We go to tree lighting, etc.
Got up medium. Dressed. Ate breakfast. It started to snow. Just hung around. Pops went out. It rained. Pops got mom beautiful boots at the thrift shop. Then he went downtown to get fuel. He came back. Ate. Then we phoned Aunt Sinah. Before that, the heat +hot water came on! We went to the [Christmas] tree lighting with Aunt Sinah. We ate supper in green trees. Came back. Went to bag. Thank you, Mr. O.
- Breakfast: 1 bowl oats+honey (+apples?)
- Dinner: grits, collard greens+white kidney beans+poached egg
- Supper: 1 king-sized deluxe burger, french fries, hot chocolate, ketchup, lettuce, tomato
- Snack: 1 bag hot pnuts
Things I didn't write:
- I wonder how long the heat and hot water had been off? There was an exclamation point after the sentence, so it must have been "a minute." My guess is maybe Friday evening, since I hadn't written much on the Saturday and Sunday previous.
- At the time, we were pretty irreverent about Christmas. Not necessarily about the religion of Christianity, but Christmas in particular. So we had a not-too-flattering nickname for the day, the Professor and I, that I had made up. After MUCH deliberation, I've decided not actually write the nickname. I also decided though, that I would mention that there was a nickname. I guess because as I type all this stuff out in a public forum, I could NOT say anything at all about it, but I feel that at least mentioning it makes a distinction between how small a person's world can be, and how much you take in and think and hopefully grow as you age.
- Lastly, and far more interestingly... the weather was BEASTLY that night, and not something I will ever forget. We were getting used to the cold. We were adjusting to shorter days. But that particular day a windstorm had kicked up that was not to be believed. As we were walking up the block to the IRT#2, the wind was howling down the corridor of 'Two-five with such force that the Professor and I were afraid we'd be swept off our feet. It was early evening, the stores already closed up (they closed early on 'Two-Five back then--it was like the Wild West) and so the metal grates were pulled down. We hung on to one of them for dear life, my mother swearing against the wind that it wasn't our holiday ANYWAY and Aunt Sinah was crazy and we were crazy for going downtown to the crowds and she really wanted to be home. My mother has a mouth like a sailor, as do I; something we've gleefully inherited from my Grandfather, rest his soul. I remember laughing, but still being fearful that we were going to be blown away.
We made it to the subway though, and we made it downtown, and we found Aunt Sinah (can you imagine? In a crowd... before cellphones. How did people manage????) and it was crowded but NO WHERE NEAR as crowded as it would be today and we actually saw the lights go on. WOOHOO! And then we came home. I've never been to a tree-lighting since. You'll also notice the tree-lighting was IN DECEMBER... as opposed to the last day in November like it is now...
Tuesday, December 6, 1977
Got up late. Dressed. Ate breakfast. We went shopping. Came...
(I must have gotten distracted)
- Breakfast: 1 bowl oatmeal+honey
Wednesday, December 7, 1977
Got up medium. Dressed. Ate a bowl oatmeal+honey + 1 banana for breakfast. After washing dishes and getting our dirty clothes together, we walked Pops to the laundromat. Then Mom T+I looked around for an apartment. One super said to come back on the week-end. We shopped, then went to the drug-store. Came back. Ate, after I helped Mom with the cooking. For lunch we had: stewbeef+carrot+celery+string beans+sweet pepper+rice+cabbage+red kidney beansoup, pnuts, dates, figs, marbled cookies, raisin oatmeal cookies by Neighborhood. Put on pj's. Went to bag. Thank you, Mr. O.
"Neighborhood" was a local brand back then. Their cookies and pies were AMAZING. I wonder if they're still around? I have to look. Funny the things you forget about...
My mother was still under the impression we'd find someplace else to live. Ha ha! By the way, current day rent in this same area is EASILY 10 and 11 times more expensive than it was 30 years ago. And just as a point of reference... despite the Borg, some of the same people STILL try to hold on and live here. Hint: The people who lived in these tenements are NOT the same people who owned the buildings. Never were. But a good portion of the people either still own the buildings, or sold them to other people (still not anyone who actually lives in them) for huge sums of cash. And for the most part, the people who live in these tenements now are NOT the same people who lived here 30 years ago. Cuz those people simply can't afford to.
You do the math. And yeah, I'm pissed the fuck off. But anyway.
This day I was apparently experimenting with a new format in the diary. Rather than divide the section into two and listing the food separately, I wrote it into the narrative of the day. I abandoned that format the next day. I laugh as I remember that I got tired of separating the page, and thought maybe it would be easier if I just wrote the food out. Maybe I was being too anal about dividing the page. But the new format forced me to remember what I ate as I was writing, as opposed to finishing the story of the day and then going back to fill in the food. I remember, to this day, how cumbersome it felt. And it's funny, reading it 30 years later, it's more cumbersome to read this way. Strange little thing, that--useless tidbit of information, but just something I remember...
Thursday, December 8, 1977
Got up medium. Dressed. All 3 of us went down-stairs to get the Amsterdam News. Then came back. Ate breakfast. Then all 4 of us went out. Went to Roberts' and Woolworth's. Pops went to Aunt Sinah's. Mom+T+I went to Daitch (Shopwell Supermarket). Came back. Drew a little. Helped Mom cook. Ate. Put on pj's. Pops came back. Ate snack. Going to bag. Thank you, Mr. O.
- Breakfast: Raisin+oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, 1 cup honey tea, pnuts, 1/2 lolly-bubble-gumdrop pop
- Snack: 2 sour apple+honey sweeties, pnuts, figs, dried apples.
- Dinner: Brown rice, onion, egg-dipped+corn meal mix fried eggplant, cabbage, carrot+celery+onion+sweet pepper (steam) 1/2 oatmeal raisin cookie, pnuts, figs, prunes.
Woolworth's was prime-pickin' for candy back then. They had a whole section of those open, plexiglass candy bins, and it was big store and not a lot of security or sales people walking around. After awhile, I graduated from stealing candy to stealing nail polish, but we kept Sabbath School and read the 10 commandments (which I still know by heart) every week, and pretty soon the guilt weighed heavily on my heart. About the nail polish--not the candy. The rationale was that candy was food... although a treat. And we were hungry. And God doesn't punish the hungry for stealing, and in fact, Leviticus 19:9-10 specifically says that when you harvest you're not to "glean to corners" of your fields, so that you leave some for the widowed and the orphans.
I can rationalize anything.