Posted tagged ‘Italian ice’

“It was Sunday morning, and old people passed me like sad grey waves on their way to church.”

October 15, 2017

I’m wondering where the sun is hiding. The day is damp and cloudy. It’s a quiet day, no breeze rustles the leaves and no voices are loud enough to be heard. I have to go out and do a couple of errands later and tonight is game night. That’s like a full day for me.

When I was a kid, the expectations for Sunday were pretty much nonexistent. It was a nothing day much the same week after week. It started with church. The only unknown was which mass I’d attend. Would I go early with my dad, the usher, or later by myself or with my brother? Sunday dinner was the biggest meal of the week. It was always a roast, sometimes a roast beef and other times a whole chicken. It was the one meal all week where we all sat down to eat together though my mother sometimes stood by the counter to eat. On weekdays my dad was late getting home from work so he was never there for dinner. We were usually watching TV when he got home.

Once in a while, on a Sunday afternoon, we visited my grandparents in the city. I was amazed by the city. Houses were close together. The Italian bakeries sold pizza. A house down the street sold Italian ice through an open window. On the corner of my grandparents’ street was a private club. My uncle was a member. I remember going there once for a family party.

If we didn’t go out to visit, we’d sit around watching TV until my dad took over and turned to a football game. That sent us to the kitchen to play a board game or down the cellar to play. If I had a book, I’d go read it in my room away from the noise. My mother cooked in the kitchen. She peeled potatoes and opened cans of vegetables. We usually ate around two. Most times there was no special dessert. We’d grab cookies.

Sunday night we’d watch a bit of TV then it was early to bed because of school the next day. We always grumbled. That never got us anywhere except upstairs to bed at our regular time.

“Well, mother, he is a very nice man. he gave me some candy.”

May 18, 2014

Today is cloudy and a bit chillier than yesterday. My bedroom window was open all night, and I was cold this morning, cold enough to grab my comforter. I burrowed down, got cozy and fell asleep for another hour. Gracie woke me up. She banged her paw on the bed right beside where I was sleeping. Even though I kept my eyes closed and my breathing even, she knew I was awake. I gave in and got up. Now she’s sleeping. Oh, the irony!

I loved visiting my grandparents because they lived in a city. The houses were close together separated only by walkways almost like alleys. Small bakeries sold square pieces of cold pizza and Italian ice from opened windows. We played stick ball in the street and baseball against the steps. It was a whole new world to me. I remember two streets up there was a park, and I remember there was a store on the corner of their street. It was tiny but every shelf and counter was filled with something to buy. We went there to spend the dime my grandfather used to give us.

Once my uncle took my brother and me to Logan Airport. We walked from my grandparents’ house in East Boston. My uncle is only two years older than I am so it was just three kids on an adventure. It was a long walk and seemingly longer going home. Logan in those days was a series of hanger type buildings, many made of wood. They were mostly one story. The roofs of some of them were for observation, for watching the planes. There were fences around the perimeters of those roofs, and I remember standing there a long time watching the planes taxi to the runways and fly off while others landed. There were still prop planes and no jetways. People walked from the plane to the terminal. We went through the interconnected terminals, and I took brochures as souvenirs. I remember that as a favorite day. My mother wasn’t so happy when she found out how far we had gone.

I have another memory of when my uncle took my brother and me to the MDC pool. To get to the pool, we had to take a bus and then the subway from my grandparent’s house. I remember standing on the subway platform by myself. I don’t remember exactly where my brother and uncle were standing. A man came up to me. I remember he wore a straw hat, had bad teeth and his coat was striped. He had a cane but it was on hooked on his arm. He spoke to me, and I said hello. He offered me gum and said if I followed him behind the stairs he’d give it to me. Never take candy from a stranger jumped into my head so I ran to find my uncle and brother who were together further down the platform. They wanted to know why I was running. I didn’t tell them what had happened. I broke the rule by saying hello so I kept the whole incident secret. I never told. This isn’t a favorite memory.


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