Tasty Food Heals

May 24th, 2016 § 0 comments

The urbane writer/artist/gourmet Ludwig Bemelmans (author of the delightful “Madeline” children’s books), once wrote that a good meal helped heal the pain when one was thwarted in love. HG agrees (Based upon personal experience). One of HG’s first romances was in Rockaway Beach when HG was 13. The object of HG’s love was a prematurely shapely young woman (also 13) named Sydelle. HG was a money earner from HG’s earliest days. During the summer, HG earned six dollars a week carrying women’s beach chairs and umbrellas to the beach and returning them at night (Six bucks was a tidy sum 73 years ago). When back in The Bronx (when not playing football or street games) HG would earn tips by carrying the heavy shopping bundles of women to their apartments (Few buildings had elevators in those days so HG developed a sturdy pair of legs). Thus, HG had enough money for a movie and lunch date with Sydelle after the romantic duo had left Rockaway for the regular school year. Sydelle lived in Union City, N.J., a quick bus ride to mid-Manhattan. The date was for a Saturday. The meeting place was the Paramount Theater on Broadway. The time was 10:30 AM. The plan was to see the early show (25 cents admission) replete with a film, live orchestra, singers, comedians. HG mused that the couple would watch the live show and then do serious canoodling during the film. This was to be followed by a spaghetti lunch at Romeo’s on 42nd Street (50 cents for the spaghetti and 20 cents for soft drinks plus a 10 cent tip) and a frozen custard (10 cents) dessert at Grant’s across the street. Sadly, Sydelle never showed up for the date (Later phone call revealed that the vixen had a New Jersey boyfriend). Gloomy HG waited in front of the Paramount for an hour. Gave up and bought the morning papers (Times, Herald-Tribune, News, Mirror). Even at that young age, HG was a devoted fan of newsprint. Walked to a nearby Automat. Sat down to a lavish lunch of beef pot pie, macaroni casserole, baked bean casserole. Coconut custard pie for dessert. No smoking in the Automat so HG left for nearby Hector’s Cafeteria (with newspapers under HG’s arm). Many cups of coffee and numerous cigarettes (Yes, the 13-year-old was in the grip of the nicotine habit. Smoked incessantly for 50 years until rudely interrupted by throat cancer). Read the news, sports sections, theater sections and the many columnists (including the legendary Walter Winchell). Blues were banished and the wound of rejection was healed.

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