ME AND MY GANG

I always use the expression, me, myself and I, what a gang! After leaving my dirty rotten cheating husband, I finally found my footing and myself but now with a much bigger gang in tow. My mother, some of my siblings and my son were all living together in an overcrowded apartment. We moved several times and eventually rented two apartments inBrooklyn in the same building.  We split up into the two apartments but we would still beclose together. I had to make more money and fast. The opportunity came to work in a luncheonette that was attached to the bar my father worked at when he was alive.  Of course, there were always familiar faces and they knew I had to feed my gang. Everyone in the neighborhood knew our family life history. This luncheonette was across the street from the factories on 2nd Avenue in Brooklyn. The factory workers had the same lunchtime, they would rush in like a herd of cattle.  It was a stressful nightmarish job, 30 to 40 people all packed in the luncheonette like sardines ordering their lunch. I became a great short-order cook, needless to say, made different sandwiches and prepared lunches. After a while I learned the business well and knew the clientele, what they would order and the kind of sandwiches that were most popular. I became so good at it always very prepared for the lunchtime rush. It was slower in the afternoon so I would go over to the bar and try to learn as much as I could about tending bar. I watched my father for many years I became a natural at it.  It must have been in our blood. I then found myself working at the bar filling in when a bartender didn’t show up for work.        At the time, I thought how fantastic it was just standing and serving drinks, better than standing over that hot grill. The restaurant business was hard work the customers were very needy when dealing with theirfood orders. I decided to leave the luncheonette for the diner on 5th Ave. I knew it was hard being a waitress but I could make good tips and still fill in at the bar. After proving that I was dependable and a hard worker they hired me full time at the bar so I left the restaurant and put my energy into being the best bartender I could be. I then got an additional bartending job which filled my days so I could make good money to take care of the family. I had many mouths to feed. One of the bars didn’t like being in the competition with the other bar in the same neighborhood, so they let me go.  In turn, my Aunt who worked as a waitress in a hotel in upstate Liberty, NY got me a weekend waitress job. Again, it was such hard work I had to carry at least 20 diners on a tray to the tables with big groups. I made good money but I earned every penny. My Aunt also owned a local bar and my sister lived with her while going to college. My sister worked the bar and sometimes when I was up there we worked the bar together. The Witch taught us both how to read cards well and my upstate Aunt read cards equally as well as my mother. The three of us took our turn at reading cards at the table just like at home.  It was just like in Brooklyn,women looking for their cheating husbands and my aunt was their local card reader. There was always a deck of cards behind the bar, no matter what bar I worked in, Brooklyn or Upstate. There was a deck waiting to be read and someone wanting to be read. The patrons at the bars knew we read cards and asked many times to help them get answers that the cards could provide. Sometimes the questions were ridiculous like can I win if I bet on the Jets. I have learned from the past, never leave home without my deck of cards. They arealways in my car, bag, home, and any business I go to. Someone is always in dire need to ask the cards a question. Since I was working hard and making good money my motherhad a brainstorm of an idea to buy a house and go back to Staten Island.  Now the pressure was on to get out of the two apartments and buy a house. The neighbors and neighborhood knew we needed to achieve this goal. Everyone in the neighborhood pitched in and helped when someone needed it. So if something happen to fall off a truck (wink wink) it was in my house for sale. The Witch knew the entire neighborhood and sold items like crazy. If someone took a run down south to get a load of cigarettes they were delivered to our apartment and the Witch was their greatest saleslady. Back in the day everyone smoked so they sold quickly. We were on a mission to get the heck out of Brooklyn. I didn’t care how or when it happened as long as my gang was happy and that in turn made me happy too. I found my happy place going out dancing, drinking and being entertained by some crazycharacters. I was very busy working but always found time for fun, for a moment or an hour it was worth it, crazy or not. I figured if I was going to be working this hard that it would be cheaper paying a mortgage than paying two rents on the apartments. I was working three jobs by this time and trying to save the down payment for a house plus all the other expenses. At this point the Witch became the best mother to the last 3 children and the best Nana to my son.  Getting this home for her felt right. The children came first and they were so happy that we were buying a house in Staten Island and knowing we would all be together. I started on my mission to purchasing a house it took me three years but I did it and bought our house on Staten Island. I was happy knowing my son would grow up in a home and not some crazy apartment in Brooklyn, as I did. The gang wasexcited and happy that we had a house of our own with a pool and a yard. Everyone looked forward to having fun pool parties and more.

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