There was Bobby Hargrove in the third grade, he in the sixth who was a patrol boy. Every day climbing down Tesiny Hill my heart rate racing whenever he came into view. “Walk, don’t run,” he’d say, his patrol belt tied proudly around his chest. I’d go home and tell my dolls all about Bobby.
We had Louie the trumpet player, a fiancee of a cousin twice removed. He’d greet this seven year-old with a kiss and a wink, the first set of dimples to ever make my acquaintance. Kids don’t know how transparent they can be, suddenly the center of a good laugh formally introduced to embarrassment.
I remember Billy Faye in the seventh grade, Lee Jones in the eighth. Michael Scarpetti the altar boy and Ricky Santoro who, in junior high school, was shot four times at a drive-by shooting dead at 17.
His family had no money so the school paid for the funeral. It was my first one, and seeing him, this handsome, dark-haired fellow I necked with in the back of Mary Jane Andrasick’s mustang, looked like no one I had ever seen before. Let’s hear it for cut-rate embalming.
His tombstone erected by his classmates said…A TRIBUTE FROM ALL MY FRIENDS. It still languishes, I’m told, in the old part of St. Michael’s Cemetery like it was etched onto the granite just yesterday.
What brought on this first-class musing was watching a young couple’s pas de deux dancing along the avenue. They couldn’t have been more than 15 as they gently rubbed up against each other…holding hands softly, shy eyes glancing away. They had yet to move into the others territory, comfortable and relaxed, that sense of home you never want to stray from.
I looked at the girl all dreamy thinking…she thinks she’ll never feel this way again. He’s her Lancelot forever and ever.
Wait till she learns, there are so many more waiting in the wings.