Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My informant’s name is Danielle Jones and she currently resides in Saratoga Springs, UT. She grew up in Layton, UT and is now a stay-at-home mom. She has her high school diploma and has dabbled in higher education at cosmetology school, nursing school, and Western Governor’s University. During her free time she enjoys online shopping and watching Hallmark movies. My informant is also my older sister.
This story was collected on Thanksgiving when I was visiting my sister’s home. While trying to determine if her stories were good enough to share, I didn’t record when she was telling me the stories. In hindsight, I should have. When the end of the night was drawing near, I’d asked her if I could record her telling them to me again and she asked, “Can I just email them to you?” So while I was in the room with her and her family, watching Christmas with the Kranks, my sister emailed me her stories. This particular story is about her mother-in-law, who was the type of person who would simply sit and observe. A couple of women my sister ran across while at her favorite place in the world had an uncanny resemblance to her mother-in-law, who had passed away. The tale is normally told amongst family and friends who knew her mother-in-law. Other situations (like someone else having a similar story) might bring it up, but that’s the general context.
My mother in-law passed away in April 2017. In July 2017, our family took a trip to southern California to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios. Part way through a day spent at Universal, we decided to take a break and drink some smoothies. We found a spot on the curb of a flower bed, a good distance away from other available seating where the majority of people that were resting and eating were located. So it surprised us when an older woman came and hung around in our odd little corner of the park. She stood there listening to our conversations, and watching us. Not only did she just observe us without saying a word, but she also had a demeanor that reminded us of my mother in-law. She walked away for just a few minutes, and while she was away I asked my husband if he also was having the feeling that the lady reminded him of his mom and that it felt like his mom was there watching us. Before he had the chance to answer, she was back and she stayed there watching us until we were ready to get back to Universal fun. She was immediately gone before we were on our way, and we couldn't see where she had gone to.
After getting back home from our trip to southern California. We took a trip to Wal-Mart to fill up our fridge. As we checked out with our groceries, my husband and I both felt someone watching us and looked over to see an older woman sitting on a bench near where we were checking out. She watched us and smiled as we loaded up our groceries into our cart. I joked to my husband "there's your mom again!" She watched us until we got our receipt, and as we got to the front doors of the store, my husband turned around and said "She's STILL watching us!" It was hard to not be absolutely certain that my mother in-law was hanging around whenever she could get a chance!
The tone of her email does not do her storytelling skills justice. When my informant tells this story, she has a look of comical near-terror on her face. The terror is not due to the fact that she’s scared of her mother-in-law, just that she’s uncomfortable with the canny resemblance of these women to her mother-in-law. Though not truly terrified, the facial expressions add humor to the story. Her tone is usually quite nervous, with the occasional nervous laughter, as they didn’t know how to respond to the stares of these two women.
Introduction to Folklore, ENGL 2210
Dr. Lynne McNeill
Semester and year
G7: Unexplainable Phenomena
Burdett, Alyssa, "“There’s Your Mom Again!”" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 152.