Philadelphia Diary Home About Philadelphia Interviews Interactive Script Artist Biographies Director's Diary
Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Philadelphia Diary Logo and Navigation

INTERVIEWS...

Listen to the Interview
(real audio)

Back to main

The Truth About Philadelphia
Program 1

Yvonne Barry
Crossing Guard, West Kensington


Question #20 What personality qualities are shard by all Philadelphians?

Glenn: Do you think that there's any personality traits shared by all Philadelphians?

Yvonne: Attitude. You get a lot of attitude. Oh yeah, you get a lot of attitude. You see it when you're a crossing guard. Doesn't matter where you are in the City, North Philadelphia, Kensington, Roosevelt Boulevard, anything, right? The first thing they'll yell out at you is yeo, move your fat ass out of the way. I hear this from drivers. Yeo, you stupid bitch. And then the MF for everything. I even had somebody and call me a matagonlick. I don't understand Spanish that much, but I know what it is. I went your momma. (Laughter.) But you get a lot of attitude. That is like they say, oh, the City that loves you back. Yeah, would love to beat the hell out of 'ya. (Laughter.) You know, the City that loves you back. Yeah, they'll kick your butt, they'll love to kick your butt, you know? A lot of attitude. That's basically what you get all over. It doesn't matter if they're Hispanic, if they're white, they're black, if they're Puerto Rican, if they're Dominican, if they're Laotian, German, Irish. You get attitude. The City, people in the City have attitude. But I think they earned it because of all the BS they been getting lately from like the politicals and everything. I mean what have you done for me lately, you know?

Glenn: That's not the first time we've heard that question in these interviews.

Yvonne: You know what I'm sayin, attitude. Yeah, it's attitude.

Glenn: How would you describe the attitude?

Yvonne: Defensive. I mean people don't what it. Like with Grey's Ferry. Oh, well we're not racists, but. It's been the, that way for years and years and years and years. Never between to meet. It's like the old Frankford Section. I used to go down the to roller skate. There used to be a roller rink down there on Frankford Avenue or somethin. Like Allegheny and Frankford. There used to be like a roller skate thing, right? One section would stayed in one section. The other section stayed in the other section. And I could never understand why because I originally came from North Philly. Everybody lived together and had a good time. No big deal. We all sat on our stoops and like watched the idiots go to Connie Mack. (Laughter.) I mean all the kids in the neighborhood; African Americans, you know, white kids, Italian kids, you know, all the kids. We all used to stand out, outside of Connie Mack and wait for a fly ball, you know one over the, one over. And then we gets to sell it to the guy that used to own the Philly's bar. He would give us like a couple of dollars for it. And then after the game, we would watch all the players goin in there sign the balls. And I'd be, I, I'd punch my sister down, and say, stupid, we shoulda kept it. (Laughter.)

Glenn: It's just that memory of what you were just saying of all the different kids living together and it being very cool. I mean I just.

Yvonne: Yeah, but what.

Glenn: What's different?

Yvonne: But back in the day when you'se, when we had an argument, we used to fight it out in the middle of the street. And whoever won won, because it was basically over stupid stuff anyway. The parents on the block where I lived when I was young, right, on Fellow Street and 21st Street, they had it this way. Well, we're not gonna fight over the kids because guess what, they're gonna be kissin each other's butts later on tomorrow. And in the meantime, we're both enemies. Why? My mother never fought with another parent. Why? She would go to the parent and say, let 'em duke it out and get it over with. Whoever wins wins. Okay? But know, when the kids have a fight, they go back for a gun, they go back for a knife. That's the difference. We got it over and done with. We shook hands and like we were a little bit like pew from each other. But then like we hung around again. It was over and done with. But now it's like grudge. It's like oh, well you whooped my butt, I'm gonna kill you. But then, of course, back in the day parents were able to turn around and discipline their children. They wonder why the teenagers are goin insane. It's because they took the power away from mommy and daddy to do anything. But, then they'll turn around and bust the kid and say well, it's mommy and daddy's fault they're the way they are.

back to top


About | Interactive Script | Philadelphia Interviews
Artist Biographies | Director's Diary