Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.
Today Patricia Salamone shares one of her posts from her archive that reflects the innocence of childhood. Patricia has also written some wonderful serial stories since she began blogging. Please head over and enjoy them. More about Patricia and her links later.
The Big White Balloon by Patricia Salamone
The year was 1950. The place was Maspeth, New York. We lived in the house on 73rd. St. There were four of us. Myself, almost 7, my two older sisters, 8 and 10, and my brother, 5. It was summer, and in those days the only recreation we had was summer school. The local elementary school was open to all children. They offered arts and crafts. Knock hockey. Checker Tournaments. Basket Ball, Potsy or if you prefer it was also called Hop Scotch, and every day they would put the showers on and everyone was allowed to cool off running through the delightfully cool water. This was all supervised by teachers that worked through the summer to make extra cash.
We (my siblings and I) were allowed to attend summer school with the consent of our parents. Every morning my mother would pack each of us a lunch and a snack, put it in a brown paper bag and off we would go to walk the few blocks to the school. We would remain there until 4:00 pm and then walk home.
For the most part, it was fun. The teachers were very nice and we each had other children in our age group to play with. It did get a bit boring after a few weeks, but there was nothing else available for free so summer school it was.
This particular morning as we were walking to the school we were bickering back and forth and my brother was whining. I started to walk ahead of my siblings as I told them to shut up. I was about 25 feet ahead of them. I could hear my oldest sister calling me to stop or she would tell our mother that I was not obeying her. I stopped and when I did I noticed that I had stepped on a balloon. It was a white balloon. It looked fairly large to me so I picked it up brushed off the top of it on my shorts to remove any germs that might have gathered there and started blowing it up. By that time the rest had caught up with me and wanted to see the balloon. I had already put it in my mouth and was blowing away. It was wonderful the balloon was getting really big.
“Hey, let me try said my sister Denni,”
“No, I want to try cried, my brother.”
“Let me see that balloon said my older sister.”
I took the balloon out of my mouth and held my arm up in the air so none of them could grab it. I had blown it up and it was bigger than a basketball. I let go of it and it flew up and swirled around and finally came down to rest in the street. It was magnificent! We all ran over to where it landed and took turns blowing it up and letting it go, being careful not to make it pop. We continued this all the way to school. As we assembled in the schoolyard we continued blowing up the balloon and soon had a crowd of other kids around us. The all wanted to try it. We let some of them take a turn. It turned into a game of who could blow up the balloon the biggest without making it break and then who could make it go the highest. We were having a great time.
Soon after the teachers started arriving and we knew we would be going to the gym shortly. My teacher saw me letting the balloon go and smiling said to me “What have you got there Patti?”
“A big white balloon.”
“Can I see it?”
“Sure,” I said and handed it over to her. “It’s great isn’t it,” I said so proudly.
“It is pretty interesting, where did you get this?”
“I found it on the way to school.”
“Oh, how nice. Would you do me a favor?”
“Yes, Ma’am. What do you want me to do?”
“I would like you to put the balloon away for the rest of the day.”
“I don’t want any of the kids to break it.”
“Oh, they won’t, we’ve been blowing it up and letting it go before you got here. It gets really big. Do you want me to show you?”
“No, No I believe you. Just do me a favor and put it away until you get home, OK?”
“By the way Patti, what children blew up the balloon beside you and your sister’s and brother?”
“I don’t remember, but everybody who was here at the time.”
The rest of the day went on as usual, except for one thing. We were famous that day. All the kids in the school wanted to see the great balloon I had. We were so popular that day, we had crowds of kids around us wanting to just see it. It was the first time in my entire 7 years that I felt so popular. I was almost sorry to see the school day come to an end.
On the way home my siblings and I continued to blow up the balloon and let it fly, it was a great day. I told my sister’s and brother I was going to blow it up as big as I could and then jump off the garage roof holding it and just float to the ground.
“You will not, mommy will kill you.”
“Only if you rat on me, and if you do I’ll get you.”
“I won’t tell.” said my brother Augie. “Will you let me take a turn jumping off the roof?”
“No, you’re too little,” I said as we were entering our house. We lived on the second floor of a two-family house. We all ran up the stairs like a heard of cattle, laughing and screaming.
Our mother was in the kitchen cooking. “Hi kids, how was school?”
“It was great Mommy. Look what I have.” I showed her my prize possession, with a big smile on my face.
“Let me see,” she said. She took the balloon from me and asked me where I got it.
“I found it on the way to school, you should see how big I can blow it up.” So proud of myself.
“Where did you find it?”
“In the street.”
Before we knew what was happening my mother was making us scrub out teeth and rinse our mouth’s with Peroxide and water. Scrubbing our lips and giving us all a bath. I tried to explain that I wiped it off real good before I put it in my mouth, but there was nothing I could say to make her understand. She took my balloon away from me and I never saw it again. She also warned all of us to never, never pick anything up off the ground and put it in our mouth. We could get a disease and die.
I was devastated, not only did I lose my balloon, now I might die. I did not die that night or any other night, but years later I found out that I had picked up a used condom that beautiful summer day.
©Patricia Salamone 2017
My thanks to Patricia for sharing this story and I seem to remember a very disturbing conversation with my mother on the subject!
About Patricia Salamone
Patricia Salamone was born in 1943 in Queens, New York. She has 5 siblings. Her mother was Italian and her father German. The Italian influence always dominated in her home. It was from that seed that the “Italian thing” was born in her. Being a middle child of six children, entertainment was self-reliance. She started writing when she was eight years old to entertain her siblings and the rest of her family.
Patricia and her siblings attended St. Mary’s H. of C. Catholic School and Grover Cleveland High School. It was then off to work to help the family. She married at age twenty and raised three children. She was determined they would attend university, and saw that goal achieved while she worked for AT&T and continued writing. In 2002, a trip to Naro, Sicily changed her life, culminating in her first memoir, “The Italian Thing” in 2008. Patricia was featured as Author of the Week in the Palm Beach Post, and her poem, “Angel Dear”, was published in the poetry book, “Shades of Expressions,” by Gerl Publishing.
Patricia Salamone is the author of The Italian Thing an entertaining account of a family reunion in Italy with all its unexpected and glorious memories.
Join me in my hilarious recount of how I explored my heritage during a more-than-memorable trip to Sicily. I detail our adventures and misadventures as my husband and I visited our relatives in Naro. I share how we got to know the locals, their customs and lifestyle, and how everyone seemed to think that “everything will be fine” no matter what troubles they were in. During those weeks, we went through culture shock despite the fact that we are both Italian. In the end, it was “the Italian thing” in all of us that made ours an unforgettable trip!
One of the recent reviews for the book
In the spirit of Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, Patricia Salamone decribes her trip to Sicily with her husband Mike to visit for the first time his Italian relatives for the Christmas/New Years holidays.
Their experiences, told through her wry eyes, are just delightful. Patricia has a sly sense of humor and as she encounters the familiar as well as the differences of the Italian experience, we learn as much as she does as she gains confidence not only in her limited ability in the language but in driving their rented van through the narrow streets of the villages of Sicily and in coping with bathrooms very different from her own back in Florida. Her love of the various relatives they meet (all of whom seem to have variations of the same names) and the cuisine are contagious.
Readers of this book will begin to feel they know these people, and also Patricia and Mike, as members of an extended family. And one’s mouth begins to water when reading of the meals and all those delicious pastries. This is a book anyone who loves family as well as traveling will enjoy. I highly recommend spending time with the Salamones on their journey back home for the first time.
Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Patricia-Salamone/e/B00E6ZLPY0
Read other reviews and follow Patricia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7515864.Patricia_Salamone
Connect to Patricia
If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to email@example.com.
Please do not send self-promotional book posts as there are several other ways to promote your books here. I am looking for posts on life, relationships, health, creative writing, food, music and travel.. If you have a short story to share that is great too.