Growing up in the Lower East Side in the 1950s
"Walking to school each day, I passed the Italian butcher shop, carcasses hanging in the window, and the fish monger, the dead bodies of fish, heads and tails intact staring up at me from their bed of ice … The Italian grocer on the corner, narrow and dark, redolent of those smells only an Italian grocery has: Parmesan cheese, olives, prosciutto and more …"
" … the bodega where the Puerto Rican owner spoke no English and I stood with a nickel or dime in my grimy hand working hard to choose penny-candy from the glass case … Dots (those pastel half-circles of sugar pasted on a long strip of white paper), Smarties, miniature wax Coke bottles filled with dark syrup, red wax lips, candy cigarettes, Necco Wafers …"
"The Italian ice place next-door [sold] lemon ices, smooth and tart, … served in a pleated paper cup. You’d squish it to get the ices to come up where they could be licked…"
Dammit, Billie Frank, you have my childhood and I want it back.