To this day, however, I do believe that to spare the rod, you spoil the child. Almost all of society’s problems come from the lack of parental and social discipline at home and school. You have to find balance in applying such principles, just as in all things within God’s wonderful universe. You can’t go from one extreme to the other, as people do these days in letting their kids run wild with no restraints whatsoever. Kids need discipline and guidance, and when they cannot find it they will continue thrashing about in frustration until they do. Sadly enough, in more and more American communities, they end up under the jurisdiction of the local police and law enforcement.
Around this time Ed and I found ourselves in competition time and again and it eventually soured our friendship. Being in different classes found us among different groups of friends as the two classes tended to fellowship amongst themselves. We still walked home together, but he tended to stray off towards a small group of girls who lived off Kane Street. He introduced me to the girls but he developed a crush on one in particular, Carmela Barone. He eventually picked a fight over her and got the edge over me, and our partnership came to an end.
Ed and I drifted apart over the years, though our trails appeared to overlap a number of times. His brother Joe began playing toy soldiers with my friend Mark and I, and we recreated just about every TV show or movie we could imagine, from superheroes to Westerns to war sagas. The arrival of the Reyes brothers in my life made things far more physical than my old friends could endure, however, and Ed nearly got his face punched off his head by both Kenny and Georgie when he tried to play the man one time. Joe went home crying after a bit of roughhousing, and Ed made the tragic mistake of coming up the street and shoving Kenny. That got him one of the biggest punches in the face I ever saw in my life. Georgie definitely wanted some of that, and soared in with an equally solid face shot. I think they got another one apiece before Ed went back home, wailing and crying like a girl in the schoolyard. Needless to say, he never crossed paths with the Reyes brothers again. To add insult to injury, Joe came back around after a time as if nothing happened.
A few years later, I saw that Ed was still playing the ladies’ man in hooking up with Gina, a cute Italian girl from down the street. I remember that her Mom was quite a good-looking woman but, of course, she could have probably mopped the floor with me. Plus, I would’ve probably fainted if she even spoke to me. There were so many beautiful women in the area back in the day, it’s an enormous credit to Manny that he never went astray. Then again, the Lord helped me withstand severe temptation during my marriage to Debbie in SA as I was surrounded by incredibly sexy women myself. From my childhood, I remember this stunning redheaded woman who came daily to pick up Philip Montana at St. Paul’s. I had fantasies of morphing into my comic book hero, the Sub-Mariner, and whisking her off to Never-Neverland with me. There was also Vicki, a barmaid at Angelo’s, who was Mark and my own living, breathing Ann-Margret. I have a sneaking suspicion that my friend John Yodels named his daughter after her.
(To be continued...)