BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
by Neil Simon
“That*s-what-they-have-gutters-for”. . . (to audience) If my mother knew I was writing all this down, she would stuff me like one of her chickens. . . I*d better explain what she meant by Aunt Blanche*s “situation” . . . You see, her husband, Uncle Dave, died six years ago from . . . (He looks around.).., this thing. . . They never say the word. They always whisper it. It was — (He whispers. ) — Cancer! . . . I think they*re afraid if they said it out loud, God would say, “I HEARD THAT! YOU SAID THE DREAD DISEASE! (He points finger down.) JUST FOR THAT, I SMITE YOU DOWN WITH IT! !” … There are some things that grown-ups just won*t discuss … For example, my grandfather. He died from — (He whispers.) — Diptheria! . . . Anyway, after Uncle Dave died, he left Aunt Blanche with no money. Not even insurance. . . And she couldn*t support herself because she has—(He whispers.) Asthma So my big-hearted mother insisted we take her and her kids in to live with us. So they broke up our room into two small rooms and me and my brother Stan live on this side, and Laurie and her sister Nora live on the other side. My father thought it would just be temporary but it*s been three and a half years so far and I think because of Aunt Blanche*s situation, my father is developing — (He whispers. ) — High blood pressure! My cousin Laurie has a “flutter in her heart.” Because of her “condition,” I have to do twice as much work around here… Boy, if I could just make the Yankees, I*d be in St. Petersburg this winter. . . (He starts out and down the stairs.) Her sister Nora isn*t too bad. She*s sixteen. I don*t mind her much. (He is downstairs by now.) At least she*s not too bad to look at. (He starts taking glasses down from open cupboard.) To be absolutely honest, this is the year I started noticing girls that weren*t too bad to look at… Nora started developing about eight months ago … I have the exact date written in my diary.