Sunday, November 23, 2008

Streets and alleys of the Depression

On the telephone today, my mom and dad mentioned some bits of their Depression childhoods. My mom recalled an organ grinder and monkey at an entrance to the BMT elevated subway in Brooklyn. The monkey collected money from the audience. My dad recalled singers serenading apartment buildings from alleys (never streets) in Union City, New Jersey. What songs? "My Wild Irish Rose" and such. Sometimes a saxophonist or trumpeter would come by. People threw coins wrapped in pieces of newspaper.

Other familiar figures: the fish man, the ice man, the vegetable man, all with horse-drawn carts.

comments: 1

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember seeing an organ grinder once, during a shopping trip to downtown Elgin, Illinois during the late 1960s when I was three or four years old. My memory would also like to add a monkey to the scene, but I'm not sure I can trust that part of it.