Reply Tue 13 May, 2003 10:05 am
Perhaps the last oral tradition is the playground game.

Growing up in the 1950s in the Midwest, one of our playground games was, "I'm the King of Merry-O." My memory of this game is hazy but it involved children forming two lines which faced each other. Hands were joined and the children walked back and forth toward the opposite line, singing,

"I'm the king of merry-O, merry-O, merry-O.
I'm the king of merry-O, ratsy, tatsy, tee-I-O."

That was the chorus and I think that the rest of the game consisted of selecting children from the opposite line, along the lines of the farmer in the dell.

Does anyone else remember this game?

Given the sort of words that resemble what Pete Seeger once called, "polly linkle didle words," or songs the Clancy Bros. might have sung, does the game have Irish origins?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 8,328 • Replies: 14
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Noddy24
 
  2  
Reply Wed 14 May, 2003 04:52 pm
I never played "The King of Merry-O". A game I remember fondly was "Go in and Out the Windows" which seemed to me to be a shadow, somehow, of something terribly important.

We used to sing ALL the verses of "London Bridge":

"Here is a candle to light you to bed,
Here is a hatchet to chop off your head."

I'm both shocked and saddened that there is no time now during school recess for play-party games.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 May, 2003 04:58 pm
What are they doing during recess now? There's an elementary school near my house, and I see the kids out there playing sports and running amok. The nice thing--and far different from when I went to school--is that I see girls playing basketball, not just boys.

But it would be sad if those old games disappear. We did something called brownies and fairies, though I have no recollection as to how it was played...
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2003 09:13 am
D'Artagnan,

Sorry for the long wait for a response: haven't had much time recently.

The kids I see as a substitute teacher play basketball, jump rope, play hopscotch, kick ball, use swings and climbing gyms. Sometimes, they sit and talk but that's after playing for a while.
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2003 09:22 am
Sounds like what they seem to be doing in the playground at the school near me. Looks like a lot of fun!
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Equus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2003 12:59 pm
Sounds like "Red Rover". Two teams would lineup facing each other on opposite sides of the playground. Teammates would hold hands. Team one would decide which player on team two they wanted to pick. Then team one would chant, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send (Jimmy) right over!". Then, Jimmy would have to run through the Team one line, breaking the hand-held link somewhere. If he fails to break through the line, Jimmy becomes a member of Team one. If he succeeds in breaking through the line, Jimmy gets to pick a Team one player to take back to Team two. The game continues until only team remains.
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2003 04:39 pm
omigoodness! the memories of playground and neighbourhood games ... red rover was a big one in our neighbourhood ... we could play it for hours and hours after school and 'essen'. or at least until it was a bit past dark and the parents started calling the first kids in.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2003 10:51 am
Equus,
It was like Red Rover, which we also played, but more like The Farmer in the Dell, which we played as a game, not just as a nursery song. In fact, the selection was like Farmer and there were definite roles that the called were asked to fill. I just can't remember what they were. Seems it would have been Queen instead of wife.

Sometime ago, someone said the only remaining folklore in America is the body of playground games, chants and songs. That made me think of King of Merry-O particularly since there seems to be something Irish about it.
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mastrclndr
 
  2  
Reply Sat 4 Oct, 2008 06:19 pm
@plainoldme,
I remember the phrase: "ratsy tatsy Tee I O"
my father would say it when something went wrong and he was stuck with the consequences. He came over from England as a young boy after WWI and grew up in Glendale, Pasadena, Pomona area. I read a rhyme using Ratsy Tatsy Titty Bow Wow and ratsy Tatsy Tee as characters, and the rhyme referred to Dukes etc. So my guess it has European(British) origins. My Mother came from Iowa, and never heard such a phrase from her.
kelley8
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2014 08:06 am
@mastrclndr,
OK, I'm new. But my mother would sing: "Why don't you marry one of us, girls, Us, girls, us, girls, Why don't you marry one of us, girls, So Ratsy, Tatsy, Tee I O." I have no idea what the game was, if there was one. She grew up in Glendale, Pasadena, Loma Linda area. Grandparents were German born.
kelley8
 
  2  
Reply Tue 29 Jul, 2014 08:12 am
@kelley8,
Me, again. The song's reply to the preceding phrase was: "Because you're too dirty and greasy, Greasy, greasy, Because you're too dirty and greasy, So Ratsy Tatsy Tee I O." ???
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Aldistar
 
  2  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2014 07:29 pm
We would play Red Rover a lot in elementary. Also Duck Duck Goose and the parachute game. My favorite was Sink the Bismarck, It's a mix of tag and dodge ball. The whole class starts out in a large circle with 5 dodge balls in the center. When someone yelled "GO!" everyone scattered or ran for the balls. If you got hit by a ball you had to sit down in that spot. Once you sat down you were a mine and tried to tag people as they ran past you. If you tagged them they had to sit down and be a 'mine' too. After a while you had several little 'islands' of mines scattered about and the people who were still running around had to avoid them and the dodge balls. If someone threw a ball at you and you caught it then they had to sit. You play until there is only one person left standing. It was tons of fun.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Aug, 2014 08:33 am
@mastrclndr,
I would guess that I never saw this post because it appeared during a period when I wasn't involved here. Thank you so much for this information.
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plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Sun 10 Aug, 2014 08:34 am
@Aldistar,
It sounds like fun
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Tpy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 20 Apr, 2016 08:19 am
Remember playing "Brownies and Faries" back in first grade/kindergarten, not sure which. Was a great time to live. Had pine needle forts, used pine branches for brooms to sweep forts, and slid down pine needle hills on large piece of cardboard. Had to look it up-Two hundred games that teach-page 71-https:google-books.com.
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