Page 13 - Pat's Tavern
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Pat’s Tavern by Thomas J. Cranefemale and she must have been all of eleven years old and I was only about six.The gossip that was exchanged between neighboring women from porch to porch acted as something similar to a short wave radio whereas the whole neighborhood could listen in. Many was the scene repeated from the movie, “A Street Car Named desire,” with Marlon Brando yelling, “Hey, Stella.” Only in some cases it was a husband chasing his wife out of the screen door and both of them arguing back and forth.Most apartment buildings had a janitor who would collect the trash and sort it out in the basement and burn the consumables in the furnace. The tenements had concrete garbage bins with metal lids that the tenants burned the garbage themselves or else they let it rot and they sometimes stunk. There was a serial killer in the neighborhood as I found on a couple of occasions a poor dog strangled with a rope and tossed in a bin and burned. It made me sick thinking about it.Playtime in the alleys was sometimes much safer than the streets. I had a lifetime friend run over by a car and lost a leg and went through life wearing a wooden leg. Another time my father and I watched a kid die who was hit by a car and lay dying and moaning beneath a sheet that someone placed over him as the ambulance took a great deal of time to arrive. No one could move him because as someone stepped forward and tried, the crowd yelled that is was against the law and to back away. The mother spent her remaining years in madness raving at the traffic as she walked back and forth.The alleys also had fruit and vegetable peddlers who sold their goods from a truck. I worked for one as a runner in climbing the stairs as housewives often yelled down their orders which the peddler bagged and I would collect the money and bring down to him. The alleys often gave up treasure troves as some families might move away and they had kids that were grown up and their toys were thrown away.The alleys served as a source of news and especially on Sunday mornings when news boys “hawked” their newspapers. “Hear ya, hear ya, get your Sunday morning paper!” was a yell often heard. They would then go on to call out the news “Japs Bomb Pearl Harbor,” was how we first learned that the Second World War was soon to begin. These news vendors received payment on the spot. As with myself and other newsboys who made routine home deliveries, we delivered the papers and then made our collections. We were responsible for every paper on our route. In my case, I had one hundred customers and if someone skipped out without paying, it was taken from my pay. Some weeks I did not make any money.The vendors on 63rd Street had metal stands with two or three shelves and closed sides along with other hinged sides that folded in and out. They had stacks of papers on the shelves and made change on the spot. If the newsman was not present, people would13

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