Appalachia Rhymes

See A Penny

See a penny pick it up

See a penny pick it up
All day long you’ll have good luck!


See a penny, pick it up
All day long you’ll have good luck.
Give that penny to a friend,
And your luck will never end.


The first version is the one I heard growing up-I recently heard Granny saying it so I guess she’s who I heard it from first. Seems like there was something about putting the penny in your shoe too.

Do you remember either version-or another one? How about the shoe part remember anything about that?


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  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 23, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I knew about company scrip. I just wanted to know of the coins were called doogulu. When I spelled it correctly, I found only one site that referred to it as dooguloo. I heard the term all my young referring to money in general but I hadn’t seen the real thing until Daddy brought it home. “See A Penny” brought it to mind.
    Near here is the remains of Henry River Mill. That’s where part of the “Hunger Games” was filmed. It was a cotton mill that operated in the first half of the 20th century here in Burke county. It had a dam that supplied power for the mill and for the mill village that occupied the surrounding area. The company had a store and owned all the houses where the people lived. It issued company scrip that it used to pay its employees but it wasn’t worth as much if it was spent elsewhere. So the employees paid their rent, paid for food and fuel with company money. Most of the time the folks ended up owing more than the made. When they reached that point, the company owned them.
    There is the remains of another old mill town at Rhodhiss. I drive through it every day I go to work. There are about 50 or so mill houses still spread all up the sides of the mountains there. They are all exactly the same except for the modifications done by recent tenants. Duke Power bought the dam there and I suppose sold the mill village to private citizens. Duke still operates the power house there.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Tipper–Tell Ed Ammons that his spelling may be the problem with finding information on the “coins” he mentions. The use of scrip or doogaloo (the common spelling) was widespread in the mountains and beyond from the turn of the century well into and perhaps beyond the 1930s. It was most common in logging camps and similar operations, but the practice was by no means limited to them.
    In fact, it was so widespread that it is a fairly common focus of numismatists.
    The doogaloo his father found was likely issued by Norwood Lumber Company.
    Don has some images of doogaloo.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    and Jim….most of the scrip spoken of around here (East TN) is coal mining scrip. There are a lot of folks collect it, Kentucky, Tenn. and Virginias…
    I am sure somewhere there was some doogaloo (in my Grandparents junk drawer) mentioned by you and Ed…as I have (“antique”) pictures of my Grandfather around the logging camps, way before he married my Grandmother, bought land in Madison county and turned tobacco farmer!…The old pictures showed rows of tents in the background, actually nearly or right on the railroad!…Just stumps of trees standing in some of the backgrounds. He must have been a boss or something ’cause all the pictures of him with the men and women he was shown with, pictured him in a suit…and I know it were’nt no preacher! LOL
    I used to hear my Dad refer to logging scrip that his father talked of back in the olden days!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

    I know this is the day after the penny post but I have a strange story to tell….
    There were the basketball games yesterday afternoon…with the grandchildren…2:15, 3:00 and 6:15! After the grandson’s 3:00PM game I was going up the back steps of the school lifting and pushing my rollalater…the steps are very wide like a stoop…We park there so I will not have so far to roll…LOL Anyhow, right there on the backside of that stoop was a penny! The words flowed like (I had just heard them that morning) water out of a glass…I said,
    Find a penny pick it up and all the day you will have good luck…
    Give a penny to a friend….when my smart aleck husband interrupted with,…”and you’ll have less money to spend.”
    I said, “Oh hush!” and put it in my pocket and rolled on to the car!

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    I remember the one about the shoe, and to this day when I find a penny, although I believe in God and not luck, I stick it in my shoe.
    I remember when I was in high school, the tradition was to stick a nickel in each of your penny loafers, so if you were on a date, and the guy got fresh, you’d have enough to call home from a pay phone for someone to come and get you. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 22, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    When my Daddy was working in the park he brought home some coins he found in the Hazel Creek area. They were minted by one of the big lumber companies that ravaged that area in the early 20th century. Daddy called it “doogalu” and seemed to be familiar with term. Like a fool I never asked and don’t know what happened to the coins. I googled doogulu and didn’t get anything, at least not in English.
    Do you or Pap know what I am talking about?

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 22, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Finding a penny ain’t hardly worth
    bending over to pick it up anymore.
    But penny loafers were very popular
    when I was in Grammer School. In High
    School, a shiny dime was more
    accepted in each shoe.
    We use to lay pennies on the Railroad
    Tracks to flaten ’em out for a nice
    Bracelet for girls…Ken

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    My Mother would bend over to pick up a penny until she no longer could,while reciting the 1st rhyme. I used to get on to her for exerting such effort. I shouldn’t have.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I don’t remember either one of these, but I do remember penny loafers. I don’t think I ever put a penny in my loafers, though.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Can’t quite remember–the verse for brides that went something like this: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, a lucky sixpence in your shoe.
    See a pin & pick it up, All the day you’ll have good luck. See a pin & let it lie, You’ll want a pin the day you die. Pretty morbid!!
    I Love to find coins. The old saying was that if the coin was heads up it was good luck. Always feel like it’s a little gift whether it’s heads up or down.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I leave pennies that are tails up in case somebody put a wart on it.
    And I usually save all my found change for the year and put it in the red kettle at Christmas.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Tipper–Several thoughts on pennies. First of all, I simply cannot resist sharing a story from the early childhood of Don’s youngest son. They were living in the Raleigh area at the time and I stopped for a visit. Will, who was probably three or four at the time, met me at the door. “Uncle Jim,” he immediately asked, “Have you got a peenie?” I dug in my pants pockets, but to no avail. I had some other change but nary a penny.
    He seemed frustrated by this and asked again, with more urgency, “Have you got a peenie!?”
    I said, “No, I’m sorry but I don’t have one.”
    He was really concerned then, at about that point Susan showed up. He asked again and she turned several shades redder than the maple buds which are beginning to flower here.
    Turns out his inquiry concerned my male privates, not a coin.
    If that passes the censor, then the rest is bland.
    Like Miss Cindy and others, I well remember penny loafers, and if you really wanted to be in style, they had to be Bass Weejuns (I never had them–Daddy’s budget didn’t run to such extravagances).
    I’ve always had a knack for finding coins, and not just pennies. I think it’s because I look for them, and that’s likely the explanation of my ability to find four-leaf clovers. In fact, I’ve picked up coins three different times in the last week.
    I pay no attention to heads of tails. If I see it I pick it up.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 22, 2014 at 10:30 am

    Penny talk…
    Good beautiful Saturday morning on this George Washington’s birthday and also my Grandfathers birthday…so cool, I used to think, when I was a kid! When you’re a kid, you think it is rare for someone else to have the same birthday as yourself…
    At any rate, (penny stocks) penny or otherwise, today is penny talk!
    The rhyme my Mother used to say to me was about pins…she never said the penny one much! Maybe it was because she sewed so much!
    See a pin and pick it up
    All the day you’ll have good luck!
    See a pin and let it lay
    Bad luck you’ll have one day!
    This is an old, old nursery rhyme as well it is in one of my Nursery Rhyme books. Since in the olden (medival) ages pinners and needle manufacture was very important…and expensive! I also read that this was where the sayin’ Pin Money came from?!?
    For years when I was a little girl I would save every saftey pin or straight pin I found, in a jar on my dresser? Back then people used safety pins for everything. Especially those big silver ones for pinning diapers!
    Tiny gold ones for pinning scarves in place, and flowers etc!
    My first recollection about any kind of penny was…Henny Penny!
    Remember the hen? Poor Henny Penny?
    A penny saved is a penny earned!
    And the dollars will take care of themselves…?
    It wasn’t until Penny loafers do I remember the rhyme…
    Find a penny pick it up.
    All the day you’ll have good luck.
    Put the penny in your shoe, and good luck will come to you!
    I guess that was around 1954, ninth grade, for me…Wowsy!
    However, we always wanted those shiny new pennies in our loafers or if you could afford it a nice shiny Mercury silver dime!
    Nowadays people throw around pennies like paper. Men seem to hate to carry them. Want to find pennies? Go to one of those car wash places that you spray and wash the car yourself. I always find pennies there! Especially, where they use the vacuum and shake the car mats…ewwwww! I don’t care, I pick them up anyhow!
    I have saved pennies for years! When I was a kid I had a whole jar of those 1947 lead pennies…somehow water got in my jar and they rusted…ewwww
    I still have a big jar of pennies.
    One time after we were married, we went thru our jars of pennies, counted and rolled them and took them to the bank. Came in pretty handy for a young married couple!
    I hope there are still a few of the copper pennies (before 1981) still in a jar somewhere! The copper is worth way more than the value of the penny!…
    Well, I hope this posts…I’ve about dimed out my thoughts…
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…A penny for your thoughts!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 22, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I always pick up every penny I find but I never ever spend them nor any of the pennies I receive in change. I put them all in a jar and save them for my grandsons. Right now I am looking a gallon Mt. Olive pickle jar full.
    When I was in school at Almond we used to cross the road to Jerry Howard’s store with our pennies. Kits were the best buy at 3 for a penny. It took a long time to decide which 3 flavors to buy for your penny.
    PS: I always check for wheat and steel pennies before I roll them.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    February 22, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Wrote this a few years ago for a Navy Blog:
    What’s a Penny Worth?
    by: Garland Davis
    I walk my dog for at least an hour each day. Seldom is the day that I do not find one or more pennies. I have been told that people throw them away because they no longer have value. I won’t dispute that. Those worthless little aluminum one yen coins that so many Asia Sailors are familiar with have actually been worth more than the penny for the last few months. The penny and the yen are about equal in value now.
    Two bills were recently introduced in Congress to eliminate the coin. Both bills failed in committee. The cost to produce one penny is 2 ¼ ¢. Sounds like a losing proposition to me. Canada recently ceased production of the one cent coin.
    I remember a time when the penny represented wealth to a little five year old boy. Finding a penny presented a myriad of possible purchases. A sucker or a wad of bubble gum could be had. There were also jaw breakers, peppermint or horehound sticks. I think I got as much satisfaction from the anticipation of my purchase as I did from the item I bought. After the decision and transaction buyer’s remorse often created the feeling in your stomach that you had made the wrong decision.
    I was about six when I found two Indian Head Pennies while digging in the dirt at a tobacco barn. I knew what a penny was. These were strange coins. I was hoping they had value. My Dad and Mom were working with others to get tobacco leaves strung on the sticks and into the barn. When I got the chance, I asked what the coins were. Everyone was looking at the pennies. One of the men at the barn offered to give me a quarter for them. A Quarter! Untold Wealth! I could hardly wait until the tobacco was in the barn and we could go to the store.
    A few years later in my life, ten pennies would buy a beer or a bar drink at Happy Hour in the Seaside Club, Yokohama Japan. I remember combing through my locker for errant coins hoping to find enough to finance a night at the Petty Officer’s Club in Yokosuka, Japan.
    I was wondering, how many pennies are no longer in circulation but stored away in jars, cans, ash trays, and urns. A neighbor gave my wife an urn that will probably hold a gallon of water. I have been putting pennies into it for the last twenty seven years. I have no idea how many are there and I’ll be darned if I count and roll them. It takes a thousand of them to make ten bucks and you cannot buy a lot with a sawbuck any longer.
    There is a supermarket near my house that has a machine that will count them for a percentage of the total and they will give you cash. I guess I’ll eventually take them up there. That is if I can get my wife to help carry the heavy bags. But then she will probably take the proceeds.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    February 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

    My wife calls them pennys from heaven and that a found penny means that your guardian angel is watching over you.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 22, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Tipper, bet you don’t remember Penny Loafers, when you really put a penny in them. I vaguely remember the penny in you shoe thing but not enough to repeat it.
    I’ve always been lucky finding lots of change on the ground. I remember that finding a penny is good luck and if you give the penny to someone you give them the good luck with it. Nowadays the poor penny is worth so little that no one wants it.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 8:12 am

    I don’t remember hearing either version, but I remember always thinking that picking up that penny was my gain and someone else’s loss. A few years back I was told not to pick up a penny that is found with tails up, but a found penny with heads up was good luck – pick it up. I consider any penny found my gain, so I pick it up. One never knows when one will need that penny to pay the sales tax.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    February 22, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Can’t say that I ever heard the ‘saying’ about a penny. One ‘far out’ expression I remember is CATCH A FALLING STAR – but that was a song for dreamers I guess. Hope you have sunshine today!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    February 22, 2014 at 8:12 am

    See a penny pick it up
    All day long you’ll have good luck.
    When I was a very young boy, my grandmother and I would walk up the road a ways to a small general store almost daily. I saw a penny and my grandmother said a phrase similar to the one above in German. I still have that penny.

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    February 22, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I always heard penny loafers with a penny in them were good luck. I wouldn’t know…as a farm boy, penny loafers were for the city kids. We wore more substantial footwear, or last years basketball shoes. Not complaining…life has been good to me.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Hi Tipper,use to put pennys in our loafers back in the 50s. found heads up-good luck. Its just 3 am here in Hi. Better get some sleep.God Bless Jean

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 22, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I do remember the shoe, seems it had to be a shiny new penny. We all had penny loafers to put them on.
    I also remember the penny we found and picked up had to be heads up.

  • Reply
    February 22, 2014 at 7:22 am

    The shoe part….Maybe you are remembering “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a penny for your shoe” – which is often part of the bridal tradition. When the verse first began the word was sixpence instead of penny.

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