FROM TING AND I: A MEMOIR...
After Hunter College Elementary School, Junior High School 152 was my next rung on the academic ladder.
Another year, another couple of fights, winning one and losing one.
Girls? I can’t recall. I do recall one teacher, Miss Kupersmith, however; she had a set of low-cut dresses that made big impressions. I doubt she remained “Miss” Kupersmith for long.
As I write, some incidents are coming back to me. We moved to Payson Avenue, across the street from Inwood Park, near Dyckman Street, a mile north of the Riverside Drive apartment. Mom’s friend let us rent her lovely apartment. It must have had a third bedroom, because I got one of my own, instead of sharing with the other sibs.
I also got a dog, a Siberian Husky-Golden Retriever mix, about one year old. Handsome, smart, brave, tough, that was Duke. That same friend of my mother had him but couldn’t keep him. They had called him Pericles, after the Athenian general of ancient Greece. This was too ritzy for us, so I changed his name to Hercules, thinking it sounded close enough that he would respond. Then he became Herky, and finally Duke. He took it in stride.
One evening early in our relationship, when Duke became thirsty while in my bedroom, and seeing that I was not responding to his banging his aluminum dish with his paw, he picked the dish up in his mouth, placed it on the pillow in front of my face, and licked it to demonstrate it was empty. I told you he was smart.
Sometimes Duke was smarter than his master. I took him with me to the grocery store one afternoon and tied him to a pole by the curb. I bought the groceries and came home ... without him. He never said a word. Hours later, I scoured Inwood Park trying to find him. “He came home, didn’t he?” I asked my puzzled parents. Only then did I realize I had left him behind. I’d like to think I was just focused, but those who thought me forgetful can be excused. My mother is now in her mid-90s and an invalid. Just recently, I took great pains to attach her calling button to her bed, to prevent its falling, as had happened several times before. Having secured it, I forgot to plug it in to the wall outlet. Operator error.
A kid from Inwood Park demanded a quarter from me. I refused. A fight ensued. He won. He demanded the quarter. I refused again. He moved on. With a different kid, I won a one-punch fight: faked with my left, smashed with my right. Done.
Yes, I had a crush on a lovely, tall, slender black-haired girl. Vivian. If she had been interested, she would have gotten more space here. What does not go around does not come around.
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