Well, our family has long since remarked that we should write this stuff down.... I always thought that my sister, the one with the Masters in English would do this, but since she is the one that provided 3 grandchildren and is currently the favorite child and busy doing a million things, I decided that the Black Sheep will speak!
Oh the stories to tell.
I was crowned the Black Sheep of the family when I up and left the south. I know. the horror.... When I was 22 or so, I packed up my Gold Toyota and moved to New York City. So glamorous - The East Side, The West Side, Madison Avenue, 5th Avenue, Tea at the Plaza. Well....... It was Hoboken, NJ actually, back before it was trendy and full of Starbucks and Gaps, and investment bankers. Then everyone there was either Puerto Rican or Italian and generally shady. We paid our rent to some old guy who sat at the Bar at the Clam Broth House every single night. My roommates were crazy dancers and the building had rats the size of well, just big rats, actually. My apartment back then (1992ish) had two bedrooms and a third bedroom the size of a large walk in closet and we three girls had a great time. The advent of the rats precipitated my move in with my then boyfriend, but that is another post that involves hot tubs, bad jewish decorating and a fat cat name beaubeau.
New York City was a $1 PATH ride away and the first stop in Manhattan was Christopher Street. My first day in Hoboken I was so excited I could not wait until 33rd Street but jumped out on Christopher, The real Village! Oh my God, the lovely brownstones, the bakeries! The arty coffee shops and since it was Christopher Street, The lovely Gay S & M Shops! My mother was going to be so proud.
At first I was nervous taking the PATH train late at night, so we usually went home as a group. However, TRUE LOVE infected my roommate, Pam, who was in love/lust with a bartender from the Red Lion ( I think it was the Red Lion, I am not sure, but anyway, let's say his name was Joe) Well we sat there and she made goo goo eyes at Joe while he worked and I sat beside her, having fun, watching the crowd, nursing a beer, and wondering when we were going to head home. Yawn, googley eyes continued, whispers across the bar, smiles and laughs while I good naturedly (and stupidly) just waited around to head home with Pam.
It finally dawned on me at 2am that Pam might be staying in the city tonight. Her smiles and giggles and flirting had paid off, and suddenly, they were both staring at this embarrassingly obvious third wheel, wondering who invited her and I thought for a minute Pam was going to vote me invisible and leave me there without a backward glance. Well, I was stupid but I was (finally) observant. As the bar lights popped on full and I looked around to see we were the last ones there, I stood up to head home, figuring I had to brave the trains on my own at some point when another bartender took pity on me and offered to walk me to the train.
He was so nice, we chatted the few blocks, about music and living in New York, and how the trains were really safe, but slow on the weekends, etc., etc. and it occurred to me how pleased my mother would have been to know I had such a gentlemanly escort to the train. Not even a kiss goodnight, just a smile and a wave and I don't think I ever saw him again. But I will never forget that guy. I called my Mom the next day to tell her not to worry, New York was full of gentlemen who actually walked girls home! She was so happy, I know she called all her friends to tell them the story - Nice boys, safe neighborhoods! Lovely brownstones, coffeeshops, bookstores. (I may have skipped over The Leatherman's whips and chains)
I also may have neglected to tell my mother a few details but details schmetails - he was polite, he was my stalwart defender against the jackals and weirdos of the West Village. So what if his black leather pants were so tight he had a lycra crotch sewn in so he could move his legs. I mean he may have had hair down to his, erm, nipple rings but it was long and blond and flowing and frankly, I think we discussed hair products for part of the trip. What are a few earrings these days? OK, quite a lot of earrings, at least 30 I think he said, and the chain to the nose ring was different. It is good to be different, right?
My mother is still so proud.