Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blow Out The Candles

During the summer of 1982 as I got ready to leave for my 3 month teaching gig in California, my parents decided to move from the apartment that they had lived in for almost 30 years. I was of course against this move as their apartment was big (6 rooms) and the rent was very low. This was the apartment that I had grown up in and lived there until Oct 1967 when I moved into “the city” at the age of 19. The house as we called it was conveniently located near the major shopping district and was only a block from the el subway. But of course once my father made up his mind to do something there was no turning back. I think as usual he bullied my mother into agreeing with this move. I just didn’t see her wanting to pick up after all those years, but she was no match when it came to my father’s way. I guess change is good, although I have never welcomed it myself, and have always had it thrust on me kicking and screaming. I know this attitude can make life somewhat difficult at times.

They found a new place very fast. The new apartment was from what I could gather much smaller than the old place, only 1 bedroom, but my mother gushed that “your father liked the back yard.” Oh well fine I thought, it was their life. They started to throw out lots of stuff without regard to value, especially emotional value, but my mother did put aside some things that she thought I might like.

I wasn’t sure about this move, but kept my mouth shut, and gave them a day or so of my time to help them move some stuff to their new place. The minute I got out of the car I felt strange, like I had been to this place before. The building looked so familiar to me but I couldn’t put my finger on it. This area of Borough Park that they were moving to, was not unknown to me, as I had several friends during my teens who lived around there and my junior high school where I spent 3 years was right across the street. As I helped bring things inside I really thought I knew this apartment, and then it hit me. This was the house that my close friend Mike Selden lived in with his family. And sure enough the young man that was now entering the darken hallway was Mike’s younger brother now fully grown but with his 12 year old face attached to his adult body.

Then when Mike’s mother appeared still dazed and disheveled as I remembered her I knew for sure that my parents were moving into Mike’s old apartment, a place that I had visited so many times when I was 15 and 16 years old. I have a photo of me blowing out the candles on my surprise 15th birthday cake that Mike and my other friends had for me after a costume party that was held in Mike’s basement. There I am in my cop costume in the kitchen that was Mike’s but was now my parent’s. What was going on. The place seemed smaller and in fact it was. Mike’s mother had broken the apartment in half and was renting it out to two families. No sooner did it hit me what was happening, when there was a knock on the door and there stood Mike the first boy I ever loved.

To be continued….


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