Friday, March 18, 2011

Our “L’il Marco” at the Bocce Restaurant, 1959

I was married in 1958 and living with my husband in New York City. Our favorite eating place was an authentic Italian restaurant in Greenwich Village. You would pass through the bar to get to the eating area in the back where 8 or 10 small tables were set up. It was also home to an indoor bocce court and it was fun to watch the old men play while we ate.

I found this photo on the Web and it is reminiscent of those days but not the same place. This picture was taken in 1968 at the “il Vagabondo” restaurant on E. 62nd Street. It is still in existence today.

Sadly, “our” little restaurant is long gone but this memory will be with me forever: In July of 1959 our first child was born, a son we named Mark. When he was about a month old we decided that the three of us needed a night out on the town and we headed to the Village.

The bar was very crowded and we knew many of the locals by sight if not by name. Many of them were elderly Italian men from the neighborhood and their eyes lit up when they saw our baby.

“Whatsa ees name?” they asked and of course our Mark became “L’il Marco” to them and they insisted that we leave him with them. “Go…Go”, they said, “…you eat, we play!”

So that’s what we did. We felt very secure leaving Mark with these men since we’d often seen them lovingly care for other children ... and, even sitting a room away we could hear them “oohing” and “ahhing” over “L’il Marco” as they passed him gently around the bar.

When it was time to leave I remember that he started to cry. I was surprised and then I realized that in a very short time our "L'il Marco" had come to love those rough old men and he hated to leave. I felt the same way.


Blogger kenju said...

Oh,it's too bad that you don't have a photo of that place and those men with Mark!

8:05 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Such a warm memory Ginnie. It reminded me of the days when our children were everyone's children. It takes a village so to speak!
Now everyone just ignores what's going on around them what a shame.
I was born in 1958 and love hearing your stories of life in the big city!
Please tell more! Love Di ♥

4:16 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Now, that's a unique restaurant, the kind that leaves a mark or marco. ;)

6:07 AM  
Blogger lucylocket said...

You have such lovely memories. Thanks for sharing them.

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Big John said...

Lovely story.

If you left your child with a bunch of men today in the UK, they would arrest you. :-)

9:53 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Sad that the same thing can't happen today. Our trust in others has been eroded.

4:28 AM  
Blogger possum said...

What a great memory!
I wonder if any places still exist where you could pass your baby off and not have him hurt today...

5:40 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

This was a lovely remembrance of days gone by, Ginnie. And one which your son is unlikely to remember now.

8:26 AM  

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