Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/26/13
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Farsi
My informant provided the following story/rhyme as something his grandmother would recite to him before school, which she drew from her Iranian heritage and knowledge of Persian folklore:
Alright so “The Following Home” is one that my mom’s mom, my grandma, told me in childhood. Growing up both of my parents worked and my grandma took care of me a lot, so I would spend the night often, and every morning before I went to school (I think it was either pre-school or kindergarten) uh, I, she and I would say this poem together, and the poem is kind of like, it describes a morning ritual that a child does before he goes to school, and in Farsi it goes like this:
Mamani mamani mamani joon. Chai ra bezar
ro fenjoon. Vakhti ke chai ra nooshidam,
mamani ra boosidam, miram koodakeshan
Shadam o khamdan, shadam o khamdan
what the poem is saying is, it says: “grandmother, grandmother, grandmother, dear. put the tea to steep, when I drink the tea and kiss my grandma I go to preschool with laughter and joy, with laughter and joy.” So it’s a very positive way I guess to get your children to go to school and drink their morning tea, and that’s basically it.
As it is a children’s rhyme, it makes sense that it is uplifting, and is a happy admonition to behave and go to pre-school obediently. It is likely designed to make the sometimes unpleasant activity of going to school more appealing, and my informant mentioned how he felt happier and willing to start his day cheerfully after reciting it with his grandmother. Indeed, he thinks one of the reasons he remembers it is that reciting it sticks out in his memory as an especially happy time with his grandmother and brings back pleasent familial memories.