A place for Quattrones, Betteridges, and Praticos to share our family stories, history, and heritage.
We’ve told this story on 10th Street quite a bit:
I was a little boy (maybe mom can recall my age) and I was taking a bath. My big toe became wedged or locked inside the tub’s spigot. I couldn’t pull it out and something about the angle of the bend in the metal and the size of my Fred Flintstonesque toe made it wedge tight, and it started to hurt.
All I can remember is calling for help and, in my memory, it feels like many of the Italian Housewives of10th Street piled into the bathroom to free me. Aunt Connie, mom, Janet, Bepa, Mitzi, and I feel like the list went on and on. None of them panicked. Everyone saw the humor immediately–chubby boy stuck in the tub– and all of these Italian women clucked ideas to get it out in between suppressed laughs.
My mom may have grabbed and pulled.
Aunt Connie or her friend Mitzi may have just told me pull it out.
Most ideas ended with the same idea: pull. The problem with pulling was that it hurt. And, looking back, the toe was probably swelling bit by bit.
Among those crowding into that tiny, upstairs, row home bathroom, Helen pushed to the front and turned on the cold water and just commanded me to pull my toe out. She didn’t let on that she cared that I was naked. It was just get out of the way, Helen is here.
No nonsense. A cigarette lit. A long tail of white ashes dangling from its end. And one piece of instruction: just pull that damn toe out.
With cold water gushing over my foot,Helen’s solution did the trick. My toe popped free. There must have been more laughs then. I do remember Helen, satisfied with her work, just turned and disappeared into the small crowd. And then all of the Italian Housewives of 10th Street filed out…probably for a cigarette of their own. Hey, it was the 70s. Ashtrays were part of the decor everywhere. And when I dried off and dressed, I was presented with a question that I still can’t answer: what were you doing?