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Life Style

Arlene Lighthall: a brand new way of life


WNLP editor’s observe: Right here’s one other chapter from the memoirs of La Porte native Arlene (Ahlgrim) Lighthall. Arlene, who now lives in Del Mar, Calif., grew up in La Porte. She graduated from La Porte Excessive College in 1949 and earned levels from Ball State and Indiana universities; she additionally studied in varied European nations. That is about her first journey to Spain. To learn the primary chapter, click on on this WNLP hyperlink:

The subsequent night, as an alternative of consuming dinner at 7:30 in brilliant sunshine, we took to the streets. It was tapas (appetizer) time! And in addition time for a paseo (stroll). Your complete neighborhood resembled ants fleeing a disturbed anthill. Folks poured out of sizzling residences into slender streets and onto crowded avenues. Younger {couples} meandered, entwined; older males with decided expressions made purposeful strides with fingers clasped behind their backs and with wives hanging onto one arm. Teams sat at sidewalk cafes or stood at bars, having fun with wine and tapas. Moms pushed carriages and corralled boisterous youngsters. The paseo was for all age teams.

Arlene Lighthall

It grew to become our night ritual as we familiarized ourselves with close by companies and cross streets, stopping at a number of of the various bars for a small glass of native wine and a tapa. We instructed our boys that deep-fried squid parts had been Spanish french fries with a fish taste. Ensalada Rusa was a preferred dish of boiled potatoes, carrots and peas in garlic mayonnaise. Different tasty small parts stuffed pastry or fish shells. My favourite, child octopus in a tomato-olive oil sauce, was exhausting to search out. It was common to have a selection of twenty tapas or extra. Almonds. Olives. Cheese. Sausage. Boiled eggs. Some had been free with a glass of wine.

At instances we’d run into and be a part of a couple of of my classmates who additionally lived within the neighborhood. The dinner I deliberate all the time to serve at 7:30 – what was that? Round 9 or 9:30 and even 10 we might be again in our condominium for a lightweight meal. And it was nonetheless gentle outdoors!

Condominium buildings with contiguous partitions and as much as 5 tales excessive occupied the perimeter of a metropolis block. The road degree of every housed a enterprise. Beneath us was a bakery. Starting round 4:30 a.m. the perfume of baking bread wafted as much as awaken my husband, Dick, and his salivary glands. He rapidly dressed and went out for his morning train whereas it was nonetheless cool. Later he returned munching a heat croissant and crawled again into mattress. Then I might gown, placed on the espresso pot and go downstairs to purchase my very own pastry. I wouldn’t think about shopping for extras to deprive my husband and sons the prospect to fetch for themselves the very freshest rolls from the ovens.

With solely a small fridge, day by day purchasing was a should. I went off to lessons whereas the others slept. After breakfast they liked purchasing at a big open market and planning the two p.m. dinner. Dick grew to become so pleasant with a fishmonger that after we’d been away for 2 years, on our return he was greeted as an previous pal: “The place have you ever been, amigo?”

The “males” within the household had normally ready the substantial fundamental meal of the day that was prepared once I acquired house. I by no means knew what could be ready; sautéed fish, veal stew, or usually a brand new savory dish made with Knorr soup mixes. I studied all afternoon whereas the cooks took siestas.

Coming back from a paseo one night, we handed a liquor retailer and couldn’t resist shopping for a bottle of wine for just one greenback. We chuckled the remainder of the best way house at having discovered such a cut price and didn’t count on the label to be acquainted. A couple of days later at school, earlier than plunging into the historical past of Spain and particularly of Catalonia, a professor gave us ideas for straightforward dwelling within the metropolis.

I discovered I may take an empty liter bottle to a small bar and have it stuffed from barrels of native Penedés wine, both white or crimson. This regional wine was excellent. After all, on that very day, proper after class and on my approach house, I ended at Bar Vendrel, which was across the nook from our condominium. Puffed out like a peacock I used to be, so excited to suppose I’d be shopping for a primo wine as a shock. I charged into the bar. It was filled with workmen consuming a sizzling meal. All males. Gorgeous silence greeted my arrival as all targeted on me. A lone lady on the again was cooking close to immense wood barrels. I defined to her I needed vino tinto however had no bottle. She discovered a used one to fill for me, and in nice embarrassment I slunk out. Lesson discovered: Ladies don’t go into bars alone. The price of my liter totaled practically 19¢. Coca-Cola value us 25¢.

Incredulous, Dick later went again to get our bottle refilled. Additionally, he and the boys would cease there on their approach house from purchasing. Quickly going to Bar Vendrel grew to become a favourite errand for the boys, as I as a baby used to run to the shop for a bottle of milk. Ladies didn’t go into bars alone. Youngsters, YES! We had been becoming into the neighborhood. However had been we elevating our boys to turn into alcoholics or juvenile delinquents once we acquired again house?

Outdated pals had been going to be in Barcelona for a couple of days and needed to get collectively. Our sons, 10 and 11, had been keen to assist put together a meal and insisted that we dad and mom spend our time with the company. The boys emulated waiters within the native eating places. Not solely did they seem with towels draped over one arm, however they manipulated with ease in a single hand the massive fork and spoon with which they deftly positioned merluza (fish) with pine nuts on every plate. Their zucchini and coleslaw had been excellent, and a really European American dessert ended the meal. After all, we began the meal with the ever present bread and a selection of crimson or white wine. Throughout the meal we ran out of wine. The boys excused themselves to go to Bar Vendrel.

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