I went to see Billy Crystal’s show ‘700 Sundays’ this weekend (courtesy of my boyfriend L…thank you L, you are so sweet to have taken me to such a wonderful show). And it was truly wonderful. It was all about Billy’s 700 Sundays with his dad and all about his crazy Jewish family.
Since Billy grew up in the Bronx and Long Beach, NY (primarily Long Beach), I could totally identify with him – so much, so much – even though he is about 10 years older than me. There were many comical jokes and vignettes. It made me want to go back to the Long Beach boardwalk where, like Billy, I spent many a summer in the 60s.
It’s amazing how 40+ years have passed, but I can still close my eyes and picture my Long Beach summers:
– I remember the fabulous knishes from Izzy’s Knishes. Izzy made the absolutely BEST knishes. I remember the cherry cheese knishes – they were my favorite. My dad loved the kasha knishes and the potato knishes were pretty good too. These knishes weren’t your square boring potato knishes that you find in the supermarket today, not like the big round knishes at NY delis either. No, Izzy’s knishes were rectangular and melted in your mouth. Ooh, I wish I could have a warm cherry cheese knish from Izzy’s Knishes RIGHT NOW!
– I remember the lemon water ices from Kalin’s ice and custard stand. I liked the rainbow ices too. I would lick the ices and in the warm summer nights the ice would melt all over my hands because the pleated white cups they were in would get all soft and leak. Then I’d have to find a water fountain to wash my sticky hands that were all full of sugar water. I still loved getting ices.
– I remember the skee ball at Faber’s Arcade. I loved to play skee ball (even though I wasn’t very good at skee ball) and collect the tickets all summer long so I could redeem them for a silly prize like a set of jacks or a small stuffed animal. I never had enough tickets for one of those large stuffed animals.
– I loved to go on the rides too. Oh, how I loved when my relatives visited on Saturday nights and we walked on the boardwalk and my mom and dad let my cousins and my sister and me go on the rides near the amusement area. I remember the little boats that we climbed into – each of us had a seat – and the boats went round and round. I always wanted to go again, and again, but we had just a few tickets and had to pick and choose our rides very carefully. The ferris wheel was fun too, except when I got stuck on the top because they had to let someone off at the bottom. That was very, very scary.
– I remember eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the beach. Or should I say, peanut butter, jelly and sand sandwiches on the beach? They were the best kind of sandwiches, squishy and flat from the heat on what sometimes appeared to be purple Wonder bread from all the Welches grape jelly that had soaked through the white bread.
– I remember my mom basking in the sun (unfortunately no one knew about SPF in those days and later in life my mom ended up with melanoma). I remember my dad loading on Bain de Soliel suntan lotion – sometimes he looked like he was lit up with orange grease.
Yes, those were the good old summer days. I may have to take a trip back to Long Beach, NY sometime. Although, I doubt it will be the same now that I’m fiftysomething. But, if I could find knishes like Izzy made…well it might get darn close.