“You gotta have a home.”

I guess I know one that would be uh, a proverb. Just: “You gotta have a home.”

What do you think that means?

I don’t know. I have no idea.

Okay, um. When did you first hear this proverb?

When? Um… I don’t know how old. I guess I was probably ten years old. And it was at story time at our house right before bed. Or maybe Uncle Tom’s house. Either way, it was us and Joey and Jake and we asked for one more story and they  said they would tell us the story of the boll weevil and then just started singing, “You gotta have a home.”

I guess it… emphasizes the importance of family. Like having a home is having a family you can count on. Dad and Uncle Tom just wanted us to go to bed.

Have you told this proverb to anyone else?

Actually, yeah! I passed it on to Luke to make him mad when he asked me to tell him a story like four years ago.

Context of the performance: 

I asked the informant, who happens to be my brother, to tell me his favorite family sayings that we tell and retell. He immediately thought of the story of the boll weevil.

Collector’s Thoughts on this Piece

Members of our family definitely repeat the phrase, “You gotta have a home”, but never with as little context as the first time it was told, which the informant described.  The story of the boll weevil has become an inside joke of sorts, a way for bored  or tired bedtime storytellers to end it and annoy the kids.  The informant does not go into much detail about this but story time was a big part of our childhood whenever we had a cousins sleepover.

For another version of this piece, there is actually a recorded song with similar lyrics. Uncle Tom must have misheard them or forgotten the rest because the only lyric, which turned into a family proverb over time, he sang is “you gotta have a home”, which isn’t actually a part of this recorded version.

Benton, Brook, and Stan Applebaum. The Boll Weevil Song and Eleven Other Great Hits. Mercury, 1961. CD.