My mother and her friends opened an unusual children’s clothing store called “Gee, The Kids Need Clothes” catty-corner from Julius’ (a gay bar and one of the only neighboring businesses still going from that era – The Riviera on 7th Ave is one other). My brothers and I went to P.S. 41, and every afternoon when school let out, we’d race around 6th past Patchin Place, stopping at Sutter’s French Bakery at Greenwich and 10th for a snack, and then run down to “the store.” My mother always coming around the counter for a hug, she would send us to do our homework at the front and then in warm weather we’d all move outside. I played Jacks. My brothers sometimes played stoop ball or running bases in the street. “The store” was a messy, colorful manifestation of our mother’s imagination. Everything she dreamt about was on display: posters from France, drawings, children’s art, her art, postcards, pretty labels she couldn’t part with. My memories are mostly the sounds of children and adults talking talking talking. And the smell of coffee and gumballs mixing together. Chinese food coming in around dinner time. Walking home as a family – arms slung around each other other’s shoulders, no idea that the days’ end would ever end. My mother was a pottery and painting student whose work stopped for domestic life and getting through the day. Gee The Kids became her canvas and her wheel. It was a noble medium in that era. It was a time when having a mother with a store on 10th Street was something special.
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