As a child I was pulled between two worlds. One world was in my home town of North Providence (all my folk's Fox Point family and friends referred to it as "Branch," the name of the street the bus and trolley used to reach us. Yes, at that time you could take a bus from North Providence to the city and back for five cents, and a three-cent transfer. A day at the movies at any of the theaters included a live stage show, cartoon(s) newsreel, and two full-length movies plus a serial. Why, for a buck each, my brother and I also had candy and change left over when we got home. Anyway, at home we were immersed in the Cape Verdian culture. We had Faustino Moreria, my padrene, and my mother's stepfather poppy, Unorde, who lived with us, and cared for us when Mom and Dad worked. We lived in a transplanted Cape Verde. Goats, chickens, ducks, geese and pigs, and all sort of garden vegetables. Our neighbors were the Mendes, Verias, Silvas, Montieros, Duartes, DiPenas, Pinos, Varellas and others who slip my mind right now. We would gather each spring and fall, to butcher a pig, and make linguica and masala.
Friends who came to visit were Fatha, Amous, Pushine, and many of the longshoremen who worked with my Dad (Christy). They also had longshoremen's picnic every summer. On July 3, at about three in the morning, a few of the men would get up and drive to Conimicut Point. There they would go down to the beach and start a fire in a large pit that they had previously dug. When the fire was roaring, they would pile on the stones, all the time keeping the fire going strong. Around eight am, they would check that the stones were red hot. In a canvas tarp, they would put corn, linguica, fish, lobster, freshly dug clams and quahogs. On top of this was another canvas tarp. Seaweed was placed on top of the stones canvas tarp, more seaweed and then cover the whole thing with beach sand. Finish all of this off with seawater and let it steam for about three or four hours. Tap a few kegs, shuck a few little necks and Paradise revisited. I was much too young for the beer, but not for the clams, and the good times.
Cavahalos, Jimmy Lopes, Joe Lemon Montiero, my uncle, Chapet, Manua George, Sheen, Stringbean, Tony Sousa --- so many, too many to remember. Raymond Montiero, Avilino Montiero from Rochester Mass. Mushie and Nick Viera, Benny King, Ben Mendes, just a few of the names that make up who I am, who you all are.
I MOVED TO CALIFORNIA IN 1973, WENT TO A CV PICNIC IN LONG BEACH AND RAN INTO SOME OF THE SAME PEOPLE FROM OUR LONGSHORE PICNIC IN 1946. SMALL WORLD.
TUDO DIA E DIA
Written by Ernesto Cabral.
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