A big part of my life has been ripped apart from me. As most people know that live in Chicago, Elliotts Dairy & Deli closed. After over 55 years of being a landmark serving the best corned beef around. It was regarded as heavenly; people would flock from miles away for the many speciality items we offered. They ranged from the fresh made rolls, the rye bread, the various hot case items from cabbage rolls to our freshly broasted chicken, regular deli meats along with other homemade meats we offered such as turkey, roast beef, meatloaf, not forgetting the to die for hot corned beef.
I will forever remember my first day at Elliotts: I was a Monday night, I forget what had happened but Steve (a manger) become preoccupied after bringing me to the break table and then promptly left. Forgetting about me for a total of maybe 15 or 20 minutes. I sat there silently observing all my surroundings as the loud dishwasher run just outside the break "room", when one of the other managers walked into the office which was on the other end of the break area. Sat down, then noticed me sitting there patiently and approached me and introduced herself to me. She then went on to say Steve probably forget about me because there was a issue in the deli. I sat there for about the five or more minutes as people walked back and forth working, not even noticing I was sitting there for a total of half an hour before Steve came and put me with a stock boy to train me.
Fast forward through the next three years, and I would join this family of the funniest, most loudest, and yet quiet group of people. We were like one of those bad reality shows paired with the claws of the Real World, the innocence and cast of Full House, with the wit of Chelsea Handler. Me and some other people imagined of having our own show based around the store, like La Ink, Cake Boss, or something else and it would be called "Elliotts, Behind The Counter" (yess...i did think of that) but the name didnt seem to run well with them. We imagined it would be something like The Hills, but unscripted. Which would be rather hilarious!
I would soon be cross-trained in the deli, bakery and kitchen. And along the way forging everlasting friendships, creating moments, memories, and facial expressions that could never be understood, explained, or even recreated by any means again. I will never be able to laugh as hard as I did at Elliotts.
The visual image of the brooms propped up against the bathroom door, that would fall onto the person when they opened the door OR somebody closing the lights on the walk in cooler after somebody had just gone onto it, as I chuckled and walked by. Every so often, I hear the squawking of Bruno, or I swear I can hear the industrial dishwasher running and Mikey bantering over it, and when I go to stores and hear somebody call somebody over the pa system, I remember Jose spouting "Abe go to the deli!!!" which could be heard without the pa enhancement (haa). I stop and chuckle, let a sigh out and smile, knowing that even if that place is gone that brought these strange band of people together, it will have a everlasting legacy.
The memories are enough to last more than a lifetime and when I die, my soul is going to haunt the grounds where Elliotts stood. Even though my ex-coworkers and I have lost our second home, we will find a new one. Which means most of us will be split up. However, no jobs can ever be regarded in a way that Elliotts will be. Ive never laughed so hard and got paid to do so. Ohh! and of course I worked in between!