Part Two-The Lightest Touch …

She was a young girl … optimistic and unfettered by the cares of motherhood, rent or budgets. Deadlines bored her, responsibilities rarely found her, and if some dark night reality intruded upon her, she blew them off with a song. She learned to have fun with few resources … a radio and an old Remington manual typewriter. The babes, now grown, were the ballast of her otherwise insane life.

She was the dreamer and I loved her so. I wrapped her in sensual silk and satin bottoms, layered with denim, daring cut-a-way, braless and carefree on a fat old bike. And oh, she had the lightest touch. She was me.

Dream Boat Annie, Heart

From the journals of Ramblings:

When we love …

When we love I am standing
Before a stranger
Awkward in my nakedness

The plans of each act
I have memorized
Scatter about the floor
With my garments

And I am left
With the finest performance of all
The improvisation of this one
Sweet moment

So nice to feel creation
A mountain with bare hands
Beneath me

I am awed by the challenge
Climb its rocky
Dazzling heights

Each time I take a breath
I ascent to the highest peaks
Where the purest creation is born

Suspended in mid-air
I descend to earth slowly
More slowly than the time before
Finding solid ground in your arms

Where with a frown
And a sigh of disappointment
We separate and become


Ready to glue back the masks
And button up the costumes


Unable to understand
What it is
And how it is

When we love


She be me, you and her …

I am girl/woman/child/femme/fatale/female/feminine/feminist/a fragile/fragrant/feline/phoenix/ rising to the moon/to howl chant/sing/lament/serenade !
Free/falling/fairly/far/into your charms/arms

To/level/smooth/and knead/roll/pounce/plotz
Bake/until well/donecooked/spent
a female/baby boomer/post menopausal

her imagination
toward the new millennium
seeing nothing but
a blue haze


How is it people always search
Each other’s eyes
Hoping to find the answer
When they haven’t yet learned
To ask the question?

I wonder how it feels
To be Atlas
In a time when the world
Is no treasure to hold ?


From Radio:

Your Hit Parade …

To someone on the outside looking in and not knowing the individual players in our tiny theatre, we might have appeared to be blatantly crazy. Since all the men and women shouted the same way in two languages, we thought everyone lived like us, and chaos became the norm.

There were no dads who wore suits and ties to work or stay-at-home-moms who baked cookies for after school snacks. Only Italian-American-blue-collar, wrong-side-of-the-trolley-tracks, working men and women who had precious little time for play groups or little league. 

It was a factory life, which meant adults worked from pre-dawn to late afternoon and kids were generally on their own or answered to some old lady who corralled several of them at a time before the worker’s shifts were over.

Late afternoon meant trips to the grocer, the baker or the butcher. Not much kept in the tiny icebox necessitating daily shopping, which became my “job.”

While my mother turned the groceries into our supper, the big one sat in a corner of the room working on his latest project, and my dad sat next to him reading one of his three daily newspapers.

The middle one sat alone in the outside hall or the bathroom and read everything except his schoolbooks, and I bounced around to each of them to homework to errands.

When the adults banished me to my room, I would sneak over to the French doors in the parlor, listen to the music on the radio and ignore the adult conversations.

There was a guy who called himself the Sixty Minute Man, a concept later explained to me by the middle one. The middle one seemed bent on explaining all the unexplainable things little girls are better off not knowing.  

I sang with Nat King Cole as his sweetheart was Unforgettable and much Too Young for what the Sixty Minute Man was talking about.

 I sat by the front door and rolled my middle brother’s marble collection, often watching desperately as one of his best agates rolled under the icebox or one of the adults slipped on his Cat’s Eye. Mostly I counted them and enjoyed one of Guy Mitchell’s latest hits brought to you by the Lucky Strike countdown on Your Hit Parade.

There was lots of stuff on the radio that the family discussed and argued about besides music. My dad and the big guy had the upper hand in the voting process and before this year, I had learned to like what everyone else wanted to hear.

Radio waves brought us the mystery and detective shows of Ellery Queen, The Adventures of Philip Marlow, Bulldog Drummond, and Charlie Chan, the comedy of Amos & Andy or George Burns, and of course, lots of World News Today.

The stand up Philco provided everyone in the family with their own special kind of show. My mother could not iron all the shirts and blouses we needed unless she listened to one of her soaps or The Bickersons, and my dad never finished a newspaper without a news or sports show.

The big guy liked anything at all that included music. Neither of the boys were much for sports, but the big guy sat with our dad and listened to Red some-body talk about those “damned” Yankees. After supper, we sat in a semi-circle with coffee or cocoa and listened to family comedy, music and big band shows.

Never missing a chance to taunt me, the middle one loved to repeat the more frightening introductions, like that creaking door of Inner Sanctum or the voice on The Shadow … “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! …”

Yeah, and I knew what evil lurked in the hallways of Brooklyn.

It hardly mattered ’cause I had my own personal radio and could listen to any old thing at all, any old-time I wanted.

Among the nice and not-so-nice Italian relative and non-relative males populating my life, was a short, wiry angel-faced boy with a great smile.

Here In My Heart he had a special place even if he wasn’t the first boy I ever kissed. He was smarter and nicer than all the rest and the one who remembered to hold my hand Walkin My Baby Back Home.

He never tried to look under my dress, he didn’t use foul language or try to trap me in the corner of a dark hallway, and he never sad bad things.

He was my best friend, my only friend and the only boy I didn’t hate. 


I’ve searched these pages for the word “look” to satisfy a challenge by my writer friend Sheri Degrom. Be patient dear one, I might find a look or two for you yet.

Do you have secrets you hide …

from yourself or the world?

Tell me … what memories do you treasure?

fOIS In The City


Filed under Poetry Wednesday

27 responses to “Part Two-The Lightest Touch …

  1. Beautiful, Florence.
    Just beautiful.


  2. I. Love. This.

    Of course I have memories I keep secret from the world. Secrets only I know. Most of them involve dreams, but — like the I-don’t-believe-it-but-what-if jinx potential of birthday candles — I can’t reveal them.

    They’re my treasured dreams and secrets.

    Memories? Gaaaah!

    [Insert novella masquerading as a comment.]

    Or, not. I’ll simply reread yours. Beauuuuutiful.


  3. I love the way your descriptions bring the family to life. Thank you.


  4. I have many wonderful memories. Lots of them include my wonderful husband and daughter. They’ve filled my life with joy.


  5. A happy day was the first day home after a week in Scotland in June. The whole world looked beautiful and I felt so strong.


  6. christicorbett

    Oh how I wish I knew you then! I have the feeling we would have been the best of friends!

    Christi COrbett


  7. annerallen

    So lovely. I especially relate to “the boy I didn’t hate.” I had one of those. I didn’t even know what “gay” meant, and neither did he. But he was my smart, funny male friend who never looked under my dress. 🙂


    • Thanks, Anne … he is the Peter of so many of my Sunset Park stories … married with three girls and a gaggle of grandchildren now 🙂 Glad you liked her … she is so many of us at that age !!


  8. Your posts catapult us right into that time, that scene. They’re such a wonderful read.


  9. Florence, I love your descriptions of your past. It makes me want to live down the street from you, come over for Saturday evening supper and get to know you and your family. I think these memories are sharper now than when we were young because back then, we were so wrapped up in ourselves.


    • Sheila, you are too kind. Wouldn’t it be a blast to live “down the block” … or as the case may be … on the same side of the mountain? I think you’re right … somehow the old cliche of hindsight being 20/20 must apply 🙂 Thanks so much !


  10. Love this! Such fun memories, and so well written. It goes by in a flash but recalling them in a post like this makes them feel like yesterday.
    Thanks for sharing, Florence!


  11. There are a gazillion comments to be made about this post, but my strongest connection is the radio.

    We love to hear tales about the ‘olden days’ from our parents, and my dad’s olden day tales often included stories about the radio. Dad was born in a small farming community in the depression years, the youngest of nine boys, and had little. But they did have a radio, and there seemed to be an echo of magic in his voice when he would tell us stories of his family huddled together around the radio in the evenings.

    Dad didn’t talk about the strain on his parents, the exhaustion of being poor, of the bickering of siblings, or how the family united at the end of a long day, together. He spoke of a faraway voice entertaining and enrapturing all. His simple snippets of childhood painted a picture for me that I cherish to this day.

    And therein lies the magic of storytelling.


    • Sherry, the radio was the staple, the connection to the outside world and the time we could all be together and enjoy so many types of programs.

      Isn’t it great that your dad told you those stories? The verbal story teller is still the best tradition from so many different types of cultures. I can see his far-away look, the smiles, the escape … so perfect. Thanks 🙂


  12. I came across a photo of my grandson looking at the pumpkins we brought home from his first ever trip to the pumpkin farm. The pumpkins were bigger than he was at the time. The photo reminded me of the whole experience.


  13. Some precious memories happen for me when I’m not thinking about the past. A smell of food that puts me back to a time and place, my husband’s expression that makes me think of my son…a song that makes me young again. Yes, wouldn’t it be terrible to lose memories?


    • For certain, Brinda … the sound of someone’s laughter from across the room … a song or two kids standing in the hall sniffing what Mama is cooking up for their supper. Thanks for your warm comments 🙂


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