Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sticky Sticky Stumbo revisited

Those of us who blog generally know how many people read o
ur blogs and how they found us. We know what countries they live in and if they read a lot or just now and then, and for how long. We have stats. One of my favorite stats is Keyword Search. Keyword search is a word or phrase that someone searched the Internet for, which brought them to your blog. And some of those searches appear again and again. I was surprised to find out that one of the top searches that brings people here is "Sticky Sticky Stumbo."

If you are someone who has read my 1oo things link, you may remember that #47 (because I'm sure you've read my hundred things over and over again) is about one of my very favorite stories when I was a kid. It was a story called "The Little Boy With the Long Name." I loved the story, not because it was a wonderful story, I mean, the kid dies, but it was his name. It was a name a kid would try to memorize and read over and over in a rhythmic sing-song kind of way. It was:

Sticky Sticky Stumbo
Nos E Rumbo
E Pro Pennyo
Hara Bara Brisko
Nicky Prom Po
Nish No Menyo

It was always written that way, as if it were lines in a poem. And I can still recite it 40 some years later. Without the book.

I was contacted by a couple who were looking for a copy of t
he story and they emailed me. I told them I remembered it from a book I got from an uncle when I was 3 or 4 years old called Big and Little Creatures. I found it as a used book on Amazon and sent them the link. Recently, having seen the search come up in my stats again I thought I would get a copy of the book for myself. It arrived today.

It's magic! As I turned the pages I remembered every illustration whether I remembered the story attached or not. But I did remember many stories and nursery rhymes and poems. It was copywrite 1961, by Golden Press. 1961. So it was when the villains in children's books were scary and people really died and not everything was all sweetness and light. The story of Little Black Sambo was a story about a little boy with a loving mother and father and not a reflection of race relations in the world. And I remember devouring this book. Even when I got too old for it, I would pull it out and flip through the pages, every drawing a memory and even the smell of the pages would bring back the innocence of the years before.

So I share a bit. Click to make pictures bigger - indulge me in my memories of long ago. I hope you enjoy!

Still true today.

From The Three Little Pigs

The Story of The Three Bears

The Story of Little Black Sambo

~ * ~

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Little Red Riding Hood

~ * ~

~ * ~

And finally - The Little Boy With the Long Name

. . . who fell down a well

. . . and was quite, quite dead. He had died while they were saying his name.

~ * ~

We played outside summer and winter, we watched a little TV (3 stations) and when we had nothing to do - we used our imagination. Nobody wrapped us in cotton. We were allowed to learn to distinguish between right and wrong and real and make believe and we read books that were not PC'ed to death and completely sanitized.

And we're all right. For the most part.

For those of you looking for your "Sticky Sticky Stumbo" memories, you can find them if you try.


nutmeg said...

It totally reminds me of a book from my own childhood - Tikki Tikki Tembo, No Sa Rembo, Chari Bari Ruchi, Pip Peri Pembo. Thanks for the memory!

rockcreekcreations said...

I was thinking that I had the same book you are talking about, but now I'm confused by Nutmeg. I don't know if I had your book, or am remembering Tikki Tikki Tembo....

I'm thinking it was probably both. I was an extreme reader back then.

Thanks for the memories!!

MsCatCalls said...

Wow this is amazing , those illustrations are exactly the ones I saw in my childhood stories . Im sure I didnt have the same book but those pictures are so so familiar .... so many memories . I never heard of Sticky Stumbo though . Brilliant !

LadyBanana said...

Looks like a delightful book and I'm sure most of us had something similar - sweet memories :)

BetteJo said...

I've heard about the Tikki Tikki Tembo story before. Sounds very similar.

Stimey said...

I love books like that. There is one Richard Scarry book in particular that I have those same types of memories of.

reddragonsangel said...

I love it- I am constantly reading old books that were mine when I was a kid to my kids now- they love to see the old pictures and hear the old stories and yes they are a bit scary and such...I have been reading the books by Little Golden to my kids I had the books all in a box and they had 45 records to read the story to you- the records are useless to me now and my kid has no clue what they were, but its so fun to explain how my world was as a kid...back when there were dinosaurs and stuff- LMAO

The Beading Gem said...

Your post brought back many happy memories of a childhood filled with favourite books. One book I read over and over again was The Wizard of Oz. There weren't many kid's fantasy books then as now but I loved being taken to somewhere imaginary.

Day Dreamer said...

Gus the Ghost. I loved Gus!!

BetteJo said...

Yeah, all these books and stories from the olden days. My daughter once asked me (when she was too young to move out of the house - forcibly) - if there were covered wagons when I was little.

Heather "Hev" said...

I cant remember this story, but I agree wholeheartedly that kids are so "protected" they cant think for themselves.

Although I do joke I am old (nearly 35) relatively speaking I am not and we used to play until dinner time - and could play after until dark. As long as we did our homework. Summertime we would play waterfights in thre street until late. Whilst the grown ups sat on the porch having a cup of coffee. We used to walk through alley ways and it was mostly safe to walk to school or the shop on your own.

I do feel sorry for my niece and nephews and any children I may be fortunate to have in the future. The world is getting sicker and kids are scared out of their wits.

So so sad.

ireneintheworld said...

fantastic post bettejo. that book would've had a different name here in the uk, but i remember the illustrations too. lovely memories of an innocent time when the differences were sharply realised. x

Catherine said...

I remember some of those stories!!

My boys all liked Roald Dahl - some of his stories are pretty dark. Red Riding Hood shoots the wolf dead!

PawHealer said...

ahhh a walk down memory lane...I remember...I remember all those books. In fact I am an avid reader...and those were the books that nudged me on and gave me the love of a good book.

Nice blog

kate said...

thank you SO much for posting these! i had that book (different cover though, it was the '70's) as a gift when i was born from my sister and brother. i cherished it and still remember the boy with the long name story. (my fave) all of the pictures are the same as you posted and i'm flooded with memories right now! love it!

richardb1935 said...

Thanks for the Sticky Sticky Stumbo story. I have been searching for it for several years--and here it is. My version follows: "icky sticky stumbo noso rumbo audibadi basko ichinomin namanomin tumble"
I have no idea where my version (rather my version as I now know it) came from. Also don't remember what year it first came into my life. I was born in 1935.

richardb1935 said...

sorry about that... my previous post on 8/14/2009 had my version incorrect. My version is (as I remember it):

"icky sticky stumbo noso rumbo audibadi basko ichinomin namanomin tomble rombo tomble"

Jenny said...

yes! I am so happy you blogged about this. Yours is the version I remember.....and from that same book! I totally rememeber those illustrations.

I've been telling that story to my friends kids for years (having memorized his name just like you did), and their mom swore I made up the name up ;-)

Off to try to buy a copy of the book.

Thanks again!

BetteJo said...

I'm so glad Jenny! Last time I went looking for it the copies were getting really limited so I hope you find yours. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow!Outside of my family, I've not run across folks who know the Sticky Sticky Stumbo story.The version my mother would recite to me when I was little had a few different names than the ones in the book, but it's the same story. I made her tell it over and over again because the name made me laugh.I didn't care that he died, I focused on the fun part of the story. What a fabulous memory. Thanks Bettjo.

BetteJo said...

You're very welcome. :)

Robin said...

Having trouble finding a copy of the book. Is there any additional publishing info you might share? I would love to surprise my 87 year old mother with a copy for Christmas.

Robin said...

It's me again BetteJo, Do you have the author's name by any chance or is the book just listed by the editors?

BetteJo said...

Hi Robin,

There is no specific author because the book is a compilation of stories, poems, and fables. You will never find a new copy, I have had good luck finding used ones. The information in the blog post is pretty much all there is. However, I do have my own copy and will look to see if there is any other way of identifying it. If you want - click on the 'email me' link at the top of the page and send me a quick email, and I will respond that way after I have looked at the book.


BetteJo said...

When I looked on Amazon here is the description:
THE GOLDEN TREASURY OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE VOLUME 1 - BIG AND LITTLE CREATURES by Louis Untermeyer and Elizabeth Orton Jones et al (Hardcover - Jan 1, 1961)

I'm pretty sure one of those people is the illustrator, but I'm not sure. Hope that helps.

Robin said...

Thanks so much for the info Bette Jo. I'll see what I can find. Have a blessed day!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, thank you for this post! My 5-yr-old son just discovered a version called "Tikki Tikki Tembo," and after we read it tonight I was telling him about MY childhood version, "Sticky Sticky Stumbo." I found your post--he's in bed now--while looking for verification that the name as I remembered it was correct. Yep, it's probably been close to 40 years since I read the story, but I had the name down perfectly.

As soon as I saw the cover of _Big and Little Creatures_, the memories came flooding back. I absolutely loved that book (I was born in 1962) and read it until it fell apart. I just found a used copy and ordered it. I don't know if my son will enjoy it, but I will treasure it!

BetteJo said...

It always makes me so happy when I get another comment on this post - a year later even! It's so nice to help someone else find one of their childhood memories, it's sweet. I hope you enjoy your new copy! And your son too. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh--and as we were reading the newfangled "Tikki Tikki Tembo," I was wondering how the little boy's death from drowning was going to be handled. My son has been asking a lot of questions about dying lately, so I was gathering my internal resources for THAT discussion. Lo and behold, little Tikki doesn't die in the well. Instead, he "had been in the water so long, all because of his great long name, that the moon rose many times before he was quite the same again."

I have found it so interesting to see how stories I recall from childhood are updated, sanitized, or just changed. I can usually theorize a reason; the motivation with this story is obvious. In another one we read recently, a newer board book version of "Harry the Dirty Dog," when dirty Harry arrives home and is unrecognizable to his family, a pronoun change is significant. Old version reads "everyone shook HIS head," but new version says "everyone shook THEIR heads." So much for the "universal" he, and "everyone" as a singular pronoun!

BetteJo said...

When I was a kid I never gave it a second thought that the little boy drowned in the well. I think I knew it was just a story and it was all about his name. I'm afraid our children are being wrapped in cotton these days which is too bad. Protecting our children is one thing, but over protecting is something else entirely. Sigh-h.. but some people think I'm totally wrong and little kids shouldn't be exposed to all the violence in these fables. On the other hand a lot of their teenagers are playing some of the most violent video games around and watching more sex on TV than they will have in a lifetime. Can't tell people how to raise their kids - but I enjoyed all those stories - as is!

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Thank You Thank You. Thought I was crazy as I remembered the "Sticky Sticky Stembo" of my childhood. I taught my children and grandchildren the familiar song (as I remembered it) which of course didn't match the Tikki Tikki Tembo books of today. Been searching for this for 50 years!!!!! I am not crazy!!!

BetteJo said...

Just so you know, finding Sticky Sticky Stumbo does not rule out crazy, just sayin'. :) I love that this post makes people so happy. There is something so special about those childhood memories - I'm glad I helped restore one for you.

Carol S. said...

Okay, ready for my version of the name? I can't remember whether we had it in a book or whether my mother just knew it and told it. But the name version which I still remember well (and can recite at rapid speed) is:

Sticky Sticky Sambo No So Rhombo Potty Potty Bosco Icanam Nuanam Ponaromatomba

I don't know if it got corrupted by too many retellings, or whether we actually had that version in a book. But the gist of the story is the same, with the moral at the end: don't give your kids long names!

Mark Cumberledge said...

oh how well I remember this story...I LOVED IT and 40 years later I still try to recite it from time to time!!!

Mark Cumberledge said...

Here's how my memorized version goes:

Sticky sticky stombo
No So Rombo
Icanam, Nuanam

Mrs Hare 3rd Grade Substitute teacher at Worthington Elementary School in Parkersburg, WV

g8rd8 said...

My version goes:
Sticky sticky stambo
Noso rambo
Hunny bunny basco
Icka non, nui non conbun!

Heard it many times from an elderly Canadian relative and I now tell it to my 3 kids (13, 7 and 3) and hope they keep it going!! So fab to hear other know this fab tale!!
Kate. Taunton, UK

Kristine said...

My version is:

Sticky Sticky Stumbo
Hoso Rumbo
Hoddie Boddie Bosco
Icka-non Nui-non
Combo Rombo Tombo

My brother's girlfriend told me the story 50+ years ago. I am telling my grandkids this story around the campfire.

Kristine, Rochester, IN

Anonymous said...

As with many of the rest of you, I can't believe so many people know this song after so many years. My mother would play the record for us before bed and this was our favorite story.
I remember it is
"And from that moment on, he was called,
Sticki Sticki stembo
No surey embo
Hary kari bushki
Ish mini embo
He caryal, he caryim...
Instead of Little Kim."

I wish I could find that record.

Thanks for reminding me of such a fond childhood memory and also that there are so many others who also know the story.

Jordan R.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I have, for years, talked about this story that was read to my class by our school librarian 40+ years ago. I, too, have remembered that little boy's long name all these years. When I ask other friends my age if they remember the story, none of them do. I was beginning to think I was crazy.

Thanks again for sharing!



Love this post! Can't believe how many versions of this story/rhyme there are! When I was very young, in the late 1950s, my wonderful Aunt Laura told me (over & over & over again!) the story of the 2 Chinese brothers, one good & one bad: The bad brother had a short name & his good brother had a l-o-n-g name (which hastened his untimely death, as the mom kept asking her bad son to slow down when speaking, while he was trying to tell her his good brother had fallen into the well; by the time he slowly said his brother's long name & his mom ran to the well, the poor boy was dead). My aunt related the moral of the tale: This is why in China today all good boys have short names & bad boys have long names. (Okay, it makes no sense, but it was just a story & I was just a little tyke!) Anyway, the name (that I still remember to this day, although I can't remember a grocery list I wrote this morning!)Aunt Laura taught me was: Sticky Sticky Stembo, No Serembo, High-E Brow-E Booskie, Eppy Peppy Pimbo, Claude Demagraw. I have passed this tale & the Sticky Sticky name along to my own (now grown) children. I will always love my late Aunt Laura & always remember Sticky Sticky Stembo with lots of love too!

Anonymous said...

I remember the story of "Sticky Sticky..." and his brother Kim. Long names were given to those who show bravery.

Eventually, Kim saves "Sticky" from the well and is given a new long name that went something like:

"Walla walla wimba no sura imba..."
instead of little Kim

Wish I remembered more. The story was on an album with other short stories.