Sunday, April 21, 2019

Bunny Giganticus


Big Bunny
"It's bigger than Nan's turkey!" Rory said.
"Leave me alone, it's too early."
"Tommy, I swear it's huge. Get up!"

I tried to punch Rory but missed and my momentum carried me out of the bunk bed onto the bedroom floor. I got up and scratched my butt through my PJ's' on the short walk to the kitchen.

"Holy crap!" Rory was right. This was the largest chocolate bunny I'd ever seen. It took up half the space on the dinner table. Nearly twice the size of the big one in the window at Woolworth's on 86th Street. This monster rabbit was surrounded by painted Easter eggs and cream-filled chickadees. Mom out did herself, but this was no surprise with Mom when it came to chocolate and sweets. When she was 13, her class at St. Joseph's visited a candy factory in New Jersey owned by Father Heidi's family. When the kids were leaving the factory, the nun pulled Mom aside and patted her down. Mom had bars of chocolate stuck in various spots on her clothing and body. The nun grew suspicious when Mom kept her winter coat on for the whole trip despite the fact it was an unusually warm April day.

When I got home from school, I knew Mom was having a good afternoon if she had chocolate stuck between her teeth. She smiled a lot after chocolate, and smiled harder when Dad hit his thumb with a hammer.
Happy Easter, Ma! love, your Boys
Rory Tommy Bunny @1959

Ryans' @1938 
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St. Joe's 8th grade @1944
v

Monday, April 15, 2019

Safety Last

I strolled the neighborhood with Dad all the time. Whenever I could I tried to direct our walk past Rappaport's Toy Bazaar on the east side of Third Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets. They had gorgeous model sailboats in the display window perfect for cruising Central Park's sailboat lake, south of the Alice in Wonderland statute. I pictured myself in my captain's cap directing my "Flying Dutchman" over the sea just off Fifth Avenue.
One day in the early 1960s, I got Dad to turn left on 79th Street putting us directly in front of Rappaport's. It was Saturday, and the street was crowded with people. Dad grabbed my hand and we did a punt return dance through and around most of the folks. I wanted to stop and pitch Dad on the boats, he wanted to get to 72nd Street to meet a friend. As he pulled me forward and I pulled him back, a tall man said, "Hi, Tommy." I said, "Hi, John." Dad gave me a funny look and we kept going. Crossing 78th Street a short chubby man with a moustache said, "Hey, Tommy." I said, " Hi, Jeff."

Once we were on the sidewalk, Dad stopped dead and twisted my head with his hand straight up so we made eye contact.
"Who the hell were those two men?" 
"Oh, they're Emergency Room doctors at Lenox Hill." 



Dad shook his head and we kept walking.
Later that night, Dad said to Mom, "I think Tommy should wear his football helmet all the time." The look on Mom's face said she was giving the idea strong consideration. I had no defense. My stitch collection was starting to make my face look like a hockey goaltender. A clumsy fellow, I regularly fell off the ten cent rides in front of Woolworth's, Lamston's and Grant's.