As a female child brought up in an Italian American house I learned how to clean at a very early age. Cleaning was sport in our home. It had to be done correctly, no matter your age. My mother was widowed at the age of 26 so it was just her and I and my brother. She worked to support us and we cleaned and shoveled the coal into the furnace in the winter. I cooked meals when I was ten. Sometimes there may have been a little extra meat in them if I had an accident with the potato peeler. Our fun was on the weekends when we were shipped off to my dad's parents' house. Let the fun begin.
There was nothing expected of us at Grandma's house. No cleaning. No cooking. Just fun. My cousin and I would meet up there and find ways of exploring the huge Victorian that was surrounded by yard on all four sides.
The back yard was where most of the action was. It had a huge patio with picnic tables assigned to three spots close to each other. It was shaded by the fruit trees. There were cherry- the favorite of all of us, apricot, peach along with two others I can't remember. Lovely spot to spend an afternoon in. If you were on the ground.
My brother and I were not content to keep our feet planted on the ground. We would climb up the side of the garage - the side no one could see us - shimmy up the cherry tree to find a comfy spot and gorge on cherries. I can still taste the heavenly fruit to this day.
Not content to have eaten cherries from the tree, there was a day that is imprinted in my soul. My brother was very bright. Brilliant, actually. He became an engineer as an adult, which was only right because his first engineering project was completed when he was ten at Grandma's house.
On the ground next to the back porch was a peck of cherries. Fresh picked and looking very yummy. The porch was covered by yet another porch over it on the second story. We knew no one would appreciate us dipping into those cherries so my brother rigged up a pulley system out of nowhere to hoist the basket to the top porch. After a few tries the system was operational. Two happier faces you never saw. We did it! OK, he did it, but I was his helper.
We ate most of the cherries in the peck then decided we didn't feel so good. Of course we couldn't tell anyone why we didn't feel so good. A short time later Grandma found the near empty basket. We were scolded and ushered into the house to lie down. A few minutes later we were arguing over who needed to use the bathroom the most. He won out. But I have to tell you the bathroom became our best friend for close to four days.
You would think that neither of us would ever eat another cherry. I don't know about him, but when I saw the grocery store had cherries on sale this week, I smiled. I'm off to gather some. Just not a peck of them.
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