What’s a whimmydiddle?

W is for Whimmydiddle

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The whimmydiddle was an intriguing toy that boys fashioned using their trusted pocketknives and sticks gathered from the forest. This toy was known by several different names. It was called a hoodoo stick by the Cherokee, a ziggerboo by some in Tennessee, a geehaw in Georgia, and a lie detector in Ohio. The toy consisted of two parts: a notched stick with a spinner or whirligig on the end and a smaller rubbing stick. The trick to playing with a whimmydiddle was knowing how to make the toy respond to the verbal commands of “gee” and “haw.” When the operator of the toy said “gee,” the toy would spin to the right. When he said “haw,” the toy would spin to the left. How did he do it? The trick is in the placement of the fingers on the notched stick.

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