Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I was on the line Monday to purchase a pocket calendar for 2017, and as I stood on line, there was a lady and behind her a couple about my age waiting behind me. Standing there I just looked about at the different displays not looking to overhear anyone's conversation. However, the conversation going on behind me was one of particular interest as I caught snippets of it. Using words like Somers Street and Eastern Parkway, Rockaway Avenue and Stone Avenue all got my attention. These were the streets I lived around while growing up in Brooklyn as a youngster.

Suddenly I was in a full-blown conversation with the couple, who lived around the corner from me so many years ago. She came from Calabria in 1955, and he was born here in Brooklyn, just like me! It is indeed a small world.

We started to talk about the old neighborhood, Spinner's the supermarket on Broadway under the el, Aiello's Bakery and Hoffman's on Fulton Street and the various markings of the area.

Suddenly I was transported back home, leaving behind my adulthood and being cast away into the merry winds of years gone by! It was the feeling of after the old conversation I would go home to the old apartment on Hull Street and check in with Mom, or maybe even go on to Fulton Street and tell Grandma.

We described the aromas of fresh baked bread, gravy or sauce on a Sunday morning being prepared and the schools and church we attended. The couple pulled me aside and took me outside to finish the conversation like we were long lost relatives finding each other for the first time.

The wife told me of her battles with cancer and how she overcame them and said: "God must have made me special to survive!" Such faith in God should not go unrewarded, so I told her He did. I said she WAS special because she was born in Italy and moved to Brooklyn like a good Italian should have.


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