With the recent passing of May Day, my thoughts turn to Nicky Fedora* [*not his real name. Jeanne has requested the we protect the privacy of a boy with whom she attended elementary school.] You see, Mr. Fedora was the very first boy to kiss our mother. “He gave me a big smacker,” Jeanne reported to her wide-eyed children.
Apparently, back in ye olden days, the first of May was a time of juvenile merriment and budding passion. Grade school swains ran around stealing smooches while reveling in the springtime. Our Jeanne, as a ravishing fifth grader, caught little Nicky’s eye. As I do every year on this date, I called to ask her if she’s thinking of her long ago Romeo. “Of, please,” she brusquely harrumphed, “I don’t think about Nicky Fedora ever. I can’t believe you ask about him.” Methinks the Lady doth protest too much.
Then again, by the time she was an alrmingly mature fifteen, Jeanne was busy batting her big brown eyes at her 22 year old paramour, Bob. Wow. She must have been one hot number. Still in high school, already landing a Harvard College graduate. He’s lucky he didn’t get arrested before he made an honest woman out of her.
The first time Jeanne invited Bob for dinner, he queried, “Don’t you need to tell your mother I’m coming over?” to which she shot back, “Oh, I already told her.” Not shy. Not insecure. Only underage. (At least I know from whence my hussy side springs.)
Apparently our grandparents, did not mind in the least that their socially precocious offspring was throwing herself at an older man. In their generation, if a guy was Jewish and didn’t have a criminal record, he was a suitable marriage candidate. That’s all it took. Nana Julia and Grandpa Haskell were, in Jeanne’s words, “the only Jewish parents unwilling to spring for their children’s college educations,” so Bob came along just in time to scoot Jeanne out of their household.
Over in Bob’s family, you not only had to go to college, you had to go to Harvard. And then spend the rest of your life talking about the fact that you went there. Ha!, his lofty academic pedigree was wasted on Jeanne’s folks.
Happy May Day, Nicky Fedora, wherever you are. You should have held onto Jeannie when you had her.