For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Bronxites

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa

by Ellen Bisbano


ome of my best memories were visiting my grandparents in the Bronx. They lived at 1192Nelson Avenue in Highbridge.

My mother had a large family: four sisters and one brother, so when it came to holidays the whole family (aunts, uncles, and at that time seventeen cousins) went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for dinner. I can still remember how big their apartment was and all the fun we had running around. Of course the people below didn't think so.

My grandfather had a closet in the hallway where he stored all his junk. Don't ask me how half of us could be in that closet snooping around and checking out all of his belongings, but we did.

My sister, cousin and I would take off for a few hours to visit all the relatives in the neighborhood. It's terrible to say, but we knew we would come home with some money in our pockets. First, we would go to my grandmother's sister's house around the corner. Their name was Spillane. They always had a full house and lived on Shakespeare Avenue. Then we would come back to Nelson Avenue and go down a couple of blocks to visit some more relatives. I remember there was a little park across the street from them and we would play there first.

I also remember across the street from my grandparents' apartment there was a huge parking lot where people would park their cars. Spaces were limited around there and I can't believe that people would just double park their cars and leave. You certainly wouldn't do that today.

I also remember a funny story when we went to visit them one day. My brothers, sister and I were fascinated about my grandparents' apartment, probably because we lived in a house. My older brother was always throwing things out the window. The super used to sit outside and my brother would always throw water balloons on his head. I don't remember his name, but he had a son named Leslie. My Uncle Billy was single and still living at home with my grandparents. He was coming home from work one day (he was a policeman) and he thought he had hit a jackpot. He kept picking up money as it was dropping to the street. He looked up and saw more money falling down. He was running all around picking it up when he looked up again and saw my brother. He didn't know whether to run up to the apartment to stop him or just stay there until he stopped. He kept screaming at my brother, who had gone into his drawer and taken out my uncle's money. Don't ask me why he ever did that. I think he just liked to throw things out the window.

We used to always go the candy store on the corner across the street from Sacred Heart School. The bakery a few stores down had the best rolls and jelly donuts. When my cousin moved to Sayville, Long Island, he went to the local deli and innocently asked for Highbridge rolls. He thought you could get them anywhere. They were the best.

The one thing I did not like about Highbridge was in the winter when it snowed. It was really scary driving. The hills were so unbelievable. I remember my mother once coming down on Ogden Avenue heading towards Yankee Stadium. She couldn't stop. It was icy and when we got to the bottom we went into a spin and ended up facing the wrong way.

We used to like running up and down the stairs in the hallway, visiting Mrs. Reardon on the fourth floor, going to the movies on Ogden Avenue, and playing in this empty lot down a few blocks by the park. They had such big dirt hills. We would always climb to the top. l remember being on top of the hill one day when my brother asked me to ask this little guy if he was a midget. I kept saying, "I will not." He said, "Go ahead, he won't do anything." Like an ass, I went over to him and asked him if he was a midget. He gave me the biggest punch in my face and sent me flying down the hill. I went home crying. I wanted to kill my brother.

I have so many happy memories of Highbridge and my grandparents' apartment. It was a sad day when she decided to move.

[ The BRONX BOARD ]     [ Bronx Diary ]

Copyright ©2006-2024 SofTech Consulting, Chappaqua, New York, USA All Rights Reserved.