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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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FAMILY CUSTOM AT DEATH

WHEN MY PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER DIED IN APRIL, MY UNCLE'S FAMILY
SENT AN AZALEA BUSH TO THE FUNERAL HOME. MY UNCLE TOLD ME THAT THEY
SEND AZALEAS FOR EVERY DEATH IN THEIR FAMILY. WHEN MY UNCLE WAS A
BOY, HIS BELOVED YOUNGER BROTHER DIED TRAGICALLY. HE BURIED
HIS BROTHER WITH HIS OWN HANDS UNDER AN AZALEA BUSH. EVER SINCE
THEN, AZALEAS HAVE MEANT SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL TO HIM AND HIS
FAMILY NEVER FAILS TO SEND THEM.

Submitter comment: MY UNCLE IS VERY TACITURN AND RETICENT; CONSIDERING THAT FACT
AND THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH HE TOLD ME THIS, I DID NOT ASK
FOR DATES, PLACES OR DETAILS. BUT I DID NOTE THAT HE HAD TEARS IN
HIS EYES AS HE TOLD THIS TALE.
I KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT MY UNCLE'S BACKGROUND. I DO NOT KNOW
WHERE HE WAS BORN AND GREW UP, HIS ETHNIC BACKGROUND, OR
THE PLACES HE HAS LIVED BEFORE 1972.

Where learned: IOWA ; ESTHERVILLE

Keyword(s): FLOWERS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Death Funeral Burial

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MARRIAGE PREDICTION

TWIST THE STEM OF AN APPLE WHILE RECITING THE ALPHABET--SAYING
ONE LETTER FOR EACH TWIST. THE LETTER ON WHICH THE STEM BREAKS
WILL BE THE FIRST LETTER OF THE NAME OF THE MAN YOU WILL MARRY.

Where learned: IOWA ; ESTHERVILLE

Subject headings: 862 Use of object for determining future spouse
BELIEF -- Marriage

Date learned: 00-00-1975

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PENCIL TEST

THIS TEST IS TO DETERMINE HOW MANY CHILDREN A WOMAN WILL
BEAR, AND WHAT SEX THEY WILL BE. HOLD A PENCIL WITH A NEEDLE IN
THE ERASER, SUSPENDED BY A THREAD, OVER HER LEFT ARM. THE
ARM IS HELD WITH THE PALM UP, THE HAND IN A FIST. THE PENCIL
WILL CIRCLE OVER THE WOMAN'S ARM BETWEEN CHILDREN, SWING VER-
TICALLY TO INDICATE A GIRL, AND HORIZONTALLY TO INDICATE A BOY.
A DIAGONAL SWING INDICATES TWINS. A STRONG SWING INDICATES A
HEALTHY CHILD WITH A STRONG PERSONALITY.

Submitter comment: THIS TEST HAS BEEN USED ON ALL THE WOMEN ON MY FATHER'S SIDE
OF THE FAMILY AND HAS WORKED WITH 90 PERCENT ACCURACY. CK[ IRONY

Where learned: IOWA ; ESTHERVILLE

Keyword(s): PREDICTION

James Callow Keyword(s): IRONY

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Birth
BELIEF -- Use of Object Domestic object, wax, needle, dishware
BELIEF -- Use of object for determining number of children or sex of unborn

Date learned: 07-00-1983 ; 00001900CA

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HICCOUGH CURE

WHEN YOU HAVE THE HICCOUGHS, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO EAT A
TEASPOON OF HONEY. IT WILL MAKE THEM DISAPPEAR IMMEDIATELY.

Submitter comment: MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD ME THIS CURE ONCE WHEN I HAD THE HICCOUGHS.
THE CURE WORKED ON ME, BUT DID NOT WORK ON ONE OF MY COUSINS.

Where learned: IOWA ; ESTHERVILLE

Subject headings: BELIEF -- Animal

Date learned: 07-00-1980

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