When Middle Village had no supermarkets and if you needed groceries you went to Bluestein’s, Markman’s, Pessel’s or Buckstein’s.
When butter came in large wooden tubs and the storekeeper, using a flat wooden spatula and with one jab, withdrew the exact weight you asked for.
When automobiles were a rarity and the streets free for punch and stickball, roller skating, push mobiling and skelly.
When you had a splinter, cinder in your eye or a bad cut, you didn’t go to the doctor, but to Dave Leblang whose drug store was at the corner of 68th Ave and 78th Street who administered to you free of charge.
When 6 cents bought a delicious loaf of rye bread at Eichel’s Bakery at the corner of Wayne and 78th Streets.
When the Saturday matinees at the Arion on Metropolitan Avenue cost 10 cents and were always sold out and when you saw two films, two cartoons, a chapter, a newsreel sometimes a Passing Parade and a chance at winning a door prize.
Being given a piece of ice by Angelo or Popkin and it tasted better than chocolate.
Wandering among the wonders of Mr. Hertzman’s dusty hardware store on 68th Ave.
When oranges came wrapped in individual pieces of tissue paper and the tissues always saved for you know what.
The Metropolitan Avenue trolley and especially the open slatted cars used during warm weather.
Having a personal banker at the Middle Village Credit Union, someone who looked, acted and spoke just like you, accent and all.
Having your shoes repaired by Mr. Muzio and your hair cut by either Mr. Berman, Mr. Drexler or Mr. Alberg.
Growing up with the warmth and comfort of knowing your aunts, uncles and cousins lived on the same block or around the corner.
Knowing not only your friends, but those of your sisters and brothers and even though you may have been younger, they were never mean or dismissive of you.
Flicking chickens at Hoffman’s or Lupshik’s butcher store to save your mother 5 cents on the cost of the chicken.
Watching the blacksmith shoe horses in his huge barn located at the corner of 75th Street and Metropolitan Avenue.
Watching the cows being milked at the farms on Juniper Valley Road or at Lachter’s farm Dry Harbor Road and Woodhaven Blvd.
Digging in what is now Juniper Valley Park for the horde of cash rumored to have been buried there by the notorious gambler Arnold Rothstein.
Meeting on Friday nights in front of Harry and Ethel Hellman’s candy store at the corner of 68th Avenue and 76th Street to play ringo leaveo, hide and seek, capture the white flag and Johnnie on the Pony, with Duvie Feldmesser, who was chubbier than the rest of us, always being the pillow.
Selling American and Italian flags in front of St. John Cemetery on Memorial Day, 5 cents for the small and 10 cents for the large, your commission 1 and 2 cents, respectively. If you were an adventurer and owned a watering can, sneaking into the cemetery to water the flowers for much more than you could earn selling flags, aware however that if caught, the can would be smashed against the metal spiked fence.
Having a corned beef or pastrami sandwich in Schrieber’s delicatessen at the corner of 75th and Wayne Streets.
Sledding at the top of the Steuben Street hill, making a right turn on 78th Street, passing Wayne Street and coming to a rest at 68th Avenue.
Bringing your clothes to Julius the dry cleaner on 78th Street, who never gave you a ticket, but when you returned, could from the hundreds of garments in the store know exactly where yours were.
Returning to PS87 after lunch, clutching a penny in your hand, stopping at Dreyfuss’ candy store on Morton Avenue and agonizing over which of the many dishes of candy to choose from.
Melvin Ebenezer Powell, known as MEP, who taught at PS87 and who could easily have stepped out of a Dickens novel and whose speech, dress and demeanor was in such sharp contrast to that of children of recent immigrants.
And finally, do you remember anyone from Middle Village that you truly disliked? I don’t.