The Romantic Exchange of Notes at Spoofer Stone

--Informant Info--
Nationality: United States of America
Age: 47
Occupation: Freelance Editor
Residence: Fayetteville, AR
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/25/20
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Main piece:

“Spoofer Stone is a rock located on the campus of University of Arkansas outside the building known as Old Main and it was used back when the campus was divided by gender for lovers to exchange notes by putting the papers in the cracks of the rock. SInce then, it has become a spot for romance and the campus has special events there and even been proposals there for people who have gone to University of Arkansas”

Background:

The informant for this piece is a woman in her late 40s who lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She was born in Joplin, Missouri but moved south to Fayetteville and has lived there for almost 18 years by now. Fayetteville is a college town as it is adjacent to the University of Arkansas. Due to the proximity of the town to the Ozark mountains, the Ozark culture influences the town alongside the culture of those going there for college.

Context:

The piece was shared with me via a phone call with the informant. This exact topic was brought up in response to my general question looking for local folklore of the Fayetteville area. 

Thoughts:

I think the Spoofer stone is interesting in how it has become accepted by the University. The stone used to serve as a meeting spot for couples, as the school was originally divided by gender and disallowed the men to mingle with the women. This was gradually changed over time, but originally, the stone allowed people to interact behind the official authority of the school system. I feel like this is often the intent of folklore, to go around typical restrictions of the system. In this regard, the stone is a rebellious use of the student’s abilities to circumvent the system. Now, the stone has been accepted as a historic part of the campus of University of Arkansas. As such, it still remains folklore, but the people involved have changed from the students to the students and the administration. This is not to say that this shift devalues the stone, but instead it is interesting as it shows how folklore can change meaning over time.