Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Rory ~ Happy Dad Day, Dad

Today, would be Rory's 54th birthday, I miss him, I love him. Happy Birthday, Rory. Father's Day was always a big one. Dad was on best behavior, and we always threw the ball around. I miss making Dad cards. I gave it everything I've got.

A June 20th 83rd Street,
Yorkville Memory

I remember the morning Rory, Mom, Dad and I moved into #4R at 517 East 83rd Street. It was June 20, 1957. Rory’s first birthday. I was three and three months. It was very warm, Mom let Rory and I run straight into the apartment before my aunts and uncles brought the furniture up.
At the window was the fire escape, on it a nest of baby pigeons. Rory squealed and I felt the same way. Rory said one of his newly learned words, “Wow!”
“Mom got to see it, birds, lots of them!” I yelled over my shoulder.
Mom came over in three strides, gave Dad a look and said, “Bob, stay here. I’m taking Tommy and Rory for ice cream.”
On the stairs, we passed Aunt Barbara and Aunt Joan carrying a piece of our bunk bed. When we got back from the store with our ice cream sandwiches, Rory and I ran to the window. No birds. I asked Dad, “Where they go?”
“The mom taught them to fly and they took off.”
I had no ammunition; I said nothing but knew something fishy happened. I had a good cry, Rory saw me, and he started crying too. Rory didn’t know why he was crying; he just liked to cry when I cried.
When the furniture was in and the move was over, the adults started cracking beers, Dad was on the phone and the next thing I knew a group of friends and extra relatives showed up. Allie Cobert, Uncle Mickey and Uncle Lenny put on Dad’s white dress shirts and made bow ties out of the ladies kerchiefs and begin singing, “Sweet Adeline.” After the singing sung out, Dad put records on the Victrola. Bored, I retreated to the bathroom to play. I sat on the toilet bowl and did some target practice with my water gun. Out the window into the air shaft, a few quick shots off mom’s bra drying on the towel rack, then up at the naked light bulb on the ceiling. That was fun. The more I shot it, the more it sizzled. I could see smoke coming off it. I kept going.
The bulb exploded, the door flew open and a half dozen people were in the bathroom with me before I could hop off the bowl. Mom was on top of me pretty good but Barbara and Joan extracted me before Mom could figure out what to do with me.
The next summer, Barbara came over our apartment. She sat in the kitchen with Mom drinking coffee. When Mom wasn’t paying attention, Barbara went to and opened the back window by the fire escape. Then she sat back down like nothing happened.
Within a few minutes we heard birds, “Tweet, tweet, tweet.” Then it stopped. Two minutes later, “Tweet, Tweet, tweet.”
Mom moaned and said, Oh, Christ, they’re back.”
I smiled. Then this big gruff voice, “Fire Inspector, Fire Inspector!”
Mom popped out of her chair scared shitless. In came Joan in my red fire hat with a big grin on her face.

Joan had gone to the roof and came down to the fourth floor on the fire escape, waiting for Barbara to open the window to let her in. It was not the first, or last time, someone came into our Yorkville apartment using something other than the front door.

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