Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

Nostalgia, posted July 11, 2008 at 08:48 PM


You know I recently moved, and therefore I have been rifling through all my oldest possessions--journals, notebooks, boxes of correspondence, and (most addictive of all) boxes of old photos. Pictures of Gardenview Drive, old family holidays, dear relatives who are no longer with us, surprising shots of high school friends. And then you know how it is, the mind starts making free associations and pretty soon you're back in high school, coming home from a night out with friends, your mom's waiting up for you (by means of sleeping on the sofa). But it's not really very late--midnight maybe--and you and mom make a cup of tea and sit and talk talk talk like friends. How was the movie? What's happening at school? What's happening at work?

My mom and I did this with some regularity. Sitting up late some weekend nights while my dad was already in bed. My sister was either already living somewhere else or also in bed. Those are some of my favorite memories of my late high school years. The objects that this little ritual included were the tea, the mugs, the sofa, the family room, and always and forever the yellow Tupperware container of pretzels.

I love pretzels. I got this love from my mother, I assume. We always had pretzels in the house when I was growing up. As a kid, going to the mall with my folks or with my grandparents, I would always insist on eating a soft pretzel. And at home, the pretzels were always kept in that tall yellow Tupperware canister. Square at the bottom, round at the top, and deep enough to hold a one-pound bag of twists.

One of the great comforts in my life has been to return home over all these years (decades!) that I haven't been living with my parents to still find the pretzels housed in their tall yellow home. You can indeed go home again! So long as that yellow tupperware is there. And it is. (Mom, are there pretzels in it right now as you read this?) My Ohioan childhood home on Gardenview was sold, an apartment was rented while a condo was built. The condo was sold and an apartment was rented in North Carolina while a house was built. Now the house is built and occupied by my parents. And at every address I reliably found the pretzels in the yellow Tupperware. Thank god for small favors.

Lately, I've been thinking, "I should ask my mother to give me that Tupperware container." It means so much to me, I simply must have it. I keep pretzels in the house almost continually. Why shouldn't I have that familiar click of sealing them under that fanned lid? Why shouldn't I hold that canister in my arms while watching a movie and dip my hand down into it to retrieve that precious Rold Gold? Why shouldn't I beg my mother to part with a piece of plastic that is almost as old as I am?

Because then when I go home that Tupperware won't be there. The pretzels would be housed in some sub-standard container, some new translucent white Rubbermaid knock-off maybe, or god forbid they may simply be living in their original plastic bag with a bag clip sealing it shut for freshness. No. No, those are not new memories I need to accumulate. Better to leave the precious yellow Tupperware pretzel container right where it is, safely ensconced in my mother's kitchen.

Ah, but this is exactly why god invented eBay! $5 and a bit of patience and, well, here it is. Finally mine, right here in the Broken Land with me, holding my pretzels (sticks this week)! It's beside me right now. A comfort and a smile inducer. And best of all, it's waiting patiently to feel the soft touch of Mom's hand reach in and pull out some pretzels for her own enjoyment while we watch a movie, or better yet while we sit and talk over a cup of tea.

Okay, Mom and Dad, come and visit now.


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