ice cream sandwich
at the end of the first grade, our parents told my older brother, younger sister and I that we were moving. at six years of age, moving registered to me as the knowledge that we had to pack up the furniture in our upstairs apartment, the northwest one with a balcony.
the northwest one where we could watch traffic sitting on the 10 freeway like stalled bumper cars, where we could watch fireflies flicker like Stranger Things twinkle lights, the one with a backyard where a career of scraping my knees began with catching ants and drawing chalkboard figures on pavements, a living room that would one day see my brother and I scratch our upper eyes and leave kindred cut marks.
this other part of Los Angeles, the center, was walking distance to the famous Crenshaw High school, the one my mother said ‘no’ to my attending to as a teen, of which I swore I’d never forget it, until I found life and culture at its rival – her Alma mater and my maternal grandmothers’.
what does this have to do with coffee? let’s continue.
when we moved into the new house, it meant my mother would no longer walk us to school because now we lived across from one. she could and did, watch us leave the burgundy porch; cross the green lawn, past the wood station wagon, watch us look both ways and walk through the schools backside to the grade school bungalows.
that first summer in the house might as well have been like a new country: new kids, new block games, new slang, new hideouts and new ice cream truck.
over the course of that summer, their ice cream truck daily announced itself with a jingle, down my new block, calling fresh donuts, Cherry Bomb pops, Now-Or-Laters, push-ups and Neapolitan Ice Cream sandwiches.
there was something about always choosing an ice cream sandwich and being the one having to clean her hands underneath the water hose, because I wasn’t “going to keep running in and out of the house,” my mom said.
during the first week of the beginning of second grade, an ice cream sandwich arrived on our lunch trays, it reminded me of the just finished summer and all the memories that came in our new neighborhood including the differences about me that forged friendships that lasted a lifetime.
because of memory, now this country, this school, this cafeteria didn’t feel foreign anymore.
here I am, across from one of my college hangouts The Venice Grind having a vanilla latte and all I can taste is a Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwich. It feels like summer, that summer and this coffee is a water hose of memories.