Author Archives: crbrowne

“Do as I say, not as I do”

“Do as I say, not as I do”


“So my father said it, his name was Joseph Lynn Boyd, who is my father and your grandfather. He would say it all the time. It is so bad, he was so bossy. He would say this to boss me around when he didn’t want to do something … and it was very annoying. It wasn’t very empathetic. It was very authoritarian. It wasn’t a democracy, he was the dictator.”

“He said it so much I can’t even think of a specific example. I didn’t want to go to church on Sundays but my mom also wanted to go. ‘Your goin’ to church with your mother.’ And I would say, ‘well you don’t have to go,’ and he would reply with ‘do as I say not as I do.’ It wasn’t every nice now that I think about it. He was pretty selfish.”


What was the significance of this proverb to your family?

“It showed that he was the authoritarian dictator, and he never wanted to listen to anyone else, and he was selfish.”


Who did this proverb affect?

“I’m sure if he had other children he would say it to them but he only had one kid. And if he had a really nice car, we always had a lot of cars … and I wanted to drive one of the nice ones; he would say ‘Do as I say not as I do.'”



This proverb symbolizes the informant’s family dynamic and her relationship with her father. It demonstrates the paternal authority her father claimed over his family and the demands he made of everyone else. This proverb shows that the informant’s father felt as though he were in a position to decide what his family members did, especially his child.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”


“My father would primarily say that as I got older and would want money. He was very frugal with his money and sometimes he was oddly cheap. Well, you have to put it into context. He grew up in the depression so he was very tight with his money. The oddly cheap, everything, he was so cheap, I remember when he would say when you go to the bathroom, use only two squares of toilet paper. When I was um … when I would have to do back to school shopping he would give me $50 for all of my school shopping. He would give me $20 to buy one pair of jeans. He had no idea how much clothes cost or how important they were to girls. He wasn’t really in touch with reality or how much things cost. He thought one pair of shoes was enough. I had one pair of topsiders, and I didn’t get another pair until that one was falling apart. My mom was sick … when she would talk, she would try to say, use the two squares, turn off all of the lights, use little paper towels. This is why I go over board in the other direction. Another thing, when I would eat a bowl of cereal, and there would be milk in the bottom of the bowl, he would make me drink the milk.”


Have you ever said it?

“Probably to you and Michael [my brother]. I don’t think I’m oddly stingy.”


What do you see as the significance of this saying?

“There is a finite amount of money in the household. So organic.”



This proverb represents the informant’s family’s careful practices with money. It makes sense that the informant’s father was the one to primarily use this proverb, because he grew up poor during the depression. However, the informant says that to her, this proverb represented his stinginess. She complains that he went overboard with the meaning of this proverb, and that her father did not understand the reality of how much things cost or why she wanted things. Through the informant’s story of this proverb, we can see that it sometimes put her at odds with her parents and that she chose to raise her children in a different way.

The Senior Lawn and Patio

“So at my high school we had a senior lawn and senior patio. And in everyone wanted to go on it but only seniors could go on it because it was a special privilege when you reached that age. Each year, there would be a big ceremony on um the last day of classes before finals in which that years seniors handed the lawn and the patio to the juniors.”


Where did you first hear this story?

“When you got to the high schools, one of the first things they tell you is to not step on the senior lawn or patio. And from that, you hear the story of how the lawn and patio are passed down on the last day of classes from the senior class to the junior class.”


What happens when you step on the lawn or the patio?

“You get thrown in the pool. Two seniors will pick you up and throw you in the pool. I saw it once.”



“It was a joking thing; they were using it to demonstrate for that year as an example. They had a little seventh grade boy. They recorded this and showed it at morning meeting to the whole school. They did that every year. Every senior class would have a ‘Don’t step on the senior patio’ video.”


What do you think this means?

“It is a just a privilege that has to be earned. It is embedded in tradition, it has been carried on since the schools founding many decades ago. It is an initiation for senior year. It kicks off senior year. Everyone is really excited and they feel really accomplished. Its something you have been longing for three years and the anticipation has been built up.”


Who generally tells this story?

“Seniors will generally tell you this story. Any upperclassman when you come in as a freshman.”



This story shows a unique way that a community determines maturity. We can see that the patio distinguishes the mature, older group from the younger kids. The passing of the lawn represents that the younger group have finally reached a level of maturity and an age deserving of this important lawn. The informant made the lawn appear to be a facet in the “coolness” of being older, a prize to work towards throughout high school. The lawn and patio signify an important turning of age for this informant.

Bloody Mary

“Ok. So when I was in elementary school, there was this myth that you went in the bathroom, turned off the light, spinned around three times fast, and looked in the mirror, chant Bloody Mary three times, you would see Bloody Mary. And Bloody Mary was this fictitious ghost.”


What did she do?

“She would just appear in the mirror. She was a scary ghost looking thing and she had red eyes.”


Did you ever do this ritual yourself?



Did she appear to you?

“So here’s the thing. I think there is some biology behind this. If you spin around three times really fast and you look straight, your vision is all kind of blurry, so you do see some kind of image. And when all of the other younger girls were there, it was Bloody Mary! In actuality, it was an after image.”


Who told you this story?

“It was told amongst the little girls. Like they wanted to go to the bathroom and try this out. This was elementary school. Second or third grade. We should go do it now haha.”


What do you see as the significance?

“Looking back on it, it resembles my childhood and all of the imagination it used to have. It was a happy carefree time in my life with my friends, … and Bloody Mary haha.”



I agree with the informant that Bloody Mary usually marks a period in childhood because it is frequently performed by youths. The story represents the imagination and fear found in children and the eagerness to perform such rituals to become part of a group.


For another version of Bloody Mary, please visit: (note a similar mention of Bloody Mary’s distinct eyes)

Faces In The Mirror: The True Story Behind Bloody Mary

Wirawan, Anita. “Faces In The Mirror: The True Story Behind Bloody Mary – Anita’s Notebook.” Anita’s Notebook. N.p., 14 Aug. 2012. Web. 28 Apr. 2016.

The Long Island Strawberry Festival

“Well this festival is a festival on the east end of Long Island. And it’s um held like by the Lions Club, which is like a local philanthropic organization and they raise money to give to local businesses and schools. They give it to the club scouts, the Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, homeless shelter, high school Corus, animal welfare, senior center. You know they give it to a lot of places. The Lions Club organized this festival every year and they give the money to the local businesses, groups, community and non-profit groups. It usually takes place in the middle of June, which is the peak of strawberry season. This year will be the 62nd year. It started out really small. Everything strawberry: rides, games, the strawberry queen, strawberry shortcake, strawberries and chocolate.”


Who is the strawberry queen?

“She is a local high school student and they pick her. The first queen was crowned in 1956, based on her extra curricular actives and giving back to the community, I don’t think she can be dumb either. So they have the semifinalists, a group of five girls, they wear white dresses, and it is a big deal to be crowed a queen. When they announce the winner, they give her a crown and a big scepter with a strawberry on it. And a big picture of her is in the local newspaper.”


What do you think is the significance of this festival?

“Long Island is known for its agriculture and vegetables and strawberries are the first fruit that that gets ready to be picked, the first fruit. It was just a way to build a community thing around it. Strawberries were the first ones in the middle of June. A nice way to kick of summer. It is a way to kick off summer, mark beginning of summer season. They call it ‘Long Islands original and largest strawberry festival, and charity fundraiser.'”



When did you first hear of this tradition?

“When we bought our house out there. We saw a big sign in the field, and I remember wondering what that was about, I didn’t realize they had a whole festival built around the strawberries.”


Who joins in?

“Everyone in the community. People from Long Island, people from all around. It is always packed. Four days and three nights, and they have fireworks every night. Its all ages, from babies to old people and everyone in between, families go with their kids, teenagers, and young adults. Tourists, old people.”



The Long Island Strawberry Festival marks a unique way to bring a community together around one of its most popular crops. While the informant is relatively new to the tradition and to Long Island, it seems as though this festival really brings together people from all areas and all ages. The festival represents the richness of the Long Island land and the abundance of crops that it produces every season. Every summer, the Strawberry Festival will mark the beginning of the warm summer to come and the productive season ahead.