NICK, VINNY AND ME PART 1   Leave a comment

As a gay, Jewish kid in the Bronx I had many enemies and two Italian Catholic boys, for no reason that I know of, as they were the ‘enemy‘, started to stand up for me and a long story short I helped Nick meet Rose, a Jewish girl, and they have now been married 52 years. :O)

I lived in Pelham Parkway in the Bronx which, basically, had middle class Jews reaching for the upper middle class, and was (still is) considered an upscale neighborhood in the borough. Right across the street was the Italian section and though our schools were fully integrated with both sexes, all religions, many colors, each tended to ’stay with their own’.

I had just graduated from P.S 105 and went to what was referred to as ’junior high’ P. S 83 for 2 years before I would be going to Christopher Columbus high school. All 3 schools were in different areas but within walking distance at that age. (Heck I probably wouldn’t even be able to walk to either of them today!) This school happened to be in the heart of the Catholic community. I saw Nick and Vinny around school but it wasn’t until we were all going to high school that the following happened.

I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I was in the candy store on Lydig and Barnes when Nick and Vinny walked in and Nick approached. He asked if Rose and I were going steady and I smiled saying that I was gay, that we were just good friends. I could see the shock on his face when I said I was gay (this was back in the 1940s) and he said that we should go outside, that he wanted to talk to me. I was a little hesitant because he had a reputation for being a gang leader and I wasn’t looking for any trouble but it turned out that he thought I had ‘balls’ for saying that out loud in a public place. After he guaranteed that he and Vinny would protect me anytime I needed and I assured him that I didn’t need protection he brought the subject around to Rose and asked if I would like to introduce her to him. I told him I would the next day in school but I warned him that Rose’s parents were not only very strict but, as he knew, she was Jewish and he wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms.

During this whole time Vinny didn’t say much but kept on giving me strange looks.


Posted December 17, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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