Thursday, October 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time at this house. My mother's sister and her family lived here. When I was little, my grandma lived here, too. The door used to be the same brick red color.

Because Ma worked, Auntie was like another mother. During school vacations, we would ride the Green Line (subway) with Dad. We would get off the subway at Government Center (formerly Scollay Square). Dad would go to his office in Boston, and The Brother and I (or I would go by myself when I was 9 or 10) would go down the subway stairs to the Blue Line to catch a train to Maverick Square in East Boston.

Even though the Airport Station was closer (Auntie's house was one street away from Logan Airport), we were cautioned to get off at Maverick Square.  We were always told Airport Station was not safe. I suspect it was like we were told there were hobos in the woods. Maverick Square was safer as we could just walk straight down Chelsea St.  No turns and no crossing busy streets.

The door opened into a porch. On the left and up 3 steps was the door to Auntie's house. On the right, was the door that led to the two apartments upstairs. Auntie's husband grew up in this house. His sister and her husband  lived on the second floor. Uncle's mother and a mentally handicapped brother lived on the top floor. When I was little, I called Uncle's mother "The Grandma Who Lived Upstairs". I just remember a tiny, old woman with white hair. She always wore a dark colored dress and a black sweater draped across her shoulders. When The Grandma Who Lived Upstairs passed away, Uncle Peter lived with his sister on the second floor and the top floor apartment was rented out.

We'd knock on the door and waited to hear Auntie coming down the hallway. I can still hear her calling out "Who is it? I always yelled "It's ME!" and she'd reply "Who's me?" before she opened the door.

One thing I didn't like about Auntie's house was the "Buckhowsah", the bathroom, as my grandma called it. The bathroom was at the end of the long, dark hallway, before entering the main house. The bathroom wasn't heated and during the Winter, you could freeze to the seat if you weren't careful.

If the weather was nice, we'd get to play outside with The Cousins.  Take turns riding bikes or roller skating on the sidewalk, playing hopscotch, or marbles using the sewer cover as the playing field. We might get a chance to run errands. Go to the end of the block to Anna's the fruit and vegetable lady, cross the busy street a the light to go to Guy's, the neighborhood grocery store. When I was a teen, we'd go to the barber to get our hair cut by the cute barber.

Summertime, was the best time to be there. Men with trucks would come down the street selling fruit. They'd yell, "'Ey waddamalone!" And then there was the man who wheeled a refrigerated pushcart. He sold Slush, a frozen lemondade which he piled into a small, pleated paper cup. On a hot Summer day, it was Heaven in the palm of your hand and all for a nickel.

When I turned 10, I got to have tea with Auntie. She'd make me a cup of tea. It was really more milk than tea with a spoonful or two of sugar in a china tea cup with matching saucer. There would be cookies, too, sometimes the store bought spice cookies shaped like Dutch windmills and Dutch boys and girls. If it was after a holiday, there would be Grandma's bow cookies drizzled in honey and Auntie's sesame seed cookies.

After work, Ma and Dad would come to pick us up. We'd stay for dinner and everyone would crowd around the table in the small kitchen. We'd have Grandma's Cappellini, home-made macaroni shaped like little hats, meatballs, sausage, and Scali bread from Blundo's Bakery to sop up the gravy.

The old folks have all passed away, but the memories and the door remain.


  1. How cool. Like having an apartment house for the entire family. I might pass on the bathroom, although I can remember my grandparents had an outhouse when I was growing up so no heat there either.

  2. What lovely memories! (except maybe the bathroom.....)