Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories, pt. 2

So here's what it was like:

The longest three hours of the year were from 8:30 to noon when we had school that day. The entire city had school until noon, always ended by a Thanksgiving concert or production of some sort, and then everyone ran from their prisons institutions of learning with hysterical relief. It was the first "real" vacation of the year - a four and a half day weekend. And everyone was more than ready. Especially on 77th street.

The street was closed down by about 1 pm or so. From 1 until 5, we kids had free reign of that wonderful, smooth pavement. No cracks, no textured cement, just smooth sailing for our skates, roller hockey, bikes, etc. We ran and played like spirits possessed - we never knew how long we'd have, so we had to take advantage of every possible second.

Around five or so, folks from Macy's would start arriving and shoo us back to our apartments. They'd spend the next five plus hours laying out the tarps and the flattened balloons.

Upon returning to our apartments, TV dinner or spaghetti smells would hit us like warm breath. We were ravenous, starving after four to five hours of serious outdoor play, but our mothers always admonished us not to eat too much - "save room for the turkey tomorrow."

As I got older and our neighborhood got more varied and safer, the TV dinners and the pots of spaghetti generally went by the wayside. More business appeared around the corner on Columbus, and as a junior high kid, I could usually be counted on to join friends for a slice of pizza a coke at the pizzeria around the corner, or sometimes my parents decided to go out for Chinese on 72nd St. One particularly memorable Thanksgiving Eve, we went to dinner and my brand new boyfriend was invited along. I remember taking his arm and feeling very sophisticated on our five block walk downtown.

As a younger child, though, I'd inhale my plate of spaghetti and be pushed into an early bedtime, for the fun was still to come. Around 11:00 p.m. a mysterious phone chain was started after some telltale sounds from the street, and mothers throughout the entire neighborhood would wake their sleeping children - children in footies, children in flannels, children in Cinderella or Raggedy Anne nightgowns, and we'd put on our slippers and a coat and we'd trundle down to see what was there... and for what we saw, tune in tomorrow!

9 comments:

sognatrice said...

Raggedy Ann pajamas! Yeah! The suspense!

Can't wait for the next installment :)

soccer mom in denial said...

I'm LOVING this!!!!!!!!!

anno said...

I love this -- reminds me of the freedom we once had, running through the neighborhoods on Halloween!

Thalia's Child said...

What a fantastic memory! I'm seriously loving this.

Jan said...

I can't wait to read your post tomorrow.... what did you see?????

Jan

Luisa Perkins said...

This all needs to be in a book, Jen. It's seriously good.

Wholly Burble said...

What a great memory, and you're sharing it with us.

You've got my wrapped attention! I'll be right here tomorrow, waiting.

Leslie said...

Oh, I loved those rare opportunities to play on a closed-off street on that "wonderful, smooth pavement." What a great feeling. Freedom!

Goofball said...

wow, what a great childhood memories. Some childhood traditions are so precious! You can describe it so vividly, I can sooo feel the excitement building up. It must have been so great indeed to see the event building up.

But I should read this before dinner anymore, I sure hope we get some spaghetti now this evening :p