Author Archives: Jenna

Winchester Mystery House Story

“When I was in San Jose I heard about the Winchester Mystery House.  The place is famous and even has tours.  One friend wanted to go on to the house. The superstition is that the place has staircases that lead no where.  There also windows the look to no where. The widow who owns the house has a rifle fortune from her late husband.  She kept constructing on the house and thought it would ward off death. She was a very rich person.  People say you can see her ghost in the windows that lead to no where.”

She thinks this is a scary house that should be avoided.  She thinks its ironic that the widow is a rifle heir since rifles are used to kill and she tries to cheat death.

I believe this house may have been built for a legacy purpose, not just to ward off death.  Perhaps people in San Jose fear death more. Since San Jose is not the biggest city, people also need more attractions and landmarks, so perhaps people built up this story to give the place more significance.  If there were lots of historic buildings already in the town, people probably would not have singled out this old widow’s home and made it into a tourist attraction.

Gymanst Grips

“Gymnasts use grips which go on your hands for when you do bar work.  Do not touch someone else’s grips, it is very bad luck if you touched or used someone else’s grips.  They are molded to your hand so you don’t want to mess up the shape. Sometimes you write yourself a message on your grips for good luck.  I once wrote “go for it” on the grips.  Most grips are leather which gets supple and bendy.”

She thinks the grips are so vital to gymnast performance that it makes sense not to interfere with another person’s grips.  Touching really will mess up the shape so she believes this superstition is still around because of its practical purpose, keeping your grips in their original form.

Since gymnastics is a very individual sport, it makes sense that people are even more competitive over different aspects of the sport.  You can only rely on yourself, so you might be even more particular about anyone sabotaging you.  Thus it seems like a logical transition to make even touching other people’s items taboo since it discourages people from even coming near your items.

Dead Baby Joke

“SID is really sudden infant death. My friend is an EMT technician and called SID babies “sorry its dead sir” at least that’s what you say to the parents… Awful joke.  Heard from Doug the EMT guy. He is a blunt person.”

The informant thinks that this reflects the EMT attitude toward the situation.  She thinks that it’s such a bad situation that you must make light of it. The EMT friend does have a son so he wouldn’t find it amusing if it happened to him.

I agree with my informant’s analysis.  Clearly the EMT people are exposed to lots of horrible situations and the only way to cope with sadness is with humor.  I do not believe the EMTs are mean people for making the joke, they just make the joke to keep their spirits up.

December 6th in Holland

“When I lived in Holland when I was 6, um at my boarding school you would put out your shoes on the door December 5th and there should be candy or chocolate in your shoes on the 6th

She believes this tradition is similar to putting out stalkings on Christmas.  She thought the goodies were a nice reward in the middle of the winter.  She thought the tradition was like a pre-Christmas.

Perhaps the children put their shoes out to receive candy because Holland has a special emphasis on shoes.  Many people in Holland are known for their clog shoes and since this is almost a national identity, the shoes are used as the conveyer of sweets.  Thus, the people are perpetuating their national identity and making children associate the shoes with good things at a young age since they are filled with goodies.

Shabu-ya cheer game

“I was a cheerleader in 11th and 12th grade and on the way to football games with the football players we sang the song shabu-ya.  In it, you say the name of someone on the bus and then the rest of the bus calls back “hey.”  You then say a set of rhymes ending with something personal that makes everyone laugh, these are often insulting.  This song was only performed on the way to games not on the way back.”

My informant thinks this song was meant to build up cheer before the football games.  Her high school was over 100 years old and football was a huge tradition and this song goes all the way back to the founding of the school.

The insults may rile up emotion better than just normal cheers.  Also the insults may be a way of bonding because when everyone gets broken down together they share that moment and grow stronger together.  All of this attention just to get people ready to cheer at the football game proves that football is a big deal in Irvine.