Corner Candy Store To Dancing Class – sketch a doodle series
by elizabeth mclaughlin
My grammar school was located at the Grand Concourse and the silver round metal bell that dangled from the cemented brick-faced wall rang with a deafening loud noise. Students in woolen dark green plaid uniforms piled through a door, out of classrooms, formed single lines and into wide hallways. Brown leather Oxford’s shuffled down stairs and out onto the street. Classes ended for the day and for this latch key student it was a time to explore the neighborhood. The El rumbled above on a grey but rusting towering steel structure obviously put together with large bulging rivets. Screeching ear-piercing brakes could be heard scraping the tracks in the distance. People charged up and down the stairs frantically hoping not to miss their ride into Manhattan or to travel further Up-Town. A man stopped to assist a woman with a bulky baby carriage.
Sams corner candy store was open and this is where I was heading. Earlier after breakfast I was able to slide the white lacquered wooden kitchen chair over to the refrigerator. This is where dad usually left twenty-five cents, enough to purchase a vanilla cherry coke. Sam was a bald-headed man who wore a starched stiff white shirt and apron. He looked professional, cheerful and ran behind the counter, bouncing from soda fountain to soda fountain, squirting into glasses,thick syrup and seltzer. Andy the newspaper boy assisted me onto a twirling leather round seat and I placed my quarter onto the hard red linoleum counter. A tall coca-cola glass magically appeared accompanied with paper straw. Teens congregated in the back of the shop where they could mingle in talk at red leather booths. I slurped the sweet syrup down my throat and observed the people ordering grilled burgers, thin fries, and chocolate cream sodas. Sam came up to me and offered a licorice stick upon leaving. The door swept closed and the weather was changing to a light rain. I turned the corner and started to go up the hill, as we called it, but piano music guided me alongside a brick building.
In the wind a metal sign squeaked back and forth, it read, Patties dancing lessons. I dropped my school bag to the ground and peered up toward the dusty second floor window. Children chattered and their thumping prancing feet bouncing against wooden floor could be heard from outside the wood framed window . I could only imagine tiny dancers dressed in elaborate costume, gliding and flying across a studio floor being directed with prompts. Within minutes the instructors voice stopped her classes movement and a head peered out the window. A woman with gray hair, bun on the top of her head looked down upon me with a frigid grimace. I felt discovered and ran as fast as my little legs could run up the street.