frankieYou wouldn’t want to mess with this guy. As he’s one of two bronzed characters looking out from the kitchen in Frankie & Benny’s, I’m assuming that this must be Frankie.

He’s part of the late 1940s, early 1950s New York Italian decorative scheme. The retro soundtrack at breakfast-time (we shared maple syrup pancakes with bacon) includes Tell Laura I Love Her. The music pulls a thread in my memory. I can picture myself in a coffee bar in Carlisle on a family holiday to Scotland and the Lake District, aged nine, in 1960, listening to the Ricky Valance version, which was number one in the singles chart for three weeks.

carlisle 1960In this 1950s ambience, I feel as if I’m being regressed under hypnosis. I have an impression that we were eating soup (cream of mushroom?) from white pyrex bowls somewhere towards the back of the long and airy coffee bar.

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