USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘group lore’
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Piggly Wiggly Day

Context

I asked the informant if he had participated in any folk group traditions — something shared by a select group of people connected through a specific shared culture or activity. In this case, the group was a marching band.

Main Piece

Alright so, I was in the drum and bugle corps, called the Madison Scouts, from… in 2015 and 2016. It’s, like, a summer thing so, like, you spend the… you pay like, three thousand dollars to tour the country with a marching band basically. And I did that for five summers, but anyways, in ’15 and ’16 I was in the Madison Scouts and they have a tradition where on the Fourth of July they go to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and instead of calling it like the Fourth of July or Independence Day or anything they call it Piggly Wiggly Day, because — and this is not, like, all Cedarburg, Wisconsin, this is just the Madison Scouts, like, the people in the Madison Scouts, we call it Piggly Wiggly Day because one of the former members of the Madison Scouts now owns a Piggly Wiggly grocery score in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and he caters, like, our food for an entire day from his grocery store and its like, we get kind of, like, fed, like, shit, throughout most of the summer so like, Fourth of July comes and we get like, catered shit and… it’s Piggly Wiggly Day and it’s a great time. Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Notes

This piece reflects the diversity of the adolescent experience in America. Having grown up in southern California, I had never been to, nor heard of, the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain, while in Cedarburg Wisconsin, it held great significance for my informant and his fellow Madison Scouts. This tradition also shows the ways faceless brands and corporations often become a cherished part of people’s cultural fabric; a grocery chain feast can even replace a national holiday like Independence Day when imbued with meaning and reverence by a group of young Scouts. Piggly Wiggly Day can thus be seen as a prime example of reception theory.

Folk speech
general

Coop Foot

Coop foot is what happens when you live in a house with twenty-two people, three cats, three chickens, and occasionally a dog that we bring home. And you never fucking wear shoes and you walk in the dirt and walk around outside and you jump on the trampoline and then your feet are just black – blacker than the lungs of the people who sit on the porch all the time smoking cigarettes. And you track that shit everywhere and the floor never gets cleaned, so it just builds and builds and builds and it’s beautiful.

 

Coop Foot, also know as Co-op Foot, is a term my informant told me is used by the people who live in her house; she learned it from multiple people, not just one. She told me about this term on her front porch while she at the time had ‘a mild case of coop foot.’ It falls under a collective running joke among the house members concerning how filthy their house is. If someone takes a shower and then walks around downstairs for even just ten minutes, she says their feet get impossibly dirty. However, she used the term affectionately and had a poetic description for it. It sounded as though she had a sense of pride about it, probably because it’s something she and her housemates have bonded over.

Legends
Narrative

How Free Speech Was Saved

This is pre-co-op early days. The year was 2006, so it was one year before the house was created. This was when certain people who were influential to the house lived at what was called the Phi Omega Tau house, or the green house, and so did Strawberry and Wave, who named the Technicolor Tree Tribe from a brain wave she had. (laughs) They lived at the Phi Omega Tau house and they had participated in a free speech zone protest because USC made up this thing, like, a couple years ago where we only had a free speech zone from 12 to 2pm at Tommy Trojan. So they had made this sign and painted it and stuff. After the protest they took it back to their porch and hung it up on their porch and it’s a really nice porch and that they were hanging out on. And so, they were just hanging out on the porch one day and this girl comes by and starts talking shit and she sort of identified herself as a USC college republican and she had a lighter and like tried to set the banner attached to their porch on fire. So, they like brought out a hose and Strawberry was apparently in the background yelling, “if you’re gonna bring fire, we’re gonna bring water!” And they basically sprayed this girl and her dog with a hose and then she came – well, they don’t if she came back – but someone came to the house that night and set the banner on fire and the smoke alarms went off and like they got up and luckily woke up and sprayed the thing out, but there were burn marks all over the porch. Yeah. So they pretty much knew it was this girl, but they couldn’t like call the cops or anything, because apparently like you don’t really invite the cops over to something called the Phi Omega Tau House…because if you know what those Greek symbols mean (laughs) Phi Omega Tau kind of spells out ‘pot.’ That’s Strawberry’s story. I think the girl knew about the protest during the day and like was against that or just this house.

 

After finishing the tale, my informant went on to say that free speech was ironically practiced by the girl who had thought that the people at Phi Omega Tau shouldn’t have expressed what they believed. This situation is an example of the tension, division, and struggle between people who believe in different ideals and how students opposed to certain USC policies also collide with other students.

Narrative

Gloria I

You can talk to G about this, and M.I. and M. So, first or second year of the co-op, so like 2007, 2008, N lived at the co-op and we were at the old house on orchard street back then. And um, there were a lot…well, there were a lot of people sleeping with each other in the house. (laughs) Not like that’s strange or anything, but umm, there was constantly this joke about how given that so many people are sleeping with each other in the house, why don’t we just have an orgy? Since that’s an experience we all seem to want to have. And N coined the name ‘Gloria’ as like the name of the orgy. So in her mind she was thinking like we’re gonna have this orgy and it’s gonna be epic and all these people from the house are gonna be in it and it’s gonna go down in history and we’re going to call it Gloria. So that was like 2008. Now it’s 2012. And there have been two…people refer to them as Gloria I and Gloria II. Neither of them were like what people think of when they think of an orgy- a sexual orgy. Yeah, I wasn’t really part of Gloria II, but Gloria I is alternatively called The Acid Orgy. Um, and yeah, that was the one where like 15 to 20 people ate acid and we ended up in that one room just like lying on top of each other listening to Air… for like twenty hours. We weren’t actually in that room for twenty hours, but we all tripped for a really long time. But yeah, it’s interesting the way people use the word orgy, because usually you think of orgy as like four plus people having sex. And I think what we realized that night – cause we realized it was Gloria I, at the time it was just Gloria – that night, and called it that that night. We realized that instead of four plus people having sex and bonding in a sexual way, it was a whole bunch of people bonding in the way that people bond with each other when they feel comfortable tripping on acid together, which is like it’s own little bonding thing. So that’s why we called it Gloria. (laughs) But yeah, you should ask G about it too.

 

This is a piece of group lore that the members of that group reflect on fondly and I’ve heard variations on the story from numerous people who have told it to people outside of the group. Without intending to, the experience redefined a term that usually has taboo connotations that make people uncomfortable. Instead, it was a deep bonding experience within a community. Also, I shortened names to the first letter or first two letters for the sake of privacy.

 

general
Narrative
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Gloria III

It began when we had our party I really don’t remember the beginning – it was the Genderfuck party, yeah –  because I was on this thing called DOC. And I was tripping and kind of like in my own little world. I do know that around 2am, people started taking off their clothes and were showing their boobies everywhere and they were just dancing and I was like, “What!? What’s going on, this is amazing.”

So we kicked everyone out and we all went to the back yard and we were lying on this really old twin mattress and I don’t know how people fit, but like you had like 18 people up in there and I was like uh-uh, I am not getting up in all of that. And so from there, the bonfire was really nice, then we went to Rachel’s room and there it was kind of like…I don’t know…we were all kind of like on top of each other and I was still kinda tripping, so I was just like, “everybody just touch hands!”(laughs). And we were all touching hands and then like I would make jokes like, you know let’s play a game called who’s in my mouth. (laughs) So then like, we were all touching each other and we took it to my room and then we were on G’s bed and S came in with ice cream and we started passing the ice cream to each other via mouth, and then I took off my pants and I was in my Andrew Christian underwear and you know how that makes my package look – humongous! And so then we decided to watch a video and then me and G got on the couch on the two couches or whatever and were dancing naked – oh no, we weren’t naked, we had underwear.

And R was like, “we should all take a shower,” and nobody said anything, so I was like, “yeah, let’s do it.” And so then like, nobody moved, so I got up and people started finally moving, at least that’s how I remember it. And so then we decided to go take a shower up in the cave bathroom, which is huge. And we put on Lady Gaga, The Fame album, and we all just took a shower with each other – I kept my underwear on, mostly because I was like, “I’m tripping, I don’t know what could happen, if I drop the soap, I’ll be like, ‘oops.’” (laughs) – You know what I’m saying? It was great times. That’s a pretty quick run-through for Gloria III.

 

At this point, ‘Gloria’ is a tradition, or at least a practice within this group. I heard variations on this story as well. My informant as well as others, described the requirements for ‘Gloria’ to basically be some kind of group bonding where people felt comfortable with their bodies and the bodies of others and comfortable with sharing space. Basically, it was intimate, but not necessarily sexual. ‘Gloria’ was also supposed to be fun. Also, they tended to define events as ‘Glorias’ after the fact, not during. These events explore human intimacy, for which we all yearn deeply, but fear at the same time, namely because we are afraid of how others may perceive us, we feel uncomfortable with ourselves, and we feel vulnerable when we share too much. As non-serious as this event was, it is an example of a group of people beginning to overcoming hesitation, fear of intimacy, etc.

 

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