Saturday, March 17, 2012

Apartment B-6, 1957: A Tour

This is the front door to our apartment, it says B-6 right there in gold paint, apartment B-6, and I am, I am being 6.

This is the outside hallway. Whenever I open the door to go anyplace I have to come out here. It looks yellow because the lightbulb is high up and far away and sometimes it smells bad but that's because Mrs. Teitelbaum cooks Brussels sprouts. She always says hello and smiles with her lipstick mouth and she is not a tattle-tale, but she does make a bad smell so I hope she'll move away.

In this hallway I could do lots of fun things, because it's so long and the tiles on the floor are real smooth. I could roller skate or ride my bike or just run down to the other end and turn around and run back again. 

But I'm not allowed to do any of those things. Kids can't have fun in the hallway, and if a grown-up sees me, even if I'm only playing jacks or dressing my Barbies, that grown-up will say "Go home little girl, you're making too much noise."

Mrs. Weinstock will say it very loud, she will scream in my face, she will act like she doesn't know me, even though she is my friend Larry's grandma. When he visits Mrs. and Mr. Weinstock, if it's not a Saturday, I get invited inside their apartment to play Go Fish with him and his sister Hilary, and Mrs. Weinstock gives us Jell-O. 

But when she sees me in the hallway she doesn't recognize me and she screams in my face like this: "Girlie, girlie, what you doing here? This is bad place for you, go inside, psha psha, hurry up inside." When she goes "psha" a little spit comes out of the side of her mouth. She is a very nervous lady, Mrs. Weinstock, and it makes her crazy to see a kid in the hallway.

This is my bedroom. I share it with my sister Laura but I have the bigger bed because I'm the older one and she has the smaller bed that Mommy collapses in the morning and rolls under my bed so there will be more room for playing. 

Collapsing is very tricky, not everyone can do it. In my family only my mother can do it. My father is afraid, he got his finger caught in the metal part once and ever since then he doesn't like to do collapsing. When I'm older my mother might teach me but for now she is the one who does it in the morning and she calls it "making the beds."

This is the wall next to my bed and this is the exact spot where I like to rest my cheek so it will feel cool because after I turn my pillow over a few times it's hot and sweaty and the only place to go is the wall. My mother painted the bedroom walls pink which is a nice cool color and Laura and I like it, but then Mom read an article in a magazine and it gave her an idea that wasn't very good. 

The idea told her to take a sponge and dip it in a can of white paint and go splosh splosh all over the walls making what was supposed to be snowflakes but instead it made scary pictures like this one. 

Can you see what it is? It's a dog with a scarf around its neck and the reason it is scary is because — look! — there is no body, it's just a dog head wearing a scarf. That could give you nightmares if you stare at it too long so be careful, you might want to close your eyes now so you don't see it any more. 

Laura and I both hate the white sploshes but I hate them more because my bed is right up against the wall, but mom says it is artistic so I don't tell her how scary it is.

Dad says it's not artistic, it's artsy fartsy, which is not a nice thing to say, but it didn't make Mom mad, it made her laugh. Dad can get away with saying fartsy which is almost the same as saying fart, he can get away with it because he's the dad. I could never get away with it, if I said fart I would be in trouble. I can't get away with anything.

This is the closet where all my clothes are and it's very crowded because Laura's clothes are there too, all our clothes for school and our clothes for dressing up and our coats and jackets. Up there on that shelf is the cardboard box where our camp clothes are folded up waiting for us. 

It's always a good day when Mom takes down the box of camp clothes and we look at our shorts and bathing suits and get ready to have fun in the lake and in the Nature Shed. But that is not happening today so try not to think about it because if you think about it you will feel sad.

This is the living room where we do our living, except for eating and sleeping and the things we do in the bathroom. It is also a bedroom for my mom and dad. The couch turns into a bed at night. It is called a Castro Convertible and there's a song about it on the radio and we like to sing it, especially Laura, but Mom says we should shut up about that song already.  

There is a lot of collapsing going on in our apartment. There's Laura's bed and there's the couch, but the couch is more fun. First you take all the cushions off and stack them against the wall by the TV and after you do that you pull a handle and the bed will start to crawl out of the couch. I can do it myself if somebody helps me but Laura can't do it because she's still too little. Dad is not afraid of the couch the way he's afraid of Laura's bed, because it doesn't have any sharp metal bits that can attack him.

I haven't shown you the bathroom yet. Follow me, it's over here near the front door. Every time I get to the front door and I'm ready to go outside and have some fun Mom asks "are you prepared?" That means have I gone to the bathroom? Because the one thing she really hates is if I'm outside and then all of a sudden I remember I have to to go to the bathroom so I have to turn around and run back to the apartment. So now she always asks "are you prepared?" and if I'm not I better go right away into the bathroom and do my business, #1 or #2, whatever I have to do to be prepared.

I'm prepared! So we can go out now. I've shown you everything except the kitchen but that is too boring, that's where we sit around a tiny table and eat boring food like lettuce and tomato and hard boiled eggs. You don't want to see that. 

Let's go out and sit on the stoop and maybe my friends Barbara and Judy will come out and we can make some noise. If we make noise out on the stoop we don't get yelled at because people know kids have to make noise someplace. It's just in the hallway where they get mad. But out on the stoop we can be wild animals, that's what they say. 

Hurry up, this is the best part, we can yell at the cars that drive by and we can whoop like lions or tigers or even like little girls.