Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Memories of My Grandparents

Grandma and Grandpa lived in Arverne when I met them. They moved to The Butchers' CoOp, the Pink Buildings, in Far Rockaway when Arverne became too dangerous for elderly white Jews. No matter, they were always near the beach. 

Bubbe and Zaydeh lived on East 93rd Street in Brooklyn; Bedford Stuyvesant is about as far from the beach as you can get. They too stayed put until the neighborhood became dangerous. They moved to senior citizens housing, living a few floors below Zaydeh's brother, Uncle Sol.

In Brooklyn we could play stoop ball or handball in the alley. We could ride the horse drawn pirate ship that swung you nearly upside down when it jingle-jangled down the street, pulled by two old equines. We could walk to the deli or to John's Bargain Store or to the bakery, where Charlotte Russes were always in the window.

In Arverne, there was a long driveway without walls, the smell of the sea in the air, and two card sharps just waiting to take my money. Yes, we played for money. Yes, I often lost. Yes, Grandpa collected his winnings. But mostly I remember Grandma walking behind his chair, scolding him:  "Are you skinning her, Benny? Are you?" Skinning.... cheating.... tricking me while distracting me.... his eyes were twinkling at me as she ranted about the behavior that excused my inability to remember the rules.

With Grandma and Grandpa there was always the beach. Grandma's sisters sitting in low chairs, wetting their wrinkles by scooping water down the fronts of their swimsuits, never getting totally wet.  

Bubba and Zaydeh took me on a boat ride at Brighton Beach once, in the only water-and-Brooklyn-grandparent-related-adventure I can remember. There was no roof on the vessel and the sun was annoying until Zaydeh took some newspaper and folded me a sailor's cap.

I remember Bubba coloring with me, using her crayon to outline the sections before she filled them in. I remember riding on Zaydeh's shoulders, watching baseball on the black and white tv in our living room. I remember getting postcards from Grandma and Grandpa's European vacation - Picadilly Circus with a double decker bus still exists somewhere in my closet.  

Mostly, though, I remember being loved.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!