Kitchen Utensils

Pans and utensils from Bruno's kitchen
Pans and utensils from Bruno's kitchen

When my great-grandfather Bruno died, my mother started out the eulogy by talking about his hands. How sturdy they were, how callused and strong. How he spent his whole adult life working with his hands, first as a bagboy at Gristedes when he arrived from Germany in 1930, then working his way toward running his own deli in Greenpoint. 

He had closed the deli by the time I was older enough to remember, but whenever we visited Bruno would take us down to the shop, and my sister and I would run through the dusty, empty aisles and play-act with the old fashioned cash register. He always insisted on walking us through his opening duties, and talking about how many pounds of potato salad he would go through in a day. Then, without fail, we'd go across the street to his favorite restaurant (Socrates) and he'd tell us the story of how he came to the United States. About the starvation he saw in the streets as a little kid in Germany, how hard it was to find a job in New York, and how for the first several decades he commuted from 189th street down to Greenpoint in the middle of the night to open the shop on time. 

When Bruno died, my mother cleaned out his old apartment in Greenpoint, and she brought back some of the things from his deli. We still use Bruno's tools to cook and bake our own special meals, because they are the sturdiest we own.

Place(s): Germany
Year: 1930

– Genevieve Simon

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more