Author Archives: olord@usc.edu

Monday Happy Hour

Context:

Will Lord is my brother. I visited him at his University recently. He attends the University of the South, also known as Sewanee. Given its regal name, one would assume that the school is rich in tradition and folklore. One would be correct. The school was established in 1857. Given its small student body, many feel compelled to join fraternities and societies which each have their own collection of folklore. The school itself is full of legends. While walking around campus, I recorded him talking about famous locations, legends, etc. We walked past one of the few restaurants around, and he told me about Monday Happy Hour.

Transcript:

Will: Yeah that’s like one of the only restaurants so people just go there any day of the week. And every day is something. Like Monday does a happy hour with pitchers so people grab a couple friends and get drunk on Monday which I think is kind of absurd

Interpretation:

Bars and restaurants commonly create day specific traditions like this one as a money making scheme. I’ve also heard of Trivia Tuesdays and Wing Wednesdays, for example. This brings in a significant crowd to eat/drink, and this tradition i

Capes and Kilts–Folk Clothing

Context:

Will Lord is my brother. I visited him at his University recently. He attends the University of the South, also known as Sewanee. Given its regal name, one would assume that the school is rich in tradition and folklore. One would be correct. The school was established in 1857. Given its small student body, many feel compelled to join fraternities and societies which each have their own collection of folklore. The school itself is full of legends. While walking around campus, I recorded him talking about famous locations, legends, etc. Walking around campus, I noticed men in capes and kilts.

Transcript:

Owen: What’s up with that?

Will: There’s a lot of societies I can’t tell you about. But the big ones, everyone knows, are Capes and Kilts. On Spring Weekend they wear the capes or kilts and march through campus.

Interpretation:

I was visiting during a festival–Spring party weekend. This weekend is a time to show off school pride, so those that are members of the Order of Capes or Kilts don their traditional apparel for this particular weekend. This is a great example of things that are commonplace during a liminal time, a festival–but would surely look strange at another time (any class week) or to a stranger (me).

Cooties in New York

Context:

Madeleine Hall was raised in New York City. In a hyper urban city like that, I wondered if she had any experiences with cooties. For me, cooties were associated with playgrounds and fields and wide open spaces–my memories being children chasing each other around.

Transcript:

Owen: Do you have any memories of cooties as a kid in New York?

Madeleine: Oh yeah. I’m so bad with ages, but yeah when I was really young you always knew who had cooties. It was like a thing, like he had it or she had it. But being a girl we mostly knew which guys had it.

Interpretation: 

Basically, this speaks to the ubiquity of cooties in American children’s culture. It speaks to how children are hyper aware of gender at a very young age. At schools, children are quickly split up by gender, explaining how the idea of cooties could take hold. For those unaware, cooties are a gendered “disease” of sort that boys can catch from girls, and vice versa. Of course, there are no actual medical symptoms.

Bikes in Traffic–Biking Customs

Context:

Madeleine is a sophomore at USC. She recently bought a bike, and in addition to riding it to class, had been going on trips all over East Los Angeles. Since biking downtown is especially dangerous, she observed the unofficial codes and movements of more experienced bikers to navigate the streets.

Transcript:

Madeleine: Maddy Hall, amateur biker, uhh for a short while. Recently was downtown observing other bikers so that I didn’t get hit by a car, uhh, and, you know they, the main way to get a car to notice you is to hold you hand out to the left, right in front of the car. And they you just go, you don’t look, which is really messed up, um. But then if the car hits you its their fault. And I went to a bike shop and this guy came in and he was talking about his settlement and I was like “what happened” and he was like “oh, I got hit by a car, like they turned right while I was going, um I think the main thing with bike culture is that it’s never your fault.

Interpretation:

Since Maddy has recently started biking around Los Angeles, she is just joining an unofficial community of bikers. There is no organization, but as with all communities, there are standard ways of being, in other words, folklore. You get the sense from her story that bikes tend to band together against cars in an us vs them sort of mentality. This strengthens the biker community. One of their customs, which is folklore because it is not an official traffic law, is merely sticking a hand out in front of a car to make one’s presence known.

Haunted Dorm/Former Morgue

Context:

Will Lord is my brother. I visited him at his University recently. He attends the University of the South, also known as Sewanee. Given its regal name, one would assume that the school is rich in tradition and folklore. One would be correct. The school was established in 1857. Given its small student body, many feel compelled to join fraternities and societies which each have their own collection of folklore. The school itself is full of legends. While walking around campus, I recorded him talking about famous locations, legends, etc.

Transcript:

Will: This one here, this is where I lived freshman year. It was a morgue way back in the day. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t have any ghost stories from there but a ton of people say they’ve heard things or seen ghosts or just had sleep paralysis.

Interpretation:

This is another example of a vague hauntedness. Will could not point to exactly what goes on within the space, but assured me it was haunted. Like so many folk stories about haunted spaces, it once dealt with death. We often hear of a haunted space once being a burial ground, a morgue, a hospital etc.