Saturday, June 25, 2011

Maisie, the lollipop lady

When I was a little kid living in lower Manhattan, I'd see a scary woman now and then. I must have been four or five at the time but I remember her well.

Like any kid, I was hauled around to the local shops each day by my mother. There was one place I hated to go: the butcher's shop. Not because they sold meat (ugh) but because of the old woman who was always in front of the shop.

Her name was Maisie and she was a crazy lady. She spent her life in front of this shop (why this shop, I don't know) handing out lollipops to children. She was bizarre. Maisie was very old and she had an extremely white face that she loaded up with make-up. Even at four or five, I recognized this excess. She had huge red lips, the result of smearing lipstick over half her face, and she did the same with her eye makeup. It was blue; that's all I remember about the eyes. Oh, and that they seemed insane.
Every day, she sat on a wooden stool in front of the shop and the moment she spied a child, she'd hold out a fistful of lollipops and smile madly at them. I can remember my mother pulling my arm to keep me away from her.

I never took a lollipop from Maisie. Sometimes I wonder if this is why I've led such a charmed life.