I went to Ray’s Pizza last night for dinner.
I’m pretty sure everyone has a Ray’s Pizza by now, but I really like mine. It has red vinyl booths, odd “where did you even buy this” artwork, some sporting event is always on the television, and the menu is lit from behind on a 1985 Pepsi board with the slidey things. Everything is perfectly off and the pizza is great.
The only thing missing from my Ray’s are the red plastic cups for soda. They’ve moved to styrofoam, but that’s all right because the soda machine still spits, so that makes up for the cups. Ray’s reminds me of being little.
When I was about 10 years old my mom and I lived in Bronxville, New York. I went to school at P.S. #8 and she was a nurse at Lawrence Hospital. My school was right around the corner and the hospital was quite a ways up the main street at the bottom of our hill. We lived in an apartment on Casillas Avenue. The outside looked like a big yellow house, but there were four apartments inside. My mom drove a VW Bug to work, but when the Bug wouldn’t start, which was often, she walked.
Flashback to one of my favorite childhood memories…
I got home from school first and while I was doing my homework, my mom would call to say she was leaving work. Sometimes she’d say, “Let’s meet me at Gino’s for dinner. Give me a 15 minute head start and then you start down.”
I would watch the clock, put on my coat, lock the door, run down the the stairs gliding my hand along the thick wood banister, and head down the hill to Gino’s Pizzeria. In my memory, there was that great sunsetting light as I left the house. I’m sure we went to Gino’s in the summer, but when I think back, I remember it chilly. I would zip up my jacket and I could hear the wind through the trees above as my feet tilted downhill. Most of the street was lit by dull lights, but ahead I could see the glow from the shops at the bottom of the hill.
As I got to the corner, I would turn toward the hospital, and see my mom walking. I remember always being excited. I’d run to her and we would walk back to Gino’s.
It was warm inside and there was a rack by the door for coats. Two big black pushy button phones hung on the wall by the register. They were always ringing and blinking. We usually ordered slices of cheese, got red plastic cups for our soda and sat down for dinner at a square formica table. My mom and I talked about our day and then we walked home together up the hill.
It’s strange that the simplest memory stirs so much in me. It is a gift to feel loved as a child.
My thoughts from the laundry room. Tucked In.