“Don’t open an umbrella in the house.”
The informant was born in Atchinson, Kansas, but moved to California when she was seven, where she has lived ever since.
While the informant cannot remember a specific instance where she heard this saying, she explained that this was something that people would say over and over again. Essentially, part of her vocabulary growing up. She considers her generation to have been homebodies and that their sayings simply reflected the way people were living. To her, these sayings came from people who were doing more manual work, like farming and housekeeping, rather than office work. She herself never had a job, but fulfilled her goal of becoming a mother and homemaker.
She remembers being told that it would bring her bad luck if she did open an umbrella in the house, but she thinks that someone created it simply because they didn’t want someone to do it, potentially because it could break something, so they started telling people it was bad luck to do so. She claims that if you did though, you would just have general bad luck because the saying never specifies what exactly will happen to you.
The informant does admit to having opened an umbrella in the house at one point in her life, but she does not know if she had bad luck or not as a result. She thinks it is possible though because she does not know how things might have been different than they were/are. However, now, she says that you shouldn’t take any chances because you don’t know what bad luck will befall you if you do.
The informant relayed her folklore to me at my dining room table. I have known her my entire life as she is a close relative. I had already asked her about her folklore weeks before, but upon meeting on this day, she brought a list that she had written of all she could think of so that she would not forget when she told me. While she read the specific folklore off the sheet, the other details I got from her were not pre-determined.
I think there is a large possibility that the informant’s belief that it was created to scare people into not doing something they did not like is accurate. However, there is no real way of knowing for sure. She also brings up what I have found to be the key reason most people don’t test their superstitions. Even if you don’t necessarily believe it to be true, you don’t want to risk having bad luck by trying to find out if it is true or not.