Tag Archives: memories

Togetherness: Special On This Day

Thanksgiving Day is one filled with many emotions by many people and families.  I start to think back (for me, there are many days and years to think back on), remembering those happy days.  Trying hard to pick out one or two, is not easy.  There are so many.

dinner

One Thanksgiving Day, I remember, while living in Hicksville LI, NY (there really is a town by that name), we gathered ’round the big pine trestle-style table, held hands, and said a prayer of thanks for having the fortune of being there together that day, and hoping for more happy days of togetherness in the future.

Another Thanksgiving Day I can remember was celebrated right here in South Florida, in my new home that I shared with my late husband, Bob.  Bob did all the cooking.  He was a good cook, and got so much enjoyment when we all found his efforts to be greatly pleasing to the palette (and also to the stomach!).

Today, that trestle table is long gone; several of the people with whom I held hands in Hicksville have passed; and some of those with whom I shared the Thanksgiving meal in South Florida, are not with us anymore, having gone to a better place, also.  But, not all is lost:  I am going to be together with my sister and brother-in-law in their home and we will share a lovely dinner; but, most important, we will be together.

Eddi Reader’s “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose”

Sweetness and softness and remembering.  This is a most lovely song.

Especially to my loves who are physically lost to me.  We will meet again, but in the meantime, know that you are all in my heart today and always.

Memories of a Time Past: Part 6

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.

dodgers

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.

My Favorite Grandparents

My Favorite Grandparents

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.

old radio

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.

luncheonette

 

 

 

 

A Day For Remembering

Yesterday, I was with my daughter in Kendall FL.  She had a medical appointment, so it was a combo of medical and mother-daughter experience.  Love being with her – she’s a special person.  Everyone who has her acquaintance is aware of how special she is.  In many ways, she takes after her father.

We had an early lunch in the Bahama Breeze restaurant.  It was a lovely, relaxing luncheon.  The menu was varied and eclectic, and we settled on a salmon platter.  Karen, our waitress, made the time a delight, as well as the good food.

bahama breeze front

We wanted to sit on the patio, but roof work was being done, so we had to opt for indoors.

We wanted to sit on the patio, but roof work was being done, so we had to opt for indoors.

Just before leaving to get to the medical appointment, we heard a song being played on their audio system that was very familiar to me (Yellow Bird).  It brought back memories of many years ago – to be exact, a couple of weeks in the summer of 1963, spent in Flemington NJ, when my daughter (almost 3 at the time) and son were very young.

The company that my husband, Danny, worked for, owned a horse farm where standardbred horses were raised for the races.  A free vacation was offered the employees at the ranch.  The accommodations were very comfortable, and we were given a lovely 2-bedroom space (was just like a high-class motel).  Included were meals, a lovely pool, and the ability to make our own entertainment.  There was a stage and all the necessary accoutrements for putting on a show.

There were quaint and popular shops in town, where everyone could meander and buy some glassware and dishes at the Flemington Glass Factory, also referred to as “10-R-10,”

10 r 10flemington glassflemington collect

 

or buy fur coats and fur jackets at Flemington Furs (this was much before we became aware of the killing of wild animals indiscriminately for their fur and carried on for the greed of poachers due to demand for fur clothing).

flemington furs

Flemington was an historic town, and we enjoyed many hours there, meandering amongst the many shops and little museums.

flemington historic

My son was 6 months old, and one day, at mealtime, he refused his bottle, and only wanted to drink from a cup or glass.  I can picture in my mind:  he was sitting in the stroller next to our lunch table.  I had fed him before we sat down at the table, and saved his milk bottle so he could be occupied with that while the rest of us ate.  He was way ahead of his time!  Must have been something in the country environment – clean air, farm smells and horse odors evidently agreed with him!

One of the husbands (employee) who was also vacationing with his family, sang and played the guitar.  My Danny played the harmonica (he was very talented).  The two of them got together several times, rehearsing a popular tune of the time: “Yellow Bird.”

So, when I heard that song coming over the audio system in the Bahama Breeze restaurant, all those memories came flooding back.

And, it is fitting that I write this post today.  I think of my Danny every day, even though it’s been many years since he died, and I married again and lost my Bob a year and a half ago.  Love never leaves your heart.

It is fitting that I write this post today, because July 17th was Danny’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, love.  Rest in peace.

 

[images from bingdotcom]

 

 

Memories of a Time Past: Part 5

I grew up in Brooklyn NY (Yay!)  When an ice cream vendor turned onto our block, and we kids heard the bells, there was pandemonium on the street.  All the kids went running home to get money.  And, we were afraid that the truck would pass us all by, by the time we got back outside with ice cream money.  It was an ice cream frenzy going on!

There was Mister Softee;

Mr. Softee

There was the Good Humor man;

My favorites were the toasted almond bar and the one that had the real chocolate in the middle (can't remember what it was called).

My favorites were the toasted almond bar and the one that had the real chocolate in the middle (can’t remember what it was called).  I’m still a sucker for chocolate.

And then there was Eskimo Pie!

Eskimo Pie

Sometimes there was a guy who sold a non-descript ice cream and pedaled a three-wheeled bike with this huge freezer box on the front end (and sometimes it was an Eskimo Pie vendor).

ice cream bicycle

and Bungalow Bar!

bungalow bar

The Bungalow Bar truck was designed like a bungalow cottage with a roof and chimney, and a gate for a door. Even though I preferred the flavors of the Good Humor, I enjoyed the Bungalow Bar truck better, because it had more “character.”  The man was nice, too!

 

[images from bingdotcom]

Memories of a Time Past: Part 4

My father’s cousins formed a “family circle” by the name of “Weiser Family Circle.”  It was a cousins club.  All his siblings and cousins and their children, and aunts and uncles were members.  Weiser was his mother’s maiden name, so the club consisted of only family members from her side of the family.  I don’t remember her coming with us.  Anyway, it was just as well she wasn’t there.  She was not a well-liked woman, to put it mildly.

These annual jaunts started when I was a teenager.  We always got a very early start.  It was easy to get together since we all lived in Brooklyn.  We arranged to meet at 6 am at a cafeteria to have early breakfast before getting started on the long trip.  I remember how sleepy everyone was, and a little grumpy – no, a lot grumpy.  No one was used to getting up so early, packing up the picnic baskets and games and charcoal and BBQ paraphernalia, and getting it all into the car.

Packing car[image from bingdotcom]

After coffee and something to eat, everyone felt better and started to get excited about the day ahead.  And the long drive – oh, what people do to have a good time!

Our picnics took place in the Spring and the destination was in upstate NY.  I believe it was in the Saranac Lake area.  We all had to take sweaters and jackets.  It was very chilly in the mornings and as the sun started to go down, it got chilly again – in fact, I remember we were freezing one time, and there was a time when it started to rain.  We all tried to avoid the rain by getting under the picnic tables.  The barbeque fires were in danger, but we couldn’t do anything about that.  That particular time, we just had to pack up as quickly as we could, get things into the cars, and cut the day short.  Oh well.

My friend, Marian came with us one year.

Marian is on the left, and I'm in the middle.  You can see we're wearing jackets.  It was usually pretty chilly, if not downright cold.

Marian is on the left, and I’m in the middle. You can see we’re wearing jackets. It was usually pretty chilly, if not downright cold.

They were good times.

Memories of A Time Past: Part 3

On Hoarded Ordinaries,  Lorianne DiSabato writes about a landscape architect named  .  Lorianne found out about him in a PBS documentary.  I had never heard of Olmsted, but certainly should have.  Anyway, thank you, Lorianne; if you didn’t post this blog, I wouldn’t have had the following memories stirred up.

I was born and brought up in Brooklyn NY.

One of the landmarks that put Brooklyn on the map.

One of the landmarks that put Brooklyn on the map.

My parents took me to Prospect Park many times when I was a young child, and before my sister was born.  Prospect Park was one of Olmsted’s earlier creations after designing Central Park in Manhattan.

One of my old stomping grounds.

One of my old stomping grounds as a young girl.

I spent many happy hours in Prospect Park as a young girl with my parents, walking along the paths, enjoying the grassy areas.  I remember my father loved taking photographs (please see “Memories of a Time Past:  Part 1“), and he took many when we were in the park.  I remember one picture he took of me holding up a fish, attached to a fishing line.  I didn’t catch it.  I think he “borrowed” it from someone who actually did the “catching,” so that he could take a photo (I searched all my old family photo albums, but couldn’t find it, but did a great organizing of my photo albums in the meantime!).  There was at least one lake in the park, and, in memory, it seemed to be a large one.  My memory doesn’t recall if there were others.

Unfortunately, as the years passed, the park fell into disrepair, and it became a destination that was not very welcoming.  In time, the city saw fit to “resurrect” it, and, with the re-gentrification of the Park Slope and surrounding areas, it again beckoned to the “city” folks to come and experience the beauty of Olmsted’s design.

Many years later, I strolled along the same hexagon-shaped concrete tiled paths with my own young children, that I had walked on when I was a child!

Couldn't find that path, but this is similar.

Here is an excellent example of the hexagon-shaped  tile as I remember it.

 

[images from bingdotcom]

 

Memories of a Time Past: Part 1

When I was a little girl, growing up in Brooklyn NY, we used to live on a dead end street.

The dead end street I used to live on butted up against a cemetery wall, which, I believe was the largest cemetery in Brooklyn at the time.

The dead end street I used to live on butted up against a cemetery wall which belonged to the largest cemetery in Brooklyn, I believe, at the time.  We kids used to wait outside the entrance through which the workers would exit at the end of their work day.  They would throw chestnuts to us which fell from the numerous chestnut trees that grew in there.  We ran and scrambled to get them, and the workers laughed and enjoyed our excitement!  We’d drill a hole in the nuts, thread string (or shoe laces) through them and play games with them.

Our house was a semi-detached, and so we had a common wall with our neighbor next door.  When I grew enough so that I was able to reach the electric outlet that was on that adjoining wall, I used it to speak through it with my neighbor friend, Sonja.  We used it quite often in place of a telephone.  We didn’t have a telephone yet, at that time.  We had a bench against that wall in our kitchen, so I would stand on it to speak with her.

I also remember enjoying visiting Sonja in her house next door.  Her parents were very nice, and her father played the mandolin.  I loved listening to his music and watching how his fingers strummed the strings.  It was the very first time I had seen someone play an instrument.  He would sing in the Norwegian language; they were originally from Norway.  Her mother baked the most wonderful cookies, too.!  It was a warm, friendly home.

Sonja was 3 years older than I, and I remember playing in her backyard.  My vivid memory from that time is of sitting at her play table; the chair I was sitting on matched the table and they were made of metal.  I still can “hear” the scraping of the chair on the rough concrete of the yard as I moved it.

Sonja and me in her backyard.  I was 2 and she was 5 yrs old.

Sonja and me in her backyard. I was 2 and she was 5 yrs old.

My father took this photo of Sonja and me with his simple box camera.  I remember the leather carry-handle at the top of it.  He developed his film in a small, dark closet in our house.

I was able to find a photo of the camera my father used (and I subsequently inherited it for my use when I was a teenager.

I was able to find a photo of the camera my father used.  He gave me his camera to use when I was a teenager.

 

In this photo, I am Advancing the film manually in the old box camera.  There was a little window through which the number of the next unexposed area of the film roll would be seen.

In this photo, I am advancing the film manually in the old box camera. There was a little window through which the number of the next unexposed area of the film roll would be viewed in order to be sure the next picture would be centered when the film was developed.

It was a more simple time of life, and there were many pleasures to be enjoyed.

Credits:  dead end, agfa box camera; bingdotcom.  Original old photos from personal collection of Sunshinebright.

More Music in My LIfe

Today, I decided to put some music into my life for a change.  Started to go through the CDs just taking up space in a drawer; not pulling their weight at all.  Needed to chase away some blues.  The sun is out, the fluffy, cottony puffs of clouds are giving some relief to the vast blue sky, the temp is just right, there’s a soft breeze – a perfect Springtime day in South Florida.  But, this great bit of Paradise just wasn’t getting through to me today.

Backing up a little – while surfing the channels, I came across the old movie, “Beaches.”  Sat down and watched it – it had just begun, so my timing was perfect.

Beaches poster.

Beaches poster.

I had enjoyed it many years ago in the theater.  I was always a fan of Bette – such a talent; however, I had forgotten that the movie was sad at the end.  But I was caught up in the story and in the performances, so I sat through it to the end.  This, and some disturbing news I heard this morning topped off my mood, I’m sure.

So, moving forward:  It’s been a long time since the house reverberated with the “Sound of Music.”  I found a CD entitled, “Experience the Divine.”

Experience the Divine

Experience the Divine

A collection of Bette’s rendition of popular songs of the time (1993).  Of course, there was the “Wind Beneath My Wings.”  It tugged at my heart; sure, it was beautifully sung.  But it was also my late husband’s favorite song.  I allowed myself to get kind of melancholy.  It was a bitter-sweet few minutes, but it made me feel calm inside – reflective.  Thinking thoughts with good memories.

Another song which I like so much is “From A Distance.”  Bette’s phrasing is, in my opinion, superb.  She puts so much of herself into her performances.

I also found a collection of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Greatest Hits.”

The cover on my CD album.

The cover on my CD album.

Scarborough Fair” was such a popular song and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that one.  Simon & Garfunkel performed in many concerts in many venues, but this one was in Central Park.  If there was a roof, they would have brought it down!

The famous “Mrs Robinson” fell on friendly ears, that’s for sure.  I personally believe they performed this one more than any other.  The “Sound of Silence” also brings back fond memories.  When my children were very young, we used to live across the street from the owner of a small landscaping nursery who swore he knew Simon & Garfunkel.

Well, needless to say, I have happily welcomed music back into my home and into my life again.

(Images from bing dot com)