Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lemonade - redone

When was the last time you bought a glass of lemonade? How about from children selling it by the cups on the corner?
With a little table, a pitcher of ice cold lemonade, cups, and a little box to hold the change ,the children holding up signs saying lemonade - 25 cents.
They were all excited, jumping up and down, trying to get the attention of the people driving in their cars. Some had short hair, some braided, or long and curly or just straight. Glasses or not, these little girls were trying to grab our attention, and they sure grabbed mine with their impish smiles.

As I pulled over they all tripped over each others feet trying to get to me. Did I want a glass of lemonade? Did I just want one glass? Looking around to the back of my jeep confirmed what I knew, no one else was in my Jeep but me.
These little girls must of thought I was really thirsty! I just bought one glass of lemonade, it was so cold and refreshing.

Seeing the happiness and excitement on their faces made me think I should of bought two glasses even though I paid more then the asking price of a quarter, and that made them laugh and smile even more while saying thank yous.

This lazy hot day of summer and lemonade made me think of how fortuante these little girls were. They could stay at home instead of going to a day care center, or a babysitter, as is the norm these days, because it takes 2 paychecks to make it work for most families.

Those of us who grew up in the Fifties were fortunate to have our mom's at home, to be able to walk to the local pool, or ride our bikes to the end of town and back.
After dinner we would take baths, get clean clothes on,and take long leisurely walks in the evening, We would walk down to the " Honor Role" where the water fountain changed colors.
There we would meet other kids and sit around and talk kid stuff. Like, what time are we meeting at the pool, did you see so and so take that dive off the diving board? Her name was Phyllis and she did double twists off the high dive. Everyone was in awe, mostly the rest of us just held our nose and jumped off!

I think back on how all of us took that for granted, just like we took for granted the high tower Isaly's ice-cream cones that we were able to buy for ten cents. It was for sure living in the Happy Days or Mayberry, USA.

From the time I was 4 I lived in a alley. When I looked out my bedroom window I saw the house next door, If I reached out the window far enough I could touch it with my hand. Growing up in an alley was fun. Our friends lived right next door or just a couple of doors down, So close we did not have to call them on the phone, but just holler their name from the porch.

Dodge ball, Hopscotch, Hide n Seek, riding our bikes, playing Mumbly Peg,(I had my own pen-knife!) catching fire fly, playing cowboys and indians, were just some of the games that I played with the kids.

We did not have air-conditioning in those days .When it was really hot and humid, my dad would sleep downstairs, and when he would, I would. Sometimes he would sleep on the recliner on the porch, I did not want to get bit by bugs , so I stayed in our living room and slept on the floor. Doors wide open, windows too and not a one was ever locked. 

The back entrance to the fresh meat market "Darling's Market" was across the alley from our house.
My mom would send me to the store and I entered through the back entrance where Mr. Darling and his son, Saul would be butchering the meat. Mr. Darling would always have a old stogie hanging out of his mouth, while Saul would have a cigarette hanging out of his. It always smelled of fresh blood but once you got into the main store it smelled good. 

My mom would send me to the store with her grocery list, and I always hoped I would have to buy from the meat counter, where a guy named Jim worked, he was a bit older then me, but that didn't stop me from falling madly in love with him. My heart would do flip flops when he would wait on me, even though I was about 13 or 14 and he was about 20 or 21. he left the store and entered the service.( Before he left we had a sweet goodbye kiss, He probably forgot it right after, but I remembered it .)

I thought nothing of eating fresh steaks & lamb chops a couple times a week. We had Orlando's a fresh produce store across the street from Darling's Market, where I also shopped for my mom. Then there was the chicken store, they had fresh killed chickens that they cleaned, and you could buy chicken hearts also.
I loved how my mom made chicken hearts. She got her frying pan out and put some olive oil in it and after it was hot she would put in the chicken hearts and season them with salt and pepper - DELICIOUS! I can't find them anywhere except sometimes in a whole chicken. Of course it is an organ meat which is supposed to be bad for your cholesterol. But we ate Liver worst back then also and it was not suppose to be good for our health, it was delicious though.

Back then the doctor made house calls, and our doctor was Dr. Cibrick, He came to our house much to often. My mother and I had Hepatitis together, I had pneumonia. My mom always got bronchitis from smoking. His back door opened into the alley, katty corner from our home, so he did not have to go far. When I married , we got a beautiful lace tablecloth as a gift from them that I have to this day. 47 years later, (now 51 as I once again critique this) I still have a lot of wedding gifts, the people are gone who gave them to us, but the gifts are remembrance of them.

Sunday's we would travel to Swissvale or Greensburg to visit my grandmothers. We would visit my aunts and uncles or else they would visit us. On my mom's side no matter who you were visiting or if you had them at your home, there would always be a game of ,"Check-Check" (poker} being played while polka's played on the radio and cousins running in and out of the house. They played after we all ate a good home made Italian dinner.

Holidays my dad and mom would make pizzals by hand on the stove,. my mom would make the dough, and my dad would take care of the iron, knowing just when to turn it. It was a long tedious job, but they made dozens and dozens of them. I think they enjoyed doing it together.To be able to taste one of theirs again would be heaven sent. Today of course, people make them with an electric iron and it goes so much faster.

My mother and her best friend Clara would get together and make the Italian Bow Knots, Nut and Apricot rolls, and other Italian Cookies. When my Grandmothers were still able to bake, the CHEGETS and other originals delicacies would be made. I am ashamed to say, except for very few traditional cookies, I do not carry on the traditions. I do make the Christmas Eve Italian Spaghetti and Erika, my one daughter-in-law now carries on that tradition.

I was 8 years old when my brother Dominic was born, and from that day on till I married, I shared a bedroom with him. I did a lot of babysitting back then, I baby sat whenever I should of had a babysitter!  He was such a cute little boy with his curly dark hair and impish smile, everyone loved him.

Going to Catholic grade school meant that we had to go to 8 o'clock mass every morning. We had to sing and sing the songs in Latin. We did the Mass of the dead - Requem Eterna - the Mass was not only song but said in Latin at that time, and the priest always had his back towards us except when he said the gospel. We girls wore babushkas to Mass, at that time no girl or woman could go without a hat on or wear a babushka.  If we were going to go to Communion, we had to fast all night up until we received Communion. we packed our breakfast and ate it in class after Mass. I don't think anyone at all fasts before taking Communion today, I know I don't but again I don't eat anything in the morning.

A couple of times in the winter when the snow was heavy, a few of us girlfriends would skip morning Mass and go down to the football field where we would goof around and make snow angels in the snow, then we would go back to church when we thought Mass was over, of course we always got in trouble with the nuns because either we were late or got back early and that told them we were not at Mass.

On Wednesday nights at seven o'clock, our class was to sing at Adoration Services. I always had to babysit my brother, because my dad had a firemen's meeting and my mom went to a poker game. If my mom won she always gave me a tip!. Well, anyhow the kids that I hung out with knew that I babysat on that night and they would all come to my house. My brother would be in bed and us kids would have such fun playing Spin the Bottle. I fell in love with Tom then, he was so cute and kissed good and long, (lol). It was all innocent, We were just young kids having fun. Who ever spun the bottle and who ever it landed on would go into our kitchen and up on the landing that went upstairs, that is where we would kiss, and when we were done, we went back in the living room where the game would start up again!
They all had to leave at the time when Adoration services would be finished at church, so they could get home on time. We would write excuses for each other and give them to the nuns the next day. 
I was the only one with a true excuse, and my parents never found out what went on at our house on Wednesday nights from 6th grade till we graduated grade school in 8th grade!

Father O'Hara was our pastor, He baptized me, Gave me First Holy Communion, Confirmation and Married me.

My grade school years were fun and innocent, no day cares existed, neither did pre-school or kindergarten. Today is so different, most mothers have to work, kids are in day care, and doors are locked. Some children like the Lemonade girls are lucky to stay home but they are far and in between.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Memories on Clark's Summit

The Kitchen

Growing up I loved our kitchen. I especially loved our table. The table was where everything happened. Pie dough was rolled, Christmas cookies made, homemade bread and rolls made. When my Grandmother came to stay she would make homemade Gnocchi’s or Ravioli’s. Mom would make her Stuff Cabbage; I played with my doll house, did my homework, sat and read my book. Dad would read the paper while having his after dinner coffee. I can still picture it in my mind just like it was yesterday. There was one window in the kitchen, under the window was a roll cart to hold the toaster, deep fryer, mixer and blender. In the summer my dad would put a double fan in it, one side took the hot air out while the other brought the cold air in. I don't think that fan did anything it was suppose to as I never felt cold air at all! The porcelain sink was on the left of the window. The sink had a homemade skirt around it to hide the plumbing, and a place to keep the dish soap and cleansers. The one thing I don’t remember is what kind of flooring we had.

 The kitchen was the largest room in our house. Back in the day we did not have beautiful wood kitchen cabinets, we had one large built in cupboard that was over on the far left wall of the kitchen. White wood framed glass panels. I remember that glass always sparkling. Mom lined the shelves with shelf paper that folded over to look like a little awning hanging. The paper was changed for holidays, and spring cleaning. When that time came around, everything had to be removed, along with what was now considered the old shelf paper. Mom would wash the inside and after it dried she would line the shelves with the new paper, putting everything back in.  It was an all day job.

Besides the dishes, cups, glasses, etc. kept inside, there on the bottom shelf, on the right hand side, sat a round small white glass bowl filled with pennies, dimes, quarters,  and nickels. Pennies' were just as important as the other coins back then. I never remember that bowl being empty. That was the bowl that everyone went to if they wanted to buy something small.  Mom would tell me to take money from the bowl to go buy a bottle of Pepsi, when I asked if I could buy a comic book, I was told to take the money from the bowl. My dad told me to take money from it to buy the daily paper. The bowl was always full every time I went to it!

 We didn't have walk in closets back then - we didn't have a lot of clothes either!  It was nothing if we wore the same dress or skirt twice in one week. I am not sure of this, but I think we hung our coats on hooks on the wall where the landing led to the  cellar steps.   We had a coal furnace back then that my dad took care of- that part was located towards the back, I never had to do this, but I remember my dad shoveling the coal off the cellar floor into the furnace and then using the poker to stir up the fire. Oh, the mess of black coal!   In the front part of the cellar was the wringer washer and tubs. Later on after I graduated from Beauty School, my dad fixed up a working area for me so I could work on people’s hair.

I really miss having table and chairs in our kitchen today. When we first built our home, we had an eat in kitchen, my sons all sat around and did as I did when I was a child. We had dinner at the table and prayed before meals every night - I loved it. I did as my mother did too, made my pie dough, bread, rolls and dinners. I also sat there and do counted cross stitch, rewrite recipes or write letters to friends.

When the boys grew older, Ron wanted to redo our kitchen and make it into a Gallery kitchen so I would have more storing space. That’s when we lost the heart of our home – now it is the dining room where everyone gathers but it is just not the same - - -


Dee's shared items


This time of year makes me think of all of those things I have to be thankful for - - - -
my husband
my children
my grandchildren
my health
my freedom
always thankful for friends made