Aug 1, 2014

Babysitter #1

formerly Eastern Junior High School

My friend Mary MacMillan thinks I should write a memoir because it would be so full of crazy people and unbelievable events.  While its true that I lived a life that could rival David Sedaris’, I wouldn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, including the people who survive the crazy but already dead people in my life.  One exception, “Mac” says, would be my mother who “really wouldn’t give a s**t.”  That is probably true.  My mother lived by one rule, and that was that rules were made to be broken.  One of her life’s  missions was to lighten up my father who was as straight as an arrow can be and who spent a lot of his time huffing, puffing and muttering under his breath.  Mac particularly remembers one time when her Dad came to pick her up and tried to make friendly conversation with my Dad who was raking the yard.  All my father could muster at the time was “Goddamn kids.”

But this is a story about our baby sitter, who was also my Mother’s hairdresser, Mike Spezzano.  Mike did not baby sit for us when we were young because by the time we had moved to Connecticut my brother and I were practically teenagers who could have stayed home by themselves.  If anybody trusted us.  Which, wisely, even my Mother did not.  We went to the local public school, Eastern Junior High School, and a significant number of our friends were toughs on the football team and from the heavily Italian neighborhood just over the Post Road.  These friends were particularly valuable to my brother, since they would gladly beat up anyone who picked on him, in hopes of getting a date with either me or Mac. Eastern Middle School, as it is now known is “Setting the Standard for Excellence,” an activity we did not participate in when we were there.

Mike Spezzano was hired specifically to make sure that all hell did not break loose when my parents were out.  My Mother undoubtedly loved the idea of all hell breaking loose and hoped that it would,  but that things would be back to normal by the time they got home. I have no idea why my Father thought Mike was there.

Mike was there to make sure that the kids who drank too much didn’t drive and if they were inexplicably ill he sent them out to the yard.  He was there to make sure no one went upstairs, and that no one (besides Cy Hobart) wrote their name on the ceiling of the playroom with a pool cue.  He was there to break up the couples who were making out.   He was there to make sure that any liquor that was drunk did not come from our house.  Most of all, he was there to kick everyone out before my Father came home.

As a special treat, Mike would take me and Mac (after everyone left) to Binney Park to go submarine watching.  If any of you are from the New York area , you will have memories of Cousin Brucie using this phrase that describes the act of (usually) teenagers steaming up car windows and our form of it was to watch the submarine watchers.  Mike is the first baby sitter I remember.  Evidently we did not need them when we were small.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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