They Missed Me

I returned to the classroom on Thursday after a ten day vacation and my eighteen kindergarden children ran to me with open arms. “We missed you” they chanted as they wrapped their arms around me. Merrily, the teacher smiled as she affirmed their words, “where is MsMillie? When is MsMillie coming back?” It warms my heart and reinforces my belief that children need us to believe, help and guide them. The little time we give up is worth their smiles and gratitude. I am counting the days till Monday when I return to the classroom.

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy & Surprised emoticon Surprised

Growing Up in the Bronx, NY

They say as you get older it’s our memories of yesteryear that give us pleasure. I imagine it is our history, how we came to be from where we are today. The girl with the everyday smile and cute ways is the senior lady helping little ones in school and the elderly in nursing homes today. I truly love being positive about life and people. My story began way back in the fifties living in the Bronx with buildings six stories high with tarred roofs that connected and fire escapes that we would sit outside on its steps on a warm summer night hoping to catch a breeze. Air conditioning or even a fan of any kind did not exist in our neighborhood and it was probably not affordable. We would sleep with windows wide open and somehow the traffic never interfered with our sleep. Today in my current surroundings in the suburbs the hum of the refrigerator startles me awake.

Going back to the tarred roofs, that is where myself and a few friends would go and bring a blanket. We considered this our private beach to get a sunburn. We didn’t use the word tan.. The song “Up on the Roof” is a reminder of those days in the Bronx, Brooklyn area I believe. At night we all would meet around 7 or 7:30 a few blocks away from where I lived near the grocery store and just hang out till around 9:30 as we all had school the next day. The guys and girls would just get a Pepsi in a 60z bottle or Bungalow Bar ice cream from the passing truck. If we bought the creamsicles or fudgsicles we would save the stick with the name on it and we could turn it in for prizes. The guys would sing do wop and on the weekends they would choose up sides and get a broom stick and a 15cent Spalding rubber ball (pink) and we would play stick ball. So many times the ball would hit a window and the police would come and ask who had the ball? No one would ever fess up and they would just warn us.

We had respect for each other and our families. I don’t recall any prejudice and I don’t believe my Dad would allow it. Some of my friends had Dad’s with good jobs, others were poor like me. My Dad worked for WPA and I remember standing on line with my Mom to get food and hand me downs. I recall rations and sugar was a luxury item.

I remember being so excited getting a new pair of blue and white saddle shoes. We had to polish the white part without getting it on the blue. We wore full skirts and if you were lucky you had a crinoline (petticoat) to make it stand out. The girls always wore skirts and blouses or dresses. Never slacks or pants. If some of the gals wanted to be tough looking they would buy guys Levis at the army- navy store and wear those with the legs rolled up. Mothers in those days didn’t have washers and dryer and so I recall my Mom washing our clothes in the double kitchen sink on a washboard and wrung out by hand and carried to the living room window that faced another apt building a clothes line. In the window the clothes would freeze up but the clean smell was so wonderful and the sheets were always crisp. The apartment building itself had 5 floors and 4 apts on each including the lobby had 2 and then a row of letterboxes that had a master key for the postman. We had stairs to climb and we did it carrying children, packages, strollers, carriages. In retrospect obesity was not prevalent. Must be all the walking and climbing stairs that kept everyone in tip top shape.

There were all different nationalities and the building always had aromas of ethnic cooking. Right next to our apt building was a Chinese laundry and a candy store (Schafer’s) was the owners name. I worked there one summer learning how to make egg creams and ice cream sodas. You could buy a 2 or 3 cent seltzer. Egg creams were a nickel. Malteds were the best. You could dip your pretzel rod in the foam of the milk and ice cream mix… Yummmm I tell you those were the good old days!

Mom washed our clothes on a washboard and hung them on the line right out of the living room window. In the winter, the clothes would be stiff from the cold but them smelled so clean. I miss that smell here in Florida but not the cold. Entertainment wise, we would listen to the radio as only the rich could afford the little TV’s about 11 inches in black and white. There were so many interesting stories and series on the radio. On Sunday at 5pm we had “The Shadow”. One night during the week, I think Thursday we had the creaking door “Inner Sanctum” and then we had Lux Presents Hollywood. We had the Hit Parade on Saturday where they would do the countdown of the top songs of the week down to the number 1. My Dad and I would have a contest to see if we picked the winner. Joke books were the in reading material….Superman, Marvel, Thin Man, Archie, Blondie. Newspapers costs 2cents. Subways and buses were like a nickel and you could ride for miles and get a transfer from one to the other.

That’s it for now. Share your nostalgic memories with me.

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy & Playful emoticon Playful

Back in Sunny Florida

Here I am after a wonderful Thanksgiving visit with my families in NY. Fortunately I didn’t shiver too much. The temperatures stayed above freezing. There was no snow in the forecast and although it is pretty to see, I am relieved as I didn’t bring boots with me. The plane ride on Southwest was on time and my eighteen year old grandson picked me up at the airport and bought me lunch at Applebee’s. The feeling was incredible as I gazed at how grown up he has become and a gentleman to boot. We drove to my son’s home and there waiting was my youngest granddaughter, home for the weekend from her first year at college. She whispered in my ear as she hugged me “Nana, I have lots to tell you.” I can hardly wait as I see the sparkle in her eyes and smile. In we go and there waiting at the top of the stairs is my six year old great-granddaughter Marissa waiting with her arms wide open. “Great Nana I love you” she shouted as her little brother A. J. chimed in, “me too!” This is beautiful and gosh how great it makes me feel. After catching up and having a cup of tea my son comes home from work and all of us decide Chinese takeout sounds good for dinner. Bedtime was early for me as it has been a long day.

Before I forget- my granddaughter confided she has a heart throb and he is a junior at her college – plays five instruments and lives in Maryland. He is almost 19 and she is in love. I can remember my first honey and the happy wonderful feeling that comes with it. You seem to be smiling at the world 24/7 and life is great. Those were the days!On Wednesday, I board the LI Railroad for a trip to Manhattan where my son Darrin will be meeting me to take me the rest of the way to his apartment in Brooklyn. Amongst the passengers of all ages we all seem to be lugging suitcases and shopping bags of goodies. Holiday pies and delicious cookies start the trend of sweets for the next four or so weeks. Diets are out the window as there is too much temptation with all these goodies staring at us everywhere it seems. Penn Station and here I am waiting to climb the stairs after the crowd dissipates and my son grabs my suitcases and we are off to the subways. It has been about 20 years since I have been on a subway but it has not changed much, still crowded with rush hour people as you try not to stare at each other. You learn to read the billboards and advertisements. Half an hour later, we are on the second subway for a couple of stops until Carroll Street. It is a beautiful sight of all brownstone buildings 3 floors high. The streets are lined with trees on either side all showing their fall colored leaves. People are walking their dogs, kids walking home from school. Some of the others are walking to shop, eat or just for fresh air. Brooklyn has many stores, ethnic restaurants, fresh fruit and vegetable stands. You name it- it is available. It is a great place to live and only a 30 minute ride approximately to Manhattan 50th Street. I walk up the two flights of steps to his apartment slowly and panting but finally I make it. The apartment is decorated with beautiful colors on the walls of each room that complement the furniture. Darrin painted and Staci decorated. The team effort paid off with a warm wonderful inviting place to sit and feel welcome. Best of all, there was Sam, an adorable, lovable all tan and white beagle – a lemon beagle, just like Underdog. He is a good dog that listens to commands, does not bark and has a wonderful disposition. Everyone that meets Sam falls in love with him.

We have decided we will rest and then walk to the stores to pick up the rest of the needed items for tomorrow’s feast. I can hardly wait.

Thanksgiving Day

Everyone is up early as the host and hostess prepare their pies, turkey and veggies. Some of the guests are bringing their specialties to share. It seems like yesterday when I did all the preparing for 15-20 people. I enjoyed watching my son and Staci accomplish this feat. They did it well and made me very proud.

The company arrived and the table is filled with wonderful stuffing, cranberries, quiches, mashed sweet potatoes, stuffed mushrooms. The masterpiece Turkey is almost too pretty to carve. Thanksgiving 2007 will be etched in my memory for years to come. Good food, good company and love. Who could ask for more? I am thankful.

Current Mood:Esctatic emoticon Esctatic & Happy emoticon Happy

Springtime in November

Spring was back in the air with sunny skies and the chill of high 50’s was gone. It was refreshing to open the windows and let some fresh air in. Turning off the a/c was nice but at night I flicked the switch to heat just to ward off the chill. It was nice to sleep under a blanket with a hint of cool air. Sunday morning newspaper advertising all the sales for the coming holidays were waiting to be read while I prepared my breakfast of scrambled eggs, rye toast, v-8 juice and coffee. Spoke to a few family members as I listened and ate quietly. With my list in hand I headed to the closest stores to do a look see and make some decisions as to where my best bargains would be. I will probably shop when I return from my trip to NY for Thanksgiving. This year I will be having dinner with my son Darrin in his new digs in Brooklyn (Carroll Gardens). He lives three stories up which in a Brooklyn Brownstone means steps – not sure how many? I am hoping my strong legs will carry me up before my breath gives out. He has a new lovable addition named Sam and I have been told he is playful and sweet. I am thinking this will be a love love relationship as I love dogs and hopefully Sam will feel the same. A few days before my trip to Brooklyn, I will spend some time with my older son and family out in Suffolk County. I raised my sons in this house so it is like going home again. It will be nice to see my grandchildren and two little great grandkids. Tuesday I will return to Florida with good memories, hugs and kisses to keep me till my next visit. Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving Day. Don’t eat too much.

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy & Esctatic emoticon Esctatic

Forty Five Days and Counting

Looking at my calendar today I realize the end of 2007 is just 45 days away. Traditionally, I watch the countdown from Times Square as I have for all of my years. I recall when I lived in NY, where my life began in the Bronx seventy odd years ago. My family would listen on the radio for the countdown to midnight. Prior to this , we would gather up pots and spoons as these would be our noisemakers to ring in the New Year-after everyone hugged and kissed and wished Happy New Year greetings. Guy Lombardo was instrumental in starting this tradition in 1929 as he was a famous band-leader whose band started with his brother in 1919. When they were asked to do a radio show in 1929, they decided “Auld Lang Syne” would be the theme song after the stroke of midnight. From that day to today, it has become the standard to sing or hum. It is sad yet heartwarming to say adieu to the old and welcome to the new year. I still watch it faithfully and I don’t believe I have missed a broadcast. Dick Clark has been the Host live from Times Square. Although Guy Lombardo passed in 1977 Auld Lang Syne lives on as it has become a tradition for most and for me it holds a great deal of nostalgia.

Thought I would trigger a few memories and a bit of trivia, too!

Current Mood:Happy emoticon Happy