While being lulled into a trance by the undulations of the Lincoln Tunnel toll ramp I was jerked into consciousness by a familiar long-lost name emblazoned on the side of a van. Bosco, the long forgotten chocolate syrup of my youth except the name in a different typeface and in a plastic squeeze bottle. I can still see the glass laboratory flask shaped bottle that in came in sitting on our white Formica dining room table.

I remember reading once that they used Bosco syrup in the shower scene in Psycho because it translated more like blood in black and white. The other popular culture reference that comes to mind is that it was George Costanza’s ATM password in Seinfeld. I have a personal Bosco experience that far outweighs these bits of trivia.

It was the Summer of Love, 1967. a lot going on in the world, but all meaningless to a little kid whose world extended to the boundaries of the garden apartment complex where he lived. I hung around with a bunch of kids and we played and got into trouble while our mothers sat in folding webbed aluminum lawn chairs smoking cigarettes oblivious to our adventures. One particular day while chasing each other around the perimeter of Tudor Court, which was flanked by two very busy city streets, one of the gang spotted a dark puddle in the gutter. As we all gathered around and stared into the glistening brown ooze that took up two parking spaces and enveloped two other parked cars the kid questions started. “What is it”?, “How did it get here”?, “What should we do”? Being the unofficial leader of the gang I proclaimed that it was Bosco. One of the kids ran to tell the mothers. Soon the mothers all got up from their lawn chairs and came out to the street. “Stay away from that stuff you don’t know what it is” “That’s backed up sewage” were some of the things being spouted by the mothers. Soon all the kids were led by their moms back to the safe confines of the court. After a little while when the moms got back into their conversation, I and a few of the braver kids were once again summoned by the allure of the street syrup.

Till this day I don’t know why I did what I’m about to tell you but I proceeded to roll up my pants and wade out into the chocolate syrup. As I swayed back and forth, foot to foot, to the cheers and chanting of the other kids it wasn’t long before the moms got up to investigate. The next thing I knew I was yanked out of the chocolate by my arm, my mother screaming at me that she told me not to go into the sewage and at this, with all the other kids watching, I defiantly said “It’s not sewage its Bosco!” This was answered with a slap. With tears in my eyes, humiliated in front of everyone, I called my mother a bitch. I can still see the open mouths of my friend’s mothers as I was dragged backwards to our apartment like a rag doll. I was then given my first and only taste of Ivory soap.

Looking back I can’t say that what was in the street in front of 6 Tudor Court was indeed Bosco. It was just my chocolate syrup of preference at the time. I can say that it definitely was chocolate syrup. It was not backed up sewage. and every time I see the word Bosco I will always think of that day and this story which I refer to as the Bosco Incident.

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