My mind slips back to a day and a time
found in the memory bank of this mind that is mine
Mom and Dad they were still on this earth
so I relate to you this story for whatever it’s worth
It was spring in The South (Parkchester, that is) and we were all back from Church. St. Helena’s has a treasure trove of spots in the thing we call memories. The scent of the incense is one that I don’t believe any person who spent time in that church building back then could ever erase. Fr. Derivan was the new kid on the block and we all made sure he was put to test often. Although us little rebels were not too fond of him then, he surely has a fondness in each of our hearts now. Alright back to our story. About 11 o’clock or so me and Dad would head off toward Westchester Square to the deli for our special Sunday afternoon lunch. Generally, the first thing ordered would be the round rolls, a dozen. This is because we knew for sure we were getting the rolls. I loved the smell of fresh rolls from those days. On a weekday you would grab one with butter, a coffee, before work or school. There has got to be millions who remember those rolls with butter as their day starter. I can smell them now. So, after that he would order the cold cuts, Virginia ham, Swiss cheese, hard salami, and roast beef for Mom. You really didn’t have to specify a brand back then, it was always the good stuff. They would wrap it up in the standard white paper and put it in the standard brown bag. After that it was potato salad, macaroni salad, olives, and finally a huge dill pickle out of the big jar. That pickle would be sliced the long way several times before being rolled up in a bit of the same white paper. I think how many times depended on the amount of children in the family (which I’m sure the deli owner must have known because he never asked). Then it was time for the walk back home to our apartment at Metropolitan Oval, or as we called it, The Oval. There were other ovals in Parkchester, the grass ones, but they were known by their location. Such as the South Oval, or the East Oval. Upon arrival it was through the oak exterior doors, past the brass mailboxes in the lobby and onto the elevator for the short ride to the sixth floor.
Mom would take over from there and make us each a most delicious sandwich and we would all sit around and enjoy the sandwich with a bit of potato or macaroni salad, depending on your preference. And don’t forget that great slice of pickle. And we would turn the TV to channel 11 WPIX and watch our Sunday Movie which was usually Abbott and Costello. For some reason it tended to the one where they meet Frankenstein, like, every other week . Maybe I remember it like that because my Dad liked that one best, or maybe some other reason? But I am sure, I am not the only one who remembers these days in this way. The rest of the time was spent picking up the poppy seeds one by one that had fallen off the roll and eating every single one while watching the movie. Depending on where you lived exactly, the deli may have been different, or the walk shorter. Maybe you went to Rosemart over on Starling, run by the brothers who had survived Auschwitz, or it could’ve been the deli on Archer. That really doesn’t matter because we all have fond memories of those days, despite how hard it may have appeared at the time, those days were precious. I gotta go now, looking to see if I can find an Abbott and Costello movie here at the hotel. May take a while since unlike the old days where the channel knob went to 13, this clicker is still going at 165.