By TONI CRESCENZO GELFER
Class of 1968
My house was a modest, slightly renovated vessel for a teeming world that was the Crescenzo family...filled to the brim with family, friends, neighbors, classmates, service people..to name a few.
At its heart was Mom and the kitchen..and the question: What do you want to eat?..Even if something was already simmering, which it always was. It didn't matter..any time of day..I'd order bacon and eggs (both crispy)..and there they were on a Melmac plate. This continued until near her death.
Being a Tomboy, Dad was instrumental in everything for me from fixing flats on bike tires, to finding a leak in a tub of water; to preparing the patch and on and on until I rode off on my red Schwinn. There were numerous surgeries consisting of removing splinters which I purposely inflicted by walking on his scaffold planks The burning of the needle, the tweezers, never any worries of a Band Aid or antibiotic after. The setting up of the increasingly larger pools every few years. The buying and building a stand (never saved it) for a "real" Christmas tree, in our oversized garage and on and on.
Aside from Mom, Dad and my siblings, we had what my mother called "A Parade" of visitors that came through our door..eating..visiting...The Mailman would be given dry socks in my kitchen during a storm, the Milkman, Artie, would have coffee and do his books, weekly....A man named Patsy (from Ozone Park) would come once a week,with a mysterious book and take orders for new "dungarees' or sheets, really anything.. and he'd reappear, in a week, with the bounty.
There were many more of these people....different ones, different days...Then, there were everyone's friends...It was a zoo. Kids playing in dad's sand pile out back. Teen girls playing hooky inside. ( Mom.."you don't feel good..Stay home"). Different ages. Boys/Girls. Food still cooking...Neighbor women coming in. Girls scampering to hide.
There are too many stories to begin to explain what went on in my house. Our house housed a family that never went on a vacation together, never ate in a restaurant, together...never went to a beach, park or museum, together...never had health insurance, never had any savings...and, never knew it... till many years later. I got married in the back yard of my house. My house was a HOME.
Color photos by Marilyn Monsrud Frese