Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Old Wives' Tales

A recent discussion about old wives' tales on one of the Networking Sites I frequent got me to thinking about all of those little life warnings my mother passed on to me as a child. I know now, as a baby boomer, that most of what she said isn't true, because most old wives' tales were used to discourage unwanted behavior.

But when you're growing up, mom's words are like the Bible and you didn't dare question them.

Here are some of the ones I remember:

If your nose is itching, someone is talking about you.

If you hand is itching, that means you are about to get money.

A cat will steal your baby’s breath if you let them near a newborn.

If you cross your eyes, they will get stuck.

If you hold a aspirin between your legs you wont get pregnant.

If you keep making an ugly face its going to stay that way.

Touching a toad will give you warts.

Drinking coffee will stunt your growth.

For African-Americans, drinking black coffee will make you darker.

Eating bread crust would make your hair curly

If a woman’s carrying low, it’s a boy; if she’s carrying high, it’s a girl.

A bat in the house is a sign of a death.

When you see a funeral procession go by, you have to make the sign of the cross or someone in your family will be next.

A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad sign

Step on a crack will break your mothers back.

Knock on wood so you don’t jinx youself.

If it rains on your wedding day, you'll cry plenty of tears throughout your marriage. Now that's the one I BELIEVE!

What about you? What can you add to this list?


Natalie Tucker Miller, IAC-CC said...

This reminds me of the Amish couple who drove my husband and I from the church after our wedding (26 yrs ago!) and, it being a mild night, the Amish husband said to my husband "Good thing the weather is mild. There is a saying we have 'sloppy weather on wedding day, your wife will be a sloppy cook'"

Thanks for the memory. ;-)

Tishia said...

Those are funny! Some of them I had never heard before but most I had.

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

This was fun to read. My mother was told a knife under her pillow would "cut" the pain of childbirth, but I don't think she tried it! Still, some of these have an element of truth -- or at least you can see where they might have come from.

I enjoyed reading this, and gave you a link (which will be published tomorrow morning) over at, where I am a guest editor.

Thanks again for an interesting post!

Eileen Williams said...

What an amazing list of incredible old wives' tales. I never heard of many of these--which is probably a good thing--I might have believed them!
I never drank coffee as a kid (and grew up tall). Now that I do, however, I find myself shrinking--hmmm!

Virtual Woman's Day said...

Love it!

One of my mohter's favorite sayings was, "go to be with dogs and you wake up with fleas" ... to this day I have not slept with dogs! :).

Have a great day,

Heidi Richards Mooney, Author, Entrepreneur, Coach

Joyce Mason said...

Not to forget, "You make your bed; you lie in it." I could never figure out how that was physically possible, LOL! On the side of credibility, I don't think a woman could possibly get pregnant while holding an aspirin between her legs. My mom used to say, "If your nose itches you're about to kiss a fool." But then, she was forever mixing things up, including metaphors, due to her hearing problem. Once I got to grade school, I had to relearn many of the nursery rhymes, etc. Maybe that's how I learned early-on to question authority. :)

Betty Lynch said...

Oh, I remember these, thanks for the memory! Do you know my mother still believes that the cat will still a baby's breath. She is terrified of cats for this reason. She is 80 yrs old.

Debra Stokes said...

Wow. I think I've heard just about all of them! Did your Mom get together with my Mom???? Good to know that their wisdom was not limited to these kinds of tales. Thanks for sharing.

Lady Lynn's Boutique said...

I remember so many of these. If you break a mirror you'll have seven years of bad luck. The one I remember the best is that if you baby is overdue, eat oysters and it will help the baby slide out. My first born was 2 weeks past the due date, so I ate a peck of oysters...and obviously no one slide out that night. LOL

Anonymous said...

Love this post Bev. And walking under a latter would give you 7 years a bad luck.