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Brownstone Livin,' Brooklyn Trippin'

Updated: May 31, 2021

We numbered a family of five when my parents purchased a three-story brownstone in the now gentrified neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The house was on a one-street block of stoned, row houses. Three houses retained their front gardens. Everyone else smothered any potential for rose bushes or hedges under a slab of cement. This made it easier for most families. The only gardening they had to worry about centered around the children they planted. And in 1953, there were quite a few on the street where I lived.

On the street where I lived

My parents purchased the house from the Carussos. When they moved out, they left three

Caucasian neighbors behind. One lived right next door to us. She was a nice lady, stayed to

herself, but often staggered home from a bar two blocks away. There was another

woman directly across the street from us. All I remember is that she had thick, thick legs that

she squeezed into tight, beige stockings, and she walked in black, wide heels with laces. Whatever was wrong with her legs didn’t impede her mobility.

There was also a nun on the block. She used to always give candy to the children. Eventually, she moved around the corner to the housing for nuns. Whenever I'd pass the place, a high, gray cement wall obstructed my view. Everyone respected that wall because we knew nuns lived on the other side, but we had no idea how the residence looked until years later when they tore down the wall revealing the building, now affordable housing for all seniors.