Beth always favored ethnic neighborhoods. Her stock argument for living in the city was “If we don’t live here, Mom, who will?” This was a fairly old Italian neighborhood of small lots, tidy homes, occasional two family homes, built that way in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s; the upstairs and downstairs identical. There were sidewalks, flower gardens and adventures. Like police helicopters overhead, illuminating the bushes looking for a suspect, and all the neighborhood out on their first and second story porches, watching. Stories any mother likes to hear.
Chrissie must have finished her degree in harpsichord because she was back in Cleveland, taking her law degree at Case. Beth may have been back at school, too, earning a degree that earned a living. I think they were between boyfriends and especially partial to cheap entertainment, like the second run movie theater on the corner. Experimenting with cooking, having parties that involved a little money and a lot of friends.
Beth invited me to come to supper one night for a spaghetti and pesto dish Chrissie was making as a trial run before trying it out live. I arrived and found the table prettily laid and the two girls working in the kitchen. Basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts and olive oil was disappearing into the mortar and pestle. I hung out in the kitchen door, watching the two girls working. They decided they needed more basil. One of them went out on the back landing and returned with a flat of tall and leggy basil seedlings. Past their prime they cost a pittance at the corner nursery. They made excellent pesto.