Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sailing in the Boat Till the Tide Runs High

Children Playing Circle Games VA 93-50
International Grenfell Association photograph collection
Photo: Courtesy of The Rooms
While researching children’s ring games last week I came across a game which I had never heard before.  The game “Sailing in the Boat (Ship) Till the Tide Runs High” is found in three sources on Memorial University’s DAI.  It is first found in a fictional short story written in 1950 and published in the Atlantic Guardian in which the youth of the community Come Again Harbour play a ring game to the tune:
Sailing in the ship ‘til the tide runs high,
Waiting for the pretty girls to come by and by, […] 
Choose your partner now today,
Give her a kiss and send her on her way.  
The other two sources mention the game being played in a community hall in Lumsden and the song being sung at the third annual Newfoundland picnic in Lynwood City Park, California in 1956.

I did a quick google search to see what I could come up with and I came across a couple of references to the ring game with more complete versions of the song.  The following version is from Otto Tucker and is found in Newfoundland author Robin McGrath’s book All In Together:
Sailing in the boat ’til the tide runs high, 
Sailing in the boat ’til the collar flags fly, 
Sailing in the boat ’til the tide runs high, 
Waiting for the pretty girls to come by and by. 
Choose your partner now today, 
Choose, oh choose her right away, 
I don’t care what the old folks say. 
Oh what a horrible choice you’ve made, 
And she can no longer stay. 
Since she can no longer stay, 
Give her a kiss and send her away.

There are a number of versions with different lyrics.  Here is William Wells Newell’s version from his book Games and Songs of American Children:
Sailing in the boat when the tide runs high,[x3]
Waiting for the pretty girl to come by'm by.

Here she comes, so fresh and fair,
Sky-blue eyes and curly hair,
Rosy in cheek, dimple in her chin,
Say, young man, but you can't come in.

Rose in the garden for you young, man,[x2]
Rose in the garden, get it if you can,
But take care not a frost-bitten one.

Choose your partner, stay till day, [x3]
And don't never mind what the old folks say!

Old folks say 'tis the very best way, [x3]
To court all night and sleep all day.

Folklorist Emelyn E. Gardner references the following version from the Michigan area in her article Some Play-party Games in Michigan written in 1920:
Sailing in the boat when the tide runs high, [x3]
Waiting for a pretty girl to come by and by.

Oars in the boat, and it won't go round [x3]
Till you kiss the pretty girl that you just found.

Do you have memory of this song?  Have you ever played the game yourself? Which version did you sing? Let us know where you are from, what song you sung or game you played.  Send an email to

I’ll leave you with the following YouTube clip I found of “Sailing in the Boat” sung by Elizabeth Austin and a group of women in Old Bight, Cat Island, Bahamas recorded by Alan Lomax and Mary Barnicle in 1935.  


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tuesday's Folklore Photo - Red Sky at Night - Weather Lore

Red sky at sunset.
It has been a while since we've posted a folklore photo.  So today I posted a picture taken a couple of years ago at my pop's cabin.  I had a hard time finding a photo which related to Newfoundland weather lore although I came across lots of sources about Newfoundland weather on the DAI.

Last week's snow and everyone's complaints about St. John's having snow in May made me think of the folk belief that May snow had special properties.  Both folklorist Dale Jarvis and archivist Larry Dohey have written about it in their blogs.  You can click here for Dale's post and here for Larry's for more information.

Today I figured I would ask the question: What beliefs do you know about the weather?

I posted the picture of the sunset with the red sky because as a child I always heard the rhyme:
Red sky at night,
Sailor's delight,
Red sky in morning,
Sailor's take warning.

What are some of the other ways to foretell the weather?  Do you know any other warnings?

I've always heard of galing cats predicting a storm.  Do you know any other animals who can predict the weather?

Comment here or send an email to

Here are two beliefs sent in by Berk Reynolds originally from Salmon Cove, Conception Bay North:
1. Animals, particularly goats coming home from the hills before a storm in summer
(or when you wouldn't expect them)

2. Whatever the prevailing wind direction is at noon on Good Friday so it will be for the summer


Friday, May 8, 2015

Job posting: Heritage Assistant (Student) for Pasadena

Heritage Assistant (Student)

The Pasadena Heritage Society – NL is seeking an enthusiastic, outgoing and organized individual to act as a Heritage Assistant to deliver a number of tasks related to preserving and promoting the heritage of the Town of Pasadena.

Location: Town of Pasadena
Rate of Pay: $10.25/hour; 35 hours/week (some evening and weekend work required)
Duration: 7 weeks

 Heritage inventory and cataloguing
 Oral histories including interviewing residents and transcribing for use on website
 Organize and facilitate heritage awareness activities including a presence at Pasadena Strawberry Days
 Other duties as assigned

 Basic computer skills
 Ability to work independently
 Excellent oral and written communication skills
 An interest in the heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador, and a commitment to its preservation, preferably augmented by courses in Newfoundland and Labrador history, folklore, historical geography, religious history
 Some background in oral history practice would be an asset 

To submit an application, please email your resume and cover letter to All interested applicants are encouraged to apply however preference may be given to post-secondary applicants. Applicants must be residents of Pasadena (or surrounding communities in the Humber Valley) and a current student who is intending to return to studies in September. The incumbent will work out of the Town Hall and will take direction from the Heritage Society board of directors via a work plan. This is a great opportunity to get experience in the heritage sector.

Closing Date: May 15, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Old gates in historic Harbour Grace, Newfoundland

I spent a couple hours this morning, walking around the heritage district and surrounding neighbourhood of Harbour Grace, Conception Bay. I'm giving a presentation to the town tomorrow on cultural mapping and inventorying of heritage resources, so I just wanted to see what I could see.

One of the things that jumped out at me was how many properties still maintain their old gates, some of which are of a very similar style. Some of these were possibly constructed by Art Tapp, a blacksmith who "fashioned many of the iron gates and fences in the district" (Harbour Grace Heritage District Report, HFNL, 1992).

A very preliminary walk-around revealed a large number of wrought iron gates and fences standing, some possibly Tapp's work, others of later periods. To give you a sense of numbers and variety of styles, a selection of photographs follows, taken today, 6 May 2015.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

(Re)-Introducing the Historic Sites Researcher

Hi everyone it is Terra Barrett and I'm back again from last summer.  I just completed my first year of MUN's MA Folklore program.  This included a three week field school in Witless Bay, courses on folklore theory, genres, archiving, and public folklore.  This semester my public folklore class was involved with the Hoist Your Sails and Run project which produced the Looking Back: Games We Played Booklet.  So it has been a productive but incredibly fun year.

Last summer I worked as a Heritage Intern focusing mainly on an oral history project in Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove.  I am just putting the final pieces together to complete a booklet on this project, however, my main work this summer will be as an Historic Sites Researcher.

As an Historic Sites Researcher I will have the opportunity to complete interviews will people associated with historic sites in order to find out more information about the architectural history as well as the associated narratives of these historic sites.  In addition to interviews I will complete background research, photography, metadata, write several articles, and lend a hand wherever necessary.  (I could end up rubbing graves again this year - who knows!)  I will also be updating the blog throughout the summer to keep you up to date with what is going on with the Heritage Foundation.  My email is the same as last summer so if you want to get in touch shoot me an email!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Youth Heritage NL at Government House

Guest blog post by Heather Elliott and Lisa Daly

Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of representing Youth Heritage NL at a Volunteer Week reception hosted by the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Frank Fagan and Her Honour Patricia Fagan.

We’ll both admit that we were a little intimidated by the event. Heather had never been in Government House, and Lisa had been in there once on a Sunday morning when former Lieutenant Governor, Edward Roberts, stole her tour group and gave them a quick tour. That intimidation melted away as we were announced and warmly greeted by our hosts.

Lisa (left) and Heather (right) at the Volunteer Week Reception.

We spent the reception exploring the grand rooms, and asked a volunteer from Ronald McDonald House to take our picture. Turns out, we had our picture taken in one of very room where the Women’s Patriotic Association (WPA) used to hold their meetings during the First World War. They would knit socks, mitts, scarves and other items, as well as put together care packages to be shipped over to the soldiers abroad. It really was incredible to be standing where all those women had worked one hundred years ago!

Photo from The Rooms Provincial Archives, A 51-108

The reception was a wonderful way to show appreciation for volunteers, and while not everyone involved with Youth Heritage NL had the opportunity attended, the other attendees we spoke to were excited by the idea of a youth heritage group and all expect to see us accomplish great things in the near future. So know that while we are a fledgling group (and possibly currently bogged down by exams and hunting for seasonal jobs), the volunteer organizations of Newfoundland and Labrador are looking forward to working with us!

As a final note, cucumber, hollowed out and stuffed with hummus and topped with a piece of shredded carrot is really good!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Youth Heritage Forum 2015 - A Review

If you plan it, they will come... and so they did! Sixty enthusiastic youth participants joined us on March 7th, 2015 for the first ever Youth Heritage Forum, a fun and exciting day was had by all! Our mission was to give young people engaged in heritage a voice and our participants took that opportunity and ran with it. This is the first time youth from across the province have been provided the opportunity to come together and discuss their role in the heritage sector and they were not about to let that opportunity pass them by. Throughout the day participants discussed why young people are integral to the future of heritage what heritage organizations should do to become youth inclusive.

Participants were treated to an amazing drum and dance ceremony from First Nations Eastern Owl Women's Drum Group to get the day started on an inspiring and energetic note! We then had the pleasure of hearing from our guest panel consisting of six talented and inspiring young women who spoke about their work in the heritage sector, and then took questions from the crowd. You can read about about our guest panelists and listen to their discussion here!

The second part of the day consisted of a breakout session where our participants had the opportunity to get to know each other and discuss the questions at hand when it comes to youth involvement in heritage. One topic we focused on was recommendations for heritage organizations in becoming youth inclusive, it was an engaging conversation and some great ideas were brought to the table.
6 Ways to Make Your Heritage Organization Youth Inclusive:
  • Create Meaningful Opportunities for Youth
  • Focus on Funding for Youth Employment
  • Use 'Youth Friendly' Channels of Communication
  • Be Accessible
  • Be Open to New Ideas and Practices
  • Be Social
To download the full Youth Heritage Forum report, including a full list of recommendations click here!

As the forum wrapped up our participants were still full of energy and curious as to what the group could do next. They decided the first step was to create an outlet to stay connected, share advice, and discuss future opportunities. Interested youth can now join Youth Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador on Facebook to connect with like minded youth from across the province.

And just like that my time as Youth Heritage Forum Coordinator has come and gone! It was a pleasure to be part of the Heritage Foundation of NL team and I had a fantastic time putting together the forum, and an even better time meeting all of the participants! As a young person working in the heritage sector myself, I am incredibly inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of my peers. I can wait to see what's next for Youth Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador!

Friday, March 27, 2015

ICH Update for Feb/March 2015: Youth, Games, and Play.

In this month's edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador: Dale Jarvis gives a brief overview of the activities the ICH office has been up to in February and March; Alanna Wicks summarizes the Youth Heritage Forum held March 7th; and Sharon King-Campbell gives the details on the "Looking Back: Games We Played" booklet, and interviews Paula Roberts about her childhood memories of Clarenville.

Download the newsletter in pdf
Other versions here

Photo: Paula Roberts and her brother Robert, 1977.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking Back; Games We Played - now online!

Terra Barrett looks on as Teresa Boland reads her original
poem, featured in Looking Back; Games We Played
Well, the sails have been hoisted: Looking Back; Games We Played has been launched - and what a launch it was!

About 35 people gathered at MacMorran Community Centre on Tuesday morning to hear speeches from Dr. Cory Thorne and Dr. Jillian Gould (MUN Department of Folklore) and student Jacquey Ryan, and a reading by participant Teresa Boland. Cake was cut, a game of hopscotch was played, and the booklets were passed around, signed, and admired.

If you weren't able to come out on Tuesday to pick up a hard copy of the booklet, never fear! Your local NL Public Library will be receiving a copy or two in short order, or click here to see the whole thing online.

Looking Back; Games We Played is the product of the Hoist your Sails and Run project, pairing senior tradition bearers with student folklorists to talk about games and pastimes.

This project has been funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program.