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One Photo; One Story: Better to see you go.

He would rap on the secret door twice to signal the bar keep at Kniff’s Bar to put out a shot of Jameson for him. My grandparents owned the candy store next door on Willis Avenue in the Bronx. Grandpa built the secret door to hide the whiskey from my Grandma. He was always good at hiding it.

After they closed the candy store he still needed to hide it from her.

Every few weeks we’d jump in Dad’s black Nash Rambler station wagon, travel Rt. 3 east past the Peter Pan motel that stood alone in the New Jersey meadowlands before Giants stadium was built.

We’d travel up Rt. 17 North past The Fiesta, Ricky’s Bed King, and Fat Mike’s hotdogs up the two lane to the George Washington Bridge into the Bronx.

My grandparents lived in a small house on St. Lawrence Ave. just off of the Cross Bronx Expressway.

We would arrive at their house after an hour or so drive and totally invade their house. We would bring drawings and report cards and clamor to show them what we were doing. My grandmother would say her sweet Tipperary lilt “You’re an ARRRR-tist or look at ya smarter then EYEEEN-Stein himself”.

We raided her fridge, ran all over her house and even entered the room where the mysterious bachelor Albert Finnegan lived. Finnegan lived there until the day he died right on the landing of the second floor in her house. Albert could recite all the American Vice President’s in order all the way up to Spiro Agnew.

We would go through her dresser, cabinets, closets and rooms just taking in all we could of their house.

We could never tell how we were getting in her nerves until one day one of our toys rolled under the couch. Dad went to move it to retrieve the toy and my granddad started yelling. Before he could stop my father, a whiskey bottled rolled out across the floor and stopped at my grandmothers Florsheim’s.

All activity came to a halt. She looked at the bottle and glared at my grandfather and told every body to go home.

“Bill”, She said to my father. “It’s great to see you come, but it’s better to see you go”.

We climbed into the car and made our way home. Poor grandpa.

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