The gentleman's sweater and car are color co-ordinated with his left cheek but the photo-
grapher was neither aware nor concerned about that. Had the Rocky Point property owner worn a clown costume, the photographer might not have noticed.
The exact center of the photograph is inches above the benches in the background. It is also the staging area for this post.
It is exactly where, once upon a time, a woman with knee-high white boots was digging a hole. She had waist length hair. It matched the color of the Yellow Wall.
The wall was named for the northern border of the property when it was a wonderfully nourished and dense forsythia bush boundary.
The previous owners of the property both died in 1971.
For the next decade, the 120' x 120' parcel was under the control of the their heirs, including a volatile son who spent half of that decade as a live-in landlord.
In truth, I spent the entire decade as a live-in landlord but the other half was in the town next to Rocky Point. A more important truth: randomly selecting any point in this photograph, I could create a multitude of memories.
But I need to focus on the blonde lady with the knee-high boots and the shovel in relation to the boy who observed her presence when he walked up the driveway upon returning from the beach.
The year was 1964 and at that time, the woman had a lot of competition for the boy's attention from a lady who lived across the street. A blonde with waist-length hair and a shovel had never been seen on that property but her competitor, a brunette, was a constant presence there.
When it wasn't summer, my weekends alternated visits to these two ladies. I was chauffeured to their homes by the man who was the by-product of the blonde's sex life. The chauffeur's partner was the by-product of the brunette's sex life.
Blonde...brunette...competition for the boy...chauffeur...sex...chauffeur's partner...sex...
It behooves me to translate: the two ladies were my grandmothers and both were Italian immigrants. Therefore, the chauffering duo were my parents. I shared the backseat companion with my sister. "Competition" was merely a literary liberty and proximity to a wealth of forsythia can start a fire in the imagination.
Maternal grandparents, Minnie & Joe, spent the entire summer on the North Shore of Long Island, three short blocks from the magnificent beaches of Rocky Point. Three blocks north of the Yellow Wall. My grandparents were partial to box hedges and that was fine with me. I trimmed those hedges very haphazardly before an older cousin, who lived with Minnie & Joe, pruned away all of my mistakes but our grandfather insisted on paying us the same union rates.
The rest of the year, Minnie & Joe lived in the Bronx. We lived a short distance away on the other side of the Whitestone Bridge. My paternal grandparents lived year-round in Cedarhurst, a predominantly Jewish Long Island community which is one of the fabled five towns.
Many of the Jewish residents purchased fresh chickens from Marie & Sal Oliverio, better known to me as Nuna & Nunootz. My father's siblings provided more than enough grandchildren to entertain and visit Cedarhurst year-round. I was the only one of the grandchildren exempted from laboring in the chicken business. All I did was eat them.
No blogpost could ever do justice to the resulting culinary pleasures.
It was rare but immeasurably fun whenever paternal cousins and relatives came out to Rocky Point. Infrequently those visits included Nuna and Nanootz but by 1964, the times they were a changin'
End of CHAPTER 1