I Saw Two Hooligans Go that Way

Informant’s grandfather loved to blow up flagpoles and porta-potties. On one particular flagpole spree, in most likely the 1950s, he would set fireworks at the base of the flagpole (old fireworks, so essentially bombs). They would go off and explode the flagpole over the park. Before exploding them, he would be wearing a ratty sweatpants type outfit. After exploding them, he would then run into a porta-potty (one that he wouldn’t blow up) or the nearest shop. He would get changed into a crisp blue suit and then walk back out, so that when the police got there, they would see a suave business man dressed in a suit, and when they asked what happened, he would say, “I don’t know, but I saw two hooligans go that way.” Then, two weeks after the incident, there would be an anonymous donation for a new flagpole or porta-potty.

This is a family legend that has been told often within the informant’s family. They apparently tell this story to a lot of people. Informant says they have heard the line, “I saw two hooligans go that way” spoken a lot within their family circles. Informant also notes, regarding the donations, that this man was rich, and is the reason they can go through college, so he was just doing this for the fun of it.

This piece of folklore was very unique to my collection, because it was a family legend. So this was my first time collecting something like this. It was really interesting to hear a narrative that came from a specific family and had recent roots. Since the story is about my informant’s grandfather, it has a terminus post quem of when he was born (and old enough to be doing these sorts of things). I don’t think I’ve heard of a family that I personally know having such a rich legend in their recent family lore, so that was really interesting to me. As well as that, the fact that the family keeps the story alive in their stories and general speech, through the reference of the ‘hooligans’ line, shows how legends can connect people through sharing of the knowing of a certain story, and how it can be enhanced if there are further bonds like familial ones.