Walking to Rosie’s

Money jingles in your pocket.
I grasp mine, fist tight,
short legs pumping to match your stride.
We walk past manicured lawns,
sweet scent of summer flowers,
porch swings empty in the afternoon heat.
You reach for my hand at the corner.
We cross the street and turn.
The house disappears.
For the first time, I am let loose in the world.
The screen door slams behind us.
Fans whirr and cool our sweaty faces.
You head straight to the cooler, its motor droning,
pull out two Nehi’s, orange for you, grape for me.
You slap two nickels on the counter.
I pry open my numb fingers and do the same.
Studying your pensive face as you choose your penny candy,
Slowly, deliberately,
I wonder why candy picking demands such care.
I quickly pick three licorice whips, waxed lips, and a Mary Jane.
Leaving the store, I hear money jingle in your pocket again.
I have nothing to clutch but my bag of candy and my grape Nehi.
When we reach the corner, you grab my paper sack
holding my hand as we cross the street.
We walk back leisurely to the house where our family waits,
Mama and Papa, our baby sister,
back to our grandparents, whose house it is.

It has been more than fifty years
since our last summer vacation to that Ohio neighborhood.
Couldn’t find it again, even if I tried.
Rosie’s is surely gone, as is Rosie,
if she ever existed.
No one who waited for us that day
is still waiting.  All gone now,
even our baby sister.
But I return there time after time in my mind,
remember how I felt that day with you, dear brother,
the world opening up in a new way,
the adventure around the corner.
I wonder how many adventures
we still have left to share.
One thing I know:  When we turn the corner,
we will hold each other’s hand,
walking to Rosie’s all the way.

This is a poem I wrote for my brother.  It is such a lovely summer day today, and it made me think of those magic days I got to walk to the store with my brother.  Thought I’d share.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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16 Responses to Walking to Rosie’s

  1. Beautiful poem! It reminded me of similar walks from my grandparents’ house, down a country road to a not-so-distant country store (not much more than a shack, really). I spent my nickels on an ice-cold RC Cola and a small bag of salty peanuts to dump into the glass bottle. Memories …

  2. Thank you for sharing. Isn’t is wonderful to relive childhood memories? I did the same thing in my blog this morning…Thanks again for sharing such a sweet brother/sister moment.

  3. Mark says:

    What mean and rotten things?

    I remember grandma giving us “mad” money to spend in the deli. It was only a quarter but the rule was to spend it quickly on something frivilous that would make us happy. No saving it or buying something”good” for us.

    • comingeast says:

      LOL! How about charging me six cents for four-cent stamps? Making me pay a nickel to read your comic books and then selling them to the neighbor kids for a nickel so you got all your money back, but I was out a nickel? How about the way you would divide the pennies that Grandma and Daddy Bill saved for us each summer. Not too equally, I might add. And the list goes on…But, yeah, you were and are a great brother! Thanks for commenting. Loved the story of the “mad” money!

  4. Pamela Johnson says:

    I remember Rosie’s. I used to walk down Hoover Avenue to that very spot! I had my eye on this little plastic puzzle. It was the kind where you moved the numbers around in a challenge to get them in correct chronilogical order. The cost was was probably less than a dollar, but I never had the money. So I just would periodically go to Rosie’s to look and covet. Then one day my parents gave me the money to buy it!! What a high. It gave me hours of pleasure. Rosie’s also had a bar where beer and chile. I used to watch the adults sitting there, imagining their enjoyment. How little it took to please me at age 5. It’s not like that anymore. I wish I could have that childhood experience again; I wish I could go back
    to Rosie’s.

    • comingeast says:

      Oh, Pammy, I loved hearing this comment from you! Didn’t you just adore that house our grandparents had there? I have such great memories of Grandpa’s garden, the alley where the garage was, the chipmunks that you could feed right out of your hand. Loved being cousins there together.

  5. judithhb says:

    Thanks again for sharing and making my memories pop into my head again. You obviously love that brother of yours dearly.

  6. The things you wrtie about remind me of my mother. She used to tell me of her childhood memories of penny candy and 5 cent movies. She’d walk with her sister and they’d act out the movie on the way home. I loved your poem to your brother.

  7. That was a beautiful poem! Brought back memories of my childhood. I remember those little wax soda bottles! We used to get the wax lips too. We lived across from an old five and dime store and we used to drool over the penny candy. I’d spend all of my paper route money. Ah, sweet memories…

  8. Lovely memory. I remember all those treats. For me it was Gleeb’s gas-station after church. A nickle to spend if I was good in church. A was always good enough, except that one time I fooled around with my friend Annette.

    I can only hope my little brothers and sisters have such fond memories of me as you do of your brother.

    • comingeast says:

      Penny candy was such a treat back then, wasn’t it! Remember those little wax miniature soda bottles that had some sort of sweet colored syrup in them? And Chunky’s. Loved the ones with raisins. I think we tend to remember the best about the people we love, so you should have no worries about your own siblings. I’ve almost forgotten the mean and rotten things my brother did. Almost.

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