We didn’t play this one. Our version was “one potato, two potato …” All of these were elimination rounds to some subsequent game of tag, I think and the words varied depending on where you were born and raised. New York had a particular set of chants and games, many of which included Dutch words missing elsewhere because the Dutch preceded the English in settling the region … and they left some of their language behind.

Ducks waiting along the pond on Boston Common
Ducks waiting along the pond on Boston Common
Ducks on a golden day in November on the Mumford River
Ducks on a golden day in November on the Mumford River

My cousin was born and raised in northern Virginia, right outside of Washington D.C. I was always surprised at the differences in words between us. Simple stuff, lots of the time. I called it “potsy,” and she called it “hopscotch.” I sat on the couch. She lounged on the sofa. We ate supper. She sat down for dinner. It was the subject of some humor and teasing as the years rolled along.

A barnyard runaway hoping for a handout
A barnyard runaway hoping for a handout
Goosy goosy gander, whither shall thee wander?
Goosy, goosy, gander, whither shall thee wander?

So this game — duck, duck, goose — is not a New York game, or at least, not a Queens, New York game. I don’t know if it is a New England game, either. But Wikipedia says it is universal, which means it must be true. Of course!

cee's fun foto chall


  1. We played it in the snow..marking out a huge circle with our boots, then a cross withing the circle. It was a chasing game and I don’t remember the rules, but we called it “Duck, Duck Goose,” I believe. Or perhaps it was “Fox and Goose.” Now I must Wikipedia!!!


    1. I think these games are all regional, sometimes, very regional. We made up a lot of rules of our own, too. We inherited games from older siblings who inherited them from older friends and their older siblings and with each generation, the games changed … just a little bit. So “Duck, duck, goose” in the west would not be the same as “Duck, duck, goose” in Chicago … and I never heard of it at all in New York, but we played something similar, but with a different name. The ever-evolving world of children. I hope, somewhere, they are still playing outside and making up new rules for old games.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. As far as the game is concerned, I must pass. I have never heard of it. I love that photo of the ducks standing in a row at the pond and the geese, oh I like all of them. I should really take my zoom lens more with me when on a walk.


    1. The Boston Common ducks are totally tame. They expect you to feed them and they will walk right up to you and take it from your fingers. For that matter, so will the squirrels. And there are a LOT of ducks in that park!

      Duck duck goose is not a game in New York, either, though it is similar to many other games of tag we played as kids. But hey, Wikipedia says it’s universal and they are never wrong, are they? πŸ™‚


  3. in Brookline we played hopscotch but the marker you threw was called a potsy. We never lacked for chalk, since the street crews always had huge blocks of it and would gladly give us all the broken pieces…

    there was a strange game we used to play at recess called Red Rover which I never did understand the point of (and perhaps no one did by then) which involved one side calling out one member from the other side (and there could be up to 30 or 40 kids on a side) with “Rover red rover let susy come over” and over she’d go. Then the other side did the same. This went on, ceaselessly, until the end of recess.

    Ive always heard the phrase duck duck goose but still have no idea what it comes from or goes with. It does sould like a counting out rhyme and “goose” would be the one who was “it”.

    Here in the country ‘dinner’ is lunch, supper is what you have in the evening, and lunch is what you snack on before bedtime. My mother was a city girl, and to her “dinner” was the Sunday roast or company meals, lunch was a sandwich at noon, supper is for the evening, and “a snack” was just that, at bedtime. Since I married a country fella, you can imagine how complicated it got, but he now knows the difference.


    1. I love our crazy language! You can move from one county to the next and have to learn a whole new vocabulary. For us, potsy was the playing field you drew with chalk on the sidewalk. Potsy you used both feet, but hopscotch was a different game in which you could only use ONE leg to hop from box to box. We were never sure of the rules. Gotta run … errands and pharmacy et all, but I’ll get back to this. It’s so much fun!


  4. We never played that either (duck, duck, goose) but we did play “one potato, two potato”. We call it hopscotch too.
    The picture of the ducks on golden water is amazing.


    1. It fascinates me how language, idioms, accents, and in this case, children’s culture migrates in different directions. I’m glad you had the potatoes. I was beginning to think it was entirely limited to the five boroughs of NY city πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cee. My “watching” geese. They were not tame at all, but they also had absolutely no fear of us unless we got a little to close and then they’d inch away. Our Canada geese fear neither man nor bird. Or camera πŸ™‚


  5. There was a rather infamous $100 question on Millionaire back in the day involving this game (Duck, Duck _____?), and there was a lot of surprise that the contestant had never heard of the game before. We played it when I was a kid. I looked up a lot of our old playground chants on Google a few years ago and was surprised to see how universal some of them seemed with my age group despite there being no internet or social media in the 80’s. Technology is killing our regionalisms very slowly, though. Soon there will come a day when I no longer get my soda (pop) out of the icebox (fridge) while enjoying a SUN-duh (sundae)….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I still get MY soda out of the icebox and I just LOVE SUNdaze. That’s exactly the way I always said it … but my father was from Detroit and my mother, from another century when they really HAD ice boxes.


Talk to me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s