Anna At The Bar

When I was a child my parents owned bars.  Establishments to drink alcohol in.  Pubs.

I’ve long attributed that many of the behaviors I saw in those establishments was a life long blessing that prevented me from drinking.  That, and the fact that alcohol tastes horrid.

There was one bar my dad owned that I remember more clearly than the others.  It was the last one.  Maybe Anna was at the bar before the last one and came to the last one as well, I don’t know.

But I remember Anna.

It makes me sad that I don’t remember much about Anna.   But I do remember her.

I used to think she talked funny.  It wasn’t until I was older and thinking about her that it dawned on me she spoke with an accent.  One of the things that makes me sad, is I don’t know what her accent was.  Where did she come from.  Was she married?  Did she have children.

So I asked mom.  Anna was Italian.  She always walked fast, as if she was in a hurry (I wonder if that’s where I picked up my speed walking tendency).  Anna was very pigeon toed.  And suddenly I remembered these things as soon as mom told me.  Mom said Anna walked most every place.  In the cold weather she would be bundled up and her head would be covered with my Grandpa called a babushka.

I didn’t know that Anna always told mom she loved her.  And she would make mom liver and onions (blech) and on special occasions would make mom a frittata.  I don’t know what a frittata is, or have a clue how to spell it.  Mom said it had eggs and vegetables in it.

Mom thinks my older siblings could tell me something about Anna.

But I kind of like just wondering about her.  If she was still alive, I would go find her.  But mom said she never even knew Anna’s last name.  And Anna was “old” back when I was a child.  Chances are good….she’s no longer alive.   Other than in mine or other’s memories.

Mom said the patrons of the bar would tease Anna endlessly.   Anna would come in early in the day to make the chili and hamburgers for the nearby factory workers who came in for lunch.  They would ask her if she put meat in the chili this time or just tie a string to a fly and drag it through.  I asked if they did this teasing nicely,  mom said yes, everyone liked Anna.  Because for a minute there I felt a little defensive of Anna.  Even though I don’t know much about her.

I remember her giving me a card on the event of my graduation from eighth grade.  And I remember she signed it “love Anna”.   I asked mom, because I remember it to be so, didn’t Anna treat us all very good?  She said yes.  Anna was a very good person.

Maybe that’s why I think of her.   Because I remember goodness, even though I don’t remember details.

I remember her fondly.   It doesn’t matter how much I recall.   I think it’s feeling good about people we remember, that matters.   And I think it’s a grand thing to have had  people in our lives, to recall with fondness.

As grand as it would be to be remembered fondly.


28 thoughts on “Anna At The Bar

  1. A very moving tribute to a good in life… Such fond memories indeed live only in one’s mind – deeply. As my dad fondly remembers his youngest brother would eat anything (that my dad didn’t… like fish), that is all he prefers to remember. Perhaps it is because of pain. But for Anna, there is but joy in her remembrance and for that, I am happy for both of you.


  2. I used to know an Anna character when I was growing up. The details are dim now but your post has reminded me of this special lady. My Anna was Italian too and had long hair so black it was blue. She braided it and wore them wound around on the top of her head like a crown.

    Your Anna is a lovely memory. It would be nice if every child has such a one to remember.


  3. Collee, what a lovely tribute, if Anna could see your words, her heart would swell, and she would know you turned out very good, and that she may have played a small part in it, and your life Take care, Bill


  4. I have someone like Anna once when I was 9 years old, she was my math tutor for only a few months and I was really fond of her because of her patience and funny character. I still remember her vividly until today even though I’ve never seen her since then nor do I know her whereabouts. I love reminiscing about her very much.


    • Thank you Paulette. I do feel lucky to have such people to recall and think fondly of. After mom told me about her walking all bundled up and walking fast, I can just see her. And I wish I could drop back a few decades and walk with her a little bit.


  5. I had a nanny named Rebecca who was from Venezuela. I don’t know her last name, or what happened to her. I just have these vague memories of her taking care of me and calling me “baby” in her accent and making us quesadillas which my brothers and I called “casitas” until we were in high school and realized that wasn’t the correct pronunciation. I too wonder about her from time to time…


    • I would still call them “casitas”. 🙂 Just for her. I bet she chuckled at that. I’m glad you can relate to this as well. I wish I could find Anna, even if she is deceased (likely) just so I knew more about her.


  6. This is lovely Colleen. Decent. Decent you remembered her.
    Re what you must have seen in bars – oh, alcohol is so so wicked.


  7. First of all, alcohol tastes GOOD…you would’ve grown up under a bridge without it. OK, that’s a little harsh. but I remember Anna…her glasses were a little thick, and she called Dad “Jeeeeeem,.” She took a lot of crap from guys in the bar, and sometimes she would come back back at night and sit in a booth and have a beer or two with her “Guy” (that was what he went buy). I made better cheeseburgers because I made a conscious attempt to squeeze as much grease out as I could. I also remember Bert, Dad’s “partner.” “Hey daddy-o…”

    Great post, Pinky – hadn’t thought about Anna or Leo or Lowell or any of the other irregulars for a long time…maybe it should be a sitcom. 🙂


    • Thank you Brother! I had forgotten about her glasses too! And I do believe I remember the “Hey daddy-o” from Bert!

      Pull up your pants Lowell!!!!!!!!!! And Leo used to come to the farm on a rare occasion. 🙂

      Thank you for remembering with me. ❤


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