USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘grandpa’
Folk speech
Humor
Proverbs

What Happened to Dorothea

Over the past few years, I’ve heard snippets of this friend’s crazy grandpa. Many nights, we’d eat together and share stories of our nutty families, as we both share lineage with what many would call ‘eccentrics’. Self purportedly from a family comprised of 50% white trash and 50% religious explorers, he grew up around a variety of funny saying and stories.

The following was recorded during a group interview with 4 other of our friends in the common area of a 6-person USC Village apartment.

“You’d go, ‘Oh grandpa, blablablablabla’. And then he would kind of like – you know when you were a kid and you’d kind of like ramble a lot? So he would like loose track and then be like, ‘Well you know what happened to Dorothea don’t ya?’. And then you’d be like, ‘what?’. ‘She went to shit and the hogs ate her’. It wasn’t connected at all. It was basically like, ‘Oh, fuck off. I’m not listening.’”

I love this little proverb or parable or whatever it is, because it’s just so frickin’ unique and strange. At first, you think it’s going to be related to ‘the Wizard of Oz’ or at least somebody named Dorothea, but that’s just thrown out the window with a tragic image of graphic violence. And, to top it all off, it’s hilarious. The shear absurdity of it all perfectly captures the care-free nature of an older generation.

Customs
folk metaphor
folk simile
Folk speech
Humor
Proverbs
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Good Old Grandpa

Over the past few years, I’ve heard snippets of this friend’s crazy grandpa. Many nights, we’d eat together and share stories of our nutty families, as we both share lineage with what many would call ‘eccentrics’. Self purportedly from a family comprised of 50% white trash and 50% religious explorers, he grew up around a variety of funny saying and stories.

The following was recorded during a group interview with 4 other of our friends in the common area of a 6-person USC Village apartment.

“He had a lot of sayings for like the weather. ‘It’s colder than a witch’s tit’. Or, ‘it’s darker than a snake’s asshole.’ There were a lot of asshole things too. ‘Colder than a well-digger’s ass’. ‘I’d rather have acid poured down the crack of my ass than…’ ‘I’m so hungry I could eat the ass out of a dead gorilla’. ‘You talk like you have a paper hat’. ‘You talk like your ass is made of paper’. ‘Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which one fills up first’. ‘Tough titties said the kitty’. He said that one a lot. ‘As useless as tits on a hoe-handle’. ‘Nervous as a whore in church’. ‘Nervous as a pregnant nun’. If something doesn’t go over well, he’d be like, ‘oh, that went over like a turd in a punch bowl’. He also had a lot of superstitions or tics I guess. He’d always get wine with ice in it – my mom’s family is 100% pure white trash. And so, he would order wine with ice in it, and then he would get it, stir it with his pinky, then suck on his finger, and wipe it on the left side of his shirt. Every single time. He’d like dry it off with the corner of his shirt. So all of his shirts had little things sticking off from him pulling on it to dry off his fingers. He’d stir his wine like it was a mixed drink or something.”

These weird little sayings always crack me up. They range from somewhat clever and somewhat useful to totally nonsensical and just plain silly. I especially love the strange ritual my friend’s grandpa performs every time he drinks a glass of wine. He seemed to do things just for the hell of it. What a way to live.

general
Humor
Stereotypes/Blason Populaire

Dirty jokes

“My grandpa, gosh, use to love to tell dirty jokes. He would say,’Want to hear a dirty joke? A white horse fell in the mud. Want to hear a dirtier one? It fell in again!’

My brother and sister and I use to try to come up with other things that were white to fall in the mud. We didn’t understand the dirty joke part because we were too little.”

So about how old were you?

“Like elementary school age. Six or seven.”

So you and your siblings would try and make up your own versions?

“Mhm. But it was just amongst ourselves. It was more to try to make our grandpa laugh right after he would say his joke.”

This was a repeated thing?

“Ya. I think it kind of stopped though. We ran out of white things and then we also realized what a dirty joke really was. We kind of just grew out of it.”

 

Dirty jokes are a popular genre of humor, but this joke is particularly funny because it uses both meanings of the word “dirty.” In doing this my informants grandfather ensured the joke was funny for both himself and his audience: children.

Childhood
Musical
Old age

A Grandpa Song

The following is a song that the source’s Grandfather used to sing to her when she was a kid. She originally thought that he wrote the song just for her, but really he took the song “Daisy Bell” a very popular and famous American song, and substituted “Daisy” with the source’s name, Maisie. The clip below has the source first sing the original song, and then her Grandfather’s version.

Grandpa song

“He sang that song to me when I was little and he was, dandling? Is that the right word? Bouncing me on his knee”

 

The song really accomplishes two things. First, it helps the source’s Grandfather expose her to a song that he knows, and shares a piece of his generation with her. Also it created a special connection between Maisie and her Grandpa.

“He was my favorite Grandpa” she said.

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