What is the origin of that schoolyard ditty:

“(name #1) and (name #2),
sittin’ in a tree,
first comes love,
then comes marriage,
then comes (name #3, or just “baby”) in a baby carriage!”


I don’t know, but I know where to look. Heigh thee to the library and check out a book called “One Potato, Two Potato: the Folklore of American Children” by Mary and Herbert Knapp. (It may also be titled, “One Potato, Two Potato: the Secret Education of American Children”.) I’m sure they discuss “k-i-s-s-i-n-g” along with every other playground chant you can remember.

Thanks for giving me an excuse to once again plug this fantastic book!

Hmm … I was hoping that someone could just - y’know - tell me the answer.

We had one book of these rhymes, maybe “Hailstones and Halibut Bones”, but it’s in the kids’ pile, will take days to accidentally find.

Is the one about Abraham Lincoln being a good old man in the book?

You forgot the end bit to that little rhyme that comes after the baby, which is:

sucking his/her thumb
peeing his/her pants
trying to do the hula dance.

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true” -Albert Einstein

I don’t know where the rhyme comes from, but where I come from, that last line was, “Then comes (male’s name) with the baby carriage.”

First heard by me in Trumbull, Connecticut, circa 1972. Who’s got earlier cites? This rhyme myst go way back.

We were chanting it in Western New York in the early 60s.


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Well, I heard it in Oklahoma City (my hometown), when I was in elementary school in the late 50s. Since Oklahoma is usually about 50 years behind the rest of the world, I’d speculate that the ditty dates to at least the 20s.

Waterville, ME, in the mid-50’s.

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“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
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