First Thoughts … …
By F John Reinke
Since it’s a small wedding and Irish, they were immediately welcomed into the family. As if they’d never left. You have met Momma Diddy? And, they both knew one of the bosses, Mrs. Reinke, from AT&T, they did not feel out of place. Especially after Big John pronounced Mary Serizwold, Sir-Iz_wald, Serrizzewald, (OK, Mary with the big miggupies in my fat old white guy injineer terms.) as an official Irish lass, they were part of the family. You have met Big John right?
Despite pleadings of the family to join in the party, and sticking to their guns that they had to get home before curfew. Using the excuse that they had a long long trek, despite being given their choice of chauffeurs Mickey’s son John or Diddy’s son Peter, they demurred. Aunt Pattie and Aunt Rita were offered as chaperones. To prevent any appearance of impropriety. And, Mrs. Reinke would call both their Moms personally and immediately to get approval of the arrangement. They still persisted to take the Subway. So some of the wedding guests escorted them to the Subway, through the turnstiles — paying the token each — and stood with them on the platform. The train departed with everyone waving. These two young girls escaped the Venus fly trap and made it home safely.
(I have no reports of their reactions, discussions, or impressions. But later, any time the topic was discussed in the presence of Ms. Mahoney and Ms. Serizwald, there were looks between them, followed by hysterical laughter, and a joint trip to the ladies room. Some how, I don’t think they were impressed.)
The new Mrs. Joyce returns from the honeymoon and goes back to work. This fat old white guy injineer wanted to date a “foreign” girl. Jersey was pretty foreign. I’d dated young ladies from all over the “globe”. From as far south as Dykman Avenue and as far North as Crestwood NY (a glorified ritzy suburb of Yonkers). So as the man said “Go West, Young Man.” Where the wild women are. I asked my cousin, the new Mrs. Joyce, to be the Irish version of a Shadchen, what the uninformed would call a Yenta, you know a Matchmaker.
(At this point in the story there is a substantive disagreement on the facts of the matter. The two young ladies who might be crudely described by a less gentlemanly person as myself, as Gams and Muggupies. Shocking I know but there are males out there who do think that way. Or so I am told. I don’t know any like that. Nor would I associate with such that would do that. I’m sure that knowing my proclivities, I would have requested Muggupies; not Gams. The only other party to the transaction, Mrs. Joyce, insists I requested Gams. This issue is still in dispute. I assert that somewhere in this, someone’s thumb was on the scale. Ms. Joyce, being friends with both young women, may have had an agenda. Perhaps punishing her cousin for using such labeling. Perhaps now as an “old” married women, she knew what was best. Perhaps even there may have been some collusion, like a female tribal meeting, where some decision was made in the best interest of Little Johnny Reinke.)
After several reminders, she inquired if Ms. Mahoney would accept a call from Little Johnny Reinke. (Here too there is a further dispute as to the facts of the matter. Ms. Mahoney always maintained she was just doing Mrs. Joyce a favor to stop her cousin’s nagging. A pity date. On the other had, Ms. Joyce alleges that Ms. Mahoney was very eager and willing date such a young, handsome, and employed Little Johnny Reinke. Credibility is left to the jury.) In any event, a phone number was released. The call made. And the date set.
On the appointed date and time, Little Johnny Reinke arrives at the Eighth Street apartments, and presents himself. Upon admission, he introduces himself to the family, presents flowers to Mrs Mahoney, and a small corsage to Miss Mahoney. After the chit chat, the details of the date were discussed: displayed tickets for the 2030 show at Rockefeller Center movie theater. (I forget what we saw? Who was looking at the screen. She was a knock out.) Dinner before hand at (I forget the name — I think it was the Irish Pub on 48th and Sixth.) a name restaurant. Return was promised promptly 0005 hours. This late hour was necessitated by the movie and Rockettes stage show. With the caveat that there can always be traffic, but since we could use any of the Hudson River crossings that should not be a problem. If it was, one of us would call asap. The date happened.
(Here too there are disputes as to the facts of the matter. Miss Mahoney has asserted that Little Johnny Reinke never shut up and gave her a headache. Little Johnny Reinke still asserts that it was a pleasant non-committal evening. As a defense, Little Johnnie Reinke points to his reputation as the silent type. Neither party has ever commented as to what happened at the apartment door upon return.)
A second date was proposed. When Miss Mahoney asked what young Johnny Reinke had in mind. (Hey, out of the gutter. This was the mid-sixties PRIOR to “free love” hippie movement.) Little Johnny Reinke suggested joining a few of his friends at their usual Saturday hang out, The Red Garter in the West Village. He continued that his friends were the most courtly, considerate, and gentlemanly men of good character that she’d ever meet. And, that there would be at least two other young women there. Ms. Maire (who pronounced like French) and (What was the name of the Mountie that Fanning was dating?) For some reason, Miss Mahoney asked about the gentlemen and Little johnny Reinke described without hesitation. Then when asked why, Miss Mahoney disclosed the fact that she and her girl friends may have been there over the last two years. (Drinking age in NY 18; NJ 21) And, while she might quibble about some of the adjectives, she felt comfortable the venue. And the date locked in.
Blah, blah, flowers for Mom, small corsage for Miss Mahoney. Public transportation was to be used; Mom was given the keys. Since there was the very slight chance that some small modest amount of alcohol MIGHT consumed for the purposes of being sociable. And, since that was in and of itself dangerous, public transit was planned. As such, the 1205 curfew might have to be flexible since we were leaving at 1800, grabbing a snack, and our expected participation in the venue’s entertainment was to conclude at 2300, train delays might need to be expected. But, either Miss Mahoney or myself would call should that happen.
(Now again there are disputes about the facts of the matter.) Some witnesses recount it as the 60’s version of Girls Gone Wild; others described it as an Americanized version of a pre-Hitler German beer hall musical. Personally, due to the amounts and types of beverages consumed, as well as copious peanuts which further distorted the measurement, I don’t recall the details — there was table dancing, there was close contact due to the crowding, and there was ample time for conversation as long as there was mouth to ear or mouth to mouth contact. Exactly what was discussed and for how long is disputed. Miss Mahoney returned home at 0100 after the requisite phone call from the subway station. Weekend subway service is so unreliable. Car keys were retrieved from Mom while Little Johnny Reinke waited patiently on the landing. Miss Mahoney spent some time in conversation before a knock from inside sent little Johnny Reinke home at about 0200.
That was really it. I was hooked, line, and sinkered. After that date, I told several people that I met the girl I was going to marry. She, on the other hand, took a long while to come around to the idea. She was, like always, fun, intelligent, smart, lively, focused, determined, honest, faithful, charitable, disciplined, and demurely sexy in a way that would drive the boys wild. And those were nice GAMS. Even if they were hollow.
Maybe it was a match made in heaven. Maybe it would last a few years. Maybe we’d both be perfect for each other.
Maybe the new Mrs. Joyce was right.