Saturday, September 22, 2007

My Name Is...

[memories evoked by the Sunday Scribblings prompt "Hi, my name is..."]

When I was a kid I used to jump rope. I jumped by myself, and at school recess, I jumped with my friends. I think that third grade (8 years old) was the peak of our jump-rope years, when we spent a lot of time not only jumping, but seeking out new jump-rope rhymes to use.

There was one that used the formula:

__ my name is _____

and my husband's name is ______.
We come from _____
and we sell ______.

as in

"A" my name is "Angie"

and my husband's name is "Andy"
We come from "Argentina"
and we sell "Airplanes."

"B" my name is "Bernice"
and my husband's name is "Bobby

Then there was:

Cinderella, dressed in yella,

went upstairs to kiss a fella,
How many kisses did it take?
1, 2, 3, ...

counting each jump of the rope until you missed.

Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around.

Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, read the news.
Teddy bear, teddy bear, shine your shoes.

where on cue we would "turn around," then briefly tag the ground between jumps, mime reading a newspaper, and brush the top of our feet with our hands.

The start of this one we swished the rope back and forth, but didn't swing it over the jumper's head until we said "Over":

Bluebells, cockle shells,

Eevie, ivy, OVER!

and it was followed by more rhyme that I can't remember.

There was another that started out regular speed, then at the word "pepper" it went to twice as fast.

There were more, but our jump-rope days were about to change. The world introduced us to what we called Chinese Jump Rope.

Instead of swinging a rope we had a long coated elastic band that went around the ankles of the people on the ends. It started out as low on the ankles as they could get it and we had a pattern we used to hop in and around it. I think it went something like:

Right (where the right leg was between the bands and the left leg out)
Left (where the left leg only was in)

On (where each foot held down one side of the rope)

In (both legs in)

Out (both legs outside, straddling both "ropes")

Twist (the jumper turned 180 degrees so the rope wrapped around her)

Jump (where the jumper hopped away from the twisted mess, hopefully untangling herself as she went)

The the band was moved up to the top of the ankles for another go. Then the mid-calf, then the knees, etc. The higher the band was placed, the harder it got to get your feet to clear it (or land on it in some cases). And it was MUCH harder to jump free at the end.

It was a good thing we were all pretty close to the ground back then! That and not weighing much meant we didn't get seriously hurt when we fell. Just some scraped knees. It certainly did keep us occupied for hours on end.


sophie said...

You remember much more detail than I do about jumping rope! My grandmother used to tell me that as a child I took a book and a jumprope everywhere I went. Depending on the situation, I used one or the other to amuse myself. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Jo said...

That certainly is detailed. All I can remember is mary mac mac mac all dressed in black black black

sister AE said...

Hi, Sophie!
Hi, Jo!

I especially remember songs. The chants we did to jump rope help with remembering - they got stuck in my brain somewhere.

There were a lot of hand-clap chants we did, too, but I don't remember any overlap between them and jumping rope.

Robin said...

I remember the first two songs, but the second two I'd never heard. You must beabout my age, I remember when Chinese jump rope arrived too.

Great stroll down memory lane.

sister AE said...

Hi, Robin. It's possible we're about the same age. It's also likely the differences are regional.

Stacy said...

I remembered all the rhymes the instant I started to read them. I wonder how many are still chanted today. Thanks for the nostalgia.

Eden said...

Wow, does that bring back some memories... especially the TeddyBear one. We used to spend every recess jumping rope. It tires me out just to think about it.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I was always so bad at jumping rope, terrible... Though that didn't stop me enjoying your post!

sister AE said...

Hi, Stacy,
If a search of the web is correct, it seems as though a fair number are still in use, but they seem alike across the country, now, and may even include references to spongebob.

Welcome, Eden.
I had to act out the chinese jump rope stuff to remember it, but Boy! is it harder to get me off the ground these days!

Hello, Juliet,
I'm glad I got in my jump-rope days before my feet started to grow. I tripped over them for years once that happened.

gautami tripathy said...

Pretty interesting!

sister AE said...

Hi, Gautami. Thanks.

odessa said...

i really enjoyed this! i was obsessed with "chinese garter" (that's what we called it in the philippines) when i was little. this piece brings back so many wonderful memories. thanks a lot for including all those lovely details!

sister AE said...

Thanks, odessa. Did you also dance with the long stick-things? Someone I knew who had been in the Philippines tried to teach us the tinikling or tinkling dance, but we never got very far.

echo said...

I hadn't thought about jump rope in ages. I never was very good at it, but I still enjoyed it. Thanks for the tip about perma-links.

sister AE said...

Welcome, echo. Hope the tip works for you.

tumblewords said...

I remember these! Jumping rope was a big deal then, don't often see it happening now - Enjoyed your post (as usual)...

sister AE said...

Hi, tumblewords. Thank you so much.

Maria said...

Wow. That took me back. I bought Liv a jump rope this summer, but she spent scant time on it, was FAR more interested in Bing's old skateboard.

Sighing here.

sister AE said...

Hi, Maria,
The only time I spent on a skateboard was on the one that had belonged to my older brother. Hmm, I may have to write a post about all the things we used to ride on...