Song – San Diego, California

“Miss Susie had a steam boat,

the steam boat had a bell, ding-ding

Miss Susie went to heaven,

The Steamboat went to Hell…

Ooo Operator,

Please give me number nine,

And if you disconnect me,

I’ll cut off your Beee—-

HIND the frigerator,

There was a piece of glass,

Miss Susie sat upon it,

And broker her little ASS

SK…me no more questions,

I’ll tell you no more lies,

The boys are in the bathroom,

Zipping up their Flys—

Are in the meadows,

The bees are in their park,

Miss Susie and her boyfriend,

Are kissing in the D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K DARK!

The dark is like the movies,

The movie’s like the show,

The show is like the the-a-tre,

And that is all I know

I know my mom,

I know I know my pa,

I know I know my si-as-ster

With the 40 acre BRA! BRA! BRA!”


Natalie was born in San Diego, California, where she first heard the song “Miss Susie”. She learned this song in first grade from her playmates during recess. Recess was the time that all the girls would get together to sing songs, jump rope, and play hand games. She thought this song was funnier than the other songs because she got the opportunity to say bad words.

This piece of folklore epitomizes the idea that children can be little angels and little monsters at the same time. According to Marina Warner’s Six Myths of our Time, children are perceived innocent, but have an innate need to rebel. For example, the words hell, ass, behind, fly, kissing, dark and bra are used in the song. Yet they are used in such a way to cover up all the negative connotations. Hell is strung with the letter O. Although hell may be emphasized, the word itself is hello. This song is a way for children to rebel in a passive manner. Notice that the children know that kissing in the dark is forbidden by them not saying the word dark, but rather spelling it out. This is similar to when parents spell a word out instead of saying it in front of their children. This song not only highlights inappropriate behavior, but touches on sexual undertones as shown by being in the park, with her boyfriend and a 40 acre BRA.

In a Freudian comparison of the situation, when children play, it is not taken seriously or as real, so it allows them to explore such topics that are considered inappropriate or prohibited by society. These modes in which children play violate the adult’s romantic notion of a child and his innocence. In this case, this piece of folklore in which the song aims to mask the forbidden topic is known as nonsense play (Oring). Most adult would consider the song as a bunch of rhymes, with a catchy tune.

However, the melody is a slight adaptation of the Looney tune theme “That’s all folks” played at the end of each episode. This tune is one heard by almost every child growing up. The incorporation of it in Miss Susie demonstrates how commercial advertisement can integrate into folklore. It also helps in dating this piece of folklore, for one can determine when the song first came out. Since the first Looney Tunes episode premiered over seventy years ago, we can say that the terminus post quem is April of 1930. We know that this piece of folklore could not have been before this date.