by Dave Hosseini

My grandmother always got a twinkle in her eye when she talked of going "downtown" - though she lived in North Arlington, she had worked in Newark for many years and even after the city began its decline she would merrily walk to "down the hill" to River Road to board the bus for Newark. Sometimes though, depending on the time of day I guess, she would walk "up the hill" to get the Express and would return from either "up" or down as well.

Of course I loved to go with her; she had a way of making everything an adventure (usually a funny adventure) - remember the time we were walking "down the hill" from ridge after a trip to Newark and the bags we were carrying burst - cans of pineapple rings we had purchases on sale at Woolworth's went cascading down the hill - grandma, rather than being upset had to sit down she was laughing so hard - we got some back, but some I'm sure made it all the way to the murky Passaic.

My favorite destination in Newark with Grandma was Woolworth's. Oh, the smells of the popcorn and peanuts, and the sounds of bells ringing...And the toy department and the pet department with live birds - it was almost too much to take in. Then of course there was the lunch counter where I had hot chocolate with whipped cream no matter what the season, and one of those delicious hot dogs with the rolls fried golden brown.

We always came home with lots of odds and ends - once (too bad I was not with her that time) grandma came home with a little tree on the bus - grandpa planted it and it grew tall and sturdy and for all I know its still growing on Shields Place in North Arlington.

As we emptied our bags at home like two trick or treaters on Halloween, every once in a while grandma would get an ESP bright twinkle in her eye as she took perhaps a scarf, or a comb, or some other small item from the bag - I don't remember seeing that, I would say and she would smile and say with a grin

"I swiped it- it was on the floor and you know they can't sell things that have been on the floor"

Sometimes though, I wonder though whether it was grandma who put those little things on the floor!

Anyway for grandma, and for me because of her, "going downtown" was a great adventure - how I would like to take that adventure with her just one more time!


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