Author Archives: Andrea

School Tradition

“So in high school, um, I went to Phillips Academy Andover, which is like this, you know, hoity-toity prep school and um, so they do this really cruel thing to um, the students for um, for the, what’s it called, finals.  Where they put all the students into this one gym for like, everybody’s that’s in that um, in that class, like chem. 300 or whatever. You know they put everyone in the same room and they make everybody take the test at the same time. So like, its kinda like SAT time, when you all in a gym and like, everybody’s like nervous and like the energy is just nervousness. So you like sitting in their and you’re like, ahh this is crazy.  It’s kind of torturous actually. Um, anyways, above the door, um, where we would all like congregate in this little lobby and right above the door before the thing it says um, oh god, what did it say.  Um, “beware all yee who enter here.” It’s like wow, okay, as if that wasn’t disheartening enough. I think it was there, I was at the school for three years and I think it was there the first two years.  When it wasn’t there the last year everybody was really upset. It was like, come on, it’s like, part of the experience. Have to have it.”

Like any group of people, the communities at high schools often have their own traditions.  As schools are primarily places of teaching, learning and tested knowledge, a tradition  based aroumd the fear of tests is understandable.  Final exams can often be so stressfull that warnings such as “beware all yee who enter here,” may not be completly outlandish to a student.  What makes the phrase amusing in addition to a bit frightening, is the diction of the phrase.  When read, it reminds one of a sign that pirates would use to warn their enemies.  Consequently, the phrase above the door under which the students pass to enter the exam serves to warn and amuse.

Homeopathic cold remedy

Claire’s roommate is Indian, and she told Claire about this homeopathic remedy.

I think she heard this from her mom, but, I also may have come from, because she sings, so it could be from one of her many many singer friends. And that’s if you drink hot water with tons of honey in it, I’m talking like, this much honey (hand gesture, fingers indicating about 2 inches) in a cup like that big (hang gestures to indicate about 6 inches) then it’ll make your cold go away. So, she just drinks it all the time even she’s not sick. And so, I’ll come in to my room and there’ll just be like this thing of honey and she’ll just like, rip the lid off because she uses it like, literally an entire jar in four days. But, um, she was, I was coming down with a cold and she’s like, “oh here take this, like here’s my honey, take my cup, you do everything. It’ll be totally fine.” And she says it’s because the hydration in the water, well, water hydrating will help make the cold go away but also that the honey will like, coat your vocal cords. And I don’t know if that’s true or not.”

While I do not think honey can actually cure a cold, from personal experience I can attest that honey helps a great deal to alleviate a sore throat from a cold or other sickness.  As Claire described, it coats the throat, and along with hot water or tea, is very effective in temporarily relieving pain.

Claire’s roomate is Indian, yet this homeopathic remedy is not restricted to Indian people.  I personally heard this from my parents who are of mixed ethnic decent. I do not know if this remedy has any one origen, but I think the concept that honey is soothing to the throat is apparent enough that someone could come to the conlusion on there own.  Consequently, many people utilize and pass on the remedy.

Legend of Cropsey

“Today in class we went over this thing about a guy named Cropsey. It started as a camp legend, but people have started to connect it to real happenings. It’s pretty cool. apparently it’s pretty far spread, it goes back at least to the 70’s if not further. Basically Cropsey owned a lakeside cabin that his family would live in during the summer, one day these kids left “camp scheduled activities” to go roast “marshmallows” and basically they ended up burning down Cropsey’s house consequently killing his family. Cropsey went crazy and ended up killing those kids. There are plenty of different variations out there, it’s pretty cool and far spread. What I make of this legend is that it’s slightly ridiculous, but a good way to keep campers in line.  

 “I think it’s so widespread because it is a simple story that is easy to remember, due to the lack of in depth detail. People can also connect actual killings to it, making it more believable. In fact there’s at least one movie about this myth and why it’s so wide spread, and some of the various tellings of it. It’s really cool how far spread this legend is, in fact it was used in my marketing class as a good example of a story that stuck. It is relatable, simple, and emotional.”

I agree with Elizabeth that the simplistic nature of the narrative lends itself to much interpretation and manipulation.  Used in the context of a summer camp with children, the story could be very effective in keeping young children in line.

Movie annotation: Brancaccio, B. & Zeman, J. (2009).  Cropsey (film).  Staten Island, New York City, New York, USA.

Onomastic – Newspaper

Claire told me that in her hometown in North Carolina, there is a newspaper called the “News and Observer.”  But it is commonly known as the “Nuisance and Disturber.” The paper itself is very liberal, and conservatives consequently like to make fun of it by using an onomastic to change the name to fit their idea of what the paper is to them; a nuisance and disturbance.  Occasionally, the reporters and writers from the paper have gone to Claire’s school and told the students that they have taken the new name to heart.  They find it amusing and refer to the paper using the new title. 

The individuals working for the liberal paper were faced with this harassment from the local republicans. By adopting the name initially spiteful name, they turned the situation into a humorous one.

Annotation: The News & Observer Publishing Company.

Occupational legend

“There’s this story and theoretically it’s from a Ballet, but I don’t know whether it actually happened, kinda like a costuming legend. But, um, it’s, it’s the kind of moral of the story is why you shouldn’t leave pins in costumes.
So, this is the story of uh, well I guess a ballerina. And there was a pin that got left in her costume, uh, near the waistline, where I assume the tutu attaches the leotard or something like that, or maybe it wasn’t a tutu or leotard, I don’t really quite know. um, but, they left a pin in it and the, uh, the male dancer who was supposed to be lifting her put his hands on her waist to lift her, um and actually was so surprised when a pin pricked him that he dropped her, she broke her leg and never danced again. And this is why you should not leave pins in, in costumes.”

This is a piece of folklore one would only expect to here in the particular occupation of costume and clothing making. All types of jobs have risks due to oversight and this legend is no exception. In this type of clothing production, producing top quality clothing by hand with little or few imperfections are of utmost importance. Particularly in costume design where the customer is often in the realm physical performance such as acting or dancing, the design and structure of the outfit is even more important. In any employee-customer relationship, the customer expects a top quality product for the exchange of their money. This legend highlights a worst case scenario of a bad mistake; a small, beginner-like mistake having a terrible impact on the performer and customer.

Claire told me she heard this legend from her supervisor at the costume shop where she works. Her supervisor told Claire that she heard the legend at the Los Angeles Opera where she used to work.  Perhaps by telling this legend to new employees, the hope is that they will take heed and not make a similar mistake.