Gus, The Magic Rubber Chicken

Informant: Mary McGeagh is my 15 year old younger sister. She is now a freshman in High School and attending Catholic school her entire life. She is an avid volleyball player and enjoys spending time with friends and going to the beach. She lives with my parents in Pacific Palisades, California and has since she was born. She comes from Irish, German, Jewish, and Swedish roots but mainly was exposed to the cultures of the Irish, Catholics, and Jewish people. She attended a summer camp from the age of 5 to the age of 12 that has many interesting folk tales and traditions. The camp is pretty much run off of its lore and it is what makes it so unique. She carries the lore of St. Matthews Day Camp to this day.


Mary said: “There are many rubber chickens scattered all over the campus of St. Matthew’s Day Camp, but one chicken holds reign as the most powerful rubber chicken. That Chicken is name GUS. Gus is a rubber chicken with only one leg. He is considered as scared amongst the St. Matthew’s community and is held in the highest regard. Whichever age group in the camp bestows this beautiful rubber chicken, holds extreme respect over all the other age groups. Gus is an integral part of the lore of St. Matthews.”

This particular material lore has gone on for about twenty years. The actual rubber chicken is still in tact from the early 90’s. It is something that makes competition between age groups in the camp, and excites the overall morale of the camp. Gus makes the camp add meaning to nothing, but that meaning is so pure and authentic. A simple rubber chicken has become a huge deal.

I think this is lore is so original and it makes the camp stand out. It is a humorous, funny idea that has lasted so many years. I remember Gus when I was a camper and my sister experience the same folkore.