My Momma Told Me

My moma told me rhyme

My momma told me a long time ago,
“Son don’t you marry no girl you know.
She’ll spend all your money,
Sell all your clothes;
Then what will become of you
Goodness only knows.”

*Rhyme from Ethel Hicks – Buffaloe North Carolina early 1920s.


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  • Reply
    February 15, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    shirley ellis, same one who sang the name game. i always associate it with new orleans. https://youtu.be/qWuSPPLtkEQ

    • Reply
      February 15, 2020 at 6:54 pm

      and while we’re at it, here’s the name game. https://youtu.be/VxahOPzA9S8. which i know we can all recite for any name, in our sleep!
      i remember it especially because the first boy ever to have a crush on me biked all the way to my house to give me the 45 for my 13th birthday. and i couldn’t figure out why. turned out he’d heard the girls singing it on the jr. high gym field; i thought that was pretty dumb as it was 1965 and didn’t he know nobody existed but the beatles? (i was verrrry slow on the uptake, never figured out anybody was ever interested in me until i was around 25 or so…)

  • Reply
    February 8, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I’ve heard most of these in various versions, and they bring back such memories. I had not heard Sue’s ‘Ella’, but I think it’s my favorite!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Ella-ma-knee and Pinch-ma-knee went down to the river to bathe.
    Ella-ma-knee got “drownded” – who got saved?
    I shan’t admit how many times I answered and got my knee pinched before the light dawned!!!!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

    I was trying to learn to whistle one day (and not doing a very good job of it). My grandmother heard me and said, “A whistling woman and a crowing hen, are sure to come to some bad end!” 🙂
    Barbara H.

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    February 8, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Go to U-Tube and listen to the song-
    Blues in the Night—several artists sang
    It. (My mama done told me-When I was in
    Knee pants ———)
    Charles Fletcher

  • Reply
    Betty Louise Saxon-Hopkins
    February 8, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Love these! They bring to mind one my Mama taught me about the rubber dolly but Mama’s version was slightly different. It goes:
    My Mama told me if I’d be goody, that she would buy me a rubber dolly;
    but if I tell her, I’ve got a feller,
    then she won’t buy me a rubber dolly.
    I want my dolly and I want my feller, too!
    Betty Louise Saxon-Hopkins

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 8, 2014 at 10:40 am

    My momma told me
    If I was goody
    That she would buy me
    A rubber dollie
    My aunty told her
    I kissed a soldier
    Now she won’t buy me
    A rubber dollie!
    The goose drank wine
    The monkey chewed tobacco on the street car line
    The line broke
    The monkey got choked
    And we all when to heaven
    In a little row boat
    Clap! Clap!

    • Reply
      February 15, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      well, i was trying to reply to you, but it went in its own comment. and then i replied to myself. sigh.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 8, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Tipper–This post, together with Grandpa Ken’s comment, leaves me in the position of being unable to resist the marital experiences of a longtime friend. He’s now in his seventh (that’s right!–seven)marriage. After a great deal of practice, I think this one will actually “stick,” but what a character this fellow is.
    Recently when I saw him he said, “Darn it, Jim,I had things all worked out. With six ex-wives I could be buried with them serving as pallbearers. Then I’ll be damned if one of them didn’t up and die on me.”
    That should serve as some index to just what a character this guy is (and he’s as fine an outdoor writer as you are likely to find anywhere).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    February 8, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I think folks back then made up rhymes to get a point across. My Grandmother
    annoyed my brother with things like “little Dickie Dout with his shirttail out” which
    just meant tuck your shirt in. I think he left it out just to irritate her.

  • Reply
    grandpa Ken
    February 8, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Amen son your ma was right I’ve married 4 so I know!!!!
    grandpa Ken

  • Reply
    February 8, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I think that could be a jump rope rhyme, but not one I am familiar with. If my memory serves me right, there was a hit song in the fifties/sixties with something similar to those words. I can’t remember the artist, but I can sort of remember the part of the rhythm.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    February 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Used to hear what may be a shortened version of this. It went “That’s the way it goes, first your money, then your clothes”.

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    February 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Sounds like a formula for a Momma keeping her son to herself.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    February 8, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Well Tipper, I would call that fair warning from a mama to her son. But it seems to me she should have said “Don’t marry a girl you DON’T KNOW!” I would like to know if the girl and fellow are your kinfolks.
    Hope your day is Sunny!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 8, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Tipper, when I saw the title I thought it sounded familiar and I’d know this one but no, I don’t remember ever hearing it. Maybe it was a song that started with Momma done told me.
    I do love the picture! That is Ruth, my mother’s older sister and her husband Guy. They were really good folks. They never had children but were grandparents to Ruth and my mom’s youngest sister’s two children.

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