Bubblegum, bubblegum, in a dish. How many pieces do you wish?
Engine engine number nine, going down Chicago line. If the train should jump the track, do you want your money back?
My mother and your mother were hanging out clothes. My mother punched your mother right in the nose. What color was the blood?
These are all childhood rhymes. When you play a game like hide and seek, somebody has to be “it”. So everyone sticks a hand in, in a circle, and one person does a rhyme, tapping around the circle of hands to the meter of the rhyme, and then at the end of the rhyme, the last person tapped is given a choice to make or a question to answer.
The choice is made, and then the caller reacts to the choice by tapping around the circle and saying some more stuff, which ultimately ends on one person’s hand, who is “it”, or not, depending on what the caller says. Here’s an example of the full version.
My mother and your mother were hanging out clothes. My mother punched your mother right in the nose. What color was the blood? Red? R – E – D spells “red” and you are not “it” for this game of hide and go seek.
So with the choice made, each letter and word is a hand tap, right, and you go around the circle in rhythm. Whoever they ended on would be not “it”, and would drop out of the circle. And then another rhyme would be called out, either by the same caller or a different caller. And another player would be eliminated from the circle, and so on until there’s just one left.
You collected these rhymes the more you played with other kids and heard new ones. If you knew a rhyme that nobody else in your group knew, that was your chance to shine.
Numbers were interesting. Like the bubblegum dish calls for a number from whoever it lands on. The caller has the option of counting the number out, or spelling the number. Obviously, the system is pretty flexible and ripe for abuse.
With a big group it would take awhile to whittle it down to the one person who ends up being “it”. It was a game before the game. I always liked that. I can only remember it being done before tag or hide and seek, but we may have used it for other games.
I wonder how widespread this practice was. Is? Could it still be going on? I suppose it must be. But I haven’t done it in a long-ass time.