Peggy and I are getting ready to move from a 2,700 square foot house into a 1,200 square foot house, so there’s a lot of “triage” going on around here; last night I came across my old “Bosco Bear” stuffed toy from the early 60’s, and it reminded me of another “flashback” that I’d like to share with you mooks…
When I was a snot-nosed kid back in the early-60’s, my first friend was a kid named Jimmy Fulton — he lived in “The Big House” in another part of town. What great times we had — this was before I knew about “Class Differences”.
Ya’ see — The Fultons were what would have been considered “Upper Middle Class”, or maybe even just “Upper Class”; in short, they was RICH!
Mr. Fulton had some kinda job where he traveled the world — in the 3 years that Jimmy & I were best friends, I remember seeing him ONE time — a suitcase in each hand, a yellow-papered “Gitanes” French cigarette dangling from his mouth (first time I ever saw cigarettes that were rolled in paper that wasn’t white; they sure weren’t anything like what MY Mom & Dad smoked!) — he put one of his suitcases down, gave little Jimmy (the Fulton’s only child; I’m guessing that was due to Mr. Fulton’s travel schedule; he didn’t have much time to give Mrs. Fulton the old “pickle-tickle”) a pat on the head, gave ME a derisive look (I guess I already had a rep in da ‘hood for being a trouble-maker, plus I was “lower middle class”, and from the other side of the tracks, so to speak), and out ‘da d’oh he went!
I remember Mrs. Fulton pretty much confining herself to the massive master bedroom, where she sat on the HUGE (musta been) California King bed and watched television all day, smoking and drinking; this left Jimmy & me to pretty much have free reign of the house, the “barn” (never saw any animals on the Fulton version of The Ponderosa, so the barn was “vestigal”; as such, it became another big play-house for two boys), the pond, and the ~1/4 mile long paved driveway that we tear-assed up and down on our tricycles, and later on our little bikes w/training wheels…
What was particularly interesting to me was, the Fultons had a full-time, live-in, Swedish maid — I guess she would be called an “Au Pair” these days. All’s *I* knew was:
1). She had a funny accent — we used to LOVE making her mad at us (which was pretty easy for two “urchins” like us to do!) — when she was mad, she got all “animated” an’ shit, and her accent got even funnier;
2). She had her very own suite on one side of the house, complete with a little kitchenette, etc. — again, this was utterly FASCINATING to me — a “foreigner” living in their HOUSE;
3). Since she wasn’t Jimmy’s Mom or Dad, we quickly figgered out that she didn’t REALLY have the ultimate authority to punish us, so this gave us carte blanche to fuck with her even MORE…
Anyway, I was down there one day, hangin’ w/my Home Boy, watching HIS very own television (a full-sized COLOR console right there in his aircraft carrier-sized bedroom) — if I remember correctly, we were watching The Captain Jack McCarthy Show — he was the “host”, who introduced Popeye cartoons.
In-between cartoons and Captain Jack’s (no doubt) alcohol-induced blatherings, there were of course commercials — commercials for products aimed specifically at little shites like me & Jimmy: Fudgetown cookies, all manner of toys by companies like Hasbro, Mattel, Kenner, and others, but MOST importantly — Bosco! Yep — start ’em off early and get that “sugar hook” firmly implanted in the youth of America — yes please!
I can tell ya’, I wanted me a Bosco Bear, peoples! He had a cool white sweater with “BOSCO” across the front, and he was WAY cooler than the crappy hand-me-down stuffed bear that *I* got when Sis “upgraded” to her Baby-Wets-Her-Britches-Doll back in ’59. I would COVET that bear ever’ day; hell, we BOTH did!
And then — it happened! Captain Jack (I wonder if this is the same “Captain Jack” that Billy Joel was talking about?) offered up a special promotion — get your VERY OWN Bosco Bear stuffed bear, kiddies! All’s you had to do was drink 152 GALLONS of this poison, tear the labels off each bottle, and send ’em in with $3.00 American Dollars. Hell, it might as well have been three HUNDRED dollars to a coupla runny-nosed 5 year olds, even that we WERE from New Jersey, and should have been STEALING that $ out of our respective Dads’ wallets/Moms’ pocketbooks like Soupy Sales advised…
So — the quandary: WANTED the Bosco Bear, COVETED the Bosco Bear, had to HAVE the Bosco Bear; didn’t have no $ to BUY the Bosco Bear! What’s a pair of young, resourceful, Jersey Hoodlums-To-Be to DO?
“Shit Jimmy — the Bosco Bear is right there, INSIDE the television; if we take it apart, we can GET that bear!” says I.
Reminder — oxygen deprivation in the womb, 3rd trimester — prolly the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck, and/or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome — I was mildly retarded after all.
Apparently, my lack of intelligence and common sense was no match for my ability to CONVINCE young James to raid his Dad’s toolbox down in the cellar and bring up a coupla screwdrivers — we summarily attacked the back of that TV! A few quick spins of those screwdrivers, accompanied by the “Lefty-loosely, righty-tighty” chant that my own Dad taught me, and that Masonite backer board was OFF!
We peered inside — no sign of Le BB, but there WERE a bunch of pesky tubes in the way, impinging our view; thems got to GO! HOT! Fuck ME! I took off my Keds, skinned off my socks, handed one to Jimmy, and we each slid a sock over our hands to insulate our fingers from the heat — out came the tubes, but STILL no BB! WTF?!
We continued disassembling that rascal (pay no attention to those charged capacitors, waiting to jolt us into CERTAIN electrical oblivion!); our animated conversation apparently lured the Swedish maid out of her lair. Fuckin’ TRUH-BULL!
Chalk this one as THE first incident of me (and Jimmy) being hoisted OFF the floor and lead out the room and down the stairs by our EARS — now that HOITS! To this very day, my right ear is a tick more “pronounced” than my left, and I’m sure that Jimmy’s left is too.
A wonder we weren’t electrocuted — however, I believe that for some years thereafter, my parents DID get a X-Mas card from “Hoffman’s TV & Radio Repair” (Insert snigger here).
Sidebar: I landed up BUYING my Bosco Bear off FleaBay about 15 years ago — no labels, but a few sheckels more than $3.00, and no screwdriver required!