A Knife and a Fork and a Bottle and a Cork...That's how you spell New York

howard schrager prncpmprnckl at YAHOO.COM
Sat Jan 29 04:39:39 UTC 2005

Does anyone know the origin of the above street rhyme and its mate, Chicken in the Car and the Car Can't Go... That's how you spell Chicago? My father, who grew up in NY and Philly, taught them to me back in the 50s.  He had known them as a boy in the 20s. While watching a movie, Cinema Paradiso, they cut to a scene of chickens roosting in the back of an abandoned car. This somehow triggered the memory of the "Chicago rhyme".                                 Teaching geography at the time, I was inspired to write what came to be called a "riddle rhyme' for each of the 50 states. These are riddles in verse wherein the name of the city or state is disquised amidst extraneous sounds, and must be deciphered through a  listening process in which the appropriate name literally arises and finds its resonance. They are most effective when done orally, with no visual clues. So after you have guessed them you can administer them to others, a very interesting process in and of itself in terms of
 thought process and group dynamic.  It is hard to be too competitive, for eg., when guessing riddle-rhymes. Also avoid looking up the answers in frustration. Rather take a second pass at them and note that you had halfway gotten them the first time.
I have now also completed 100 riddle rhymes on the capitals and the major cities. This will be published this year as CHICKEN IN THE CAR AND THE CAR CAN'T GO.    A KNIFE AND A FORK AND A BOTTLE AND A CORK is available in an xerox edition for $9.95 PPd  from LemonTree Press Box 841 Santa Cruz CA 95060 send check; or email postmaster at lmntreepress.com I hope to have both books out within the year in regular editions, whenever I can find out where these rhymes originated. Knife and a Fork will have a more modern title PAPER OR PLASTIC THEY ALWAYS ASK YA (Alaska)
Howard Schrager, Santa Cruz CA

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