Random Thoughts

Does any one know how to "upper"?

I remember a Holiday tradition that my brother always seemed to enjoy in our neighborhood of Fishtown in the city of neighborhoods, Philadelphia.


In the neighborhood of Philadelphia where I grew up, the teen age boys had a holiday tradition just before Easter. They went "uppering". The local butcher shop always had a wire basket filled with older eggs (two for a nickle) on sale. The boys would go into the butcher shop, test the egg for hardness by tapping it against their upper front teeth. The sound told them if it was a good egg for uppering or not. Armed with the best choices, he would leave the store and begin to shout, UPPER, ANY ONE WANT TO UPPER?. Another boy hearing the cry, would emerge from his home, also armed with a couple of eggs and the fun began. The challenger would wrap his fist around his egg with the point exposed. The other boy would tap the egg. If the egg cracked, he would turn the egg around  to expose the other end of the egg referred to as the butt and with the butt of the other egg try to crack it. If both ends of an egg are cracked, they go to the boy who cracked it and he is declared the winner. It seemed to be a boy thing and my brother realy enjoyed doing this. Of course, one of the bad sides of this game is if you have too many eggs in your pockets at the same time, they are raw, and they do crack and they do make a mess in the pants pockets.

I recall my mother making lots of sponge cakes with the spoils of my brother's winnings. I have never seen this happen since moving away from that old neighborhood. I have taught my grandsons how to "upper", but we usually do it with hard cooked eggs now. Never raw eggs, so it is much neater.

May 5,2006

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