Mudcat Café message #1921700 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81350   Message #1921700
Posted By: Azizi
29-Dec-06 - 07:27 PM
Thread Name: I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes
Subject: RE: I'm Rubber . You're Glue: Children's Rhymes
Greetings, Debbie Olsen!

Welcome to Mudcat.

I'm interested in a several of the rhymes that you posted, but would like to concentrate on the one which starts with the line "the spades go."

I found a couple of examples of 'The Spades Go" [for want of a better name] on this website: Girl's games; Clap and Rhyme section

Here's one example:

"The spades the spades the spades go iny miny popsa kiney i love bomaragn a hop a scoth a liver roch a peach a plum i have a stick of chewing gum and if u want the other half this is wut you say: amen amen amendiego sandieago bostn bruins rah rah rah boo boo boo criss cross apple sauce do me a favor get lost while ur at it drop dead either that or lose ur head bang on trash cans bang on tin cans i can u can nobody else can sitting on the bench nuthing to do along comes some one..cohey coochey coo! andu tickle the other person"
-Sally on Friday, May 6, 2005


And here's a comment that I posted on that website on Sunday, February 26, 2006 :

"And btw, with regard to another rhyme printed earlier on this site [and seen elsewhere], in my opinion, regarding the introductory phrase "The spades the spades the spades go", "the spades" means "the Black people".

I don't think it's meant to be offensive. Nor would it be taken that way because if it is recited nowadays, few people would "get" the original meaning."

I believe that referent is from the spades suit in the game of cards and/or from the familiar [at least in my experience] saying "Black as the ace of spades". In my opinion, "the spades go" initially alluded to the source for the rhyme [ie. Black children] and serves as an introductionary statement that this is the way the rhyme was performed by those children. However, to continue my theory, as a result of the folk process, that meaning of that line was lost.

Debby, your version of that rhyme says "Thee spades go two lips together". Check out these two examples that I found from the Archive through June 8, 2000 of the Girl's games; Clap and Rhyme section of that streetplay website:

"One I remember is:
Tulips together twilight in heaven bring back my love to me. It was probably 2 lips - but I was an
innocent kid back then."
-Allison on Monday, April 12, 1999 - 06:31 pm



I remember that ... didn't it start ...

The spades go tulips together
twlight in heaven
bring back my love to me?

Or something like that?

Two girls would hold hands, arms outstretched in front, and sway back and forth while singing the verses... :)

There was another one with this line~

shimmy shimmy
coco pop
shimmy shimmy pop

Any memory jogs here?? :) "
-Butirfli@aol... on Tuesday, April 13, 1999


I'm curious as to which was the original phrase "two lips" or tulips"? I guess we may never know, but either way what a wonderful example of folk etymology.


And remember that in that streetplay post given by Butirfli@aol, she wrote "There was another one with this line" [I am assuming this refered to the spades said tulips" line], Butifli@aol then wrote lines from the Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop rhyme?

Well, here's an example of a USA children's handclap rhyme that starts with the words "the blacks go":

The Blacks go down down baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet sweet baby
I don't wanna let you go

Shimmy shimmy shimmy shimmy
shimmy shimmy-pop!
Shimmy shimmy shimmy shimmy
shimmy shimmy coke-ca-pop!

[Source: John Langstaff, Carol Langstaff "Shimmy Shimmy Coke-Ca-Pop!, A Collection of City Children's Street Games & Rhymes {Garden City, New York, Double Day & Co; p. 76; 1973}


In my opinion, this rhyme and Butirfli@aol's comments lend credence to my theory about the meaning of the phrase "the spades go".