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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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RELIGIOUS HERO

THE ORDER OF NUNS THAT TAUGHT ME, THE SINSINAWA DOMINICANS, WAS
FOUNDED BY FATHER SAMUEL MAZZUCHELLI. THEY ARE PUTTING HIM UP
FOR BEATIFICATION. HE WAS SAID TO HAVE BUILT MANY CHAPELS AND
WORKED MANY MIRACLES AFTER HIS DEATH.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THE KERCHIEF

ONCE WHEN A BOY AND GIRL WERE YOUNG, THE BOY NOTICED THAT THE GIRL
ALWAYS WORE A KERCHIEF TIED AROUND HER NECK. THE BOY ASKED THE
GIRL WHY SHE ALWAYS WORE THE KERCHIEF TIED AROUND HER NECK. THE
GIRL ANSWERED, "YOU ARE TOO YOUNG; WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE OLDER. THEN
I WILL TELL YOU."
THEN THEY WERE IN GRADE SCHOOL, AND THE GIRL STILL WORE THE
KERCHIEF. SO, THE BOY ASKED THE GIRL AGAIN WHY SHE ALWAYS WORE
THE KERCHIEF. THE GIRL ANSWERED, "YOU ARE TOO YOUNG; WAIT UNTIL
YOU ARE OLDER. THEN I WILL TELL YOU."
THEN THEY WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL, AND THE GIRL STILL WORE THE
KERCHIEF. SO, THE BOY ASKED THE GIRL AGAIN WHY SHE ALWAYS WORE
THE KERCHIEF. THE GIRL ANSWERED, "YOU ARE TOO YOUNG; WAIT UNTIL
YOU ARE OLDER. THEN I WILL TELL YOU."
THEN THEY WERE IN COLLEGE, AND THE GIRL STILL WORE THE KERCHIEF.
SO, THE BOY ASKED THE GIRL AGAIN WHY SHE ALWAYS WORE THE
KERCHIEF. THE GIRL ANSWERED, "YOU ARE TOO YOUNG; WAIT UNTIL YOU
ARE OLDER. THEN I WILL TELL YOU."
EVEN WHEN THEY WERE MARRIED, SHE STILL WORE THE KERCHIEF, SO HE
ASKED HER AGAIN WHY SHE ALWAYS WORE THE KERCHIEF. SHE ANSWERED,
"YOU ARE TOO YOUNG; WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE OLDER. THEN I WILL TELL
YOU.
THEN THEY WERE MIDDLE-AGED, AND SHE WAS STILL WEARING THE
KERCHIEF. HE SAID, "NOW WILL YOU TELL ME WHY YOU ALWAYS WEAR
THAT KERCHIEF?" SHE ANSWERED, "YOU ARE TOO YOUNG; WAIT UNTIL
YOU ARE OLDER. THEN I WILL TELL YOU."
WHEN THEY WERE VERY OLD, HE ASKED HER ONCE AGAIN WHY SHE ALWAYS
WORE THE KERCHIEF. SHE TOOK THE KERCHIEF OFF AND HER HEAD FELL
ON THE GROUND.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Tale

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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HAUNTED HOUSE

IN BARABOO, WISCONSIN, WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG, THERE WAS A
HAUNTED HOUSE ON OUR BLOCK AND WE KEPT SEEING PEOPLE IN WHITE
WALKING AROUND IN THERE, AND DOGS HOWLING UP THERE AT NIGHT.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE ; BARABOO

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Ghost Spirit Phantom Specter
BELIEF -- Mammal
BELIEF -- Sign Color

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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A BUTTON IN THE POTATOES

AT THE BOARDING SCHOOL I WENT TO FOR HIGH SCHOOL, EVERY YEAR ON THE
DAY BEFORE LENT STARTS, CALLED SHROVE TUESDAY, THE COOKS WOULD
PREPARE THE POTATOES WITH A RING, A BUTTON, AND A MEDAL IN EACH ONE
(BOWL). TRADITION HAD IT THAT THOSE RECEIVING A BUTTON WOULD BE
AN OLD MAID; THOSE WITH A RING, MARRIED; AND THOSE WITH A MEDAL,
BECOME NUNS.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Keyword(s): RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Easter Season
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Palm Sunday

Date learned: UNKNOWN

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PALM SUNDAY CUSTOMS

WHEN OUR FAMILY RECEIVES PALM BRANCHES FROM CHURCH ON PALM SUNDAY,
WE BRAID THEM, USING TWO OR FOUR STRANDS, AND DISPLAY THEM IN OUR
HOME.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Keyword(s): RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

Subject headings: 663 Palm Sunday
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Tuesday

Date learned: UNKNOWN

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VALENTINE'S DAY

IN THE GIRLS' BOARDING SCHOOL I WENT TO, EVERY VALENTINES DAY IS
CELEBRATED BY A PARTY WHERE A SKIT, WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY THE
JUNIOR CLASS IS GIVEN.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: DRAMA -- Secular
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- February 14 Valentine's Day
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School

Date learned: NO DATE INDICATED.

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THE LEPRECHAUN SONG

IN A SHADY NOOK ONE MOONLIT NIGHT,
A LEPRECHAUN I SPIED
WITH SCARLET CAP, AND COAT OF GREEN,
A CROOKSKEIN BY HIS SIDE.
'TWAS 'TICK 'TUCK 'TICK HIS HAMMER WENT,
UPON A WEENY SHOE.
OH, I LAUGH TO THINK OF A PURSE OF GOLD,
BUT THE FAIRY WAS LAUGHING TOO.

WITH TIPYTOE STEP AND BEATING HEART,
QUITE SOFTLY I DREW NIGH.
THERE WAS MISCHIEF IN HIS MERRY FACE,
A TWINKLE IN HIS EYE.
HE HAMMERED AND SANG WITH TINY VOICE,
AND DRANK HIS MOUNTAIN DEW.
OH, I LAUGHED TO THINK HE WAS CAUGHT AT LAST,
BUT THE FAIRY WAS LAUGHING TOO.

AS QUICK AS I THOUGHT I SEIZED THE ELF,
"YOUR FAIRY PURSE," I CRIED.
"THE PURSE," HE SAID, "TIS IN YOUR HAND
THAT LADY AT YOUR SIDE."
I TURNED TO LOOK THE ELF WAS OFF,
NOW WHAT WAS I TO DO?
OH, I LAUGHED TO THINK HOW HE FOOLED ME SO,
AND THE FAIRY WAS LAUGHING TOO.

Submitter comment: AN AUTHENTIC IRISH SONG SUNG EACH YEAR ON SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
AT THE GIRLS' BOARDING SCHOOL IN WISCONSIN THAT I WENT TO.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: Ballad Song Dance Game Music Verse -- Emotion

Date learned: 12-00-1968

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ENGAGEMENT CUSTOMS

THE GIRL IN THE DORMS IS THROWN INTO THE SHOWER, FULLY
CLOTHED, WHEN SHE BECOMES ENGAGED.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Marriage After engagement: fun with friends, etc.

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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TELEPHONE PRANK

CALL SOMEONE.
ASK IF THEIR REFRIGERATOR IS RUNNING.
IF YES, TELL THEM, "YOU'D BETTER CATCH IT."

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM MY CHILDHOOD

Where learned: SUN PRAIRIE ; WISCONSIN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): HUMOR JOKE

Subject headings: --

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR.

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TELEPHONE PRANK

CALL A BAR; ASK IF THEY HAVE POP IN BOTTLES. IF ANSWER IS YES, SAY
"YOU'D BETTER LET HIM OUT, MOM WANTS HIM AT HOME."

Submitter comment: LEARNED FROM MY CHILDHOOD

Where learned: SUN PRAIRIE ; WISCONSIN, ASSUMED

Keyword(s): HUMOR PRACTICAL JOKE METAPHOR SODA

Subject headings: --

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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MIXER DANCES

WHEN THE AUTHORITIES AT MY BOARDING SCHOOL WANTED TO
START A LITTLE INTERACTION AT MIXERS WITH A BOYS'
SCHOOL, THEY WOULD OFTEN START A TIE DANCE, WHERE
THE BOYS ALL TAKE OFF THEIR TIES. THE TIES ARE POOLED
AND THE GIRLS PICK ONE TIE, AND THE BOY HAS TO DANCE
WITH THE GIRL WHO PICKED HIS TIE.

Submitter comment: OCCASIONALLY, THE GIRL KEPT THE TIE FOR A KEEPSAKE.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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MIXER DANCES

WHEN THE AUTHORITIES AT MY BOARDING SCHOOL WANTED TO
START A LITTLE INTERACTION AT MIXERS WITH A BOYS'
SCHOOL, THEY WOULD OFTEN ORGANIZE A SHOE DANCE,
WHERE ALL THE GIRLS TAKE OFF ONLY ONE SHOE. THE
SHOES ARE POOLED, THE BOYS PICK ONE SHOE, AND HE
TRIES TO MATCH IT WITH THE SHOE THAT IS STILL ON THE
GIRL'S FOOT. HE DANCES WITH THIS GIRL THEN.

Submitter comment: USUALLY, MOST OF THE GUYS GIVE UP, TOSS THE SHOE
BACK IN THE PILE, FIND A GIRL MISSING A SHOE AND
LOOK FOR HERS SO THAT HE CAN DANCE WITH HER.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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LIVING ROSARIES

AT THE GIRLS' BOARING SCHOOL I WENT TO IN WISCONSIN,
IN GOOD WEATHER, OCCASIONALLY, THE NUNS WOULD GET
A GROUP OF GIRLS TOGETHER AND FORM A CIRCLE AROUND
A GROTTO. (IF NOT A CIRCLE, THEN A CHAIN, A LINE,
A ROW). EACH GIRL WOULD RECITE ONE PRAYER OF THE
ROSARY, AND THEY WOULD FINISH WITH A SONG.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Church

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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THE EXPECTANT MOTHER HAS TO DANGLE A PENCIL BY MEANS
OF A STRING TIED TO IT OFF THE EDGE OF A TABLE (OR
ANYTHING SOLID) ABOVE HER OTHER HAND WHICH IS COMPLETELY
RELAXED, PALM-UP. AFTER A REASONABLE LENGTH OF TIME,
THE PENCIL WILL START EITHER VIBRATING OR ROTATING.
VIBRATING, A BACK AND FORTH MOVEMENT, MEANS THAT SHE
WILL HAVE A BOY; WHILE ROTATING DESIGNATES A GIRL.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Birth

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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NUN'S GRAVEMARKERS

WHEN NUNS DIE, IN THE DOMINICAN ORDER OF SINSINAWA,
THE NAME WRITTEN ON THEIR GRAVES ARE, FIRST, THEIR
PROFESSED NAMES, E.G. SISTER MARY DOLORA, AND THEN
THEIR LAST NAME FROM SECULAR LIFE.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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IN SOME FAMILIES IN WISCONSIN, A CHILD IS GIVEN A
NUMBER OF CUPCAKES, THE SAME AS THE NUMBER OF
YEARS OLD HE IS, AS MOST PEOPLE PUT THAT MANY
CANDLES ON A CAKE.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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AT THE GIRLS' BOARDING SCHOOL I WENT TO IN WISCONSIN, THE
ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF THE FOUNDER OF THE
SINSINAWA DOMINICAN NUNS WAS CELEBRATED ANNUALLY.
A DIFFERENT PLAY ABOUT THE FOUNDER, FR. SAMUEL
MAZZUCHELLI, WAS WRITTEN EACH YEAR AND PRODUCED ON THIS
DAY. RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS IN HONOR OF THIS MAN
OCCUR ON THIS DAY.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- School
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Private birthday or anniversary

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SENIORS INITIATED FRESHMEN AT THE GIRLS' BOARDING SCHOOL
I WENT TO IN WISCONSIN. A TYPICAL STUNT WAS TO TEAR A
PIECE OF PAPER INTO EXACTLY 200 PIECES AND BURY THE PIECES
IN A FURRY BEAR RUG, THEN TELL THE FRESHMAN TO FIND ALL
200 PIECES USING A TWEEZERS.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SENIORS INITIATED FRESHMEN AT THE GIRLS' BOARDING SCHOOL
I WENT TO. A TYPICAL STUNT WAS TO TELL THE GIRL TO PICK
A PURPLE AFFRODITY WITH WHITE GRASS THAT GREW AROUND$?
SINCE THE FLOWER USED ALL THE CHLOROPHYL IN THAT AREA.
(CHLOROPHYL IS WHAT MAKES THE GRASS GREEN, YOU SEE.)
THIS INITIATED THE FRESHMEN INTO THE RULES OF THE SCHOOL,
SINCE THE AFFRODITIES WERE SAID TO GROW ONLY ON THE
CONVENT SIDE OF THIS SCHOOL AND NONE OF THE GIRLS ARE
ALLOWED TO GO OVER TO THE CONVENT SIDE. (THE NUNS
NEVER COULD FIGURE OUT WHY IT WAS THAT EACH YEAR
THERE WERE ALWAYS NEW FRESHMEN WALKING AROUND IN THE
GRASS ON THE CONVENT SIDE.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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SENIORS INITIATED FRESHMEN AT GIRLS' BOARDING SCHOOL
I WENT TO. A TYPICAL STUNT WAS TO HAVE THE GIRL
MAKE THE SENIOR'S BED, AND REMAKE IT UNTIL A QUARTER
WOULD BOUNCE OFF IT, AND THEN PROBABLY REMAKE IT
AGAIN.

Where learned: WISCONSIN ; SUN PRAIRIE

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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