by Peter Trivelas

Mom whispered when talking about special things.

She was very protective of them.

“This is a fancy restaurant.”

She whispered just the fancy.

Holiday Inn dining room in the now ubiquitous chain. Highlight of our summer vacation. We didn’t get out much. Working class parents providing for the family. Saving a dollar here, quarter there.

As a child, her family had servants and accoutrements. Great Depression ended that.

That’s a finger bowl, she whispered, proudly educating us all.

Mom, Dad, kids took turns putting fingers ever so gently into the finger bowl. Then wiping dry with our cloth napkins.


Waiter, gaping, asked if there was something wrong with the whipped butter.

No worries.

Let’s take a dip in the pool, she whispered, maintaining a wide-eyed enthusiasm.

Yes, a pool, which we profusely documented with classic Kodak Brownie camera. Black corner mounts on large, tattered photo album pages. Black and white prepubescent poolside selves captured, toasting greenish Coke bottles toward the camera, with that happy aura of uncommon luxury.

If that wasn’t enough—the air was chocolate-flavored. Hershey Chocolate Factory and amusement park, swaying in the Hershey Kisses Ferris Wheel seats, high above the world.

Not everyone gets to come here, she counseled. Again, that whisper.

Dad went back to delivering soda pop to super markets.

Mom, fulfilled.

She gave her kids a glimpse of the high life she’d once known.

Searched garage sales for years, looking for a set of finger bowls.

No such luck.


Image: Little Visuals via Pixels