Spending time with my grandmother was like Christmas. Although I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the outskirts of Newark, Delaware, I looked forward to the hustle and bustle of automobiles, buses, and smells of the city in Wilmington. That’s where I learned to roller-skate, jump rope, and play hopscotch with my city friends. That’s where I’d skip ten blocks to the Dairy Queen, or hop next door to the bakery. That’s where my grandmother would cook my favorite stuff, like apple dumplings, fluffy egg omelets, and fried tomatoes and gravy.
I always stood in awe of the old, two-story Victorian boarding house where my grandmother lived, with its huge parlor, quaint little kitchen, and lovely glassed in front porch. The few elderly people who lived there were always warm and friendly and a joy to talk to.
But my most favorite things were hopping the city bus with my grandmother, sitting on my favorite seat, and spending the day on Market Street. I never knew where to feast my eyes first; on the farmers in their overalls and straw hats, the candy and toy shops, or the cute little bunnies for sale.
I could hardly wait for my grandmother to finish squeezing tomatoes and melons, and asking for a pound of this and a pound of that so I could go to the Five-and Ten-Cent store. That’s where I always picked out a car or truck to take home to my brothers.
Without skipping a beat, we’d visit the candy shops and cookie shops, clothing stores and shoe stores. From one end of Market Street to the next we’d shop. By the end of the day I was hot and tired, my knee-highs were around my ankles, and my long, flowing red hair was damp and plastered to my head. But my ninety-pound, seventy-five-year-old grandmother showed no signs of wilting. Not a hair out-of-place; not a wrinkle in her dress; not a sweat drop on her face.
My adolescent mind concluded if you want to stay young and fit. . . shop on Market Street!