Unique Baby Dolls
Playing Marbles

Pretty Girl Station

Martins Creek Elementary

Pretty Girl Station is a game I remember playing in the grassy fields that lay below old Martins Creek School. We called the game Bum Bum Bum.

The game begins with a group of kids dividing themselves into teams. Each team makes a long line. The lines face each other-leaving a good distance between each other.

Each group huddles up-and decides on an occupation which they want to portray. A line is picked to go first before hand-then the line chosen marches towards the other while singing: Bum bum bum here we come all the way from Washington.

The marching singing line stops short just in front of the other line. The other line yells out a series of questions and the marching singing line answers:

Where're you from? 
Pretty Girl Station

What your occupation?
Doing things.

Well get to work!

The marching singing group begins to act out their chosen occupation- sorta like the game of charades. The other line tries to figure out what they are doing by yelling out guesses. If the right guess is screamed out-the marching singing group takes off running with the guessing group giving chase. The marching singing group tries to make it back to their side of the field without being caught-if a person is caught-they must join the other group. 

The game continues with each side taking turns acting out a chosen occupation.

I have such fond memories of this game-thinking of it always makes me smile. It makes me think of teachers who have long since retired like Ms. Reeves, Ms. Carringer, Ms. Brenda, and Ms. Sult; of elementary school classmates playing in the sunshine with a breeze blowing through the grass that already needs cutting again.

Did you ever play Bum Bum Bum or did you call it Pretty Girl Station?


*Source: The Frank C. Brown Collection Of North Carolina Folklore

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In eastern North Carolina we also played Pretty Girls Station.....same actions as others have stated, but we said - teams facing each other -
Team 1:Bum, bum, bum here we come.
Team 2:Where are you from?
Team 1: Pretty Girl Station
Team 2:What's your trade
Team 1:Hot Lemonade
Team 2: Get to work

then team 1 acted (like charades) and if someone on team 2 guessed it correctly, team 1 would start running home. If anyone was caught, that person had to be on team 2.

Hi Tipper,
We played this game as children in Gaston County,NC. We called it "Bum, Bum, Bum" and we would recite, "Bum, Bum, Bum, Here we come...All the way from Washington." The other team would ask "Where are you from?" and we'd answer..."Pretty Girl Station."(while acting prissy and patting our "hairstyles" and wiggling our hips) The other team would ask..."What's your occupation?" and we would answer..."Most any ole thing." The other team would say..."Well get to work and do it right!" We would then act out whatever our "occupation" was while the other team would ask us questions and try to guess what that occupation was. When they guessed correctly, we would high-tail it back to our side. If you got tagged you had to go over to the other team and work with them acting out their occupation. Those were the days when children used their imaginations playing games outdoors and had so much fun while doing it. Thanks for reminding us all of a simpler time in life.

Yep. Played it in Durham, NC, around 1961 or so when I was 4 at a little nursery school across the street on Roxboro Rd. We called it Pretty Girl Station (and sometimes Bum, Bum, Bum).

New to your blog, but seeing Pretty Girl Station reminded me of another game my mother taught me: Red Rover. Two teams lined up opposite each other a good distance apart. The "receiving" team would link arms and their captain yell, "Rover, Red Rover, send Susie (or whoever) right over." Then Susie on the other team would size up the opposition and run toward the receiving team, trying to break through the arms of two of the players. If she succeeded, she got to take a player of her choice back with her to her team. If she failed, she had to stay on that team. Of course her original team could call her back, and she wouldn't try very hard to break through if she wanted to get back on her old team! Ah the good old days... I'm a third grade teacher now and wouldn't dare try this with my class. I'd never hear the end of the whining and parents complaining!

Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks,
However I am encountering problems with your
RSS. I don't know why I can't join it. Is there anybody getting identical RSS problems?
Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly respond?

I used to play this game at school and it was so much fun!

My Mother would say this a lot, and I thought she was reciting an old rhyme! It was a little different from your version. She may have described the game to us, but I've never played it.

I don't recall ever playing a game remotely like that.

God bless.


Ken-LOL-no actually Im the number 10 : )

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Oh yes, I remember playing this game. We called it Pretty Girl Station and said whats your occupation. Barbara Gantt

In the above picture, ain't the
pretty little girl (#4) that's
standing pigeon toed...You? It's
nice to reflect back to the days
of our youth, brings back many
memories from an innocent time.

I remember playing that game when
I was in grammer or primary school and it was lots of fun. We played
it at Social events too, like at
Church when we had 'dinner on the

Mama and I have been trying to riddle out Bum, Bum, Bum, and Pretty Girl Station for TWO years, and here you are laying it out for us plain as day. I learned it at Berryhill School in first grade (51 yeaa ago) and Mama plalyed it at school up Hanging Dog. Thank you so much for being our own personal Wikipedia. love, Mama Crow

Oh yes, we played this all the time. Except that we answered "What's your occupation?" with "Any old thing." I haven't thought of the game is years and don't think my own children ever played it.

Rebecca-look at the bottom of the email or notice you get for each new post. There will be an unsubscribe link there-I think all you do is click it and then you're unsubscribed. Safe travels!!

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

I've never heard of this game, but it sure does sound like fun!

ooops -- that was Pretty Girl Station!!! My keyboard skips things :)

we said: "bum, bum, bum where you from." "Pretty Station" "What's your trade?" "Sweet Lemonade" "Then go to work and show your motion."

I love reading your blog everyday. I played Bum, Bum, Bum in Hickory. However, I need to unsubscribe to your blog while I am traveling. I can't find an unsubscribe link. Can you help me? I plan on resubscribing when I return.
Thanks, Rebecca Brooks

I have done some pondering and a little backards thunking on this one. I cannot ever remember playing this game. Only charades!
I wonder if it was particular to the area, started by a teacher.

When you started the paragraph with the comment about Pretty Girl Station, my mind went directly to my nieces long ago Barbie doll head and the pink hair makeup station. It had a mirrow, a dryer, curling iron, big rollers, makeup colors, etc. I guess could be a learning tool, to pretty up different hair styles, make-up that could be wiped off..etc.
Thanks Tipper, I would love to see a picture of your Crissy!
I am hoping to find one (cheap) one day at a yard sale. Why, I don't know..I'm mostly out of the antigue business, I'm too old for dolls, my Granddaughters are getting to old for dolls...I think it is just the thrill of the hunt!

Nina-after reading your comment-I think those are the things we said too: most any ole thing and well get to work and show us something good : )

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

No, I never played nor have I heard about this game. It sounds rather interesting, almost like Charades.

We knew the game as Bum, Bum, Bum at Black Mountain Primary. I had forgotten it until reading your words. Mrs. Whitaker, beloved teacher, introduced the game to my first grade class. Despite its reference to pretty girl station, the game appealed to girls and boys alike. Mrs. Whitaker taught so much more than reading, writing, and 'rithmatic. She inspired students to a life of sharing, kindness, and love for others. Our town lost her last year, but her memory lives on in the lives she touched.

We called it Bum, Bum, Bum , too. These memories almost makes you wish you were a kid again, ha. However , we didn't say "from Washington." When asked "what's your occupation" the answer was " most any ole thing", then the other side would say " Well, get to work and show us something. Good Memories and those games didn't cost anything. Thanks, Tipper.

Even your big brother, Steve played Bum, Bum, Bum with us at Martins Creek. I say Bum Bum Bum at least once a week as I go down the hall to my daughter's room. Another favorite that we played was Red Rover.

We called it Bum Bum Bum. When we got to the part about where we were from the boys said Pretty Boy Station. I would hesitate to describe myself thusly in this day and time.
Not all the bums left Washington. In fact there is more than a plenty left there. They are as prolific as bunnies in a briar patch.

This is a new one to me, but it sounds like so much fun~!

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