Miss Susie

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"Miss Susie" (also "Miss Suzy," "Miss Lucy," "Miss Molly," "When Maxie," or "Miss Mary) is the name of an American schoolyard rhyme and clapping game in which each verse leads up to a rude word or profanity which is revealed in the next verse as part of an innocuous word or phrase. Sometimes various hand signs accompany the song, such as making a phone with one's hand at "hello operator." It has also gained popularity in English primary schools known as When Maxie, as in "When Maxie was a baby."

A similar rhyme 'Miss Lucy had a baby' is sung to the same tune, but with a different theme.

Structure[edit]

The rhyme is arranged in couplets, with an A-B / C-B rhyme scheme. The rhyme is organized by its meter, which is in sprung rhythm with trimeter.[1] Accentual verse (including sprung rhythm) is a common form in English folk verse, including nursery rhymes and skipping-rope rhymes. The rhyme approaches taboo words, only to cut them off and modify them with an enjambment. It shares much of the same melody as "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" (best known as the opening theme song of Merrie Melodies cartoons).[2] Miss Susie also goes along as a woman who owned a steamboat that sank with all the passengers on board,including Miss Susie.The phrase " Miss Susie went to heaven,the steamboat went to hell-o" describes that accident.

History[edit]

The rhyme has developed in many regional variations over an extended period, as is common for such rhymes.[3] The earliest known form is from the 1950s in Michigan, and consists of the four lines:[4]

Hellen had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell.
Hellen took some dynamite and blew the bell to Hell
O operator, give me number nine,
If it doesn’t answer, give me back my dime.

Later versions developed by embellishment, with other versions adding and removing stanzas including kissing, boys zipping up their flies, a little black boy, and bras, while the initial "... boat, ... bell / ..., ... Hell / -o ... number nine / If ..." has remained stable, though with variations in the details.

Pop culture[edit]

The rhyme is sometimes referenced in popular culture:

Lyrics[edit]

Numerous versions exist, varying across time and regionally.[4] A sampling include the following:

Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
(ding ding)
Miss Susie went to heaven
The steamboat went to...

Hello operator
please give me number nine
And if you don't
I'll chop off your...

Behind the 'frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Susie fell upon it
And broke her little...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their...

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the...

D-A-R-K D-A-R-K dark dark dark

Dark is like the ocean
Dark is like the sea
Dark is like the underwear
My boyfriend put on ME ME ME

So I kicked him all through Paris
I kicked him all through France
I kicked him on the soccer field
Until he lost his PANTS PANTS PANTS

Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Miss Susie went to heaven
The steamboat went to...

Hello operator
Please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from...

Behind the 'frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Susie fell upon it
And broke her little...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
Miss Susie told me all this
The day before she ...

Dyed her hair all purple
Dyed her hair all green
Dyed her hair all purple,
And washed it down the stream

Miss Susie had a tugboat
The tugboat had a bell
Miss Susie went to heaven
The tugboat went to...

Hello operator
Please Give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you in the...

Behind the 'frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Susie fell upon it
And broke her big fat...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their...

Flies are the meadow
The bees are in the park
The boys and girls are kissing
Way past after dar-ar-ar-ar-ark!

Miss Suzie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
The steamboat went to Heaven
Miss Suzie went to...

Hello operator
Please give me number 9
And if you disconnect me
I'll chop off your...

Behind the fridgerator
There lay a piece of glass
Miss Suzie fell upon it
And it went straight up her...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the girlsroom
Pulling down their...

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Suzie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the...

D-A-R-K D-A-R-K
D-A-R-K,
Dark is like a movie
A movie's like a show
A show is like a radio
And that is all...

I know I know my Ma
I know I know my Pop
I know I know my sister
With the polka dotted bra..

(Brother)'s like a sister
My mom said not to tell,
She said I'll go to heaven
But he might go to...

Hello operator
Please give me number ten
And if you disconnect me
I’ll sing this song again!

Miss Suzie had a tugboat
The tugboat had a bell (ding ding)
Miss Suzie went to Heaven
The tugboat went to...

Hello Operator
Please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you right...

Behind the fridgerator
There laid a piece of glass
Miss Suzie fell upon it
And broke her little...

Ask me no more questions
Please tell me no more lies
Miss Suzie told me this
The day before she...

Died her hair in purple
She died her hair in pink
She died her hair in polka dots
And washed it down the...

Sink me in the ocean
Sink me in the sea
Sink me in the toilet
But please don't pee on me me me!

Mrs.Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
(ding, ding)
Miss Susie went to heaven
The steamboat went to...

Hello Operator
Please Give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll chop of your...

Behind the fridgerator
There was a piece of glass
Mrs.Susie sat upon it
And broke her big fat ...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the girlsroom
Zipping up their...

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
are kissing in the
D-A-R-K D-A-R-K...

Dark, dark, dark
Darker than the ocean
Darker than the sea
Darker than the underwear my mommy puts on me

Dark is like a movie
a movie is like a show
a show is like a TV set and that is all I know

I know I know my ma
I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister with the 32 in. bra

My mommy is Godzilla
My daddy is King Kong
My sister is the stupid one who taught me this dumb song

Hello, Operator please
Give me number ten
And if you disconnect me
I'll sing this song again.

Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell
Miss Susie went to heaven
The steamboat went to

HELLO operator
Give me number nine
If you disconnect me
I'll kick you in the

BEHIND the refrigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Susie sat upon it
And broke her little

ASK me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the girls' room
Zipping down their

FLIES are in the meadow
Bees are in the park
Miss Susie's in the driveway,
Kissing in the
D-A-R-K D-A-R-K DARK!

(from circa 1999)

Miss Suzie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell (toot toot)
Miss Suzie went to Heaven and the steamboat went to

Hello operator
Get me number 9
And if you disconnect me
I'll chop off your

Behind the fridgerator
There sat a piece of glass
Miss Suzie sat upon it
And broke her little

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathrooom
Zipping up their

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Suzie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the

D-A-R-K
D-A-R-K
Dark dark dark

Is like a movie
A movie's like a show
A show is like a TV set
And that is all I know

I know I know my ma
I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister
With the 80-acre bra

My ma is godzilla
My pa is king kong
My sister is the silly one
Who doesn't know this song

A song is like a rhythm
A rhythm's like a beat
A beet is like a vegetable
That you can really eat eat eat

You eat with your silverware
Your silverware your silverware
You eat with your silverware
And not with your underwear!

Miss Susie had a steamboat
that steamboat had a bell
Miss Susie went heaven
that steamboat went to...

Hello operator
give me number 9
If you diconnect me
I'll kick you from...

Behind the 'fridgerator
there was a piece of glass
Miss Susie sat upon it
and broke her little...

Ask me no more questions
tell me no more lies
the boys are in the bedroom
zipping down their...

Flies are in the medow
bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
are kissing in the

D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K
Dark, dark, dark

darker than the ocean
darker than the sea
Darker than the black boys
chasing after me

I know I know my ma
I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister
with her 40 acre bra

Miss Susie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell (ding, ding)
Miss Susie went to Heaven
The steamboat went to...

Hello operator
Please give me number nine
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from...

Behind the ‘frigerator
There was a piece of glass
Miss Susie fell upon it
And broke her little...

Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their...

Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the
D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, dark, dark, dark!

The dark is like the movies
The movies like a show
A show is like a video on HBO

I know, I know my ma
I know, I know my pa
I know, I know my sister with the forty acre bra

My mom gave me a nickel
My dad gave me a dime
My sister gave me her boyfriend
Who kissed me all the time

He kissed me over London
He kissed me over France
He kissed me over Disneyland
And lost his underpants

My mom took back the nickel
My dad took back the dime
My sister took back her boyfriend
And gave me Frankenstein

He made me do the dishes
He made me scrub the floor
He made me wash his underwear
I kicked him out the door

I kicked him over London
I kicked him over France
I kicked him over Disney World
He lost his underpants

Miss Susie had a steam boat
The steamboat had a bell (ding, ding)
The steamboat went to Heaven
Miss Susie went to...

Hello operator
Please give me number ten
And please don't disconnect me
Or I'll call and sing again!

Miss Suzie had a steamboat
The steamboat had a bell (ding, ding)
Miss Suzie went to Heaven
The steamboat went to

HELLO operator
Please give me number 9
And if you disconnect me
I'll kick you from

BEHIND the 'fridgerator
There sat a piece of glass
Miss Suzie sat upon it
And broke her little

ASK me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their

FlLIES are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Suzie and her boyfriend
Are kissing in the

D-A-R-K
D-A-R-K
DARK! DARK! DARK!

The dark is like a movie
A movie's like a show
A show is like a TV
And that is how I


KNOW I know my mother
I know I know my pa
I know I know my sister
With the 80-mile

BROTHER crashed my steamboat
The steamboat with the bell (ding ding)
I will go to heaven
And he will go to

HELLO operator
Please give me number ten,
And if you disconnect me
I’ll sing this song again!

Miss Susie had a tug boat
The tug boat had a bell
Miss Susie went to heaven
The tug boat went to
Hello operator
Give me number 9
And if you disconnect me
I'll paddle your behind
The frigerator
Sat a piece a glass
Miss Susie sat upon it and broke her big fat
Ask me no more questions
Tell me no more lies
The boys are in the bathroom
Zipping up their
Flies are in the meadow
The bees are in the park
Miss Susie and her boyfriend are kissing in the
D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, D-A-R-K, Dark, dark, dark
A show is like a program
A program's like a show
Don't ask me anymore
'cause that's all I know
I know I know my ma
I know I know my pa
I even know my sister with the forty acre bra
It's bigger than the ocean
It's bigger than the sea
It's even bigger than the fat guy sitting next to me

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Miss Susie Had a Steamboat: I. Structure", the raveled sleeve, 29 Nov 2008, Jessie Henninger
  2. ^ Hello Operator
  3. ^ "Miss Susie Had a Steamboat: II. Evolution", the raveled sleeve, 29 Nov 2008, Jessie Henninger
  4. ^ a b "Miss Susie Had a Steamboat: V. Versions of the Rhyme Used in This Essay", the raveled sleeve, 29 Nov 2008, Jessie Henninger
  5. ^ Bob Saget sings an old English folk song