I remember mama working at Woolworth 5 and 10 Cent Department Store in Corona Plaza. Woolworth Department Store dominated the Plaza located at, or near, 40-04 National Street. Mama worked behind the food counter making sandwiches, BLTs, hot dogs, hamburgers with french fries, ice cream sodas, dishes of ice cream served with accoutrements, whipped cream, walnuts, sprinkles, flavored syrups, and topped with a cherry.
Behind the counter was a huge wooden barrel from which one would pull down a lever and tapped root beer soda, served in a barrel-shaped glass mug! Oh, what a delicious rum scent, sweet, thick root beer topped with a foam head of effervescence.

Often after school, I would run to Woolworth to see mama work. One day, I stood at a distance, and out of sight. I wanted to observe mama work. How pleasant she was. A caring, and elegant voice. A serene smile, focused, and efficient. Mama was no nonsense! I was proud of my mother. I realized then the true value of work, which my mother transferred to me as a role model of elegance, strength, and grace.

Mama, as a single parent, you raised me up, with dignity, and perseverance. This I am forever grateful for. You exemplified civic pride, and exemplary work ethics. You gave me purpose and made working gratifying to me.

Mama, I can go for one of those bananas splits you served with all the toppings. I am off to Eddie’s Sweet Shop, at the intersection of Metropolitan Avenue and 72 Road in Forest Hills, for a delicious ice cream treat.


Thanks, Ma.