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Concrete and Lemon Ice

By Tina Portelli


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In 1964, at fifteen, I was a high school freshman.  Things were very

different back then.  Similar to the popular shows that depict family in

 the 50's,  American Dream, Brooklyn Bridge, Happy Days, mine were as

accurate.  We screamed at the Beatles and cried for JKF.


Life for me was simple, school, a few girlfriends to hang  with on

summer nights and dinner with the family promptly at 6:00.  My Dad sat at the

head of the table, he'd still be wearing his blue suit from his day at the

office.   With his hands washed and dinner ready, we'd all sit to eat.

I'd have to ask permission to leave the table when I was finished.  Although

it did not turn dark until 9:00pm and I'd only be going a block or two

away, I'd still have to ask "May I go out for awhile with the girls?"   We had

nothing to do but scout for boys, once around the block, a short walk

and then our final destination, back on the stoop.  If we got lucky, some

boys in tow.   So with a dollar in hand, little make-up and good intentions,

I'd be on my way for a big night.


One of our hot stops during our walk would be "for lemon ice" at the

local Italian pastry shop.  (We were too young to be addicted to coffee and

Starbucks had not surfaced yet).


We'd stand on a long snake line outside a window that looked into the

local pastry shop.  With buckets of three flavors to choose from, we'd fork

over our quarter.   At the same time, we would scope the back of the line for

 boys while deciding which flavor to pick.  A simple event like this

sticks in my mind so vividly, such a little thing, but with thoughts of fun and

 pleasure.  We'd just sit and slurp, hang out and be satisfied for the

night.  And as good as it all was, a concrete stoop, warm summer

breezes, and lemon ice could never placate me today.


The concrete still sits, the ice has melted, I have grown old and no

longer slurp.