|East Boston, Mark Morelli © 2009|
by Norah Dooley
(Thanks to Mark Morelli for his photo)
When I first met my husband who hails from Eastie ( Boston) he was
telling me about one of his best friends. We were about to meet Ralphie for the first time and he said I should understand that his friend had a "whopped sense of humah" - Since his friend was, like myself, of Italian distraction, I took my then BF to task for using an ethnic slur to describe the man's wit. "Anyway," I said, "What is a Wop sense of humor ? And why is it past tense?
Ahem. My bad. He meant 'warped' - as in twisted, perverted, weird.
Skip ahead some 25 years... My husband returns to pick us up from a parking garage in East Boston and apologizes to our daughters for his delay .
"It was like a wazone in there!" he explains.
Our teenage progeny ponder and confer amongst themselves. They are stumped. I am convulsed with laughter. They ask..."Is that some East Boston slang, dad? Like scheeeevy* or gravone*? Was it cheesy? Like a calzone? All closed or locked up? What?"
No, says he.
It was like Baghdad, Afghanistan. You know - it was a 'war zone' in the garage.
Sometimes, even a regional dictionary cannot help.
Now that we have stretched our minds, maybe we should go stretch out
and do some powah-yogher, right?
scheeeevy*= ( It.) schifoso = lousy, crappy, disgusting
gravone*= (It.) cafone = poor peasant or ill mannered
In case you need a translation of Bawstin-ese I love this site.