SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM “THE WACKY WORLD OF WINNIE AND WILLIE”

I genuinely love this book, probably because it is so autobiographical. It elicits wonderful memories of my family, friends and me during the summertime in the magnificent 1950’s when I was a sweet and innocent little girl in my favorite place of all: Rockaway Beach, Queens, (where I was a block away from the beach and went swimming every day that was deemed a beach day by my mom.)

Of course, there are sad moments, too, in the novel since life is filled with ups and downs. Only when you are not even a teen-ager yet, you seem to adjust better to the challenges, perhaps because you don’t really know the seriousness of what is happening to you. At least, I didn’t. I was kind of na├»ve, but then again I was a child, and a lot of serious stuff rolled off my back.

Let’s take a look at the rooming house as it was back in the 1950s, the setting of the novel. In my memory it was a colossal building, huge and resplendent, but I have a feeling it was much smaller in actuality than it is in my memory. I can’t go back to compare because the building was demolished in the 1960’s as part of an urban redevelopment program of sorts. Watch how I describe it in the novel.

“The most distinguished rooming house on Beach 63rd Street was home to my extended family and me every July and August. It was a huge white building with three stories and an unfinished basement. Two white columns up front gave the building a regal look, but I’m convinced that Grandma Essie’s vibrant geraniums, which grew out of circular flower pots on each side of the porch, made this house our home.”

I know that there is a great deal of love in the above description, but still, the old house did have a dignity and majesty of its own, even if some of my memories are rose-colored.

At the beginning of the novel, I describe how the protagonist, Winnie Scharf, got lost on the beach at the age of three. Yes, as you must have guessed, I, too, suffered the same fate. The way I described Winnie’s frightening adventure is pretty much the way I remember the real story of my leaving my father, (who was supposed to be watching me carefully), and exploring the beach and people around me.

“One of the first things I remember is a Wednesday morning in August of 1947 when, at three years of age, I went to the beach with my dad. Dad had taken a vacation day because of the hot weather. Mom was cleaning the room, washing the breakfast dishes and doing the laundry while Gloria was going to the movies with Susie, the granddaughter of the owner of the rooming house across the street, and Susie’s mom, Mrs. Weiss. So it was just Dad, me, and, of course, his newspaper, turned to the sports section.

“…On that particular sunny August morning, I was restless and wanted to be entertained. On the other hand, Dad pretty much wanted to be left alone to his reading. We had reached an impasse.

“That was about the time when I decided to take a walk to explore the beach. It didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I’d walk over to the boardwalk, look around and come back. Why not? Dad hadn’t looked at me since he put me in my little beach chair and gave me my yellow beach pail.

“Fill it up with sand,” Dad had said, “and later, we’ll go into the water.” Then, he had started to read the paper. When he hadn’t looked at me for a few minutes, I decided it was time to go.”

Do you wonder what happened next? A three-year-old walking alone on a crowded, hot beach in the beginning of August? Tomorrow you will find out. It may surprise you…

Enjoy the rest of the evening. Until the next post,

Cheryl

One Response to “SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM “THE WACKY WORLD OF WINNIE AND WILLIE””

  1. lod3425 says:

    I hope you enjoyed the post for today. Please let me know if you have any questions or want to make a comment. There is always room for a reply. Also, you can e-mail me at ch571324@aim.com.