Monday, July 30, 2012

We Were All Supposed To Be Friends

We were all
Supposed to be
The best of friends
Just one big
Happy family
The Markfields and the Weinsteins
Next door neighbors
And we were
(At least
For a bit)

Our fathers
(Mr. Bernard Weinstein
And my foster father/brother
Irwin Markfield)
Were business partners
And distant cousins by marriage
And together they built
a thriving CPA business

We even lived in
Identical ranch houses
With very large
Living room windows
(Known as
Picture windows
At the time)
All of us were
Jews and

Pioneers because
We were among
The first Jewish families
To colonize the
East End of Long Island
(Prior to that
(The East Enders of that era,
The old money types,
Were mortified that a flood
Of new money types from
You know where,
Were going to flood
This last citadel of
New England blue bloods
And turn the whole place into
Coney Hampton!)

Well the blue bloods were right!
What’s the world coming to
When the likes of us
Could show up
To (gasp!) shop on main street
And to (gasp!) buy homes that were
Formerly owned by
WASP’s only
(Thereby contaminating their
Lily white world)
They may not
Have put on white sheets with
Pointy hats to burn crosses on
Our front lawns
But I do distinctly remember
The No Coney Hampton signs
And the no Jews allowed
Restricted policies of the
Private country clubs
But I digress

I spent as much time
Playing and eating at
The Weinstein’s house
As I did at my own
We kids played
Ping Pong
Lawn croquet
Chinese checkers
And especially

(The board game of
Was a blood sport
The way we played it!)

And Mrs. Weinstein
Always put out
Plenty of treats
For us kids to eat
(Just something
To nosh on
As she would say)
(More treats than we
Ever had at home
Where extra helpings of
Sweets were always taboo)
(And they weren’t
Just any sweets
They were the Jewish kind
With sesame and halvah
And marzipan
And dried fruits
 Of all kinds)

However this idyllic
State of affairs
Was not destined to last
When the two senior
Partners in the firm
Had a falling out over
Who knows what
(We kids were never told
The reasons why
We were all supposed
To be kissin cousins one day
And the Hatfield’s
And the McCoy’s the next!).

I miss those early times
I miss the easy camaraderie
The proximity of good friends
The sharing of intimacies

The discoveries of adolescence
The silly crushes and feuds
The whispered secrets
The promises to be
Best buds forever

The senior partners
Never did reconcile
And alas
Neither did we
With the passage
Of enough time
We all eventually
Grew up
And we all went
Our separate ways

And the big
Weeping Willow
Tree that had stood for decades
In our backyard  is gone as well

That was
The big Weeping Willow
Where I carved
My initials and a big heart
With the initials of the
Weinstein’s oldest daughter

Sure it hurts to remember
These things
And it does make me sad
That things turned out
The way that they did

Whenever I drive by
The old homestead these days
I can still hear the shouts
Of children playing
And ping pong
Lawn croquet
Two hand touch

We’ve all just become
Merely ghostly shadows of
Our former selves

One of these days
I’m going to get
Out of my car
And knock on the
Weinstein’s front door

Hello Mrs. Weinstein
Do you think
It would be okay
If Elaine
Could come out
To play?

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012


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