Brooklyn was where I was born and raised, and also where my Mom and Dad were born and raised. Home was always “Brooklyn.” I was never a sports fan per se, but the Brooklyn Dodgers was “my” team.
Mom and Dad were married in Brooklyn, and so was I, and also my sister. When I hear “Brooklyn” mentioned, my ears perk up and I want to know in what context my borough was spoken about. It’s just the way it is.
I have sweet, loving memories about my Mom’s parents: Tillie and Louis Blacker. They were sweet and thoughtful people, and they were always available for family – whatever the reason they were needed, they were there for you.
Grandma and Grandpa lived in an apartment house on Nostrand Avenue, between Church Avenue and Linden Boulevard. Third floor walk-up. Even though I was a young girl (7 or 8), the apartment didn’t feel that large; although there were 3 bedrooms. When we came into the apartment from the dark, small stair landing, we walked into a narrow hallway. There was one bath to the left as you walked into the apartment; a tiny kitchen after that, with a very small table pushed up against the wall with 3 chairs (I remember the chairs creaked when you sat down), and a very dark wood, ornate, old cabinet where Grandma kept some groceries. She always had a box of Cheerios in that cabinet. She knew I liked Cheerios. (Yes, there were Cheerios that long ago!!)
There was a nice-sized living room which shared a wall with the kitchen. And the master bedroom, about the same size, was next to that. The 2 other bedrooms to the left of the hall were quite small. No dining room. They had a narrow table against the shared kitchen wall in the living room, which pulled out to make a long table when the whole family was over for dinner. I don’t remember having dinners there, but I’m sure there were.
I remember a big, light wood, old radio standing in the living room. It actually was a lovely piece of furniture, and Grandpa would sit in his chair with his newspaper, and have the radio on at the same time. He was comfortable in his chair, and I was comfortable in his lap as he tried to read his paper.
I remember my Great-grandmother (Grandpa’s mother) lived there. She had the small room to the right of the hallway as you walked into the apartment, and past that, my mother’s youngest sister had her bedroom. Great-grandmother was a kindly lady. She was suffering from old age, and couldn’t really leave her room. My Mom would attend to some of her needs when we visited during the day. I remember Great-grandmother (I called her Baba) would sit by the window whenever we were there. She loved my Mom and was so grateful when my Mom tweezed her brows and trimmed her facial hairs. She died when I was nine years old.
There weren’t any phones in the building at that time. But, there was a communication system, nonetheless! There was a candy/luncheonette/newspaper/magazine/cigarettes and cigars store downstairs. The owner was a very nice man, and he had a public phone booth. He allowed the tenants in the building to give out the phone number so they could communicate with family. Whenever a call came for Grandma and Grandpa, he would stand outside under the window, and call, “Mrs. Blacker!” He must have had a loud voice, because even with the windows closed, he was heard.