Jump Rope – Jump In

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I started thinking of a song my Dad use to sing when I was a child.

Old Aunt Mariah
Jumped into the fire;
The fire was so hot
She jumped into the pot;
The pot was so black
She jumped into the crack;
The crack was so high
She jumped into the sky;
The sky was so blue
She jumped into a canoe;
The canoe was so deep
She jumped into the creek;
The creek was so shallow
She jumped into the tallow;
The tallow was so soft
She jumped into the loft;
The loft was so rotten
She jumped into the cotton
The cotton was so white
She decided to spend the night.

I researched it and found that it had its origins in South Carolina Slave / Sharecropper workers who sang songs while working long hours in the fields.

SONG 64 Cf. E. C. Perrow, “Songs and Rhymes from the South”, JAFL, 26:143.

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Apparently some of those songs have passed down as jump rope songs.

Jumprope rhymes are mainly an oral tradition, perhaps one of the last in our culture of nearly universal literacy and video history. In our age, nothing seems real until we see it on television. Our young girls in keeping an oral tradition preserve for us the last vestiges of a simpler, pure era when saying was remembrance.

The best folklore source (Abrahams (1969)) claims that boys jumped rope in the last century and girls did not. The boys apparently did not sing while they jumped, but they had all of the rope mechanics (peppers, double dutch, snake, etc). Around 1890, unmentioned changes in undergarments permitted girls to engage in more active passtimes. They brought the songs from clapping games into jumping rope activities. Boys stopped rope jumping when the girls started.

Jump In

It is about a double dutch jump rope competition.

It’s got a great message about gender roles and sports, focusing on Izzy finding a joy for jumping while struggling to find the fun in boxing, now that it’s all he and his dad talk about since his mother died.

It also highlights bullying and how sometimes bullies don’t have the easy home life you might imagine. And that they can have a change of heart, and forgiveness isn’t always so hard.

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