Friday, July 13, 2012

Nostalgia~What A Cute Word

Yesterday I was reading an article about one woman's memory of her childhood and all the things that were done then that no longer exist today. I am a nostalgic person by nature and looking back in time has always been an enjoyable past time for me.

In Ann Brenoff's article, 'Things The Way They Were', she mentions many things that seem to break the rules thhat we live by today. Like riding in cars, as children, with no seat belts and younger children sitting on Moms lap. Our parents smoking while we were in the room with them and for that matter smoking in the house.

No child proof lids, riding on public transportation to get to work or go shopping, eating canned tuna without worrying about mercury content, putting sugar in baby food so it would taste good if Mom had to lick the spoon, riding bicycles without helmets, adding red and green dyes to our food, Mac N Cheese was a meal not a side dish, TV diners we actually eaten in front of the TV and only 3 working TV stations are more things that Ms Brenoff lists.

Probably the most devestating thing we did not have, especially for the men, was no TV remote control. OMG! Up and down to change channels and adjust volume a million times. My father would sit me close to the TV so I could change channels for him, lol. At least this was the plan when Mom was not around. If Mom was home I would hear. "Randy get away for the TV you are ruining your eyes!"

Growing up in Brooklyn there were other things I can remember fondly. Mom calling us from the apartment window to come to dinner. Playing 'stoop ball' in the street. Opening the fire hydrants to keep cool in the summer. Walking to school about 10 or 12 blocks and no it was not up hill both ways, lol. Going into the local bar, at age 10,  and getting beer for my Dad and my uncles and bringing it home in a cardboard container. Getting a 'kanish'(a yummy deep fried potato thingy that was salted and served by Jewish street vendors) everyday on my way home from school. These are things that all us kids did and are fond memories.

But there are things that are unique to me and that the modern 'how to raise your children' mystics would scratch their heads in amazement while dialing children's services.

My grandfather, a saintly 5'4" Northern Italian gentleman, was our baby sitter while Mom and Dad worked. As such he was responsible for our breakfast. He decided that we needed to be slowed down a bit so he could keep up with us so he served us a unique breakfast to accomplish his goals.

We ate crusty Italian bread soaked in Chianti wine every morning. My brother and I were smashed by 9am and very easy to control, lol. Later I found out that it was common breakfast fare when he was a child.

My grandfather made his own Chianti. Grapes grown in his small backyard were converted to the most amazing wine that was coveted by many older men in our neighborhood. As my grandfather got older he had some problems doing the grape crushing. He had a machine but it was manually run. So he attached a roller contraption to the crusher gears and fastened my bicycle to the roller. I rode my bike, in the house basement, and helped crushed the grapes.

Grandfather and I had the most wonderful relationship and every minute I spent with him are precious. While reading Mrs Brenoff's article my mind constantly drifted back to those days on Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. I can not remember a single unhappy time while living there.

Oh to be a child again!!!!!


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