Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lakehurst, New Jersey, Downtown - 1963

About a mile, maybe less, from the gates of NAS Lakehurst was the town of Lakehurst. You can see from end to the other of the downtown business district. Count the traffic lights.

We frequented a laundry you can almost see on the right. It was ran by an elderly Jewish couple with numbers tattooed on their hands and their two daughters or granddaughters, who were boy crazy.

There were two churches and four bars in town. I know the all four bars stayed crowded, I don’t know about the Churches.

On a little side street was a sweet little house with a white picket fence bordering the small yard. Inside, if the residents were home were three people, a sweet little girl that usually was seen hugging a doll, and her two parents, both drunk – the father, the sailor quietly drunk, and the mother raging drunk and cursing. Lets call them Lucy and O.

O was our immediate superior. Lucy felt it was her duty to give us a home cook meal from time to time, which each time ended in a disaster.

Lucy was banned from the four bars in town because the physical fights she had in each one of them. New Years Eve 1963 us friends just got out of our car and were going into one bar – the told us they were have free food in buffet line-up on NYE Lucy approached us in the parking lot and wanted to go in with us. She said they probably wouldn’t way anything because she was with us. They did. They told her to leave. She said she had changed, she would not cause any trouble and just quietly drink with her friends, meaning us. She was even convincing to us – we told them we would vouch for her. They talked back and forth and they would just about to ease up on her and allow her in saying, “well, if you promise… we know how you drunks get….”

That was the wrong thing to say. Lucy said, “I am not a fucking drunk!” and grabbed a pool ball off the pool table and threw it and broke a window.

They told us all to get the hell out and not come out. The food, the beef, fried chicken, potato salad, and all looked so good.

We drove off leaving Lucy in the parking lot daring them to come out. She was screaming they did not know how to treat a fucking lady, so she wanted them to come out so that fucking lady could whip their asses.

We debated since we said we would vouch for her behavior were we responsible for the window. We convinced ourselves no, because technically they had not accepted her in yet the deal wasn’t sealed. As a matter of principle, ahem!,, we stayed away from that bar a few months.

We found another bar.

Another time earlier that year Lucy invited us to eat and my friend Don said let him cook spaghetti. He knew how to cook an excellent spaghetti sauce. Lucy said oh boy, that sounded great. Before going to their house we stopped by a little grocery store to buy the ingredients and Don was really on cloud nine.

We thought it was a dinner just for Lucy, her daughter, and us two. O was on duty that night. She had invited two drunken women, trying to “fix us up” and a family of four which were some of Lucy drinking friends. We bought enough food for four and had to feed ten people. Where was Jesus when we needed him.

The brute man-guest dished out his portion first and left hardly any left and then he complained because there weren’t much left. Then, he asked for the catsup. I thought Don was going to kill over dead – killed by being insulted by his fine meal he prepared by someone wanting to douse it in catsup.

I kidded him about that catsup and the food was fit for a king for months.

About a block behind where I stood to take this picture was a lake down a side street. This is it. One time in the middle of winter my friend Sam took us to the lake and it was froze over. It looked like all the citizens of Lakehurst, young and old, turned out to enjoy a day of ice skating.

“Look! There goes the laundry girls skating by, they are pretty good!”

As you can tell, we returned in the summer.

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