Jj – is for Jolly Jokes and Jokesters

Do it again!!!… Do it again!!!…” the four year old me would shriek as Uncle Ray took off his finger, then plonked it back on again. This week’s Gould’s “Family History Through the Alphabet” challenge I dedicate to all our Ancestral “Jolly Jokesters” who filled the lives of family and friends with fun and laughter as they shared their Jokes, Japes and Jolliness.


1951-1953 FX Holden Ute

Uncle Ray wasn’t “really” my Uncle but the husband of mum’s much loved cousin Patricia (Pat) Behenna. How I loved those Sunday “arvo” visits and waited with joyful anticipation, at the front fence, for Uncle Ray’s “ute” to pull up and the man himself to climb out. That was another exciting thing about Uncle Ray – his “ute”. No-one else had such a fun car which I so loved to go driving in.

To me Uncle Ray was truly a “giant of a man”… full of fun, laughter and jokes and never too busy “chinwagging”, with the “grown ups”, to get down on his knees and delight all the “tin-ribs” with his new Jokes and the patient re-telling of the old. Forever a curious child, I can still see and feel Uncle Ray’s rough, workman’s finger which he happily proffered for close in-spection. I finally came to the conclusion that the secret to his “magic finger” lay in the mole above the knuckle of his right fore-finger. Of course that was how he could take his finger off and put it back on again!!!

Then there’s Auntie Maggie and Auntie Hilda (my mum’s Aunts), who would often join us on our regular “Sunday drives” in the Adelaide Hills. They delighted in pointing out the cows who were born with legs shorter on one side so they could stand and graze of the hillsides, and the round concrete platforms where “the King and Queen danced” when they came to Australia. The gullble child in me believed all their “stories”. How well I remember mum chastising Auntie Maggie who loved to say “yum, yum, lamb chops!!!” when we’d see new born lambs frolicking in the paddocks so, behind mum’s back, she’d simply roll her eyes and lick her lips. We children would screech with laughter and Auntie Maggie would “act the innocent” which made us laugh all the more. I still wonder at the meaning of “A Wig Wam for a Gooses Bridle/Bridal” which was the Aunts’ reply when choosing not to answer a question.

Who could ever forget my beloved Grandpa’s “party trick”? He would cut up those thin “cigarette papers” fringe the edge, lick the “sticky side”, glue them to is eyelids and just sit quietly waiting for someone to comment. Everyone would ignore him and me, the ever observant/ “sticky beak” of a child  would wait and watch to see which adult would finally give in and say, “Fred, take those off!!!”. Of course, he would “act the innocent”. Mmmh… whatever happened to all those coins we KNOW were in the “Chrissie Pud”? You can read about that here.

Last, but not least, is my mum‘s delight in “April Fool’s Day” jokes. She’d be the first up every morning, all “bright eyed and bushy tailed” and I,  the proverbial “night owl” and a hopeless “sleepy head”, was “just ripe for the picking.” Every year mum would catch me out but one year, in particular, remains stuck in my “memory box”. Stumbling out to breakfast I took the plate off my cereal bowl, vaguely wondering why mum had put a plate there and in the bottom of the bowl sat the note “APRIL FOOL”. For years I kept reliving my teenage outrage and complaining, but that’s not FAIR mum… it’s not even a JOKE!!!”  My gorgeous mum would just smile, say not a word and continue on with whatever she was doing. Ahhh… luvya and still miss ya mum xxx.

I wonder who were the Jolly Jokesters in your Family line and what the Jokes are that remain part of your own family folk-lore?… Perhaps it’s you who is today’s family Jokester with Jolly Jokes, of your own, which will pass down through time?  🙂


SOURCES: Thankyou to Richard Lewis for the picture of the 1951-53 Holden FX Ute.

Copyright © 2012. Catherine Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family  

16 thoughts on “Jj – is for Jolly Jokes and Jokesters

    • Thankyou so much Susan… “Uncle Ray” was a treasure who died far too young. Glad you enjoyed my “playing” with the J’s. Just can’t help m’self 🙂

    • I was surprised and delighted to get your comment Holly and also your “follow”. Thanks, indeedie … glad my family jokesters “put a smile on ya dial” 🙂

  1. what wonderful memories of a lovely, happy childhood Catherine. I’m still wondering too, what a “Wigwam for a gooses bridal” is as it was also said a lot in my family. Another saying my mum and nana used a lot if we asked where they or something was the reply would be “Up in Annie’s room behind the clock”

    • Oh Kerryn, my mum’s “rellies” sure were a “barrow (sic) load of fun” as my mum wrote on a group photo of her and a whole heap of them, circa 1941
      🙂 Sad that she then broke with them about a year after her mum died. I have “an idea” of the reason,which was no small thing… but glad that I’m now re-establishing contact with their descendants and none of us care/
      want to know what caused the “estrangement”… just SO glad to have “found” each other again.
      Laughed that your fam also has the “Wigwam…” answer to difficult questions. Laughed about “Annies room…” Never heard that one 🙂
      Thanks for adding to my jollies and jolly feelings 😀

  2. I absolutely LOVED this story! What a fun family you had with lots of yarns.We didn’t do much/anything in the way of jokes in our house and all I recall in the way of jokes was cheerios being pulled from Dad’s pocket at the circus when I was small. I loved the use of vernacular, and like you I don’t think “Wig wam for a goose’s bridle” had any sense other than MYOB. Laughed at grandfather’s eyelashes.

    • 😀 You’re so right Pauline, not just “lots of yarns” but also l-o-n-g & drawn out. These were called “Squire McGuires”. Why? No idea!… but if someone began to “wax lyrical” it was OK to ask the question and leave the room if it was going to be l-o-n-g, and no offence.
      Re: “the vernacular” this is the lingo we used and sometimes, as I write/ type, suspect I’m actually “channelling” a time gone past 🙂
      Lucky for me to have lots fun memories, songs, music etc to help when the times get tough. A great “survival mechanism” which mum taught me 🙂

  3. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet – J is for … | Genealogy & History News

    • Thanks Alona. I sure missed these “rellies” when mum broke off contact after her mum died. She must have had a good reason but delighted that those I’ve made contact with are as happy as I am to leave that to them and just celebrate that we’re “family” and have found one another again 🙂 … Life is good, eh?

  4. Pingback: TROVE TUESDAY: April Fool’s Day… then and now | Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family

  5. I don’t know if they were Irish sayings or from our mutual families.My mum was always saying those same antidotes.She also answered us if we asked her age with Äs old as my tongue & not as old as my teeth”. Thanks for the memories Catherine.

    • So very lovely to hear from you Wyn. I reckon that they must be “Irish Sayings” handed down from our shared 2x Great Grandmother, Susan (Kelleher, Nicholls) Rowen.
      The “old as my tongue & not as old as my teeth” saying is not one I grew up with but sure is very familiar to Helen, my mum’s Uncle Vic’s daughter, whom I’ve also recently tracked down. Helen lives not far from the “Nashwauk Anchor”, is a “straight shooter” and a whole barrel of fun. When we get this re-union happening I’m trusting you’ll be able to travel over from Victoria and meet up with her. What a celebration that will be, eh?

  6. Sorry that isn’t quite right but you get my drift.As old as my tongue & a little older than my teeth. It used to make my brothers & I really mad.
    She was always making the comment about the Goose’s Bridle.

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