Your Son Made My Day

Your Son Made My Day

Although I derived a great pleasure in teaching young boys the rules of baseball, being a Little League coach is a thankless job. Parents who were inept at the sport, or never played the game were the harshest critics.

Spring Valley, NY Little League mandated that every player on a team is to play at least one inning in every game.

I selected my starting lineup with the full knowledge that they would eventually be replaced by a teammate. My son was the catcher. He played an entire game because no one wanted to play the position.

My team scrambled onto the field. No sooner had the umpire called, “Batter Up” than a parent came fuming at me.

“What kind of manager are you? Bobby was an All-Star last year. He batted fourth. Why isn’t he on the field?”

I calmly told him the rules state that each member of the team will replace a player in the field and play for at least an inning so that everyone will play. His son will play later.

“I don’t care,” he wined. “Bobby was an All-Star last year!”

With his wife trying to calm him, he deposited himself into his folding chair.

It wasn’t long before he came tearing at me demanding to know why my son started and was still in the game. I told him if his son wanted to be the catcher I would gladly replace my son. Again, he returned to his chair.

The score was 6 to 5 in favor of our team. It was the last inning. I placed Richie, a child with mild cerebral palsy to play third base.

The All-Star’s father came charging at me.

“What are you doing? Richie in the game? We’re winning! You’re giving the game away!”

If I could, he would have returned to his seat from the end of my sneaker.

The opposing team had players on first and second base. It was one out. With two balls and two strikes on the batter. He swung and missed while the player on second base tried to steal third. My son threw the ball to Richie. He caught the ball and tagged the runner for the third out.

Richie was lifted into the air by the boys of his team. Richie was ecstatic!

With a lump in my throat, I went over to his father who had tears in his eyes. I joined him.

“Your son,” he said, “made my day.”

“Your son made mine,” I replied.

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The Boys Recall Street Hockey

The Boys Recall Street Hockey

The boys were at their usual table in the diner. Customer’s tables edged closer to hear the loud, humorous, heated exchanges between the men seated nearby.

“The notches on that hockey puck were like blades. Once it went into my shin and nearly found bone.”

“Football was worse. We had no helmets or shoulder pads.”

“Don’t you remember that cement wall Max was crushed into when he was tackled in the Crotona Park P.S.A.L. field? He was a bloody mess.”

“I only remember that game because Sonny was running through our line as if we weren’t there. Then I tackled him. He went up in the air and came down on his head. That ended the game.”

“Hey waitress, we have a hero here.”

“This hero and none of you ordered. Are you going to sit here and keep my tipping customers from ordering?”

“Sausage and eggs over for me.”

“I’ll have scrambled eggs with a bagel.”

“Make mine yogurt with apples and flaxseed.”

“Yogurt? Flaxseed? What are you? A nursing mother?”

“Don’t be a wise guy. Let’s get back to the street hockey.”

“The clamps that held my skates tore the soles off my shoes.”

“That’s no surprise. You wore those cardboard Thom McAn shoes. The cheapest money can buy. With my G.O. discount book, I bought stylish Adler shoes. They were never torn apart.”

“Big deal. What about the shirts you wore to school? The sleeves hung down to your fly.”

“They were my brother’s shirts, but they weren’t torn apart.”

“What kind of roller skates did you have?”

“I had what most of us had, Union Hardware roller skates.”

”The wheels on those skates boxed after a few games. I had solid-wheeled Chicago Racers.”

“Hey guys. We have a big shot here with long sleeves and skates with solid wheels.”

“I’ll bet you borrowed a skate key to tighten your skates because you were too cheap to buy a 2 cents skate key.”

“So what? I was always ready for a game. I hate to admit it, but you were the best.”

“Why do you hate to admit it?”

“Because it’s you.”

“Hate it or not, no one could keep up with me. I was the best.”

“I just said that.”

“How did we make that hockey puck?”

“We took the square ends of a wooden Breakstones’ cream cheese box and nailed them together. It was their notched ends that shredded our shins.”

“And what about the goals? There were always arguments as to whether the puck went over the sewer lid.”

“Jerry’s father made us a pair of very nice goals. No more sewer lids, no more arguments.”

“Do you remember the day a howling wind sent the goals three blocks down to Jennings Street Market then smashed them against a fruit stand?”

“All that was left was the fabric.”

“What about the hockey sticks? Where did we get them?”

“There was a store on Bathgate Avenue that sold them for a quarter.”

“A quarter? You wouldn’t spend a quarter for a hockey stick. You wouldn’t even spend two cents for a skate key. Did you make your hockey stick from an orange box?”

“So, we have a big shot here with Chicago Racers and his own hockey stick. You still had long sleeves.”

“I’m ready to go home.”

What’s the matter? Did the yogurt give you heartburn?”

“No. You did.”

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The Boys And A Stickball Game

The Boys And A Stickball Game

Once again, the boys met in the diner.

“All the neighbors were watching. It was on a Sunday late in June. We were in our summer school vacation when we played that unforgettable stickball game.”

“It wasn’t June, it was July. I remember your mother walked on the field and brought you cookies and milk. We told her to get off the field. It was on a Sunday alright, but it was a hot August Sunday.”

“I don’t care what month it was. We beat you guys remember? It was a tie game when Moish hit a ball over Adoff’s roof.”

“In your dreams you would have beaten us. The Joe DiMaggio of stickball, The Creep was on our team. He never lost a game.”

“Jerry, do you remember that stickball game when the entire neighborhood was watching. Moish was on one side and The Creep was on the other?”

“Yeah. I remember. Moish went to Orchard Beach after the game. We used to call it Horseshit Beach it was so filthy.”

“Who cares what we called it. Do you remember that game?”

“It started to rain that day and we thought we might call it off. The neighbors, who were watching, held newspapers over their heads waiting for the shower to stop. My mother asked me to go to Jake for pickles after the game. I played a very good game. The boys congratulated me after it was over.”

“Stop it! Listen to him. I think he’s getting senile. Who asked you about the newspapers? Who asked about your mother and pickles? Who asked you how you played?”

“I’m not answering anymore questions if you’re going to insult me.”

“Go home to your wife and tell her about newspapers and pickles and what a star you were.”

“At least my wife respects me, not like you bullies. I can’t believe we grew up together.”

“Is there a pill you could take for your senility?”

“You don’t take pills? The last time we were in the diner you swallowed a pack of them for dessert.”

“I really don’t need them. I take them because my wife watches.”

“Bullshit. You had quadruple bypass, atrial fibrillation, you have a pacemaker/defibrillator stuck in you chest and you’re telling me you don’t need those pills?”

“Pills make money for the drug companies. They make me fatigued.”

“What about that stickball game?”

“After the game we went to Gitelson’s for pastrami on club sandwiches. I put a lot of mustard on mine and I remember that I had terrific heartburn that night. I was the star of the game.”

“Again a star? Another one with Alzheimers. If you could remember, what did you take for heartburn?”

“I took Vaseline. No, it was something like Vaseline, Milk of Magnesia. It gave me me the runs and left me irritated.”
”Irritated? You or your ass?”

“What about that stickball game?”

“Forget it. It’s history. Stickball isn’t played anymore in the old neighborhood. President Reagan had it flattened. There are only ranch houses scattered throughout the area.”

“I can’t go there. I’m afraid it’ll be too emotional.”

“You, emotional? I remember when The Parrot came to the candy store, you screeched like a parrot and she slammed you with her pocketbook.”

“She missed me, the bitch.”

“Do you think you could play a few innings of stickball?”

“If I could lead my walker to the home plate sewer-lid, I might manage.”

“That’s it. This demented old fart is going to play stickball!”

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The Boys Visit The Fitness Center

The Boys Visit The Fitness Center

The aging process has caught up with the boys. By applying to the fitness center we thought we would reduce its soaring speed. Three flights of stairs brought them to my apartment.

“What stinks here? It smells like an old subway toilet.”

“Sheila likes my stuffed cabbage. I’m boiling the cabbage to separate the leaves.”

“When she comes home, she’ll think you had the runs.”

“Do you think your apartment is refreshing with all the garlic you use on everything, even in the orange juice?”

“Hurry up. The boys are waiting.”

“Just a minute. I want to get my jockstrap.”

“Jockstrap? No one wears a jockstrap these days.”

“I always wore one when I played football. It gave me a sense of security.”

“The way you played ball you needed reflexes, not a jaockstrap to get a sense of security.”

“Oh. Mister Athlete. You weren’t such a hotshot. I remember when The Creep labeled you Trenchfeet.”

“Come on. Let’s get going. The Baker is waiting.”

“It’s about time you guys came down. It’s nearly dinnertime.”

“The Blink Fitness Center is well-equipped and reasonable. You’re my guests.”

“I remember when you didn’t leave a tip for Gene when we had pastrami sandwiches after a stickball game. Now we’re your guests?”

“Let’s go in.”

“I’m having these three guys as my guests.”

“That will be five dollars apiece – fifteen dollars dollars.”

“That’s pretty expensive for an afternoon of agony.”

“Here’s the fifteen bucks. Buy yourself a beer and pretzels.”

“I only have one lock. We’ll have to put all our clothes in one locker.”

“All our clothes in one locker? Alvin doesn’t use a deodorant. My shirt will smell like I ran the marathon..”

“A wise guy eh? What about your shorts that you change once a week? They smell like they were marinating in a Korean rice paddy.”

“What’s this gizmo with two pads?”

“You place your elbows on the pads and lift your legs to form an L. Try it.”

“Ugh! I nearly tore my guts out.”

“You only did it twice. I do it forty times, then thirty and finally twenty.”

“Big deal. And what does it get you? You still have a pot belly.”

“I think we should go to the treadmill. For beginners it’s less complicated and doesn’t rip your kishkes apart.”

“Look at that. Everyone is walking, but they’re going nowhere. I could stand in place and move my legs up and down, it’s the same thing and I don’t have to become a member.”

“They adjust the speed and the angle at which they’re walking, so it’s really challenging.”

“Challenging? That thing with the elbow pads tore my guts apart. I don’t need anymore challenges.”

“Then try the recumbent bike. You sit and watch TV.”

“Recumbent? We never had that word for the English Regents. Does this also have a speed and angle adjustment?”

“No, just a resistance adjustment.”

“OK. It’s time to go home.”

“We just came here.”

 

 

 

 

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The Boys Visit The Old Neighborhood

The Boys Visit The Old Neighborhood

The boys moved to Westchester County after they came of age and married in the Bronx.

“Let’s go and see what our old neighborhood looks like after all these years.”

“Who’s driving?”

“I thought you said you were.”

“No. I’m low on gas.”

“You were always low on gas. Even when we lived there sixty years ago.”

“Always low on gas? You didn’t even have a car when we lived there.”

“I didn’t need a car. The Boston Road trolley took me to the Morrisania library.”

“Oh. The library. An intellectual. That’s why I never saw you at our stickball games.”

“Stickball? Where did it get you? Braking on top of a speeding freight car.”

“And where did the library get you? Standing in front of a tub with corrosive chemicals slithering down your throat..”

“At least it got me a car.”

“Yeah, but low on gas.”

“Come on you guys, stop the the combat. I can’t wait to see what happened to our neighborhood. Come on, get in.”

“What’s with this car? No air-conditioning? I started sweating as soon as I sat down.”

“You want to get out and walk home?”

“I’ll stay, but I’ll have to open a window.”

“The window on your side doesn’t work. I’ll open my window.”

“Your window is nowhere near me. My t-shirt is soaked with sweat.”

“Hey, you guys, are we going to the neighborhood or do you want to stay here and attack each other?”

“He started it with his nasty, “low on gas.”

“Close the door and both of you shut up.”

“What’s this? The Dover Theater is a Pentecostal church?” It was one of the first air-conditioned theaters in the Bronx, Cool as a Pool they advertised.”

“Yeah, Cool as a Pool, but this car is as hot as grill.”

“Another word out of you and I’ll shove you out and into this dangerous neighborhood.”

“Go another block, opposite Hermann Ridder.”

“What is this? Where are the tenements? Only the New House has remained.”

“How did my 1540 tenement shrink into a ranch house?”

“Boy, are you stupid. Didn’t you read how President Carter came here and said this area must be demolished?”

“Hey! Speaking of read, remember when Peanzy’s father was reading the dictionary and we would ask him what letter he was up to?”

“He bought the candy store and sold it to Refugee Jack.”

“Oh, remember, the ditty I wrote, “Refugee Jack, The Sex Maniac”

Refugee Jack’s A sex maniac                                                                                                         There’s no such thing as a piece of dreck                                                                                         To Jack, Jack the sex maniac.

“Stop! Your voice is getting me nautious.”

“What went on in there could have sold out performances on Broadway.”

“What a cast. Fat Anne and Flat Anne, Strictly, Gravel Gertie, The Creep, The Rail, Trench Feet, The Bandit, Gums, The Mask, The Nose.”

“Yeah. I could see Cecil B. DeMille lining them up for another “spectacular”.

“They’d have to improvise. They’re so senile now that they’d never remember their lines.”

“That’s what would make it a “spectacular”.

“I can’t take this anymore. This isn’t the  Bronx that we knew. Drive down a few blocks to see where the Czar of Jennings Street, Jake the Pickleman once fired insults at the speed of a burp gun

.“He was killed.”

“How do you know?”

“If you bought a newspaper and read it, you too would know.”

“I’m sick of the insults. We’re going home.”

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The Boys Meet At The Golf course

The Boys Meet At The Golf Course

No more Stickball Games, no more Off-The Curb, no more Street Hockey. Grandfather Time has caught up with us.

“Oy!. I could hardly schlep my clubs to the golf cart.”

“You don’t listen. When I tell you to work out at the gym with me, you have a hundred excuses not to go.

“I have heartburn. White socks make my legs look bony. I can’t get a discount on good sneakers. A t-shirt will show my belly. My gym shorts crawl up my ass.“

“You have been going to the gym before you were born. I can’t just start it with a back that stabs me whenever I bend.”

“Oh. another excuse. I had rehab after my surgery and I still go to the gym.”

“Rehab, shmehab, how many more years do you think we have on this earth? Am I going to spend it torturing myself at a gym?”

“Get your clubs into the cart and let’s make fools of ourselves.”

“When are those misfits going to get off the first green? It looks like they’re having a debate on how to hold a putter.”

“Look at that yokel in the green plaid pants. He thinks he’s at the beach with his ball in that sand trap”

“Do you think you can do better?”

“With one hand tied behind my back.”

“And with the other hand you’ll eat at bagel with cream cheese.”

“Come on. They left the green. Tee off.”

“Is that the way the Pro taught you to stand? The golf ball for sure will fly into the woods. Roll down your sleeves, you might get poison ivy trying to retrieve it.”

“Oh. A smart ass. I’ll take my ball off the tee and you show me how to hit the ball.”

“If you didn’t learn from all the lessons you took from the club Pro and that CD guide, how can I help you?”

“Stand next to the ball the right way, hold the driver the right way, and turn your hips the right way. That should send the ball straight down the fairway.”

“If I hit the ball the right way, I wouldn’t be be playing with you.”

“Watch me.”

“Did you see it? Where did it go? Another five bucks shot to hell. I feel like leaving and drowning my clubs in that lake.”

“Let’s go and eat. This game is getting on my nerves.”

“A great idea, and maybe later we’ll go to the gym.”

 

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The Boys Meet in the Diner

The Boys Meet in the Diner

Their conversation at their weekly visit to the diner could have made the Merck Manual a New York Times best seller.

“I take so many pills that the bottom of my stomach resembles the keys of an old typewriter.”

“And what about my pacemaker/defibrillator? My chest looks like a deck of cards was planted in it.”

“Spell defibrillator.”

“I can’t spell it, but it knocked me on my ass last week when I went to putt on the twelfth hole at the golf course.”

“You know, my grandfather said, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

“What choice do we have? Put an end to ourselves at 50?”

“Oh, here comes Manny.”

“Am I late? I thought you said we’d meet at one.”

“You can’t remember your own name without looking at your dog tag.”

“We’re having a salad, join us.”

“A salad? Unless it’s all radishes, I can’t eat it.”

“What do you want? Something more sophisticated like chopped liver?”

“I take Warfarin so greens are out ever since I had a quadruple bypass.”

“So, what about that chopped liver?”

“It’s crammed with cholesterol. I’m taking Lipitor to lower my cholesterol.”

“I’m taking…I’m taking. Do you ever eat real food?”

“I made browned chicken yesterday without the skin.”

“Who bakes chicken without the skin? It probably tasted like the chicken at MacDonalds.”

“Are you making fun of my cooking?”

“Julie, did you ever bake chicken without its skin?”

“Oh. We have a new maven on cooking.”

“In the army I ate Shit on a Shingle. It wasn’t bad.”

You probably thought devouring a can of C-rations and a sip on Lister bag water was a gourmet dinner.”

“Here comes the salads and your peanut butter sandwich. These dishes are for food connoisseurs?”

“Spell connoisseurs.”

“Spell it? You can’t even pronounce it.”

“And if I spell it right what will happen?”

“Are you really going to eat that peanut butter sandwich? The last time I had one was in sixth grade, and I didn’t finish it.”

“Peanut butter is rich in protein, potassium and its good for the health of your bowels.”

“Now you’re talking. I could sit on a bowl for two hours without squeezing out a fart.”

“These are meals for old men who should be in nursing home.”

“Old I am, but in a nursing home never.”

“I’ll show you. Come with me to the gym after we eat.”

“You can’t go to the gym after you eat. You’ll get a heart attack.”

‘I just want to show you the equipment in my gym.”

‘I’m afraid I’ll get a heart attack just by looking at it.”

“Don’t be a shmuck. Maybe you’ll join.”

“I’m going home to join my pillow. It’s time for my nap.”

“A nap? Nobody naps during the day?”

“I do and what are you going to do about it?”

“I’ll see you guys next Wednesday at one.”

“Tell your wife. You wouldn’t remember.”

 

 

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Coaltown and Citation

Coaltown and Citation

They were two very feeble and very old Orthodox Jews. Their nicotine-stained milk-white beards  were topped by faded black derbies. Black velvet collars, sprinkled with dandruff ringed the necks of their heavy woolen overcoats. This was their dress uniform and only uniform as they emerged from their apartment building on Seabury Place.

We called them Coaltown and Citation after two notable Kentucky Derby winners. While Coaltown braced himself onto his mock bamboo cane, Citation clenched his arm. Slowly they trudged down the street. Each measured step was taken with the hope that they would remain upright as they made their way to to their dilapidated synagogue on Seabury Place. The synagogue consisted of two contiguous empty stores that surrendered to the Great Depression and never recovered. Were there other congregants? As far as we knew, they could have held services in a phone booth. The boys were too busy playing stickball to see if anyone joined them in their daily and Sabbath services. Our fathers, victims of The Great Depression found a more promising future in socialism than pie in the sky.

Based upon the number of men who returned after Moses sent them to spy on the land of Canaan (ten), Hebrew prayers should be recited by a group of ten or more men. The group is called a minyan. It was time for evening prayers. The boys were playing stickball. Citation was in no shape for the round up, but Coaltown made his usual attempt to capture  the boys for a minyan. 

“Coaltown is coming!” shrieked Mutt.

We made a mad dash for the nearest building and hid under the steps until he left. What if we spent ten minutes with him to satisfy the need for a minyan? Wouldn’t it add a bit of pleasure to their dreary lives?  How would it impact on us? It wasn’t that we rejected him; it was the fun of not getting caught. Although I was always left with the uneasy feeling that we had taken advantage of two old and feeble men, this macho kid didn’t utter a word.

Victory in Europe! Many families had full time breadwinners during the war. Through their savings, they accumulated enough money to move to a better neighborhood. Coop-City was built in the northeast Bronx. Families that could afford it, moved there leaving numerous empty apartments. It was no longer the neighborhood I had known. Coaltown and Citation seemed to have dissolved into the pavement of Seabury Place.  They were gone and so were the cement sidewalks, asphalt streets and the candy store, but not the treasured memories of our beloved little shtetl (village).

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Classroom

Outside the store was a weather beaten, oak newsstand striving to stand upright. Upon opening the door, our sneakers stood upon a splintered floor whose area was approximately 9’ X 30’. Two telephone booths were at the far left end, and the counter was to the right. It was the neighborhood assembly area, the command post, the candy store.

Here we held seminars ranging from a review of the previous day’s ball games to a critique of a haircut that Willy The Barber sculpted out of Mutt’s black hairs.

Mutt stepped into the store with Willy’s coif. Lunchee was the first to greet, and then attack.

“Hey Mutt, did you want Willy to give you that iron pot? Did you see it before you left his barbershop? Mutt was confused.

“What’s with the iron pot, Lunchee?”

“It looks like Willy put an iron pot on your head and trimmed around it. Go back. Maybe he could prune it so you wouldn’t look like a monk.”

We were young, with none, or few problems, so fun reigned supreme. Hardly a customer left the store without a scathing comment about their appearance, their clothing, or their personality. Of course, we were charming and attractive.

How many of us considered what our future would be as adults? Future? Future was too far off to concern us.

With conversation fading, Jerry shouted,

‘Let’s go outside and outstare The Painter!”

With hands in his pockets, The Painter stood at his second floor window immobilized and gazing, while we bunched up on the street below. Silently, we craned our necks trying to outstare him. When he finally moved, we burst out with a “Yay”. Did this prepare us for the future? It didn’t, but we had laughs.

Lillian hated the name Strictly. Sol, who was behind the counter baptized her Strictly because she injected it into every sentence she uttered. For example, “Flame-Glo lipstick? It’s strictly for the birds. Errol Flynn? He’s strictly for the kids. Summer school? It’s strictly for the dummies.”

She stepped into the store, Sol, the owners’s son asked,

“What ‘ll you have Strictly?”

He knew Strictly was the trigger that would ignite a rage. She was about to leave when her mother, who was paying for a newspaper entered the battle.

“Sure she’s Strictly. She’s strictly kosher.”

“Strictly kosher my ass. “She’s strictly bullshit,” replied Sol.

It was endless entertainment. Future? Why worry about something we can’t touch, taste, or feel?

Sol’s father sold the store to Refugee Jack.

Propelled by a profusion of farts, Alvin taxied into the store. Without stopping for recognition by the boys, he continued the staccato, then stopped at Refugee Jack’s wife. She was stunned. Refugee Jack was apoplectic.

“Do you know this woman is a lawyer?” Jack shouted in Yiddish.

“So, let her sue me for farting,” Alvin replied.

Now, with his shorts deflated, he joined the boys to receive his kudos.

Our performance with The Painter, Sol’s Strictly, Mutt’s Ironpot, and Alvin’s flatulence, may sound trivial and uncouth, but this is what provided us with the solid background for our future.

Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage. And all the men and all the women are merely players.”

Did stealing a broom from a fire escape help mold us into the men we would be? Of course not. But the stick on that broom was the perfect bat for stickball. Would anyone care in the future that Sol baptized Lillian Strictly? Would noting that we successfully outstared The Painter on our college application open the door to a prestigious college? How do we place fun on that document?

Well. The candy store was our adolescent stage, and we were playing to a very appreciative audience.

These players became accountants, chemists, an upscale home-builder, a teacher, a lawyer, a pilot trainer, a jeweler, and a postal employee. Not bad for the splintery stage upon which we performed.

For more humorous stories about the Bronx read: Seabury Place: A Bronx Memoir                 by Daniel Wolfe

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A Day At the Candy Store

A Day At the Candy Store

She was very attractive. We didn’t know her name, all we knew was that she was divorced and left with a three-year-old son. She stepped into the candy store wearing a low-cut blouse and a skirt like a tourniquet, much to the delight of the owner, a holocaust survivor, Refugee Jack.

“Tell the man what you want, Bernie.”

“I want a moyshie bar and a bag of tomato chips (Hershey bar and a bag of potato chips).

When she bent down to pick up the Hershey bar that Bernie dropped, Jack’s piercing gaze nearly deflated her bulging breasts.

Jack’s erotic leer was followed by,

“Oy! Ah leben auf duss kihnd” (Oh! A long life for this child).

Finally, when Jack returned from Shangri-la, the boys responded by belting out,         Refugee Jack, sung to the tune of Gentleman Jack.

Refugee Jack                                                                                                                                 Refugee Jack’s                                                                                                                                             A sex maniac                                                                                                                                      There’s no such thing                                                                                                                                As a piece of dreck (ugly woman)                                                                                                                                   To Jack, Jack                                                                                                                                          The sex maniac.

Jack responded with,

“Ich hob ubergelebt Hitler und ich vill aich uberleben.”  (I outlived Hitler and I will outlive you.)

Fat Anne interrupted the chorus when she opened the door and  asked,

“I heard The Nose was looking for me. Did anyone see him?

“Looking for you?” asked Puggy. “He could see you from five blocks away.”

“Shut your disgusting mouth, Puggy. You’re not so slim yourself.”

The Rail ordered a “loosie” (a single cigarette for a penny) then lit it. As soon as he placed the cigarette between his lips, in walked Flat Anne. Just as Fat Anne was fat, Flat Anne was flat. She was also baptized Gunder after Gunder Haag a famous Swedish long distance runner in the 1940s. When she walked, her stride was twice the length of an average person. She pulled the cigarette from The Rail’s mouth.

“How many times did I tell you to stop this disgusting habit?”.”

“I need it. It settles my noives.”

“We’re going to The Dover tonight. Psycho will settle your nerves.”

Psycho?” said The Bull. “I don’t know what you’re going to do there, but I saw it yesterday, and it scared the shit out of me.”

Seven, who spent some time in the phone booth, came out to announce,

“Well boys, we have a date this Saturday.”

“We?” asked Peanzy.

“Yes, we. I have a date and asked her to get five friends for us. She said all her friends were pretty and nice. But listen guys, don’t embarrass me with your outfits this Saturday.”

“Why? Are you the last word in fashion? Those rust colored pants and chartreuse shirt belong in a circus, not in a candy store.”

”Ok, OK, Danny, but no t-shirt, no dungarees, and no sneakers.”

Jerry chimed in,

“Is a suit, a tie with a vest proper for the occasion?”

“Crap. I’m sorry I got you guys dates. Now I know The Moonlight Ride Up the Hudson is going to be an embarrassment.”

 

Day Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanzy, whose father was a part-time, mostly unemployed cab driver was furious.

“Up the Hudson. That’s $6 for two. I can’t ask my father for that. Do you think unemployment checks are trolley transfers?”

The older boys, “The Big Fellas” gathered around to sharpen their lances. Big Red joined was the first to pierce.

“Is it worth $6 to grab a feel on a boat ride when Fat Anne will give you one for nothing at the back of the store?”

This brought laughs from everyone.

Refugee Jack had front row seats to all these comedic events. He would have sold his pennies-over-the counter business had he been denied a center seat.

Saturday arrived and the boys boarded the crosstown bus to a more affluent section of the Bronx.

Rock edged over to Krebs.

“What if mine is a piece and yours is a dog?”

“Hey! I never thought of that.”

Hunched over in our seats, we were trying to solve the dilemma. Jerry had the solution.

“Let’s get off at the next stop and go home.”

He was supported by smiles and assenting nods, from all except Seven.

“What are you guys trying to do to me? You’re a bunch of rat finks.”

For the rest of this hilarious story and others read: Seabury Pace: A Bronx Memoir               by Daniel Wolfe

 

For more humorous stories about the Bronx read: Seabury Place: A Bronx Memoir               by Daniel Wolfe

danielwolfebooks@aol.com

 

 

 

 

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