‘Can I have a nickel to buy a pickle? Please Ma, please,” I begged. I had to cross the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Carroll Street in Brooklyn, which was in the shadow of the towering Williamsburgh Savings Bank. The deli was already humming with customers when I turned over my nickel.

“Dig in, kid,” the friendly clerk said. After I removed the dead flies on the top on the barrel, I took out a large pickle dripping with brine. One bite made my forehead sweat and my mouth pucker for this tart, crunchy delicious treat.

It was a wonderful time — late ’40s, early ’50s — to be a child, with plenty of kids to play with on our block. Girls played jump rope, hide-and-seek, jacks, hopscotch and card games on the stoops. Boys played Johnny-on-a-pony, ring-a-levio and stickball on a side street using a broom handle and a pink Spalding ball. We all made wooden carpet guns using clothespins and rubber bands. And there was always an adventure of exploring in Prospect Park.

On Tuesday nights, our upstairs neighbor, who had a TV, invited everyone to watch Uncle Milty and gave each of us our own bottle of Coke.

Our second-floor apartment was called a “railroad flat.” It consisted of four connected rooms, starting with a large kitchen that had a window with access to a fire escape, followed by two bedrooms — one I shared with my little brother, the other my parents’ bedroom — and lastly the living room with a window that faced the street. My mother would call out that window at 5 p.m. for me to come home because it was “Howdy Doody” time.

The most wonderful part was that my grandparents lived in the apartment above us, so I could visit them often and learn to speak a little Italian.

Almost all of us kids went to St. Augustine School on Sixth Avenue. Our classrooms had 40 or 50 kids, with the girls on one side of the room and boys on the other. No lunchroom or gymnasium. The nuns were tough but caring. Since I was so skinny, they asked me what I had for breakfast. I lied and said bacon and eggs with toast and milk. Actually, I would only have a cup of coffee with a dollop of milk and five teaspoons of sugar, in which I dunked a chunk of Italian bread.

On Saturdays we kids walked to the Paramount Movie Theater on Flatbush Avenue, where for a quarter we saw a newsreel, cartoons, a horror movie and a cowboy movie. A matron patrolled the aisles to make sure we behaved.

In the summer, a group of us took the 10-cent subway to Coney Island to ride The Whip, Steeplechase, the Cyclone roller coaster and Parachute Jump. Lunch was a Nathan’s hotdog. We delighted in rousing the kissing couples under the boardwalk. On other hot days, a grown-up would open up the fire hydrant so we could run through the spray to cool off.

The time came for us to move to “the country,” also known as “the sticks.” I hated to leave Brooklyn, but with the promise that my brother and I would each get a two-wheel bike and our own bedrooms, I was hooked. That Christmas I got fancy roller skates and my brother got an erector set. The bikes came in the spring.

We moved to Plainview and that’s what it was, A Plain View, with potato fields wherever you looked. The only places to have fun were after-school activities or confraternity at Our Lady of Mercy Church on South Oyster Bay Road in Hicksville. If we wanted to go to the movies, it was a two-mile walk to Hicksville on Woodbury Road. At school I became the captain of the cheerleaders. Little did I know that my dates with the captain of the football team would lead to his becoming my husband four years later.

It was a wonderful time to be a kid on Long Island, but I still missed my nickel pickle.

Maria Cutignola

East Northport

School sex-abuse settlements … Chaplain funeral … Feed Me: Best pies Credit: Newsday

George Santos expelled from House ... School sex-abuse settlements ... Affordable housing tool ... Hometown Flower Co. opens

School sex-abuse settlements … Chaplain funeral … Feed Me: Best pies Credit: Newsday

George Santos expelled from House ... School sex-abuse settlements ... Affordable housing tool ... Hometown Flower Co. opens

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