Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Quaker Meeting - Memory of my Grandmother

I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania where there was quite a bit of Quaker influence.  My grandmother and her family had been in that part of the country since the late 1700's. I remember spending time with my grandparents and my cousins. We had cousin camp, sleepovers in my grandmother's bedroom, we played in the "store" and loved the attic. I remember climbing the apple tree down near the garden. My grandmother always made the pies for holiday gatherings. She would also remind my mom to start the sweet potatoes. It has been two years since she left this earth and went to meet her Savior.

When we were young and a number of cousins were together especially in the car, my grandmother had a way of getting us quiet. It was a bit of a game with a little rhyme.

"Quaker Meeting has begun,
no more talking, no more fun
no more chewing chewing gum
starting now. . ."

There would be a pause before the "starting now" and during that pause you would get out all of noises, sounds, and words and then as soon as now was spoken you would be quiet and the first person to speak or make a sound would lose. My grandmother would win a few minutes of silence. We might keep quiet for a few minutes.

At various times I have looked for information about this online and have not really found much. I found this rhyme and another variation online.

"Quaker meeting has begun.
No more laughing, no more fun.
If you show your teeth or tongue,
you must pay a forfeit."

I don't know any other history for this. I think it would be interesting to know where it began and even when. I did teach this to a friend's children years ago and they still remember me for that. I tried it with my children the other night and Miss K just kept right on talking. Some days I try to remember those days when we thought she would never speak.

Have you ever heard of this rhyme? Do you have a quiet game that you play?

Pin It


  1. Occasionally we play the quiet game - everyone has to be quiet and the first one to say anything loses. It is now just the boys who play (so that J and I can talk) and the boys can't make the lovely noises they like to make at this age. It doesn't last very long unfortunately. I like the rhyme.

  2. We read a book in last year's curriculum about a Quaker girl, and I do remember it was very important for the children to sit still for up to 2 hours. They took turns having the church meetings in people's houses, and in making the food. That must have stressed many a momma of many, trying to keep them silent. Thank you for the rhyme...mine will love it I'm pretty sure.

  3. My mom used to play the same game with us in the car. Only our phrase went Quaker meeting has begun no laughing talking or chewing gum

  4. I'm also wondering about this. As a little girl in the Midwest my mother often would say this as our signal to be quiet. And so I would also play it with my friends just the way you describe. I never lived in Pennsylvania but my ancestors were from there. I never met in life anyone else who had ever heard of this so it made me wonder if this was something random my mother heard and then repeated or if it had been passed down through the generations of our family.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...