Friday, June 16, 2006

Petey Igor - Local Legend

I've already mentioned a few folks from the neighborhood that most here would consider to be local legends. Today I look at another, Mr. Petey Igor. Pete was a perpetual fixture in the area, living somewhere around 15th & Shunk Streets. We would see him just about every day in the summer time.

Pete was a legend more because he overcame than anything else. He was one of those souls who had physical and mental challenges, but it didn't keep him from doing his thing. Although he couldn't speak with much more than a grunt, he got his point across. In the days of the old Veterans Stadium, we saw him one day getting a hot dog and he found he was short-changed when completing his purchase. If it was done purposefully, that person giving the change soon found out that he was not to be taken advantage of. He started jabbing at the change in his hand and then pointing up to the prices on the menu board. The bewildered cashier soon put the proper change in his hands and saw that he was sharper than some would give him credit for.

People not understanding handicaps can sometimes get a man in trouble. There was one incident where a young girl saw him come up the street behind her, and had the wits scared out of her. She ran down the block screaming. It's enough to get you put on the sexual predators list today, but no harm was done. At least not to her, whether it upset Pete or not was never determined.

We never knew what happened to Pete to cause his troubles. One legend says he was hit by a bus in his youth. There have been others who said differently. Let speculation run long enough, and eventually someone would have probably speculated that he was born near a chemical plant or that his mom gave birth while hearing of the JFK assasination and the trauma caused his problems. Whatever.

Anyhow, Pete's long gone. I haven't seen him in decades. I don't know whether he's alive or dead. But I do remember him vividly. So hats off to Petey Igor, local legend!

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