A 20-Year-Old’s Diary Entries From September, 1971
by Richard Grayson
Wednesday, September 1, 1971
September brought with it relief and change. I got up at 6 AM and went through the early morning traffic to Shelli’s house. It was cool, almost-autumn morning, and we drove downtown to Court Street. As we parked the car in a lot and walked to Planned Parenthood – in the same building where my draft board office is – Shelli was scared and I was, too.
We arrived before 9 AM, when it opened and the nurses and staffers arrived. They took the girls in for a urine sample and I was worried when she didn’t come out with the others for a while. She finally did, saying she’d just had her period.
All of us went in for a rap session. I was the only guy there – the woman in charge said they were always glad to see boys show up – and it was fun as we discussed all the various birth control devices. I learned a lot, and they gave us coffee and donuts.
Then the girls went in for their gynecological exams. Even though Shelli had gotten her period – I assumed she wasn’t just lying again to protect my feelings – I was still worried.
But as I waited, I talked with his woman who had brought her daughter. She had been going to Planned Parenthood for twenty years, she told me, and said how great they were and that I would be glad we came.
Shelli came out looking happy. They gave us a two-month supply for pills at nominal cost (I paid, of course) and then we returned back to my neighborhood to eat lunch at the Floridian. We were so happy and relieved and in love.
We did some errands for Mom and then drove over to Brooklyn College. All the freshmen were going through orientation; I feel so ancient, being a junior. Shelli gave her stories to Mendy, but I studiously avoided him.
Elihu, Slade and I threw around a frisbee, and we talked with Colin, who’s a real creep, and met Elspeth’s friend Roz, who’s an entering freshman.
Elspeth’s decided to pay Ray and his girlfriend for the first month’s rent; she’ll give it to him tomorrow night at Mark’s party. We went to see Peter Amato and discussed the projected Lampoon-like publication that we’re going to try and put out.
I drove Shelli to her house, kissed her gently and lovingly, and came home. She keeps having to make excuses when Avis’s mother calls to ask for her, since Avis told her parents she’s staying at Shelli’s when Avis is really at Scott’s all week, of course.
Bobby is leaving for school in Gainesville soon. He’s been so upset by that girl that he liked blowing him off that he’s dated a different girl every night this week.
Mikey called and said he and the gang had a meeting and decided to put out a list of good and lousy teachers. Mikey put Mike and Leon in charge, and they expect to have it for Club Fair on Friday.
Gary sent a postcard from Montreal. In his inimitable style, he writes, “I’m in love . . . with an extraordinary city.”
Things are just beginning and I’m already exhausted.
Friday, September 3, 1971
So much has happened in the past 24 hours. Shelli called me last night from the party with startling news. Mark, prodded by Ruth and Marty, announced that he and Consuelo got married last Sunday at his parents’ home. I could hardly believe it: my old buddy, a married man.
My sinuses were no better today and I felt extremely uncomfortable all day. Shelli got home last night with Leon and Robert, and this morning we had to go to Club Fair, held in SUBO.
I brought oaktag and magic markers and joined Mikey in signing up prospective members for the Mugwumps. Shelli and Slade came by, and we had a good time talking to the bewildered freshmen.
But Shelli had very bad news that she got when Elspeth called her early this morning: Jerry’s mother died during the night.
Everyone was at Club Fair: all the people I know from Kingsman (their table fell on my foot); Hillel; Forensics; Gay People; Student Government, represented by Harvey, Linda and Craig; and more.
Things were pretty chaotic. The Spigot came out with the teacher listings, and Mendy and Juan got many kids to sign up.
I went home at noon, put on a tie and jacket and went to Jerry’s mother’s funeral at Sherman’s on Coney Island Avenue. It was very sad. As I watched the hearse drive away, I spoke to Elspeth, who was extremely upset. She was angry that no one else from school had come.
Jerry is still in Europe, and his father says that Jerry “killed” his mother.
I went back to SUBO and was so glad to see Shelli and Slade that I practically hugged them out in the street. Mike and Leon’s teacher listings came out, and Elihu and Joel helped distribute them.
I talked to tons of people I hadn’t seen in a while – Elan Steinberg, Allen Rychtman, Peter, Larry, Evan, Ralph. Everyone talked about Mark’s marriage; the betting on the grapevine is that Consuelo is pregnant.
After I dropped Slade off at the projects, Shelli and I came home. We had a precious afternoon of lovemaking, but tonight I just felt too sick again to go out, so she walked over to Scott’s to teach him and Avis how to tie-dye. I have an appointment to see Dr. Fletcher tomorrow. I probable need that strong medicine he gave me back in February.
How complicated our lives get.
Monday, September 6, 1971
A humid, hazy Labor day. My sinuses cleared up, and I woke up feeling a lot better. I had a late breakfast and then spoke to Shelli, who was really busy planning her get-together this afternoon. She hasn’t heard from her parents in Canada yet.
She was a bit upset that Slade and Terry couldn’t make it after all because they had to spend the day with their families.
I went to the liquor store across from Kings Plaza on Flatbush and Avenue U and bought Boone’s Farm Apple Wine and Yago Sangria, then I got ice and drove to Shelli’s house.
Everything was set up nicely by the time I arrived, and Shelli already had her first two guests, Elspeth and Melissa.
Surprisingly, Elspeth paid me back the money she owed me for Slade’s present. She told me about this fantastically beautiful guy she met last night: he’s 23, 6’2”, with blond hair and blue eyes. Only one problem: tomorrow he goes on trial for grand larceny.
Melissa seems tired of cruising Kings Highway to look for guys every night (her now-ex-boyfriend hasn’t called her in weeks), and she was on the prowl today, but I expect she left disappointed because Shelli had told her about Slade and Mason, and neither showed.
Scott came in, tired and sweaty, and when he took off his shirt, Melissa’s eyes grew wide. (For some reason, girls think Scott is very attractive, but I’m oblivious to his physical appeal.) But of course, Avis soon arrived, and that was that for Melissa.
Later I learned that Scott thinks he probably has syphilis; he’s going to a doctor tomorrow.
Allan looked fine – his hair is all kinky again – and he said he loved Europe. Elihu came with Elayne, who also just got home from Europe. She lost a lot of weight and now has bangs and looks very pretty, and Elayne is as serenely sharp and affectionate as ever.
The last to arrive were Gary and Bobby (separately, since they’d never met before). Gary got back from Canada last night and said his trip was great.
Bobby must have been uncomfortable being with all those strangers, but I like him enormously. He leaves for Gainesville next Saturday.
Shelli was an excellent hostess; she made so much food. I think the party was a major success.
Allan came home with me to get my teacher listings and we had a hysterical time.
Tonight I went back to Shelli’s and we played Risk as Melissa looked on. When I drove her down Kings Highway to her house, Melissa said she wanted to go out with Gary; now that’s an unlikely couple.
Wednesday, September 8, 1971
At 1 AM, Shelli called; her grandmother had fallen out of bed, and she was frantic. She ended up staying awake the whole night, sitting in a chair by her grandmother’s bed.
Really kind of depressed this morning, I was still happily surprised to get my postcard from Mr. Viola, who gave me an A in Contemporary Art. Mom and I washed the car, then she dropped me off at the school.
I spotted Mikey, Elihu and Jill on the wall. They said Jerry was here, that he’d come back from Europe. But Elihu and Jill spoke disdainfully – Mikey, of course, is never disdainful of anyone – saying that Jerry seemed affected and spoke with an accent and carried a handbag.
I went into LaGuardia to speak with Dean Smith when I found Jerry sitting with Leon, Marty and Ruth. We didn’t say much; I didn’t know what to say.
But Jerry talked to Leon and me about his trip, and Leon and I kept smiling, knowing that Jerry was just talking, that it wasn’t really what he wanted to be talking about.
Shelli and Elspeth came from the registration room and Shelli said we should go to lunch. Jerry first declined, then decided to join us at the pizzeria. He spoke to Elspeth for the first time in my memory and maybe for the first time since their broken engagement. It was such a strange scene, the four of us sitting there.
The girls went into Barron’s, and Jerry talked about the letter I wrote him about Shelli and Jack. He’s staying with his father in Staten Island, and it’s rough. All the mirrors were covered for shiva and he cut himself shaving a lot.
We were all sitting around the lobby – Shelli was sitting in my lap – and we heard Jerry tell Elayne that he’d been doing nothing but crying for the past two days. I couldn’t take it and went out to talk to Slade, who’s now a stringer for the New York Times. He interviewed me about my impressions of Brooklyn College.
Tired, I kissed Shelli goodbye and headed home, walking off campus with Ronna and Susan; Ronna’s been ill and thinks she has mono.
Back home, I called Gary, who said he fared okay at registration. Later, I picked up Shelli at Dr. Russett’s and drove her home. She said she talked with Jerry and he cried as they took a long walk.
Jerry told her that I love her a lot, and they had to avoid Jack. Jerry said he still cares for Elspeth, but now she hangs around with drug addicts and creeps like Greg. Poor Jerry – I love him so.
I drove Mrs. Nelson home to Brownsville. She said she kept Shelli’s grandmother awake all day so she would sleep through the night tonight.
Dr. Wouk called and we made an appointment for Monday. Where I go from here with therapy, I don’t know.
Thursday, September 9, 1971
Life is weird. Tonight I got very upset by a statement Jerry made to Shelli yesterday: that in the beginning she was protected by me, but now I’m the insecure one and less stable than she is.
“Things fall apart / The center cannot hold.” I don’t know. I know I’m too dependent on her. Somewhere along the line she became the dominant one in our relationship. I used to be Richie Grayson, but now people think me of me as Shelli’s boyfriend, unable to function without her.
I need to feel like a man again, and intentionally or not, Shelli has taken away my masculinity. I need to go out with other girls.
I didn’t go to school until after lunch, finding Elihu, Jill, Mikey and Leon in front of LaGuardia. Shelli came a little while over, and while she was looking out over the quadrangle, she spotted Saul. He came up to her, kissed her and they started talking.
While I was watching them, I sat down on the quad and was talking to Elayne with my hands on the grass when I felt a sort of pin-like sticking in my finger. A bee had stung me. It hurt like the devil, and Gary told me to go to the nurse.
I called Shelli, who at first seemed to be annoyed to be taken away from Saul, and she went with Gary and me to the infirmary, where the nurse treated it. I rushed to registration in Roosevelt to make my appointment time.
That gym was so awfully hot and humid that Gary felt faint, so Shelli went with him outside. She wanted to help Saul out with registration, so I left her there after I finished and went back to LaGuardia.
Later, when we drove Gary home, Shelli said Saul was unable to register until tomorrow. We went to my house to eat, and then I took her back to school to pull registration cards with Elspeth.
Tonight we were talking about Saul when she told me what Jerry said about how unequal our relationship had become. It scared me very much, made me feel as if my world were falling apart.
I’ve got to get out of this, finally – and not just for my own good. I’m holding Shelli back. Tomorrow we have a tennis lesson, and I’m definitely not looking forward to it.
Sunday, September 12, 1971
I woke up during the night and watched a raging thunderstorm; it was frightening, yet I felt very secure being inside on such a stormy night.
I spoke with Shelli early today and we decided to go to the movies with Avis. I spent the morning reading the Times – about the prison riot at Attica upstate, the one-man (Thieu) South Vietnam election and other assorted garbage.
Mom and Dad had to go to Norman and Diane’s engagement party in Belle Harbor, and I left the house about the same time they did. At Shelli’s house, her parents gave me an imported leather wallet they bought in Montreal; her mother said they enjoyed their trip.
At Avis’s apartment, she told us that Scott has taken a job in a candy store and was working all through last night so he told her not to call him today. She thinks Scott is some sort of god, but I notice that he hurts her. Like, he gets very agitated if someone refers to Avis as his girlfriend and he orders her about, sort of.
We went into Georgetown to see The Love Machine, based on the Jackie Susann sex novel. It was so awful, with every cliché in the book, that it was kind of campy and funny. Shelli had diarrhea during the movie, and after we dropped Avis off at her place, Shelli and I talked in the car.
A light drizzle started falling as I held her. She felt feverish and said she had a stomachache and went inside. I came home at the same time Mom and Dad did; they said the party was very nice.
Up in my room, I called Gary, who spent the weekend in Manhattan, going to a “swinging singles” bar, seeing 1776 with Bob, and sleeping over at the Pace dormitory. He said he had a hangover.
Allan wanted me to go to the movies with him at Kings Plaza tonight, but I couldn’t sit through another film.
I spoke to Shelli before and after The First Churchills. She was feeling really ill, and I’m trying to get her to see a doctor. I love her very much. Tonight it seemed like I was the strong one and she had to lean on me.
Tomorrow the New York City public schools open and Jonny and Marc start school.
Tuesday, September 14, 1971
When I arose this morning, it was sunny and I felt very good, at peace. I didn’t want to go to the college today, as I’ll be going there almost every day for a long time once the fall semester begins and everything settles down and becomes routinized.
Shelli and I decided to meet for lunch in Kings Plaza, so I spent the morning puttering around the house. I got a couple of packages of books in the mail and spent some time looking through them.
After I walked over to the mall, I waited for Shelli at the Pants Set. Helen, the manager, said business is picking up. When Shelli came along, we went to eat at Cooky’s.
She keeps referring to this guy on the football team and what a good piece of ass he is; I assume it’s all a big joke, of course. As she and I walked around after lunch, Shelli bought underwear, tennis balls and appliqué for jeans or a work shirt.
I was saying that I have to buy some new fall clothes when I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder; it was Barry from my Acting class and we talked for a few minutes. Then Shelli and I walked back to my house.
Mom had good news for us. Marc passed his road test on the first try (not like on the third time like his older brother). But he has to wait until he turns 17 next year to get his license.
Shelli and I made out for a while and she tried on a new nightgown for me. Gary called to tell us that he saw Mikey today, and there will be a Mugwump meeting tomorrow. He said he also ran into Dick, who’s trying to get a job as a copy boy with the New York Post.
Shelli and I went down the block to Avenue N to the American Legion hall, where I voted in the Democratic primary. My first vote – and all I could vote for was two out of three candidates for Civil Court Judge, the only offices on the ballot.
All the election ladies seemed shocked to see such a young long-haired freak participate in the democratic process. They kept staring at me and one sort of rolled her eyes. Of course, people under 21 could never vote before today.
On the way to drop Shelli home, I went with her as she voted in Meyer Levin, my old junior high. I walked around, and it was really freaky, as I spent a good part of the years 1962 to 1965 there.
Big day tomorrow. I start my junior year of college.
Wednesday, September 15, 1971
A hectic day. On campus this morning, it was just as if summer had never happened. There were more crowds than ever this year at school, and it made me dizzy. I was walking in the mass of people with Richie Greenberg and he said, “You may call me a fascist but at least I wasn’t for open admissions and all these people.”
In LaGuardia, I saw Shelli and Jay before she went off to her tennis class. I was walking with Elayne when Jack approached me; he was friendly and we talked about our classes.
Terry and I went to Poli Sci 47.1, European Political Systems, and found Mikey, Liz and Steve Katz in our class. We have a good teacher, Vince Fuccillo, whom Terry has a crush on, and hopefully it will be interesting.
After class, Scott, Avis, Shelli and went to the Pub for lunch. After half an hour sitting there without being served, I said we should walk out, but they didn’t want to, so I walked out by myself.
Shelli was very mad at me for leaving, but on the way back from getting a takeout sandwich, I saw all three of them had also walked out without having been served. I had my sandwich in front of LaGuardia and talked to Robert, who got an apartment near Columbia, where he will start graduate school soon. He likes Alice very much.
I walked into the student government office and talked with Harvey, who says he has no one to help him as President, not even his friends from his party and fraternity.
I went to Anthro 9 with Mason. It’s a course on the Anthropology of Race, and the teacher, Prof. Dorothy Hammond, is very good, but I think I’m going to drop the course because 18 credits is just too much for me.
Exhausted after a long, crowded day and a kind of culture shock, reentering the world of college after a quiet summer, I went home for a while. But I came back to school tonight for the Mugwump meeting.
We elected our officers: Mikey (party chairman), Mike (assistant chairman), Elspeth (secretary) and Allan (treasurer). Shelli was upset that she wasn’t elected to anything and that Elihu told her she was too “unstable” and that Mike made a joke about her weight.
She said she doesn’t want to hang out in LaGuardia anymore, that the people there are sick. Perhaps she’s right.
Later, I spoke to Alice, who spent the weekend in Washington with her brother, who’s now working at the State Department.
Grandma Sylvia and Grandpa Nat went to the Catskills already, even though the Jewish holidays don’t start till next week.
Friday, September 17, 1971
This morning in LaGuardia, everyone was reading the first issue of Kingsman. I was surprised that Karen did a really good job as editor. The best thing in the paper was a term paper written jointly by Marty, Bob and Jon Z on the Brooklyn College power structure.
Elspeth asked me to walk her to the post office to buy postcards to announce the next Mugwump meeting. She and Teresa went to Albany last weekend, and Elspeth slept with a guy and now thinks she’s pregnant (already?). Also, Jessie, a freshman at Albany, lost her virginity and now is upset because her guy is seeing Teresa’s sister.
Steve Katz and I went to Poli Sci together. Today Vince discussed concepts of power and the state. I met Shelli after class and we went to lunch with Stacy and Timmy, not exactly two of my favorite people.
After lunch, Stacy and Shelli went to the Psych Department and I went to pass the time with Mrs. D, Abe and Allan. Abe says he’s thinking of running for City Council. I’d support him sooner than I’d support Hal, who also says he wants to run.
Incidentally, I think Hal got Ivy pregnant, because he was going around asking people if they knew a good gynecologist. I told him Planned Parenthood is great and that Mom uses Dr. Silverman, the brother of the opera singer Beverly Sills, who delivered Jonny.
We all sat around outside – Leon, Stanley, Shelli, me, Mikey, Allan, Terry – making witty remarks and talking about people who weren’t there.
Then, pretending I was in Allan’s bowling class, I took the bus with him to Gil Hodges Lanes and walked home the seven blocks from there. Norman was on the bus and I said hello; when Allan asked me who he was, I told him “my uncle’s future brother-in-law who worked for my father.”
Shelli was upset about her father. Since he got back from Canada, he won’t go back to work. He just sits around the house, very depressed. He’d had this problem with depression before and needed shock treatments last time. Dr. Russett recommended a psychiatrist for her father, and I hope he does some good.
We went to Kings Plaza and visited Terry and Kjell, who work in Macy’s. Kjell took an apartment three blocks from here.
Gary called tonight, worried about his hair length for the National Guard meeting tomorrow.
Sunday, September 19, 1971
One of those dark, drizzly autumnal Sundays that usually depresses me. And I was depressed even more because I broke out with a wretched cold overnight.
I stayed up very late. Shelli and I both decided we’d watch Citizen Kane on television. It was a stunning movie, even when seen for the third time, but I’m afraid I shouldn’t have stayed awake for so long. I woke up feeling really rotten.
I spent the morning kvetching, I spent the afternoon kvetching, and I spent the evening kvetching.
Reading the Sunday papers, I see there are still reverberations from this week’s Attica prison massacre, where police killed a number of inmates as well as the hostages they were holding. The big blame goes to Governor Rockefeller. I’m so disgusted over this outrage.
Going out to Courtesy Drugs, I bought lozenges, cold capsules, Bufferin and Rolaids: all the stuff I need to doctor myself. It’s just a common cold, but it’s annoying: runny nose, postnasal drip, body aches, sore throat – the whole schmeer.
Shelli came over later in the day and cheered me up a little. We played Risk, and I won although she cheats incessantly and brazenly. Before sundown and the start of Rosh Hashona, Shelli’s father came to pick her up. Apparently his depression is not getting better, and that’s making life tough for Shelli.
I’ve got an idea – the germ of a story – about me and Shelli and Elspeth and Jerry, but I haven’t found a style or form for it yet.
Feeling blah tonight – my head feels heavy with congestion and devoid of any wit – I tried to watch Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, but found the plot vomitous and switched to The First Churchills.
So the Jewish New Year begins tonight: the year 5722 or something like that. I really have nothing to write tonight.
Friday, September 24, 1971
A bright, cool fall day. Last night I got my first restful sleep in many nights.
I woke up feeling pretty well and I called Shelli, but I was dismayed to hear her sounding awful: she caught my cold. So has Dad. This morning he was searching my room for some Contac.
Anyway, I decided to go to BC. It was good to get back; the first thing I noticed was that there was fence put up around the LaGuardia grass. Also I found that I got a Student Government mailbox.
The first people I found were Elspeth, Jill and Stanley. It was good to see everybody again. I picked up a copy of Kingsman and was again surprised to see that Karen’s doing a pretty good job. Shelli’s picture in the paper looked really cute.
I went with Terry to Poli Sci, where Fuccillo lectured on support and legitimacy. As we walked out of class, I spoke with Mikey, who said he was planning another Mugwump meeting.
Back in LaGuardia, Gary said hello and said that Shelli was on campus and had gone to see Dr. Whipple to get a room in SUBO for our Lampoon meeting with Peter Amato.
Leon was making up his EXCO (Experimental College) budget, and Bill Breitbart sent out notices of the Assembly meeting on Monday. Mrs. D typed up my minutes from the June meeting.
Everyone seems to be getting over colds: Elihu, Marty, Ruth, and Renee, who said she ran a fever. When she came in, Shelli looked really awful, and I felt so guilty about making her ill.
I was still kind of weak myself – after all, I had been in bed for days – and took a taxi home. I started writing down ideas for the things I’d like Student Government to do this term, and I also started a scrapbook of my clippings and Shelli’s. Things are looking up.
Unfortunately, poor Shelli had to have the doctor come over tonight for her cold and he told her to stay in bed for at least the weekend. What a week of sickness!
Sunday, September 26, 1971
I am tired and bleary-eyed. Last night at 8 PM, Channel 13 began a one-shot marathon version of The Forsyte Saga, all 26 episodes back to back, and I watched most of them. I spoke to Shelli several times during the day, and she only missed seeing two episodes.
Watching the Forsytes in their entirety is about the most memorable television-watching experience I’ve ever had. That goes for radio, movies and even books, I guess. I feel as though I’ve been living with Jo, Soames, Michael, Fleur, Irene and the others from the Victorian era until the Twenties.
What a decadent form of entertainment! I feel beastly. (See, just until now I didn’t realize I was expressing myself like a character in Galsworthy.)
There’s a tendency in modern literary criticism to put down Galsworthy, but I think he created a remarkable series of novels. I’ve read them all several times and now I’ve seen the TV series three times and it’s affected my view of writing greatly. I am enamored – no, perhaps obsessed – by the idea of creating something similar.
Of course today there are no families like the Forsytes. I think that’s the mistake I made with the Tate family stories that came out of my “Reflections on a Village Rosh Hashona.”
My idea now is a novel, a long modern soap opera by people bound together, not by blood, but by youth and friendship, specifically like the crowd at school: a LaGuardia Hall saga, if you will.
They say everyone’s got one good novel in them, and I know that this one could be great. But so far, it’s no go. Someday I hope to have it all down on paper. Well, I’m sounding rather fanatic about the whole thing.
I’ve still felt dreadfully weak from my cold. I don’t know why this virus won’t go away. Now Jonny’s got it too. And Shelli’s still ill. Bless her for watching the whole show. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed it half as much if she didn’t watch it.
Grandma Ethel and Grandpa Herb dropped by on their way back home to Rockaway from the hospital where they visited poor Mrs. Luria.
I was out of the house like for a minute today, and of course that’s when Juan called.
Tuesday, September 28, 1971
I went off to the college in the dreary fog early this morning. They were just setting up the new Grapevine student information center as I walked into LaGuardia lobby.
I grabbed a copy of ken, the evening students’ paper, and read Slade’s new creative writing column: his usual metaphorical stuff, pretty good. Elspeth took a photo of me, and then Stanley and I went off to English.
In class, Prof. Merritt read us some Blake poems and showed slides of his paintings. Although I like him, somehow it’s always been hard for me to get excited about Blake.
Prof. Berkowitz again arrived late for our American Foreign Policy class, but when he finally appeared, he gave a very good introductory lecture. Scott, who sat next to me, was debating about whether to observe Yom Kippur; in the end, he spent four hours in shul tonight.
Back in LaGuardia, I sat talking with Jill and Gary about next year’s presidential election and the youth vote. Muskie’s remark saying the country wasn’t ready for a black vice president may have cost him a lot of votes.
In the SG office, I arranged with Mrs. D for a mailbox for Lance, the new rep sworn in yesterday. “The Government Report,” edited by Juan, came out in today’s issue of the house plan association newspaper Calling Card. It was pretty terrible, and Harvey and Craig told me they were dissatisfied with it.
I learned from Mendy that Kang got into a medical school at the last minute – but it’s in Belgium and he had to leave quickly over the weekend to start classes this week. It seems like no one, no matter how smart, can get into a U.S. medical school these days.
I saw Shelli today only between classes for a minute. In the afternoon, I sat around the lobby with Leon, Alan Karpoff’s twin brother Carl and this girl Amy, who were drinking Sangria.
Leon said this year’s Safari Awards will be held in late December or early January so that Jane and Jon Z and others in grad or law school can come. I hope this time he invites Shelli.
As the more religious people were leaving for the start of Yom Kippur – Carole said she was already to spend the holidays with Irving Itzkowitz’s family – I got a lift home from Allan, who was on his way to a job interview at Kings Plaza.
Later, I returned to school with the Pontiac, finding Elihu, Mikey ad Avis sitting on the steps in front of LaGuardia.
I waited for Shelli outside her Bio lab and drove her home. In the car, before she went up, we kissed and petted and embraced. God, how my lips had missed hers.
Tonight I spoke to Jerry, who got a response from a literary agent about his book of poems. He’s still living at his father’s in Staten Island, still job hunting, still depressed. I want to see him soon.
Melissa called Shelli tonight and said she and her family are moving to Florida soon.
Speaking of Florida, Shelli got a letter from Bobby in Gainesville and he sounded better now that’s he’s back in school. I know it must be hard, but I hope Bobby throws himself into life at UF and forgets that stupid girl.
It’s good being one with Shelli again.
Wednesday, September 29, 1971
The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Years ago, to the dismay of my parents, I stopped observing the holiday.
But still there’s something left: nothing Jewish, but some kind of feeling there. Or maybe it’s just the mood of quiet melancholy and contemplation that has settled on me tonight.
Today was very Indian Summer-ish: sunny and warm. At first Shelli wanted to go out to a Chinese restaurant so that we could eat pork and be very un-Jewish.
(Grandpa Herb, a devout atheist, said rebellious atheist Jews like his father used to eat pork on Yom Kippur even in the 1800s back in Europe, though my socialist great-grandfather didn’t do that because he was a vegetarian who felt eating animals was immoral.)
Avis was supposed to join us, and so was Scott. But Shelli and I had this big fight and she said she didn’t love me anymore. Later, after some hang-up phone conversations, we made up and decided to spend the day outside, enjoying the sunshine.
But then Melissa and Allan both called Shelli and said they were lonely, so the four of us decided to go someplace together. I went over to Shelli’s place around 1 PM. She looked beautiful, wearing a vest that she made herself over a beige turtleneck. We drove around and made out at each red light.
When we picked up Melissa, she told us about the partnership in Miami that her father just got offered; they’re leaving as soon as they can sell their house.
The three of us met Allan by his house – his parents (who are also thinking of moving to Florida) refused to let him drive the car on Yom Kippur – and we went to this restaurant on Emmons Avenue, where we ate outside on tables facing Sheepshead Bay.
Allan didn’t get the job yesterday, he said. We drove over to Manhattan Beach and it was just right: cool breezes, few people, lots of sun. Shelli and I lay down on the sand as Allan and Melissa walked toward the ocean.
We were both so horny, we almost did it in public. It was ecstasy – but I felt uncomfortable going too far out in the open. So we got up and joined Allan and Melissa and sat on a log near the ocean on one side of the beach.
We watched the tide roll in, drew in the sand with twigs and our fingers, and felt the saltwater spray in our faces. But I could tell that something was wrong with Shelli, and later I found it what it was.
Last night she talked to Jerry after I hung up with him, and he asked her to go to dinner in Chinatown with him. She accepted and was feeling guilty about it.
I know I’m going to be hurt again, but going on the date with Jerry is the best thing for Shelli. We’re drifting apart. She’s now a woman, but I’m still a boy.