The litany of Jewish curses, calls, and wisecracks that became bright spots in immigrant literature were lacking in our courtyard. We never heard the famous bread call: "Ma, cut me off and butter me up and throw me down a piece of bread." Our was the less colorful, less musical,"Ma, I want a piece of bread. . . . Of the numerous references to trolley cars quoted in the literature, we never heard the gorgeously picturesque "May a trolley car grow in your belly that you may piss nickels and shit transfers [or vice versa]." My father would answer my mother's conjectures when he was in a playful mood with "If, if. If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a trolley car," and better yet,"If my grandmother had a penis, she'd be my grandfather." The most stimulating local curse came from Ruthie Rosen's kitchen, on the third floor of 2027: "May you grow like an onion with your head in the ground and your feet in the air."
from Bronx Primitive: Portraits in a Childhood by Kate Simon (Harper & Row, 1983)