Monday, April 27, 2015

It was a nice apartment but not the Ritz

Ritz crackers are comfort food. Perhaps only my sister will understand this. Yesterday I had Gouda cheese, Ritz crackers, and Thompson seedless grapes for lunch. It incited a Proustian bout of nostalgia. I was taken back to the Hyde Park apartments in Inglewood, California. (Whether it was actually named the Hyde Park apartments is open to question. I think I was called that and was on Hyde Park Blvd., around the corner from the house we eventually moved into on Beach Avenue; but I could be misremembering this and everything that follows.). My mother was at work and my sister and I were home alone. We had been latchkey kids from way back and way before that term was coined. Sue was going into 6th grade and I was going into 4th, so we weren't so young anymore to be on our own. I picture us sitting on the floor in the living room area of the sparsely furnished apartment. We were eating Gouda cheese and Ritz Crackers; there was surely some Bob's Big Boy brand blue cheese dressing for dipping the crackers into. I remember there being green grapes, but, again, maybe I'm mixing memories. This was a great meal for us. We were also capable of fixing ourselves some hot meals: minute steaks, frozen vegetables, Kraft macaroni and cheese. (All on the stove - there were no microwaves. It was primitive times.) Even though we were mostly on our own, we did sometimes go to a neighbor's apartment. I'm going to say it was a young couple who lived there and the wife "babysat" us and introduced us to twilight Zone on TV and Peter Paul and Mary on records. We also met Pam Plumbeck who lived downstairs and would be in my class at school; I promptly fell in love. But this post is all about Ritz crackers; that was the brand my mother always bought. When I grew up, I was persuaded to buy whole grain crackers, lower fat crackers, and fancy crackers. Recently I decided that I can buy whatever the hell crackers I want and I wanted some Ritz. The memories are better when they sit on a Ritz.

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