Wednesday, 11 March 2009
When I hear of teenagers standing drinking alcohol on street corners, I often wonder why they would want to stand out in all weathers when they could be sitting in the warm somewhere enjoying their selves just the same and then I realise that the comfortable places we used,to hang about in our youth do not exist anymore. When I think back to when I was that age memories of the Italian cafe springs to mind with the gang of girls and boys that I used to run with and listening to the jukebox as we drank our coca colas or eat our dish of ice-cream. There was always the smell of fresh coffee hanging in the air when you walked through the doors and the first sound you would hear would be the latest chart hit blasting out of the jukebox as you approached the counter to order your bottle of ice cold coca cola with a straw sticking out of the neck. "Sita down I bringa over to you" the friendly Italian waitress would say as I looked to see which friends were sitting in the booths on each side of the corridor. I looked around to see which booth had the best looking girls in them before I chose where to sit, then I settled down and watched the waitress drop my bottle of coke into the chiller that sat in the corner. For the first few weeks of observing this act I thought the same bottle she was putting in was the one that came out chilled, and marveled at the machines capabilities until it dawned on me that the reason the cooler was so large was to hold enough bottles to get cold and the bottle she put in was just keeping the same amount in the chiller to cool while waiting for the next person to order one.
We used to chat up the girls and go up to the jukebox and play their choice of record to get in their good books and if we had partnered off would play an appropriate romantic song to enhance our chances of maybe more than a cuddle when the time came to see them home.
We did have an occasional drink at the weekend but the pub was not too far from our cafe and as the pubs shut at ten o'clock we would often go back to the cafe for a coffee as it didn't shut until eleven.
If such places existed now we might find that our teenagers would enjoy them the way we did and come to find the comfort and homeliness the friendly Italian cafe brought to our generation.