Long before I got married, I worked behind the counter at Phil’s Cheese and Cold Cuts, right next door to Jason’s Toy Store. I was about 16 at the time, and this young lady came in and asked for a pound of liverwurst, with wax paper between each slice.
People asked for wax paper so the liverwurst wouldn’t stick together, making it difficult to use. But since it took extra time and since I had the patience of a 16 year old, I just sliced the liverwurst and thought “the heck with the wax paper.”
About 20 minutes later, Phil’s phone rang and shortly afterwards I was called into the back. The Liverwurst Girl’s mother was in a rage. Phil made me slice another pound and deliver it personally and took the cost of the liverwurst out of my pay.
I would have been quite happy if I never saw The Liverwurst Girl again.
A few years later, in 1984, I was a young man in my first year of college. I was now driving, and had my own car, a green 1967 Mercury Montego.
One day, I found a parking spot in front of my house, but couldn’t get the car to go into reverse; the transmission had gone. I drove around for a while looking for a spot I could just pull into without having to go backwards.
I finally found a spot just a few blocks away. I returned to the car the next day and looked under the hood. I put in some transmission fluid, I put in more oil, more windshield washer...basically I did all the things that people who know nothing about cars do when something’s wrong.
I slammed the hood down and went home, totally discouraged. Nothing good was coming of this day, or so I thought. It turns out that I had parked my car in front of The Liverwurst Girl’s house.
In my frustration, I left my dipstick out and The Liverwurst Girl grabbed it. The next day she gave it back to me and we both saw stars. You ever see those scenes in cartoons where people fall in love and their eyes turn into hearts? That was us.
A few days later we went on our first date, to see “Purple Rain” starring Prince. It was August 31, 1984. And at the end of August four years later, The Liverwurst Girl and I made it official at St. Thomas followed by a reception at Le Cordon Bleu.
My car was towed away a few days later, but my wife Josephine still has the dipstick. She never let go of that.
It’s hard to believe that was 30 years ago. A word of advice to any young readers out there: life passes you by very quickly, don’t squander any of it. It will pass just as quickly for you as it did for everyone that came before you.
“Growing Up In Woodhaven” will be the theme of the next meeting of the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society, which meets on Tuesday, September 4, at 7 p.m. at the Avenue Diner at 91-06 Jamaica Avenue.
Come out and share your stories of growing up in Woodhaven. Tell us about the school you went to, the stores you used to work or shop at, what you did for fun, etc. As a bonus, everyone who attends will receive a special gift.
One final note: later on I found out they were buying the liverwurst for their dog. Now you know the rest of the story.