USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Vermont’
Legends

Champ: Vermont’s Loch Ness Monster

This story was told during a moment between friends when talking about stories and weird traditions from our hometowns:

“Okay um, so Champ. Champ is a seas monster that lives in lake champlain which is where i grew up. We, it’s like, explained as the Loch Ness Monster but in Lake Champlain, um, and it just kinda like, i think the folklore around it, it’s like, it’s not like a fun thing that we joke about, everyone is pretty sure that it’s real, like, we’re all trying to prove it. Like there’s this little Vermont boathouse that’s run by this French-Canadian family where you can get penny candy, you can rent boats for five dollars an hour, it’s like everything’s so cheap, a land lost in time. Um, his sister, who’s like the face of the operation now, um has the store and was interviewed by the news because she saw it come up on the land. And why would she lie? She’s the most trust-worthy person in all of burlington. Um, so like that’s kinda it, we’re all trying to prove that theres a seamster in the lake. Because it’s the deepest fresh-water lake in the continental US. I think in the US. It’s just so deep, not that big, but so deep. There’s gotta be something down there, it could survive. Um, it’s kinda one of those things that I don’t remember hearing about for the time, because it’s so engrained in the culture, especially in burlington which is the main tourist town around the lake and so much of the imagery around the waterfront is Champ related, um, but I can remember, like i don’t remember if this is, the most memory that I can think of is that there’s a fun little statue of champ, like very cartoony, in front of this like, like, club, but a place you’d go to have a nice dinner and listen to music, so like that, we went there one time and I saw it and I was like what’s that and my mom was like that’s Champ! but yeah, all the imagery is around champ, our vermont minor league baseball team is the Vermont Lake Monsters… so my parents aren’t from burlington, and they aren’t from burlington at all, and a lot of my friends are fourth or fifth generation vermonters, and there’s a place called Ken’s Pizza, and we call it Kens, but the real vermonters call it the pub. It was the part of the place that I get to be a part of that my parents weren’t to be a part of the folklore and be a real Vermonter.”

Champ is a local figure of Lake Champlain in Vermont and New York. Folklore surrounding Champ dates back all the way to the native populations before white settlers. Today, the lake is protected safe waters for the sole purpose of maintaining Champ’s habitat. It’s even been put into legislature! You can find out more by looking up Champ’s folklore, of which there is many.

 

Folk speech

Creamies

This was told to a group of friends during a debate of what soft-served Ice Cream is called across the US. The informant is from Vermont, on the East Coast. There was a divide between East and West coasters over what to call soft-serve ice cream, but the informant was able to give me some background on her reasoning.

“So creamies are what we call soft serve ice cream, and I truly did not know they were called something else until i was eight years old. And like it truly makes sense that that would be what they were called, and um, it makes sense because they’re like ubiquitous, um, there was a creamies, and like, I counted recently, and I worked at an ice cream store over the summer that didn’t sell creamies, and like people came in and asked everyday and asked “do you have creamies” and we’d be like no, but I could stop at four or five places between my house and where I worked over the summer and get a creamie. And I worked maybe two miles from where I lived. Um, and it’s kinda like this thing because, and I kinda realised this recently, because the main industry in Vermont besides tourism is dairy, that it’s, like, i know more than most people about dairy products and that I’ve had them in hoards all my life and it was very encouraged to eat fine dairy. We ate a lot of really good cheese, really good ice cream and really good butter. Um, and so, I guess creams is just slang for a soft serve.”

Legends
Narrative

Burlington High School’s Swim Team

This story was told during between friends when talking about weird high school traditions. The informant told us of a story that intrigued me because of the small town aspect, that the legend of the swim team would be able to rise and fall in popularity due to the school’s changing population. It also shows the dynamic between siblings and how families can affect a small community.

“Um so, a tradition at my high school is that you tell the incoming freshman about the swim team, and you gotta join the swim team because there’s a pool in the high school, and everyone’s like “why would there be a pool in our high school, why would there be a pool in our high school, like buh buh bah” and then you get there and some freshman asks on orientation day and some freshman asks where’s the pool and everyone’s like haha we got you awe got you we got you! And because of older siblings the joke kinda gets ruined and I do remember like hearing like, it never worked on my class because everyone had a sibling who was a year or two years older, and so we all, and because it had been pulled on them , we knew that it couldn’t be pulled on us. but then we like, and then kinda like, because it wasn’t pulled on us it kinda died out a little bit and then we were like, a big thing we talked about since 8th grade was to get BHS swim team shirts and wear them back to the middle school and be like guys you gotta get on the swim team, there’s a pool, oops there’s rumours that there’s not a pool? well there is a pool and we’re running fifth in the state, um, but we never did it”

Folk speech
Humor

Vermont Accents

This is a description of the Vermont/Milton accent that is used in Northern Vermont. The informant is from Burlington, which is one of the larger cities in Vermont and the most metropolitan.

“Um so, people in vermont, its actually a very interesting socio-economic uh little raft, because it’s a lot of very old farming families that have been there forever, so a lot of french-candadian and irish old old old families, that like, live there, and then in 60s and 70s a lot of communes popped up, and so theres was like a lot of college educated upper middle class wealthy people who moved to vermont, and so theres kind of a lot of class divisions and dynamics working out there. Um, and it kind of, there’s a division between people who have the accent and those that don’t, and the further isolated you get, the thicker the accent is, and the most isolated is in the islands of vermont, um, and that’s Milton, but if you live there is “Mil’un”, because you don’t say the T and you really hit the vowels, um, so we make, they are the butt of everyone’s jokes, the people up in the boonies,  up in the fucking islands, who like cannot speak a word of english and you can’t understand it, um, they’re seen as the dumbest hillbillies and just the like biggest idiots in all of vermont and there’s a lot of big idiots in vermont, um, and they, people do their accents, so I don’t have an accent because my parents are from upstate new york and i have a very upstate new york accent but the vermont accent is a lot of dropped T’s, Vermon’”

 

Analysis: When speaking about Vermont, it was clear that informant knew a lot about how the differences in class affect how vernacular speech is disseminated between communities. She was aware that living where she did and having the parents that she did created a difference between her and the other Vermonters who had been there for generations. She was also able to perform the accent although she doesn’t speak with it.

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