Concrete and Lemon Ice
By Tina Portelli
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