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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SAILORS' HATS

IN EVERY SERVICE BAR, THERE IS A SIGN HANGING OVER THE BAR THAT
READS: "HE WHO WEARS HIS HAT IN HERE/ BUYS THIS BAR A ROUND OF
CHEER." THIS COMES FROM THE OLD TALE CONCERNING THE THREE BRITISH
SAILORS WHO WERE IN AUSTRALIA DURING THE WAR, ALL IN THE SAME BAR,
AND ALL DRINKING WITH THEIR HATS ON. LATER ALL WERE KILLED, EACH
STILL WITH HIS HAT ON.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA ; ROUTE 2 ; W JEFFERSON RD

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Human Being

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SICK BAY

IT IS CUSTOMARY TO REMOVE ONE'S HAT WHEN ENTERING SICK BAY WHILE
IN THE NAVY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA ; ROUTE 2 ; W JEFFERSON RD

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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ALBATROSS

IT IS BAD LUCK FOR AN ALBATROSS TO FOLLOW A SHIP. IF SHE DOES,
SHE MUST BE SHOT WITH A GUN ARMED WITH SILVER BULLETS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Mineral
BELIEF -- Bad luck P882.32

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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OMENS OF SPRING

IF YOU SEE A RED CARDINAL BUILDING A NEST IN A TREE, THAT MEANS THAT
SPRING IS ONLY A MONTH AWAY.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Bird
BELIEF -- Measure of time Winter
BELIEF -- Weather sign or control

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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THURSDAYS

IN THE ALMA AREA IT IS CONSIDERED THE SIGN OF THE QUEER
IF HE WEARS GREEN ON THURSDAYS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

James Callow Keyword(s): HOMOSEXUAL ; SLANG: QUEER FOR HOMOSEXUAL

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Physically handicapped Deformed
BELIEF -- Measure of time WeekDayHour
BELIEF -- Color

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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FLIGHT SCHEDULES

THERE IS NEVER AN EVENT 13 WRITTEN IN THE FLIGHT SCHEDULED EVENTS
FOR ANY DAY ON ANY SHIP IN ANY SQUADRON. EVENTS GO FROM 12 TO 14,
AND 13 WOULD BE CONSIDERED VERY BAD LUCK, AND PILOTS WOULD REFUES TO
FLY THESE.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; TOLD AT INFORMANTS HOME ; ALMA ; ROUTE 2 ; W JEFFERSON RD

Subject headings: 686 Specific number by specific number being described

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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BLANKET PARTIES

WHEN MEN ARE OVERSEAS, CROWDED ABOARD A SHIP, IT IS
FREQUENTLY THE CASE THAT TEMPERS RUN RATHER SHORT, AND
FLARE UP OVER DAILY OCCURRENCES. ONE SUCH INSTANCE
INVOLVES THOSE SAILORS WHO LACK GOOD HYGIENE HABITS,
THERE BEING A SOURCE OF AGGRAVATION TO HIS FELLOW
COMPARTMENT MATES. THERE IS A REGULAR NAVY TRADITION
FOR THE HANDLING OF JUST SUCH A SITUATION. FIRST,
THE GUILTY INDIVIDUAL IS GIVEN VARIOUS HINTS THAT HIS
"FRIENDS" ARE NOT PLEASED WITH HIS CLEANLINESS (BARS OF
SOAP UNDER HIS PILLOW, WET WASHCLOTHS IN HIS BUNK, ETC.)
AND IF THIS DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEM, THEN A "BLANKET"
PARTY IS THE LAST RESORT. IN THIS, A BLANKET IS THROWN
OVER THE GUILTY INDIVIDUAL, AND HIS ROOM MATES BEAT HIM
FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES. THE NEXT MORNING, IT IS USUALLY
THE CASE THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL IS THE FIRST ONE IN THE
SHOWER.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Daily Life

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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MESS HALLS

IT IS A TRADITION AMONG SAILORS TO REFER TO THE MESS
HALLS AS RESTAURANTS. CONNECTED WITH THIS, ARE THE
JOKES AMONG THE MEN AS TO WHO IS BUYING, FLIPS
TO SEE WHO WILL PICK UP THE TAB, AND MAKING SURE
ONE GETS ONE MEAL TICKET PUNCHED WHILE IN LINE IN
THE MESS HALLS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Home

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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SMOKING LAMP

THERE IS A TRADITION CONCERNING THE SMOKING LAMP WHILE
ON SHIP IN THE NAVY. WHEN IT IS AFTER HOURS AND SMOKING
IS NOT PERMITTED, IT IS SAID THAT THE "SMOKING LAMP IS
OUT," AND WHEN SMOKING IS ALLOWED, IT IS SAID THAT "THE
SMOKING LAMP IS ON." NO SUCH LAMP EXISTS, BUT IT IS
UNDERSTOOD BY ALL AND CONSTANTLY REFERRED TO.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Formula

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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EVERY TIME YOU CROSS THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE WHILE
ON BOARD SHIP, YOU PUT A MESSAGE IN AN EMPTY WHISKEY BOTTLE,
SEAL IT TIGHTLY WITH WAX AND THROW IT IN THE WATER.

Submitter comment: NAVY CUSTOM.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Irregular

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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MANNING THE RAILS IS AN OLD NAVAL TRADITION FOR HONORING
VISITING DIGNITARIES.
ALL THE CREW LINE UP AT THE RAILS OF THE SHIP.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Street Trip Relations between relatives, friends, host and guest Social class Rank
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Irregular

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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WING PANEL STRETCHER

WHEN NEW YOUNG RECRUITS ARE FIRST PUT TO WORK
UNDER SEASONED PETTY OFFICERS IN THE NAVY AIRBORNE,
THEY HAVE MANY TRADITIONAL PRANKS PLAYED UPON THEM.
ONE CONCERNS THE SENDING OF A YOUNG "BOOT"
TO THE STORE ROOM, WITH ORDERS TO RETURN WITH A
"WING PANEL STRETCHER," A DEVICE SUPPOSEDLY DESIGNED
TO STRETCH THE WIND (SING?) PANELS OF A PLANE.
OBVIOUSLY, NO SUCH CONTRAPTION EXISTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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CROSSING THE EQUATOR

IT IS A CUSTOM IN THE NAVY THAT ALL MEN CROSSING
THE EQUATOR FOR THE FIRST TIME MUST WEAR ALL THEIR
CLOTHES BACKWARDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS A TRADITION IN THE NAVY THAT ALL MEN CROSSING
THE EQUATOR FOR THE FIRST TIME MUST GET HOSED DOWN
WITH A HOSE BY THE OTHER CREW MEMBERS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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THERE IS A NAVAL TRADITION THAT ALL MEN CROSSING THE
EQUATOR FOR THE FIRST TIME (REFERRED TO AS POLYWOGS)
MUST RUN THE GAUNTLET, AFTER WHICH THEY ARE REFERRED
TO AS SHELLBACKS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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ANOTHER HARASSING TECHNIQUE USED WITHIN THE NAVY IS THE
ONE IN WHICH THE UNSUSPECTING "BOOT" IS SENT FOR
A GALLON OF "PROP WASH," SOMETHING WHICH DOES NOT
EXIST.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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NEW WORKERS ARE FREQUENTLY SENT BACK TO THE SUPPLY
ROOMS FOR NEW TOOLS AFTER BEING INFORMED BY FOREMEN
OR OTHER JOKERS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN SUPPLIED WITH
"LEFT HANDED HAMMERS, SCREW DRIVERS, ETC.) (FROM
FACTORY OF DETROITER MOBILE HOMES, ST. LOUIS, MICHIGAN).

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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WHEN NEW "BOOTS" WERE SENT ON BOARD SHIP, IT WAS A
REGULAR CUSTOM AMONG THE PETTY OFFICERS TO HARASS
THEM. ONE TRADITIONAL SOURCE OF AGGRAVATION AROSE
WHEN THE "BOOTS" WERE SENT TO THE STORE ROOM FOR
"AFTER-BURNER FLINT," TO START THE JET ENGINES.
OBVIOUSLY, NO FLINTS ARE NECESSARY TO START JET
ENGINES, BUT INVARIABLY THESE YOUNG "BOOTCAMPS"
WOULD FALL FOR THIS TRICK.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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IT IS A TRADITIONAL PRACTICE FOR A SEASONED OFFICER
TO TELL A "BOOT" THAT HE HAS BEEN PICKED FOR "MAIL BUOY
WATCH" FOR A CERTAIN EVENING. THE OFFICER THEN GIVES
HIM A LIFE JACKET, A PAIR OF BINOCULARS, A FLASHLIGHT,
AND A LARGE WHISTLE. HE IS THEN SENT TO THE "CROW'S
NEXT" WHERE HE MUST STAY UNTIL 6:00 THE FOLLOWING
MORNING, OR UNTIL HE SPOTS THE "MAIL BUOY." HE IS TOLD
TO LOOK FOR A SUBMARINE, WHICH WILL SURFACE HALFWAYS
AND SEND UP A MAIL BUOY. HE IS TO BLOW THE WHISTLE
AS SOON AS HE SIGHTS THIS. OBVIOUSLY, NOTHING LIKE
THIS EXISTS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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ANOTHER TRICK USED BY THE PETTY OFFICERS ON BOARD SHIP
TO HARASS YOUNG RECRUITS WAS TO PERIODICALLY SEND THESE
YOUNG MEN TO THE CAPTAIN OF THE DAY TO REQUEST THE
KEYS FOR JET 27, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE ARE NO KEYS TO
JET ENGINES, AND THIS IS DONE TRADITIONALLY TO RIDE
THESE YOUNG KIDS.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ALMA

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 03-09-1970

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