Heard from my grammar school chum, Gabby, this morning. She asked me to send her the story I wrote about her when we were in 7th grade. Read it below as it appeared in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood. Thank you for the inspiration, Gabby, love, Tommy.
Gabriella breezed into St. Stephen’s 6th grade as a new student, and left a battleship wake when she mysteriously disappeared after seventh grade.
Gabriella was an adorable Hungarian immigrant with a low voice like Natasha on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Her hair was cut short and bobbed to show off her huge dark almond-shaped eyes and rich lips. Drove the boys loopy, the girls hated her guts.
Gabriella tried to conform and win over the girls. She never responded to the boys trying to charm her socks off. She wore the school uniform, conservative and trim: blue jumper, white blouse buttoned to the top with a neat blue bow tie, high white socks with saddle shoes. This meant nothing to the other girls. Gabriella could have been Richie Rich’s twin sister, and they wouldn’t have cared and still hated her guts because the guys were looking at her instead of them. Gabriella was lonely in sixth grade.
Seventh grade, Gabriella returned to the classroom with bobbed hair and delicious lipstick and dark eyeliner that made her look like Cleopatra. No more shy flower. She began to loosen her bow tie right after lunch. By two o’clock, the second blouse button snuck open. Guys asked to go to the bathroom in record numbers to walk pass her desk.
The high white socks were gone, replaced with stockings. This was the first time I realized, that girls' legs could give girls' boobs equal time in my Daydreaming Hall of Fame. She was a delicious genetic milkshake. Every part of her body measured by an angel for rightness, before she was handed over to the stork for delivery. Her legs were smooth, curvy, perfect.»
After a boy battle in the classroom, the Nun moved our seating arrangements around and miraculously I ended up behind Gabriella. Occasionally, Gabriella stretched her leg back towards my desk giving me a close up. This never lasted long enough for my satisfaction. I wanted it to stay there all day. She and I got along. I made her laugh and she appreciated my help with math. I saw light.
Sister Aloysius announced a surprise spelling bee. I faked panic and leaned forward.
“Pssst, Gabriella, Gabriella, I need your help.”
“I didn’t study the words.”
“Well, I’m not sure I know them either.”
“No, no, no. I’m going to write them down on a gyp note. Put them inside your stocking, and stick them half way down the back. During the test, stick your leg back and I’ll read the words, you can see them when you bring your leg forward. OK?”
We got caught. I accepted full blame. Got a zero and watched it get dark outside.
Doing the crime, well worth the time.
Do you like old New York City photos and stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
The book has 111 Amazon five star reviews out of 111 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs.
You can also purchase my photography portfolio, "River to River - New York Scenes From a Bicycle" on Amazon.
The New York Arts & Science Salon ~ September 24th @ 7pm to 10pmMonterrey Terrace @ 175 East 96th Street.Storytelling, Full Dinner, Wine & Refreshments for $35The event is on a rooftop terrace with views of the NY skyline.
Art and life. At times, a blissful marriage. Other times, hell. September’s featured performers will tell stories exploring the blurry line between art & life.
Kiley Edgley is a blogger and former professional quiz writer. She writes about cultural observations, weird things that happen to her, and general nonsense. Read them at her blog: kwolverine.wordpress.com
Bassey Etim is a journalist and musician from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He lives in Brooklyn and runs the Community Desk at The New York Times. In 2011, Bassey released his debut novel "The God Project." His debut album "Perpetual Motion," is slated for fall 2015.
Thomas Pryor's memoir, “I Hate the Dallas Cowboys – tales of scrappy New York boyhood,” was published in 2014 (YBK). His blog: “Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts,” was chosen by The NewYork Times for their Blog Roll.
Marie Sabatino (Producer) has been writing stories since she was a little girl. and telling stories all over NYC for the past 10 years.You can find her work in publications such as, Mr. Beller's, Word Riot, Freerange Nonfiction, Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art & other places.
The event is on a rooftop terrace on the Upper East Side with wonderful views of the skyline.
Monterrey Terrace @ 175 East 96th Street.
Seating is limited, so please register without delay. The night includes presentations, dinner, wine and other beverages.Tickets are $35 until Sunday, September 20th ($40 after that) and must be purchased on line in advance. Register at this link.
contact: Alexandra Gagliardi
NY Arts & Sciences Salon