Monday, February 8, 2010


When I was a little boy the world was small too.
I lived in a nice house with a stone stoop and a wrought iron fence.
Ours was a good street and did not wander from it.
There was an ice cream parlor around the corner,
and a playground on the next street.
I had a big brother, Buddy, a loving Momma and a devoted Daddy.
I had a friend named Charles who lived close by
There was another named Bobby who lived down the street.
I had a sled for the winter and a scooter for the summer.
When I was 5, I got an electric train set for Christmas.
I liked my kindergarten teacher.
What more could I want ?
Life was joyful.
When I was 6 all that changed.
We moved to a bigger house that was not as nice
On a street that was crowded and busy.
There was an old empty brewery down the street.
Our house faced the back of a Greek restaurant.
I got a baby brother, Calvin,
he was fun, sometimes.
There were a lot of kids on that street
We were all very active.
We had games to play kneeling down, using checkers and marbles
games for sitting down, like trading sports picture cards,
playing rummy and poker. We even played jacks,
(with the girls), under an awning over one of the stoops, when it rained.
We played standup games that used the two sides of the street and the roadway between them.
We played "hopscotch" variations on the sidewalk; we called one of these "potsy" and used a flattened tin can instead of a beanbag to determine our position.
Boys had a variety of games using an inflated rubber ball,
usually made by A.G.Spalding Co. There was "handball", "Chinese Handball" , "boxball", "stoopball" and "racquet ball". This was before the era of "stickball"
Then there was "hockey" played on roller skates. A chalked straight line behind a manhole cover was the goal and a used rubber heel was the puck.
The girls jumped rope and recited rhythmic jingles as they did.
They could do it with a single or double rope.
They were fun to watch.
Soon after we moved on to that street,
construction of the 14th Street-Canarsie subway line was started.
We kids ran in and around the big pipes
before they were used.
The brewery buildings were demolished,
its storage yard cleared
to make room for a 5-story apartment complex
which would occupy one half of the other side of the street.
We ran up and down the apartment stairs before they had treads.
We traversed the steel girders
that supported the structure and outlined the rooms.
We supplied the workers with soft drinks to make money.

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