Sweet sixteen, how did they ever come up with that line. Me? I hid myself in my books. I felt frumpy, and ugly, whereas my Mom was beautiful and outgoing, and everyone loved her. Me, I was invisible.
By the time I was sixteen I went to work with my father every Saturday. Cross Street Market was an enclosed place, but freezing inside. Dad woke me at five thirty a.m. and by six we were on our way to work. I wore so many layers of clothes I could hardly move. Socks, paper, shoes, boots and I still froze. I couldn’t wear gloves because Dad sold meat and that’s cold. So was the cash register.
Dad’s favorite story that he told everyone, as soon as I got to work, I grabbed money out of the register, and went to the deli for some hot coffee. I did, I needed that coffee to warm up.
It was a grind, long hours and ice cold days. That’s what I remember the most, being so cold all the time.
Every time I ran out for coffee, I’d notice the kids outside the pubs waiting for their parents. They were huddled together to keep warm, and I’m sure they were hungry. I hurt for them, and I’ve never forgotten how they looked.
We sold ox tails, and believe me, Jamie Oliver and Julia Child had nothing on me. I could cut those ox tails like an expert.
I hated working there. I knew I stunk from the long twelve to fourteen hours of work, and the cold chapping my hands until they bled. Coming home and taking off the layers of clothes and socks and newspapers was a sight to behold.
Next Reflections: The Market Burned to the Ground.