Nice Things

Mom was always surrounding us in nice things. When she cleaned Mrs. Esposito's apartment, it became our play pen for the afternoon. We'd bounce on the velour chairs and taunt the toy poodle. Mom tried as best she could to make our world a good one. As the superintendent's family, we were first in line to receive charity for our poor relatives in communist Poland. But most of the time, my sister and I scarfed up the chiffon bedroom robes and satin beaded evening gowns for dress-up. From a very young age we could distinguish, by smell, between inferior plastic and well made leather shoes. What we didn't get really good at was telling what was normal and what was not.

Mom's Bakery

Gottlieb's bakery was my embodiment of comfort. Before mom came home from the bakery, I made sure to place my daily orders. I'd accost her as soon as she came home to find the little white box bound in striped twine. Rainbow cookies, blackout and seven layer cakes and little whipped cream dreams held in cardboard cones. These treats were always such sweet solace. They were my friends, my protectors and advocates. I'd also use them to gain power and attention, particularly in enticing friends in assembly at P.S. 218. Even 20 years later they still influence me. I had a sweet dream of a giant rainbow cookie just the other day.

submitted by Margaret Gwesbeck
Patterson, New York, USA
May 2000

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