The Boys of Summer


Conversations from hanging on the corner in South Philadelphia in the 1950s. The words are not exact, but the situations are real. Only the names have been omitted to protect whatever it is we’re protecting after 60 or so years.

The spelling bee

You’re a chooch, you know that. You know that, don’t ya?

What — you’re a smart guy? Where’d ya get your degree-the school of hard knocks?

See, you’re just provin’ you’re a chooch. How about we have a spelling contest?

You’re a real (expletive deleted).

A spelling contest. Ya on?

If it’ll make ya feel better.

(Picks up the Sunday funnies page). The comics are your speed.

Ya know what you are? Ya know?

Shuddup! Here’s the word. “The.”

(Outraged) Whaddya gonna do, give me all the tough words?

(Turning to the other guys) He can’t spell “the.” The (expletive deleted) can’t spell “the.”

Ya know what you are? Ya know what you are?

I know what you are. You’re a stunad.

Buying a car

I need a new car.

Ya think so? Whaddyado-get tired of stickin’ your foot outside the door as a brake?

(Unfazed by the remark) Give me a ride to Reedman’s.

Ya goin’ ta pay for the gas?

(Indignant) This guy’s worried about me payin’ for the gas.

Ya goin’ ta pay for the gas? Wha-did-ya-do-hit the number?

I’m payin’ for the gas.

(On the way to Reedman’s with a bunch of guys in the car).

Make a left.

Make a left?

Make a left.

The sign says we should make a right for Reedman’s.

Make a left.

They put the sign up just to fool people?

Make a left.

They go 30 minutes out of their way-lots of expletives-they finally get to Reedman’s.

He finds a car he likes, a new 1955 Chevvy Bel Air. I wanna take it for a test drive.

Back in the showroom after he and the guys drive around. He agrees, without haggling with the salesman, on a price of $2,500. The guys stare at him, a mixture of admiration and wonder at their buddy’s new found financial success.

Sir, you’ve made a wise purchase. You’ll love this little baby.

(The guys) Just think, you’ll have real brakes, too.

(To the salesman) Don’t pay attention to these mokes. Where do I sign?

First, sir, let me get some details from you. Your occupation?

I’m a musician.

Wonderful occupation. And how much do you want to put down as a deposit?

Five dollars. (He sees the look of disgust on the salesman’s face. He hears the laughter from the guys behind him). How about $10?

Needless to say, he didn’t drive home in a new Chevy that night.

A Pagliacci moment

(Watching an old movie on a small black and white TV on the steps outside with the help of an extension cord).

I hate these Bette Davis flicks.

You got something against Bette Davis?

Her movies are nuthin’ but soap operas.

What, I don’t hear no music. What soap opera?

A matter of time

I hate when it starts gettin’ dark early. (General agreement among the guys).

Yeah, wha do we need with PSFS time anyway?

PSFS time? What, the bank is makin’ us change the clocks, now?

You know what I mean-whatchamicallit?

I know what I call you-stunad.

The card game

(Sitting in a bookie’s house playing pinochle)

(The bookie-a tough guy) You guys want tea?

Ya got Red Rose?

Red Rose?

Yea, that’s good tea.

It’s good tea. Like you won’t drink it if it’s Tetley?

I’m just sayin-Red Rose is from Canada. It’s good tea.

(The bookie gets p-offed the guy drinks Tetley).

Keeping cool

It’s hot and someone turns the plug on. The “plug” is the fire hydrant on the corner. The corner gets a bad reputation for turning the plug on and occasionally throwing this fat kid under it-because they can. Also for the jukebox in the luncheonette being too loud. Remember this is the 1950s.

Some girls walk by. None of the guys have had a date since Jake fell out of the hearse.

Hey sweetheart! Over here! Over here! Madone! Look at that one!

(The girls walk by with a look of disdain). SPR