Da Bronx Stoop Stters

Da Bronx Stoop Sitters
Coming from a blue collar, family, our street was our home away from home.
Our street was our playground, to play our games- Ring a livio, tag,
box ball, punch ball, off the point, Johnnie on the pony…
We always had a candy store on the corner – Sol’s – cokes, malted,
and egg creams… 10 cents. Hot dogs, hamburgers 15-25 cents.
This was a place that when you had a bad time at home, Sollie was Like our father…He spoke up for the father’s , he would give us an eggcream, when he needed to rest we helped him behind the counter… making egg creams – scooped ice cream and made malted Milk. This was our Shrink- no matter how bad it was there was always someone at Solley’s, you always had some to talk with.
Our school yard on the corner was our baseball diamond, basketball court and more..
The most important thing I remember was the Grandma’s sitting on a stool, or the stoop-. In our days we all lived in tenements and with Grandma’s living in the apartment as they came from Italy, Germany,

Greece, Ukraine, and other exotic countries, we used to read about at school.
They were our watchdogs, guardian’s as they saw everyone who came on the street… When a stranger walked down the street
“The Grandma’s would ask- “who are you coming to see”? so they knew if he was OK and also knew who was dating who before it came out in the street talk.
WE respected them and also would shop for them if required!
Languages spoken were Italian, Greek, German, YIDDISH, and any other language you could think of… Grandma’s raised the children
As both parents had to work to support the family, when grandpa’s passed on- they automatically took in the grandma- it was the rule of street. So they ruled the neighborhood..
When a Grandma Passed away the whole neighborhood attended the funeral  NO EXCEPTION’s . No matter what they prayed to…
WE grew up not knowing what being poor was because we were- jeans, pants, sweaters was always handed down to the next in line.
Holidays, whether you were Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Greek orthodox was always celebrated.. Everyone celebrated them( the Block)
Being of the younger guys, my friends were my family, my brother’s
not by birth but by the street. We were 15 challenging the older guys
17? If we won we would get our butts kicked…

Then came changes- older guys got drafted, grandma’s died the stoops were empty.. We started to go to the YMHA on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, learn how to lindy hop(Philadelphia style) sing in the hallways and subway stations for                                                                                 echo to harmonize and sing doo-woop – Dion & the Belmonts “ I wonder Why”, I only had eyes for you , and music of the streets.
I miss those days as we all cared about who each of was- it didn’t
matter what you were it was – “what street did you live on”
I miss my 1st girlfriend, my 2d and others- but I still talk to my brothers from the street- 50 -60 years. ago.
I wish I could back to those days – I went back to see the Street, the stoops, and looked and saw boarded buildings, Solly’s candy store gone… Tears came to my Eye’s as I remember a time when people cared , people helping each other, kid’s having fun-not worrying about being shot, mugged playing ball on Saturdays’ being around friends I truly miss, fun I may never see again- Innocence “Where is America Going”?
We forgot who we were(are) and sometimes being people we
shouldn’t be--- Life is jaded, America is upside down.
“The world is  not the same”… The Beatles changed it- Wars have changed it religious hate has changed it. The world out grew the Grandma’s the stoops of the street.
I will never forget the Grandma’s of the Chairs, the stoops, the people
who made the difference in our lives!!!!!!!! I guess I miss my Grandma, My Mother !

BronxMike BronxMike
May 11, 2012