Flatbush Brooklyn NY
Rudy was back in town. The Summer in Lansing MI had been an interesting time. Rudy had experienced his first kiss and his first heartbreak. Both with a girl named Mary, but not the same girl. Confused? Perhaps you should review chapters one and two. While neither the kiss nor the heartbreak was mentioned was specifically, both were implied. (First kiss chapter one. First heartbreak chapter two.)
Rudy was half heartedly attempting to resume his interrupted New York lifestyle. He resumed his on again off again
relationship with his cousin’s step daughter Paula, in the Bronx. Then there was his rivalry with his cousin Dan-o over
the blonde bombshell Phyllis, also in the Bronx. This revolved around the usual macho assertion that one or the other could conquer the object of their infatuation. The resolutions of this rivalry was months away from resolution..
Strangely enough, Rudy was more attracted to Phyllis’s best friend Corinna. They seemed to go nowhere without one another. A pattern he had encountered before with Mary and Penny, and he would encounter time and again. Corinna resembled a girl he had had a crush on in junior high but had been too timid to approach out of class.
Closer to home, Rudy and his local friends organized a social group called “The Seven Sinners” which consisted of Rudy. His best friend Ralph, Ralph’s brother Bobby, the Massa twins Bobby
and Joey (wanna be
horse jockeys), Eddie Davis and Mr. Brooklyn (I confess his real name has been lost in the mists of time). Mr. Brooklyn, it was later discovered, was a plant of the NYPD (a la Mod Squad), though he was a waste of resources on the part of the New York Police, as the sinners (apart from graffiti) were no threat to society in general. Their activities consisted mostly of West Side Story role play sessions and gatherings at Jahn’s Ice cream parlor with their various paramours of the day.
In due time, Rudy met a girl, Susan Welch, who had the dubious distinction of having the ability to get inebriated on Coca Cola. They dated for a few weeks. While that was good for some interesting moments, the novelty quickly faded away as did their relationship.
Throughout Leon/Rudy’s middle school years, he was involved in only three fist fights.
Curiously they all involved a best friend named Darryl Price, an unlikely Jewish geeky friend he had made in Walt Whitman JHS. To this day, no one can say what triggered these fights, but all can agree on one fact. Darryl could not learn from his mistakes. From his earliest days, Rudy had suffered from some pretty bad nosebleeds which came upon him suddenly. These nosebleeds were caused by a weak blood vessel in his nose and infuriated him, but there was nothing he could do about them. During his first fight with Darryl, Darryl scored a hit hit on Rudy’s nose which resulted in a massive nosebleed. The result should have been predictable, Rudy was not incapacitated as was Daryl’s intent, but became infuriated instead. Now he had a cause for the nosebleed! A cause that he could strike back at. The resulting fury caused the fight to be over in minutes. Darryl never stood a chance. Darryl never learned his lesson. In his subsequent battles, he caused a nosebleed which loosed Rudy’s’ fury and decided the contests. The last of these confrontations occurred at the tail end of the summer of 63.
Inevitably, his circle of friends picked up local equivalents to his Lansing circle of friends. There was June who resembled Judy in looks and mannerisms. Christine (Chris) a veritable clone for Penny and then there was Marie (God help us, another Mary) Berkle, a sweeter version of Mary Harmon. .
Rudy dedicated many hours to the pursuit of Marie. But no matter how hard he tried, the best he ever achieved was a kiss on the cheek, even though she was a charter member of the Jahn’s ice cream circle..
Into this charged atmosphere came the injection of the accidental girlfriend. Dora Weiss.
No one knew where she came from, or what her game was, but one night there she was at our weekly Ice creams gathering. She was apparently a friend of one of the girls in the group. One thing that became immediately apparent was that she had set her sights on Rudy. At first, Rudy was annoyed, but then he thought Wait, maybe I can turn this to my advantage, After all, she is kinda cute. Maybe I can use her to make Marie Jealous!
Well, not only was Marie unimpressed, but Rudy found himself falling for Dora. One small problem, Dora came with a hanger on named Carolyn Quigly. In many circles at that time,
attractive girls had best friends they traveled with (almost chaperones) who were less than attractive and hoped to benefit from their friends leftovers. Dora was almost never without her best friend. It turned out that Dora was not a local girl, She resided on Avenue U which was a good thirty minute bus ride from Rudy’s home.