More people, more ways of being from Baltimore


October 09, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

YOU KNOW YOU'RE from Baltimore if you still call us The Sunpaper. ... If you reached fourth grade before realizing that the state with the Great Salt Lake was not spelled "Eutaw." ... If you fully expect to smell vinegar while using the Jones Falls Expressway (but only at night). ... If you went to Thompson's Sea Girt House and never knew what a "girt" was. ... If you know how to carry at least four cardboard plates full of oysters back from the shucking bar, without getting the liquor on your shirt, at a bull-n-oyster roast. ... If you know that they don't roast oysters at an oyster roast. ... If you know a shad roe when you see one. ... If the sight of skinned muskrats at Lexington Market doesn't startle you anymore. ... If you've been threatened with a "suitcase" by someone who wanted to sue you. ... If you still call it the Civic Center and still think it was a bad idea to build a stage at one end. ... If you hear the term "paramour" and think of something that cuts grass. ... If you remember when Lenny's was Jack's. ... If you miss Divine almost as much as John Waters must. ... If you remember when the only Republican woman you could vote for was Louise Gore. ... If you know the best way to handle an unexpected crowd is with the 100-chicken-wings-for- $37 special at Tyrone's . ... And you know you're from Baltimore if you get to Druid Hill Park early on Sundays to get a spot to wax, polish and lean on your car.

Wait, there's more.

Readers and friends of TJI have been filling in the blank, too.

You know you're from Baltimore ...

J. M. Griffin: "If you remember when the Fishmarket, now Port Discovery, was actually a fish market. ... If you can do the 'Lorenzo Stomp.' ... If you remember Cross Street Market before they served sushi there. ... If you watched 'Pinbusters.' ... If you see an obituary for a duckpin star on the front page of The Sun and don't bat an eye, except maybe to dab a tear away."

Glenn Small: "You're from Baltimore if someone from out of town says you have an accent, and you have no idea what they mean."

Brooks Riley: "You know you're from Baltimore if you still refer to BWI as Friendship Airport. ... If you know what happened to Mr. Boh's other eye. ... If you remember eating 'The Powerhouse,' 'The Giant' or 'The Champ.' "

Jeff Spence: "If your Christmas garden has trains instead of plants in it."

Mark Naumann: "If you know who P. W. Doodle, Mr. Poplolly, Pete the Pirate and Capt. Chesapeake were."

Joey Amalfitano: "You know you're from Baltimore if you can name the All-Pro on the (bow your heads) Baltimore Colts who was a substitute teacher at City College. He never had a discipline problem with his students. (Hint: He was a defensive player. Answer on Monday.)"

Nancy Jean Wagner: "You can still sing the Cloverland Dairy jingle ('Milk and butter and eggs and cheese, fresh from the farm to you. If you don't own a cow, call Cloverland now. It's North-9-2222.') ... You know you're from Baltimore if you remember the names of telephone exchanges. (Saratoga became SA-7, then 727; Ridgeway became RI-7, then 747.)"

Ken Fish: "You remember 15-cent hamburgers at the Little Tavern, and you can remember when all the strip bars were next to each other on Baltimore Street for a five-block stretch."

Leon Andrews: "You know you're from Baltimore if you still call Pier 4 Pratt Street the 'Watermelon Wharf.' ... Or if you got a hot dog and a small soda and a helping of sauerkraut for a nickel on Lombard Street. The sauerkraut was in a big barrel in front of the store. When the man gave me the hot dog, I would grab a handful of kraut. He'd yell, 'Use the spoon!' There was one hanging on the barrel. I'd ask if he wanted me to put the kraut back. He'd yell, 'No, get outta here!' I would leave."

From Sun colleagues: "If you remember streetcars, the trackless trolleys and the BTC. ... If you knew Elmer's, Light and Pratt, as a bar with a four-star rating for fights. ... If you remember when the NationsBank building was the Maryland National Bank building and, before that, the Matheson Building. ... If you remember going to ice hockey games at Carlin's Park ... If you still think the best late-summer night snack was a 'cold platter' with a Dortmunder draft at the Deutcheshaus. ... If you call 911 to get 'a po-leece' or an 'ambo-lance' to your door. ... If you remember WBAL playing nothing but classical music, Molly Martin and Al Ross on the radio, Bill Dyer running around his 'little red chair' for the International League Orioles."

Adding to that last contribution was Sig Seideman: "You know you're from Baltimore if you know what 'The candle is flickering mighty low' meant, or what glimmer of hope emerged when the speaker announced that he was 'going to take a walk around the little red chair.' That was the shtick of Bill Dyer, broadcaster of the old Orioles in the 1940s. The candle flickered low when our heroes were behind in the ninth inning, and a walk around the little red chair stirred the needed rally." is the e-mail address for columnist Dan Rodricks. Mail can be sent to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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