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Snapshots of an early childhood

... those were days without cell phones, text messages, whatasapps and all the life-sustaining online goodies 21st century humans are totally addicted to. Long gone were the days of messenger pigeons. On the rare good days when the landlines chose to work, they had a mood of their own and could not be relied upon. Necessity dictated people found ways to efficiently communicate with those around them. If my mom lacked anything, it was never ingenuity. Her sister lived in the same building on the ground floor. A special whistle and the other would instantaneously appear. Her lifelong friend lived in a building on a parallel street. The kitchen balconies faced each other across the distance. They clapped to summon each other and "discreetly" used sign language and code words to continue the conversation. The grocery store was on the corner opposite to our building. The handwoven basket was dangled several stories to the street level from the strategically located living room window. It carried down the list of groceries and up the groceries themselves. With a good tip, which she always made sure to give, the grocer's helper boy would happily go run any errands for her around the big wide neighborhood. And if all of the above means failed, it was time to summon us kids to do the job. The eldest, yours truly, hated such chores. The youngest was too young for it. Thankfully, my middle sister loved it. On the condition that she had time to get all decked up for it, that is. And that of course was no quick feat. Eventually, adorned in her best outfit and shoes, with neatly combed hair, purse proudly hung on her shoulder, the picture-perfect toddler baladed herself on the narrow sidewalk like the accomplished little lady she was, politely greeting the store owners and acquaintances she passed on her way to her destination and back. Mission splendidly accomplished. Mobile shmobile!

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