USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis’
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.

 

Folk Beliefs
Foodways
Old age

It is considered rude to refuse seconds on a meal

The source’s Grandmother was from the old German sector of Indianapolis, he was careful to include that she lived on the same street as the Vonnegut family. He’s not sure if it’s a German or family practice, but his Grandmother had two beliefs when it came to food. One, that brownies and cake were acceptable breakfast foods, and two, that if you don’t take seconds on a meal, it’s a sign that you don’t like the food.

His Grandmother’s recipes were all old family recipes from Germany, and were for the most part, extremely unhealthy. In particular, he recalls that the family recipe for brownies is over 150 years old, and calls for four sticks of butter.

So his family couldn’t watch their weight, and eat meals with Grandma. If anyone refused seconds on a dish she made, she would be extremely offended. She would take it as a sign you didn’t care for her food, and then threaten to never make that particular dish again.

Needless to say, the source’s Grandmother ended up killing her family with love, his Grandfather suffered from adult onset diabetes, and the source himself is plagued by “body image issues” that follow him to this day.

 

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