post 1: I Can Remember
Mom's short stories will be posted as I get them from her. She will be celebrating her 80th birthday June 11, 2011. Now that she is retired, we all thought it would be nice if she started to share family memories and stories of food, fun and special times. Mom (Junetta) has had to wipe away many-a-tear as she routes through her treasure box of beloved photographs to pick the ones she wants to share most with you. Mom will be typing her memories on her computer and I will be blogging them without any alteration to her content. Buona lettura
I can remember, as early as seven years of age, visiting my grandparents at 2753 Briggs Avenue, Bronx, NY. My grandmother, Nonna, would beat the yolk of two or three eggs, mix this with sugar and it was a delicious treat that I would have every time we visited. My grandfather, Nonno, would usually talk with the men in Italian. And Nonna would talk to the women in Italian. But the funny thing was that, when they spoke to me, they would speak in English.
My grandparents' home was a three-story row home. I think my father's cousin, Babe, lived on the third floor (before she married). No one ever went up there. It was out-of-bounds. There was a basement which was accessible from an inside door in the pantry. And there was a back yard with a garden that Aunt Sally, my father's sister, took care of. I loved that back yard. It was my first introduction to gardening and that interest has stayed with me my whole life. Thank you Aunt Sally. You were a good teacher!
The garden was as wide as the house was wide with row homes on either side. If you stood in the yard with the house behind you and looked up, you'd see an eight or ten-story apartment building. That's why that little garden was like a 'Garden of Eden' right in the middle of the Bronx.
A few relatives of my grandparents lived on Valentines Avenue which was within walking distance. I especially remember one elderly woman who was called Zia. Once in a while we'd visit her apartment. However, if you kept on walking past Zia's house, you'd come to Fordham Road. This was a major shopping area anchored by the department store called 'Uptown, it's Alexanders.' I visited this store many times with Aunt Sally and /or her sister, Aunt Mary.
Photographs: Top picture is my grandmother, Phyllis Salottolo, with mom - her first child - Junetta Josephina Maria. The picture was taken in the backyard garden at Briggs Ave.
Second photo is Junetta, taken from the back porch at Briggs Ave.