Page 26 - Southington Magazine Holiday 2019
P. 26

 The Huttons were the classic advisors of how men should dress. Nice people. Dick and Jim Wallace ran the jewelry store while Art Johnson had his Western Auto. Joe DelSanto and Danny Ingelito were real pros at cutting hair and putting those hot white towels on men’s faces. Monty’s Diner was always busy.
The Petruzelli’s of Tony’s Cash & Carry wanted to know if I would come to work on Saturdays to peel the onions or carry grocery bags on delivery runs. Mom would always send me to Tony’s for a loaf of bread, some cheese or a can of tomato paste. If I forgot something she sent me back.
When Dad sent me and I sometimes forgot what he wanted, I didn’t get second chances. Usually I ran to Tony’s in fear because I simply forgot what he had mumbled during supper. The owners would call mom to clear me for my return, carrying whatever item the head of the family had requested. I would wait for Dad to return to work so I could roam the downtown streets again like a western marshal, like a beat cop or even Lash Larue.
Friday nights at Christmas time were fun. I
was always dodging people. It was fun squeezing sideways in those tight alleyways. And, the best part was being too young to work at Dad’s bar. I was an innocent bystander to holiday celebrations. I recall people hugging, women laughing and smoke dancing from the tables from fashionable cigars and Lucky Strikes or Camel cigarettes. Dad’s bartenders would routinely warn me that they were holding a place for me someday.
I wasn’t in a hurry to grow up. My quaint world was fine with me. It was 1951 and the downtown stores were glowing with colorful lights. The smell of the month was pine, old beer, good sauce, lasagna and smelts. People looked happy and content. The Korean War wasn’t talked about like World War II. Automobiles were colorful and long. Dad’s Buick had large front fenders and fake portholes on each side of the hood. The radio knobs were the size of quarters. Bicycles had fenders and whitewall tires. Sneakers came in black and white.
Johnnie Ray was still crying. Christmas was coming. Southington looked like Bedford Falls without Jimmy Stewart.
Southington Magazine — Holiday 2019

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