The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my grandpop, who grew up in West Philadelphia. His first of many jobs was in Center City, Philadelphia, selling flowers at a flower stand. His boss trusted him to be left alone to do the work, which he loved, and he made a lot of money selling after school and on the weekends.

Seymour took a breath of the blistering, sticky air of Center City summer and fanned himself with a pamphlet of paper he found in the flower stand. It was getting close to 6pm and his job selling flowers for the day was coming to an end. A young man skidded to a stop in front of Seymour, almost falling of his bike as he clumsily searched for his wallet in the inner pocket of his grey, pleated suit. Seymour got a glance of himself in the small bike mirrors. He was 14, slim, and had a full head of thick brown hair. The summer heat, although later in the day, caused his pale skin to appear flushed and tired.  

"Here you go," said the bike man. “My wife is mad at me, these better do the trick!” Seymour took the change and handed over a bunch of roses in return. His last sale of the day. “Thanks!” the bike man shouted behind him as he pedaled away.

Seymour locked the doors of the small stand and unlocked his own, rusty bike from the bike rail. He sighed and stretched his arms high above him, feeling free from the small space he had stood in all day. He hopped on his bike and began his journey home.

Men in suits piled out of dull, gray high-rise buildings. Children zig-zagged in and out of passing people, excited about the upcoming weekend. Today was Friday, and he could not wait to get home and sit in front of the small fan his dad had just bought. He continued on his way home, peddling faster and faster, thinking of bursts of cold air the entire way.

The sun was slowly setting ahead and he felt satisfied with such a successful day. As he pedaled, he felt the weight of all of the tips he made that day sitting in his pocket. He could not wait to get home and put it all into the coffee can he hid under his bed that contained all of his summer earnings. “There is no better feeling”, he thought, as he turned into his driveway at last. He threw his bike lazily on the small patch of grass that was his yard and yanked open the screen door. The air inside was not much cooler than that outside, but nonetheless, he was home. Quiet mumbling of a radio could be heard from down the hall and the sudden smell of something incredible wafted towards him, reminding him of his hunger. He kicked off his old, worn sneakers and sprinted down the hall towards the kitchen.

A Hard Day’s Work

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March, 2019
My home

I interviewed my grandpop, who grew up in West Philadelphia. His first of many jobs was in Center City, Philadelphia, selling flowers at a flower stand. His boss trusted him to be left alone to do the work, which he loved, and he made a lot of money selling after school and on the weekends.

Decade: 1940s
Rating:
Recorded by Lauren Griffin on April 28, 2019
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