Residence: Santa Monica
Date of Performance/Collection: 5/5/20
Primary Language: Russian
Other Language(s): German, English
Context: My informant is a Ukrainian immigrant who grew up in the Soviet Union, lived in East Germany, and currently resides in California. Her folklore is an old wives’ tale.
Main piece: Young women should never sit on a cold sidewalk or curb. If they do, they will be infertile and never have babies! The coldness of the curb “freezes” your eggs and you won’t be able to have babies!
Background: My informant was told this from older women in her community. She grew up in a military village and then in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. She also frequently visited relatives who lived on farms deep in the countryside.
Notes: I would personally be interested to see when this old wives’ tale came about. It is possible that this originated from rural people who created myths about urbanized communities to scare young people into leaving the countryside. This tale feels like it also has its roots in trying to get young women to act more “ladylike”, therefore discouraging them from sitting on curbsides. Fear of infertility seems like an effective method to get young women to fall in line, so to speak.