Childhood Ditties 4

When I woke up this morning, a childhood ditty came to my mind.  It was:

The boys like the bacon
The girls like the eggs
The boys like the girls
With the big, fat legs!

Fresh wasn’t it?  My girlfriends and I recited this ditty in duos or trios holding and swinging our hands. They used to all point at me because I had big, fat legs…still do. In between each stanza, we said the following sounds that had no meaning that I ever learned:

Aarrii-touch-ta-touch-ta-touch, touch, touch.
Aaarii- touch-ta-touch-ta-touch, touch touch.

Another stanza from the ditty burrows from the recesses of my memory.

I can wash the dishes,
I can sweep the floor,
I can kiss my boyfriend
Behind the kitchen door.

Also fresh. We had boys-on-the-brain in seventh and eighth grade.  Actually, my first boys-on-the-brain memory was when I was in second grade and I followed Alfred around the playground and sang to him.  He kept walking fast to get away from me.  I wonder why?

Did you play “Con-ver-sa-tion?”  This wasn’t fresh but we always started it out thinking about boys.  In Con-ver-sa-tion you had to name a category of things in alphabetical order.  As in:

Slap, slap, slap
(we slapped our hands on our thighs)
Thinking up
Slap, slap, slap
Slap, slap, slap
Slap, slap, slap
Slap, slap, slap
Slap, slap, slap
Slap, slap, slap,

And so on until someone would forget the beat because they couldn’t think of a boys name in time.


“You’re out,” the caller would say.  And the rest of us would continue until we were eliminated.  If somehow we all got to the end of the alphabet with boys names (this was difficult to do in days before boys had names like Yusuf), we would pick another category:  automobiles, birds, or girls’ names.

Of course we played “Mary Mack,” “Devil ‘n’ the Pitchfork,” Chinese jump-rope, double-dutch, jacks, and hop-scotch.  We played any and everything before we were called back inside to homework, chores, or piano-practice. (I hated practicing scales and do not know how to play to this day!)

Our favorite ditty was “Little Sally Walker.”  Girls played Little Sally Walker all over this country, but ours had special sass – a St. Louis city-girl flair.

Little Sally Walker
Sitting in a saucer
Rise, Sally, Rise
(said with a drawl)
Oh, baby,
Wipe your weepy eyes
Oh, baby,
Put your hands on your hips
And let your backbone slip.
Oh, baby.
Shake it to the East
, (We almost threw out our backs throwing our pubescent or imaginary hips – they would come soon.)
Shake it to the West,
Shake it to the one that
You love the best.
(We all aimed our hips at Maurice or his twin playing dodge ball or something down the street.)

We were fresh and happy and outdoors sucking up the air, waiting for the Snow-Cone Man to come down the street in his long-low car and toot his horn and hoping we’d saved enough of our allowance to buy one or, if we hadn’t, our mothers would scrounge up some change.  The first couple of summers he came in a beat-up car, after that, he had a brand new Cadillac.

I don’t hear kids playing any more, even on the relatively benign block on which I live.  I didn’t hear kids playing on my old street, Elm Hill Park, either.  I guess it’s the busy times, the electronic times, the stay-inside-because- the-outside-is-unsafe-times in which we live.  ‘Tis a shame.


About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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