South Philly

The secret is out – I’m from the ‘south’ – South Philly that is! You wouldn’t guess it by how I speak. My dad sent me to Immaculata to make sure that ‘South Phillyese’ no longer came out of my mouth. Words like youse, skeeve, bimbo (not the Union soccer players) comare, paisan, and chooch reside in my brain but seldom come out of my mouth.

The ‘South Philly’ I grew up in is very different than it is today however some of the ‘ancient’ culture still exists. If you’re from South Philly or spent time there, enjoy these memories. If not, well, not everyone can be this fortunate.

  • Love the challenge of a tight parking spot, especially if it has 2 folding chairs in it.
  • There’s no such thing as tomato sauce, it’s ‘gravy’.
  • You bought your Italian rolls at Cacia’s – never packaged rolls.
  • Everyone knew where to play a number, and who the local ‘runners’ were.
  • You can’t play 319 on St. Joseph’s Day.
  • It’s ‘Ninth Street’ not the ‘Italian Market’.
  • Drivers of all ages did the ‘South Philly Slide’ thru stop signs.
  • Eat macaroni on Sunday. Regardless of what kind of pasta, it was still ‘macaroni’.
  • Play softball or stickball rather than eat dinner.
  • Drive 60 mph up Mole Street, and know you will ‘fit’.
  • Call Second Street, ‘2 Street.’
  • Add the letters ‘y’ or ‘ie’ to all names, hence: Joey, Paulie, Mikey, Sammy, & Bobby.
  • Know the difference between pizza and tomato pie.
  • Have a friend in the business…any business.
  • Have an Uncle Guido.

Real South Philadelphians knew that…

  • Wildwood was the South Philadelphia Riviera.
  • Everyone who knows goes to the Melrose, except on Christmas Day.
  • You bring flowers to Holy Cross Cemetery on Palm Sunday to visit.
  • 7th Street had the best stores.
  • Palumbo’s was the place you had your wedding, baptism & funeral – and you got ravioli at every meal.
  • Mummer’s Day is a National Holiday.
  • Mario Lanza, Joey Bishop, Eddie Fisher, Chubby Checker, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, Jerry Blavat, Frankie Avalon, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Marian Anderson, James Darren, David Brenner, Jack Klugman and a lot more ALL belonged to us.

The other day my husband said, “You know, I think you bring a little South Philly with you where ever you go.” What a compliment.

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