Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Cooking with Love

with Gianna Conte (Jan)

Welcome to August

August days meant that school started soon. In NYC school started right after Labor Day. Mom would take us for new school shoes that were to last the whole school year. I remember getting so excited to buy new shoes. I remember the trend was leather penny loafers either in maroon color or black. One year, the girls were putting shiny dimes instead of pennies.

We thought we were so cool. Guess what? We were.


By August we had our fill of the beach and getting a tan. However, my sister and her girlfriends still wanted to tan, so they went up on the roof of our building. They called it Tar Beach. It was sooo hot, you could not walk barefoot....YOW!

We'd bring a pitcher of Kool aid, and a transistor radio, listening to WABC playing The Beach Boys, Bobby Vinton, Rolling Stones....just take a listen and go back in time....

Here is the bus we took to the beach.

Paper Dresses

In 1967, my BFF and I were shopping at Alexander's on Fordham Rd in the Bronx, our favorite place to shop with our low budget. We found these paper dresses, which were folded up like Handi Wipes. They were 50 ¢ each. We took a chance and bought them, what the heck? We took them home and removed them from the packaging. They were, indeed paper, but they were not transparent. Mine was blue and turquoise and my friend's was orange and hot pink. Real August colors. They were too long, but had no hem. We cut them to our length. Boy, did they look colorful and pretty. We decided to go to the beach to show off our new paper dresses.  The only thing; you couldn't iron them. They had fold dents. My big sister, Mrs. Macgiver (only kidding) sprayed us with water....and it was perfect. We bought big hanging earrings to match and went to the bus to take us to the beach.


They were these.

Most of the fashions then are back again.

That's right, paper dresses. My BFF and I were really into fashion at 16 years old.

Boys will be boys...

Looking back, we must have looked like Lucy and Ethel wearing fashions in Paris that Fred and Ricky had made to fool them to believe they were the new trend.

Some boys we knew came over and asked why we were all dressed up for the beach. We told them that the paper dress was the new fashion. They immediately started laughing and throwing lit matches at us. We were humiliated.....marching home and hiding our made up faces. We threw them away and never wore them again.

Every night Mr. Softer came around because your parents were home from work and it was after dinner.

You never knew who you were going to meet at the beach.

This was a special treat on very hot days.

This is not me, but you get the idea....

We lathered up with coppertone or baby oil...

I'm asking the photographer if I should cut the cake. This is my 10th birthday party. August 6, 1961.

My sister left me in charge of making dinner....

It was August 1963. My mother and little sister, Antoinette went to Italy for the whole summer. My sister Grace decided to find a summer job....I was left at home to do the chores around the house and make dinner. Needless to say, I was very angry at my sister, Grace. She bossed me around and told me I had to wash the floors, go shopping and cook. I didn't know how to cook like my mom, so I kept it simple. I made sausage and salad a lot. I made lamb chops or steak with salad.

My dad didn't mind until one day I was very late and he was home before me. Typical Italian father just sat there having a cigarette, waiting for me to get home. Boy did I get it that night. My sister comes home and she hollers at me, too. I never did that again.

I couldn't wait for my mom and sister to come home😔

The easiest meal I could make at 12 years old