As I was chatting with my sister, Dawn, we were recalling our early childhood living on the first floor of our grandparents’ home in New Jersey, The Garden State.
|The street we lived on in our early years in Clifton, NJ|
We were fortunate to have had our mother’s parents living above, and her brother and his wife living next door. We were a close-knit family; we did everything together.
( The home of my aunt and uncle was the tan one with the porch. The house we shared with our grandparents was next door, uphill. It’s remarkably unchanged.)
Dawn and I were remembering the vendors who drove through the neighborhood primarily in the spring and summer, selling their wares. There was the fruit-vegetable man, who would ring a bell from his truck, singing, “Raaaaspberries! Straaaawberries!” or whatever the specials of the day were.
People would run out of their homes to inspect the “picks” of the day, and buy the freshest, tastiest produce right off his truck.
Then there was the man who rode up & down the streets in a horse-drawn wagon offering to sharpen knives and scissors. My sister laughed nervously, thinking what would happen if this service were available today!
The vendor we both recalled — and loved — was Hatz Baboog, Bread Grandfather .
He would climb the narrow staircase to our grandparent’s home with a basket filled with all sorts of Armenian breads that looked and smelled sensational! You couldn’t choose just one.
My favorite was the round, slightly flattened loaf with the hole in the middle. Hatz Baboog even went so far as to make miniature versions of our favorite breads – just for us kids.