Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Jeltje Fanoy #70 Working at Mario's

At Mario's*, in the late 1960s,
a Russian Professor of Classics
and a Hungarian Philosopher
of renown, taught me,
a mere High School student,
the rudiments of serving people
excellent Italian food, with style

socializing, all summer,
in their private car park,
the younger Mario's clan,
their fashionable clothes,
their lovely hairstyles,
to me, almost like Royalty,
but I wasn't jealous, my
over-qualified workmates
were kind to me, and,
occasionally, collapsing in
silent tremors of laughter,
enough of a distraction

I was told, every day,
that "everything for you,
and, for me, nothing...!"
by the Spanish kitchen hand
as he, most reluctantly,
handed me the Antipasti

besides, later in the evening,
my father was able
to pick me up,
after work,
with my bicycle
in his car (the dreaded
split shift, I'd sleep and read
lots of novels, on the beach)
miraculously, my parents
never saw the dangers,
my father, perhaps,
charmed by Ferdi Vigano**
and, no doubt their Australian friends
impressed by this famous Italian family's
restaurants, they had no choice

one night, a police car
stopped in its tracks,
interrogated me,
I said I was waiting
for my father,
that I was early,
but I don't think
they believed me,
this was Australia,
was I soliciting, well,
it was the beachfront, after all,
they said, they'd be back

saved from acting out
at home, from
going under from the
endless arguments,
my mother's apprehension
about our whole existence,
and, later on, her condemnation
of an entire generation,
my parents' post-war trauma
migration alienation,
I couldn't go wrong
with Mario's reference
in my hand, entranced by
the restaurant theatrics, already
half-out-the-door, I never looked back

* Mario's (Brighton)
**the owner, son of the original Mario 


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