father came over from Italy in the early 1900s. He met my
mother here in Brooklyn. He was eighteen and she was fifteen
when they married. Over the years they lived in different
areas of Brooklyn.
worked selling fruits and vegetables on pushcarts from dawn
to dusk. They
made friends with the Irish police force in their neighborhood
for protection. My father would go door to door with the produce,
while my mother stood by the horse and pushcart. We were cared
for by Miss Emma, an African-American woman who lived with
tradition of selling staples started with my grandparents
who owned a grocery store on Gold Street in downtown Brooklyn.
Even I used to sell shopping bags on Myrtle Avenue for three
world changed when my father suffered a massive heart attack
at the age of 44 in the Canarsie Market, while buying fruit
and vegetables for the work day. My mother was left with two
married daughters and three young daughters still in school.
fondest memories of that time were of my father's cooking
and his singing. I can still hear him singing his fruit selection
of the day: "STRAW-ber-reeees!" "Ba-naaaa-nas!"