A Refresher on Boston Cultchah

In honor of the Sox in the World Series, sent to me by my OFD* stepmom!!  Note my personal additions to this handy guide in italics.

Welcome to Bawstin!

For those of you who have never been to “Bawstin”, this is a good guide. I hope you will consider coming to “Beantown” in the near future.

Information on Boston and the surrounding area:

  • There’s no school on School Street, no court on Court Street, no dock on Dock Square, no water on Water Street.
  • Back Bay streets are in alphabetical “oddah”: Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, no I/J/K/L, Mass Ave.
  • So are South Boston streets: A, B, C, D, etc.
  • If the streets are named after trees (e.g. Walnut, Chestnut, Cedar), you’re on Beacon Hill.
  • If they’re named after poets, you’re in Wellesley.

Massachusetts Ave is Mass Ave; Commonwealth Ave is Comm Ave; South Boston is Southie. The South End is the South End.  East Boston is Eastie. The North End is east of the former West End. The West End and Scollay Square are no more; a guy named Rappaport got rid of them one night. Roxbury is The Burry, Jamaica Plain is J.P.

How to say these Massachusetts city names correctly:
**Say it wrong, be shunned**

  • Worcester: Wuhsta (or Wistah)
  • Gloucester : Glawsta
  • Leicester Lesta
  • Woburn: Wooban
  • Dedham : Dead-um
  • Revere: Re-vee-ah
  • Quincy: Quinzee
  • Tewksbury : Tooks berry
  • Leominster : Lemin-sta
  • Peabody: Pee-ba-dee
  • Waltham : Walth-ham
  • Chatham: Chaddum
  • Samoset: Sam-oh-set or Sum-aw-set but nevah Summerset!


  • Frappes have ice cream, milkshakes don’t.
  • If it is fizzy and flavored, it’s tonic.
  • Soda is CLUB SODA.
  • “Pop” is Dad.
  • When we want Tonic WATER, we will ask for Tonic WATER.
  • The smallest beer is a pint.
  • Scrod is whatever they tell you it is, usually fish. If you paid more than $6/pound, you got scrod.
  • It’s not a water fountain; it’s a bubblah.
  • It’s not a trashcan; it’s a barrel.
  • It’s not a spucky, a hero or grinder,… it’s a sub.
  • It’s not a shopping cart; it’s a carriage.
  • It’s not a purse; it’s a pockabook.
  • They’re not franks; they’re haht dahgs; Franks are money in Switzahland.
  • Police don’t drive patrol units or black and whites they drive a “crooza”.
  • If you take the bus, your on the “looza crooza”.
  • It’s not a rubber band, it’s an elastic.
  • It’s not a traffic circle, it’s a rotary (and the people in it have the right of way, jacka**!!).
  • “Going to the islands” means Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket.

And may I add, courtesy of my Nana and my stepmom, mostly:

  • It’s not the living room, it’s the parlor.  (I particularly enjoyed going to the Irish bar The Parlor on the Upper West Side for Brandeis events when I lived in NY.  Talk about world’s colliding!)
  • It’s not the trash, it’s the rubbish. (and you’d throw it down the “incinerator” in the Southie projects, per Nana’s request.  Forever in my childhood I thought they were actually burning the trash at the bottom of the chute.)
  • If asking after your friends’ night out, you ask “how was your time?”
  • It’s not the freeway (M.A.S.!!), or the highway, it’s the (Southeast) expressway.

Our Sports Teams

The Sox = The Red Sox
The C’s = The Celtics
The B’s = The Bruins

Things not to do:

Don’t pahk your cah in Hahvid Yahd .. they’ll tow it to Meffa (Medford) or Summahville (Somerville). Don’t sleep on the Common (Boston Common) (Why would you?). Don’t wear Orange in Southie on St. Patrick’s Day.

Things you should know:

  • There are two State Houses, two City Halls, two courthouses, two Hancock buildings (one old, one new for each).
  • The colored lights on top the old Hancock tell the weatha’:
    “Solid blue, clear view….”
    “Flashing blue, clouds due….”
    “Solid red, rain ahead….”
    “Flashing red, snow instead….” – (except in summer; flashing red means the Red Sox game was rained out).
  • Route 128 is also I-95 south. It’s also I-93 north. Most people live here all their life and still don’t know what the hell is going on with this one.
  • The underground train is not a subway. It’s the “T”, and it doesn’t run all night (fah chrysakes, this ain’t Noo Yawk).
  • Order the “cold tea” in China Town after 2:00 am you’ll get a kettle full of beer.


  • think that it’s their God-given right to cut off someone in traffic.
  • think that there are only 25 letters in the alphabet (no R’s – except in “idea”, and “saw” and “bra”).
  • think that three straight days of 90+ temperatures is a heat wave.
  • refer to six inches of snow as a “dusting.”
  • always “bang a left” as soon as the light turns green, and oncoming traffic always expects it.
  • believe that using your turn signal is a sign of weakness. (I remember my father teaching me this one morning sitting in traffic on the Expressway when I was in high school when he was instructing me on how to merge – never use your blinker, he warned me, because then no one will let you go.)
  • think that 63-degree ocean water is warm.
  • think Rhode Island accents are annoying.

Love that dirty water…Go Sox!! 


*Originally from Dorchester.


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