Mudcat Café message #2090772 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #102055   Message #2090772
Posted By: Azizi
30-Jun-07 - 06:43 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Play Ground Hand Jives
Subject: RE: Folklore: Play Ground Hand Jives
EuGene, thanks for those examples! Thanks also for including demographical information.

I've never seen or heard that version of "I love coffee/I love tea". I'm interested in the way that the example starts out with an introductory verse before moving to the "I love coffee/I love tea" lines. I've noticed that a number of African American handclap rhymes start with short introductory phrases. Two examples are-"Shame Shame Shame"; "Zing Zing Zing and ah one two three".

I'm wondering if this billygoat chasing rhyme or the line "and this is what he said to me" is used to introduce other children's rhymes that you {or others} remember or do you remember it just from this rhyme?

I have seen lines in some children's rhymes about grandma hitting someone or being hit herself with a hickory stick. For example there's this verse:

"Grandma, grandma sick in bed
called the doctor and the doctor said.
Get up grandma, you aint sick
All you need is a hickory stick.

This is from Talley's "Negro Folk Rhymes" and I've seen it published elsewhere, though Talley may be the oldest printed source there is.

Children chant this verse nowadays by rote memory without thinking about its lyrics or the historical information it contains. However, I believe that this 19th century or older verse shows how slave masters treated older enslaved people who were ill {and, by extension, any enslaved person who was ill}. Their illnesses would be discounted and if the sick person didn't get up from bed, they'd be beaten by a hickory stick.

Here's a widely used example of this verse which I found in a number of versions of "I Love Coffee/I Love Tea" in Pittsburgh, PA area -though in theat area children {at least African American children who I've known and interacted with} call that handclap rhyme "Down Down Baby":

Mama, Mama I feel sick
Send for the doctor quick quick quick
Doctor, Doctor, will I die?
Close your eyes and count to five.
I'm alive!


Sometimes-for some reason a child {usually a girl ages 5-12 years} would add after the "I'm alive" line "and on channel five".

I've found this verse-with & without the channel five part-on various Internet sites. I've also seen the ending "1-2-3-4-5. Too late, I died."