Mudcat Café message #1492422 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81350   Message #1492422
Posted By: Azizi
24-May-05 - 09:09 PM
Thread Name: I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes
Subject: RE: I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes
When I was growing up in New Jersey in the 1950s I remember hearing and saying: "What's your number? Cucumber".

Here's another rhyme in the pattern of your example posted on 24 May 05 - 07:16 PM.:

Where you live?
In a sieve.


This pattern of short rhyming sentences is very much a part African American [and others] oral tradition.

Here's some additional examples of jive talk used by children, youth,and adults:

See ya later, alligator.
After while, crocodile?


What's the word, mocking bird?
What I said, cabbage head.


If I'm lyin I'm flyin.
[and] grits aint groceries
and Mona Lisa is a man.


Incidently, Music Slang Expressions indicates that the word 'alligator' in the rhyme provided above referred to a jazz musician:

Alligator       Originally, a slang term for "Musician".
                Very early in Jazz history, musicians referred
                to themselves as "alligators". Now it simply refers
                to any Swing Devotee (abbrev. 'Gator or Gate)
                Note: Louis Armstrong is often called 'Gate Mouth',
                from the same source.
                'Cat' #1: See ya later, alligator.
                'Cat' #2: After while, crocodile.

Gate or Gator   Jazz musician. Originally used as a
                loving and warm description of Louis Armstrong.
                Folks said his mouth was as large as a "Satchel",
                from which came one of his nick-names -"Satchmo".
                He was also called "Gate Mouth", referring to an
                'Alligator's mouth' (see Alligator definition above)
                above) from which we get the expression "Gate" or
                "Gator" - originally denoting a person as a musician,
                but today it denotes anyone.
                Ex: 'Skin me' "Gate". (Shake hands)


Well, if 'alligator' mean a musician, what does 'crocodile' mean? [Maybe that question belongs in the current 'Imponderable' thread].

Frankly, that definition kinda fishy to me...I'm sticking to my belief that most people who said "See ya latah alligatah; afta while crocodile" figured they were talking about the animals with those names- nothing more and nothing less.

And, while I'm on a roll, I guess that saying "Skin me'"Gate" must have been waaay before my time.

In my day {and night} we'd say [and I still say} "Give me some skin" or "slap me five" ...

'Cause this only tangentially has anything what so ever to do with children's rhymes, but oh well, it bes that way sometime..