Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mr. Petrie....

For Open Link Night at  dversepoets.com   - a memory from the early 50's....

Mr. Petrie wore a long white butcher's apron
over his workman's blue chino pants
A crisp white hat stood 6 inches above
   his slick black Italian hair -
or was he Jewish, Polish or Greek?
Often he stood outside his grocery store,
 gesturing with  one hand,
the other in his pocket; animated,
  he chatted with neighbors, customers
Tall with a build like Abe's,
and with a winning smile,
he wore shiny black shoes, and had 
squeaky clean rosy cheeks
He had a large family, I remember, 
 who lived above the store,
immigrants  no doubt who made a life
in spite of everything
Neighborhoods were separated by culture;
 Irish settled in one part of town
  Puerto Ricans, Chinese and Blacks in others;
and we knew where  skid road was,
we liked to drive by there, 
but we never knew the whole story
Many times we crossed  S. W. 14th street
 from Grandpa's house to buy ice cream,
waited for trolleys go by
Buddy welcomed us,  letting us choose 
our favorite ice cream bar 
Mine was usually chocolate covered 
vanilla on a stick.  I think my cousin liked 
the orange  cream sickle best
Mr. Petrie was his name
But we called him "Buddy"
'Thank you,  "Buddy!"  we said

 Ladies relied on fresh bread, eggs daily ;
men bought newspapers to take to work
Nuns from the convent converged at the deli
like clockwork for lunch
wearing their black and white habits
I never thought Buddy was different, 
only the epitome of the "good humor man";
I liked how he always winked at me
stooped down to say hello, shook my hand;
he was kind, friendly, and handsome
I had a crush on him -
 I was only  6 years old.


  1. ha. cool...i think on some level we all ad those mr petries....those adults that noticed us...that treated us not as kids but equals...making sure we were taken care of....this is a very cool story...i would love to have met him.

  2. Every child should know someone like this, someone who made them few special. I really liked the portrait of Buddy that you wrote! It is a tribute to him that you remember him so fondly, even though you were only 6....

  3. Very sweet and wistful portrait! I guess most of us remember someone similar to your Buddy, people who did their jobs but with a difference, people who seemed to care and see their customers as individuals.

  4. ah he sounds like quite the character... it's cool to have people with such personality around...he reminded me of a vegetable shop keeper i met in berlin last summer - turkish guy - he was the soul of his little shop

  5. Every little one has to have someone to look up to admire (other than there parents) this is a beautiful story, told as only you can - thank you.

  6. Lovely, tender childhood memory! I don't know why, but I instantly thought 'Armenian' when you mentioned the Petrie name, although I have no idea if that was his real name or some 'Americanized' version of it.

  7. Enjoyed this story and the connection to the mom and pop stores that are few these days as giant stores
    have taken over...It reminded me of a corner store I knew growing up.

  8. I love this story ... the past is gone.. and a 6 year never knew about the boundaries.. sometimes we wish to see the word through the eyes of a 6 year old's eyes..

  9. This is such a great memory poem, enriched with such good description and details. Those memories are such a part of who we are, aren't they?

  10. Really took me there ~ I can picture the man, scene ,the bustle of the place and the ice cream bar ~ Delightful Katy ~

  11. This is awesomeness! Cool trip down memory lane. I loved each line and thread of the memories. A worthy crush at 6 I think!

  12. So specific in detail of dress, posture, expressiveness and environment! Despite that, this poem brings up memories of my own childhood when appearances I could count on parsed out my week. These were my friends.

  13. Beautiful memories, described with such tenderness.


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