retain your ethnic identity, you must keep your religion strong. Even if the genocide of Armenians wasn’t a religious one, it would spark religious intensity on both sides because for those who witnessed on either side, it could have been seen as Orthodox Christians versus Muslims.

 

Childhood
Legends
Narrative
Old age

A Slice of Pie from John Dillinger

“My grandmother, when she was a little girl living in, uh, this really small town Geneva, Indiana. Her parents were farmers. Um, her and her brother were in the soda shop there, the town soda shop, and uh, John Dillinger and a couple of his, uh, running mates, as you can probably see in, the, you know, Public Enemy movie, uh. And they walked in and, and, uh, they. I don’t know if they robbed the place, but they certainly bought her and her brother a slice of pie and a milkshake. To share. And, um. Also-alls that she could say about him was that he was a very nice gentleman, that carried himself, very nicely. And, um, yes.”

Audio Clip

I asked him who normally tells the story.

“My Grandmother”

When does she tell it? In front of the whole family?

“OH, no it’s more of the, thing that- she’ll- you know, it’s- when- (sigh). When she’ll take like a grandchild aside, or like a great-grandchild aside, just to seem, like, and now I bestow upon you this, bit of my life, that you might not know. We- we don’t tell a lot of stories at like, big family dinners, and stuff like that”

Does it come with a moral?

“Oh God no. No no no. No not at all. Uh i-i-it mainly started coming about when John Dillinger became a hot topic again because of the movie. Primarily”

 

There’s no real way to find out if this family legend is true or not, but it’s extremely plausible. For one, the source’s grandmother is giving a first hand account, not relating a story told by someone else. Also, this story reflects much folklore about John Dillinger, who is generally painted as a gentleman, and sort of Robin Hood figure in Indianapolis.

For more info on the American Bank Robber John Dillinger, click here.

 

[geolocation]