The first time I met Sally I was a 4-and-a-half-year-old immigrant who did not speak English. She was my babysitter and despite my origin, she was always persistent and demanding because she only wanted the best from me. Usually when she is babysitting she is the most unique person out of the crowd, even though she is swarmed by kids, dogs, teenagers and babies. She has dark sandy hair, multicolored clothes, zany glasses, different colored stockings usually matched with strange wooly socks and finally a nice pair of clogs. Her personality is so unique that even she makes fun of herself, thus her many nicknames, such as the Wicked Witch of the West, from the Wizard of Oz or Barbie.
This unique lifestyle she holds is full of humor, strictness and also something easy to love. She is charismatic and alongside her regular jobs as a fundraiser, caterer and neighborhood babysitter she is also a teacher and a very good one at that. She taught me a lot, like how to spell and use grammar, proper mannerisms, and the power of good old negotiation. In total, Sally was the real deal. Her motto is, “You can always wear a suit and tie but you’re never fully dressed without a smile!”
A story that I find funny with Sally happened when I was little, maybe seven or eight. It was after wine time, meaning she had already had her glass of dark red wine, and she was relaxed but that not sedated.
I was sitting down waiting for the food to be ready. Sally and I were talking about trains. When I was talking I hadn’t realized that my elbows were on the table and also didn’t know that it was rude.
She told me once sternly, “Daniel, don’t put your elbows on my table.”
I thought it was funny and did it again and again, thinking no disciplinary action was going to happen. Who disciplines people for putting their elbows on the table in the 21st century? All I can tell you is that Sally does.
She told me, “If you do that again, I will throw your food out the window.”
I laughed and did it again thinking little of it.Then almost like the north wind with the gust of her hand, she grabbed the plate, opened the window and threw the plate out, almost like she had done this to kids many times.
Then she defiantly said, “And you thought Sally was playing.”
To me it was a catastrophe because who is crazy enough to do this? What happens if the plate hit someone? That is just what I asked.
Unexpectedly, she said comically, “Then my mission is accomplished. You learned not to put your elbows on the table and the person outside who got hit knows not to cross in front of Sally’s house again.”
If you go outside in the North End and you ask someone who has grown up there, there is a high chance that they know Sally. Looking at how locals treat her is like watching how people treat grasshopper in “A Bugs Life.” She does eccentric things a lot and everyone turns their heads because no one doubts the ways of the good old Witch of the West.