Author Topic: "Calling" in childhood games  (Read 798 times)

Offline Bunbury

  • Jr. Linguist
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"Calling" in childhood games
« on: May 19, 2019, 10:17:30 PM »
When I was a kid back in the 1960's we would "call" to see who would be "it" in games like Tag, Hide and Seek, Kick the Can, Jail Tag, etc.  For those of you who aren't familiar with this - we would stand in a circle, each kid would put a foot in, and then we would "call" to eliminate a kid, one at a time, until there was one person left who would be "it."  One was -
Engine, Engine, number 9
Coming down Chicago Line
If the Train runs off the track
Do you want your money back?

(The caller (person doing the calling) said the rhyme, he'd point to each kids foot on what would in music be a quarter note, so that he would point to four kids feet, in order, for each line in the rhyme.)

The kid whose foot was pointed to at the end of the rhyme would say "yes" or "no," and the caller would then continue -

"N  O  spells no and you are not it."

The kid whose foot was pointed to on "it" was eliminated, and the caller would call again.

Another popular one was the "Eenie  Meenie Miney Mo, Catch a Tiger by the toe. If he hollars let him go Eenie Meenie Miney Mo."  (There was a racist version, and although we did it, the meaning never crossed our minds.  It was just words we said to find out who would be it.)

My favorite was -

"My mother and your mother were hang - ing out clothes
My mother punched your mother right in the nose
What color was the blood?"
(The pointed-to kid would say a color, and the caller would continue . . .)
O R A N G E spells orange and you are not it.

Does anyone know of this being done in other cultures/languages?

Childhood games can be fascinating.  One I came across was related to the "Brown Girl In The Ring" song.  You can read about it here.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Girl_in_the_Ring_(song)

Although Boney M (a group invented to market the pop version of the song), I like the old version -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0lp40UnuBM