Many years ago when I was a student in college, we had an Art History class that began around 1 or 1:30 pm. My best friend Phil and I both attended the class, and usually when it was scheduled on a Friday, we would go to lunch to treat ourselves before class.
There was only one restaurant we would consider, and that was a place called Christiano’s Italian Restaurant in Syosset off of Jackson Avenue. The food was good, and the bread was plentiful. The bread was Phil’s passion, so we would go. Being a good Jewish fellow, he loved Italian food.
Once in the restaurant, a whole sliced loaf of the bread was swiftly brought out and Phil would deposit it into his deep coat pocket and then have the nerve to ask for more, which he always got! We would go back to class and he would pass me half the loaf and we would eat while discussion was going on about the Italian Renaissance or Picasso’s newest period. It was a tradition!
Last week I read that they are closing the restaurant down! It was a great little place and had been recently renovated, and so I was saddened to hear it. I hadn’t been there since college and frankly was surprised it was still in business.
Once we got into class, and Dr. Murray started his lecture, the lights would go out and the slides would begin. Out came the bread and the crumbs and all. This was plain, unbuttered bread that although delicious, was after a short while dry to the mouth. That didn’t stop us, just slowed us down a bit. You must admit there is nothing like fresh baked Italian bread.
But all that time, we drove Dr. Murray crazy, because he could never put his finger on what was happening, but he was sure that something was! We might be halfway through the long afternoon of lecture when he would suddenly put on the lights and scan the room, but he never, ever caught us eating since the bread sat in our laps under the desktop.
The funny thing was all he had to do was check the floor, and under our seats would be crumbs, maybe even enough to coat a whole plate of veal parmagiana, if he was crafty enough. He could never catch us because we sat at the far corner in the back of the room, and the light switch was at the front of the room, next to the screen. If he moved, we knew what to do.
And so another memory of the past is fading away, just like I am. There are no little kids around, no playmates, and now one more of the places I used to frequent is going the way of the dinosaurs! Sad.