Okay, you’ve given me more Brooklyn memories. It seems like my Brooklyn recollections are a shared collective across Boroughs and State lines. Of course there was the knishman. And no potato knish since then has tasted quite so right. There was also the Chow Chow Cup, which sold Chinese food in a cup that could be eaten. And there was the Good Humor Man who sold ice cream out of a truck. And of course the trucks that had the rides in the back of them. When I think of those trucks I can’t believe they never tipped over. All those memories of living in the City. Are my kids deprived because they won’t have them?
I’m like any other kid from Brooklyn and remember skelly very well. I remember the set up – a large square – usually a cement square on the sidewalk of our dreams – we’d chalk several small squares in each of the four corners, additional small squares on each of the four sides of the larger square. Then a smaller square in the center. We’d use bottle caps, and yes, sometimes we’d melt wax in them to give them extra weight. It brings back memories of my Brooklyn of the early 50’s on Pennsylvania and Belmont Avenues, before moving into the Boulevard Projects, where we’d also play the game. Do our children even understand the dynamics of the game?
I remember it well.. Steeplchase was where my Irish grandfather worked. we got in free, and had the round punchcards to deal with.. I loved the slide with all the spinning disks at the end.. Also the Horse race, and like you said, the air thing.. Banana custard, Nathans, and pink popcorn still make my mouth water.. Not to mention, when we were kids, and going up the first hill on the Tornado Coaster, “look to the left” was said buy the guys.. It was a nude sun thing for whatever we kids could see.. 🙂
Hey Guys…Anyone wanna play “Saloogie”? Hunnh?Well d’ya hunnh? Whadya…CHICKEN? (note:please add any number of F words anywhere and if I remember correctly…everywhere possible,to authenticate the mood). In Bensonhurst,Brooklyn NY the Saloogie championships “uda world” were held everyday after school despite “My Mother said”‘s hanging over all our heads! Johnny B.though had a “My Mother told my Father” hanging over his, so he was only lightly “Nayaad”and excused from the big game,(for a couple of days). Periodically (once a week)intensely hushed rumors would float over the court(down the other end of the block,just not in front of the school itself …the nuns)that an unknown team of players from God knows where(they didn’t go to our school)was coming to challenge us to a real game.So a serious intent to toughen up our play would result.They never did show up, but I’m sure they periodically toughened up their play in case we showed up one day,too.No one could stop us from playing,not admonitions from parents ,nuns or even “Shoo gidouta here stupid kids” from the ladies who lived in the houses we played in front of.It was addictive.It was a test of courage,agility(you had better be or if not you had better be fast)and most of all it was above all else a true measure of stupidity(why none of us got “run over” dashing in and out of parked cars,being chased by 2 or 3 ,being cut off by another or ambushed by the big slow guys amazes me still. Does anyone remember the ‘chicken’pass thrown too early when the other team got ALMOST too close.Status was acheived when you got caught by the other team and amidst the punches(no punchin’ inna face man)and elaborately named “moves” reputedly used by wrestlers … you got free!!!!!!!!!!! In the end a force greater than we could’ve ever imagined destroyed our game.Not weather(year round play … no problem,slippery ice evened the play for the slower guys),rain (Mothers wanted to give us umbrellas to take to school but were afraid we really would poke each others eyes out since once out of a mothers sight ‘mumbrellas’ magically turned into weapons ‘with a sharpened point man …see’,no not even Dads(a bit tricky that one)no it was……….shool uniform pants!The Nuns desperate to end ‘the shame of our school’ finally came up with something.They announced that any boy whose uniform pants were ripped or even patched too much (mine had 2or3 hardly noticable(thanks ma)neatly sewn repairs on each knee)would not be allowed in school.They had the priest mention it in chuch even.It put an end to the regular game…er,championship.We never did play those other guys…bu “we wouda creamed em” for sure.
I just heard about skully for the first time about a week ago talking to a guy who grew up in Brooklyn. In Philly we called it deadbox. I imagine it’s pretty much the same game with boxes 1 to 12 and the deadbox, always decorated with a skull and crossbones. It’s way funny how all the games were similar like buck-buck instead of Johnie on the Pony or whatever…but damn it they were all fun. Kids today don’t know how to play and how good clean and sometimes physical fun. whatever….
I played “buck buck” in Chicago in the early 50’s when I was about 9 years old. Thanks for bringing back some fond childhood memories.
Back in Philly we played stickball much the same wall, but we had an additional variation. We would find an old mop or broom handle. (sometimes it wasn’t that old). But we used the cheap rubber balls that had pimples (that’s what we called them) and we cut them in half. (old tennis balls were the best). Our game was called half ball. The same rules applied as stickball (distance determined postion on base, etc). We had no strike box, we would play against a wall or just on the street, much like streetball. We also had variations of the way the half ball was thrown. You could pitch the ball, mostly underhanded, like softball sometimes with an arch or fast and straight , so that the ball appeared to be whole as it approached the batter. Or it could be pitched sideways, so that the ball came at the batter like a flying saucer. A pitcher could actually make the ball rise or drop. The games usually ended whenever all the balls had been hit for homeruns and were on the rooftops. From time to time whenever a roof repair was being made in the neighborhood, the first thing we would ask the guy on the roof, was if there were any balls that he could throw down. My step-dad was usually the guy on the roof. So I always got first choice. As I got into my teens, and helped out I became the guy on the roof and would thrown the balls down to the younger neighborhood kids.