On Colloquialisms

Friday, July 01, 2016

I've been attempting to research the origins of the colloquialism, or slang expression: "Up to Mike's below Jake's to get a pack of Christmas cakes." My dad said this all the time when I was growing up; it's used as a response to "Where are you going?" when the person leaving doesn't want you to know where they're going, or doesn't know.
I was always disappointed when my dad came home with no cakes.
I found some information on a site dedicated to the linguistic anomalies of the Pittsburgh area, where they say something similar: "Up Mike's under Jake's", but there was no information regarding origin.
I found a six-year-old reference on a message board on a UK linguistic site referencing "Up to Mike's below Jake's to get some buckwheat cakes", and "Up to Mike's below Jake's to watch the pancakes grow."
Again: no info on origin.
Sidebar: I used this expression with my own boys in lieu of "It's none of your damned business where I'm going," and my youngest also thought there really was a place called Mike's, which was below Jake's, and that they sold cakes. He asked me where it was, and I told him Rehoboth Beach, thinking he'd forget about it.
Next summer, we roll in to town for the annual beach excursion, and he spies a little bakery. "Look, look! It's Up Mike's Below Jake's!"
So we had to go in, although we bought ludicrously overpriced cookies because they had no cakes. He was disappointed.

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