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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

An Jo's Luncheonette

An Jo's Luncheonette was my Nanny and Poppy's restaurant in Selden, NY, thirty plus years ago. It was a small hometown place where you could anything from an Italian speciality sandwiche to bologna and cheese for lunch. All served with a smile, and usually a hug.

It was a place where hard working people would come in for a home cooked meal. Josie would serve it up while Johnny ran the business. They were a good team, and had a lot of fun as this was their "retirement".

Sadly, my grandfather, Johnny, passed away in 1973 a year after I was born. My mom and my grandmother tried to run the business without him. My mother would take me with her to "work" and I talked and played with the customers. Even though I was only a toddler, I do remember the people. The food. The love. I even remember the tip jar they made for me. All tips went to the tip jar, which was for me to keep.

It got to be too much for these two and a half ladies, so unfortunately, they closed the store. It was heartbreaking for my Nanny to watch the door close on a dream, but she knew it was time.

I think about that place often. I have my memories of it tucked inside my mind. Whenever I smell peppers and eggs or see beautiful bread, I can see my Nanny cooking. Tough, but sweet, she served up yummies, with a sense of humor.

Today, when I was at my Mom's, she asked me if I wanted something. It was in her closet. Out comes the last living shirt from the luncheonette days. She gave it to me. I remember seeing that shirt hanging in my grandmother's basement for years, but had forgotten about it. But the second I saw it, it brought me right back.

Back to when life was so, so different. When food made friends into family. And dessert came with the meal.

Tom took a few pictures of me in the shirt tonite. I felt nostalgic. Close to my grandparents. Comfortable.

If you look close enough you can see the name John on the shirt.

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