The Yellow Chair
In an alley way behind old houses lies a story.
Fall 1969, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Pa.
A old pick up truck sits on cement blocks. No tires and it is raised from the ground.
There is an old camper shell that is on the back of the truck. A light is on inside the camper shell. Inside is a brown Russian bear named Coco and a young man Dominic that he is reading a book on gypsy magic.
The young man is very handsome, long dark hair, a scuffled beard. As the young man is reading his book inside the make shift room inside the camper. The bear is snoring.
At the other side of the alley is a garbage truck. It is early Saturday morning and the cans of garbage are lined up for pick up.
As the truck comes around the corner of the ally, churning and banging making loud noises. It hits the camper truck and knocks the truck off the cement blocks it was sitting on. The back door of the camper opens, the loud noises wakes up the bear and he runs out the door. Squealing and making frightening sounds. The young man in his underwear rushes out of the truck and chases after the bear.
The sun is rising and people are appearing early on the streets of this little town.
Squirrel Hill, a small town filled mostly with immigrants from Europe and Asia. Bakeries, butcher shops, vegetable markets, a barber shop and Chinese restaurant. Saturdays, most shops and restaurants on the street are closed. It’s a Jewish day of rest.
There are many religious people going to shule to pray and enjoy a day of rest. Most people are with their families.
As one such family is walking in progression. First the father, Rabbi Moskovits dressed in black with a fur hat, then follows the two sons also dressed in black wearing fur hats, his wife and daughters also follow. And last, the youngest teenage daughter named Anny lingers behind.
Anny is startled by a bear running passed her. Then the young man who is trying to catch his bear running in his underwear crashes into the young girl. He knocks her over. Their eyes meet. Embarrassed as he is in his underwear he runs away. But not before he falls in love with her. His heart felt a beat as he looked into her green blue eyes. As if their worlds had collided and nothing mattered between them. As though life became slow motion. As he ran away, he looked back to catch a glimpse. With a pain in his heart, he wanted to go back to her. He kept running away. Coco the bear was also running, but in the opposite direction.
Every year about this time, in the fall.
Just as the the leaves turn bright red and yellow. When there is still a warm breeze mixed with cool air. When an unexpected shower falls from the sky. As the clouds block the sun for a few moments. A circus comes to town.
There is a large caravan of trucks. Pulling tents and elephants and tigers in cages. Also, lions and bears. The small town is invaded with clowns. Tall ones on stilts, short ones riding bikes. And some clowns are crammed into an old Volkswagens Beatle bug. Beautiful long haired women with bright red lips and lots of eye make up. Even a fat woman with her short midget husband riding in an old pick up truck. Her in the back and he is driving barely seeing over the steering wheel.
In a baseball field outside of town. A huge tent is set up, men digging holes, wrapping ropes around thick poles and stretching the stripped green and white canvas materials to form a huge tent.
In the back stages of the circus, where the local pedestrians are not allowed, are the circus workers. Most of them are Gypsy people from around the world. Talking in a language that even I could not understand. Some juggling and others standing around a fire that was set into metal garbage cans roasting pork sausages and red potatoes.
But all this was last year.
Dominic the young Gypsy man, decided to stay behind after the circus left town about a year ago in September and at twenty years old and growing up in the circus most of his life. He wanted to try another life. Maybe become a writer, or poet. Maybe teach magic that he learned as a young kid from his father working in the circus..
Dominic moved in to his makeshift camper truck with Coco his pet bear that he raised from a cub. And started his own journey into manhood.
What about this beautiful young lady?
The one that is breaking most young men’s heart ( including Dominic’s ) with here green blue eyes, her smile and simple beauty, wearing no make up. The young girl that now is a young woman, the one who loves desserts, bakes pies and eats chocolate almost every day. Once in a while drinks too many cups of coffee. At eighteen, she too is wanting to learn about the world, and get an education. Maybe become a book keeper, or hair stylist. Maybe someday travel and visit St Petersburg where her grandma lives. And also learn about other countries. ( this is long before the Internet was invented ) let alone what a computer or what google was.
Anny got most of her schooling from her high school chalk boards. I talked about art to her. And most of her other knowledge came from her family. Her mother taught her to bake apple pie with braids on top, make piroshki and borsch or meat ball soup, mostly because of her Russian heritage. Recipes handed down for years from her mother and great grandmothers. Her father is the local head Rabbi of the small town known as Squirrel Hill. Named after the squirrels that invaded the town around the early nineteen hundreds, eating the acorn nuts that fell from the trees. Her father Rabbi Moskovits is a religious man, a man of the Thora. Yet friendly and funny. He knows just about everyone in town and their dark sides.
Where does a bear hide?
Coco, the bear ran off into the park, far away from the city noises, old red streetcars which were brought from as far away Germany and Paris. Street cars that would shake the earth as they passed by. First he thought he could hide under a foot bridge that had a stream running under it, after the rain it made a rolling rush sound that eased the mind. But that might prove to be to risky. Hikers and people strolling in the park made Coco feel uneasy. There really were no caves where he could hide, then he looked up and saw a wonderful large grey tree to climb with many thick branches pointing in each direction. He shimmied up as bears know how to do. Both arms and legs hugging the tree. And finally he reached the top, a safe comfortable and far away place from where nobody could see him. Covered with red, yellow and green fall leaves.
Coco heard funny sounds coming from branches around him. It was a bunch of squirrels throwing acorns at him. What luck. Since he was getting hungry. Coco made friends with one squirrel, who gave him berries and nuts. After that, they became good friends as the squirrel made chirping sounds and the bear licked his paws from the berries. Then he took a nap.
When Dominic came back to his camper.
The garbage men, who knocked over the camper, put the truck back on it’s cement blocks, fixed the camper shell. And left a note saying. “Sorry for hitting your camper, if you need help finding your bear let us know, and hope you find some pants to wear, haha”
Dominic was still in a daze about the young woman he got a glimpse of. A memory that lingered in his heart. He pictured her in his mind, she with her green blue eyes, long black and brown wavy hair, that blew all over her face. But how can he find her. Not knowing her name, and not knowing where to look for her.
Dominic went back to the spot where he fatally crashed his heart into her, but all he could find was a white handkerchief with the letter “A” embroidered on it, that she deliberately dropped in case he would come back. Dominic picked it up and could smell her lightly perfumed handkerchief. It reminded him of purple lilac that Squirrel Hill was also know for and scented the whole town. I remembered it well growing up in that town as a kid. Also playing under the lilac trees.
A barber, a shoemaker and a chair on a hill.
On the busy street called Murray Avenue, filled with many business, next to an old fashion dimmed lit mens clothing store selling Polo shirts, and folded sweaters also custom made suits, is a shoe makers shop. Heavy leather belted green machinery running, making thumping sounds. There works a shoemaker named Tony. Tony Yacaboni, an Italian man from the old country fixes worn out shoes. Gives old shoes new soles and spit shines them to look new. Tony talks in broken English and plays the numbers, a illegal gambling game run by the small town mafia.
Next to him there is Harry’s Barber Shop. Everybody knows Harry and his son Joe. Both cutting hair for years. Harry, wears a powder blue barbers smock, half glasses, mustache and looks like he needs a haircut and a shave. The mirrors inside the barber shop are crowded with photos of his customers and their children. There also is a kids barber chair with a wooden carved horse for little kids to sit on while getting their hair cut. Harry is a joke teller. He has a sign next to the register ” If you leave, you lose your turn.” Coming from Europe, Harry experience hard times from Word War Two. He tries to be positive in his new world. Harry is funny, telling jokes to his customers. He cuts Rabbi’s hair, local policemen and sometimes gives women haircuts. I also got many haircuts as I heard the electric clippers buzz the back of my neck and around my ears. Sometimes he would singe my hair so the ends would not split.
Dominic comes to the barber shop every few weeks. Gypsy hair is thick and grows fast. Dominic trades odd jobs for haircuts and sometimes Harry’s wife, Sarah makes extra chicken soup and brings it to the barbershop for Dominic.
The memory lingers on.
A few days go by and Dominic walks around the busy town, looking in shop windows and restaurant hoping to catch a glimpse of the young girl that captures his mind and maybe his heart. But maybe it was just a moment. Like sitting on a train and another train passes by and it’s that glimpse that catches the eye of a person on the other train can start the imagination flowing. Humans have a need for distant romance, fiction or real. And at twenty, his hormones are strong with passion. He feels determined to find this green blue eyed, dark hair beauty. At least to meet her and learn her name. This one he can not let get away, he thought to himself.
Anny too thought about him. Her blood would feel warm with thoughts that I can not dare to write about. But as a young lady, it is normal to think of a prince, maybe a future husband, maybe a family. As a child she wore a white pillow case as vail as if she was getting married. She was all confused on how to feel about him. But her heart knew this is the one for her.
How can they meet? What would her religious father, the Rabbi of the community think of him. After all, he is not even Jewish. Oy, her mother might understand. Women understand, men rule the family. Even though her father was young once and he fell in love with her mother.
The chair on the hill.
On a grassy hillside under an apple tree with falling apples that have become soft and give off a wonderful perfume smell as worms ate through and created holes in the apples. There sat a yellow painted chair. Peeling paint from the weather. Dominic went to sit and watch the fall evening sunset with reddish and yellow colored hues. Purple hills, it was a special place for him. There he sat and thought again of this young girl. Someday he thought he would bring her here and maybe share the warm feelings, the scented apple smells. He also was hoping to find Coco, his bear up in these hills. But no luck. Not even a bear foot print.
Now he felt even more intent on finding her.
Ask a barber, they know a little bit about everything. Politics, marriages, and gossips.
Dominic asked Harry the barber about who the family that walked to to synagogue that past Saturday might be. Harry had no clue. There are over a hundred rabbis in this religious little town. Tony the shoemaker also had no clue. Minio the Pizza shop owner also knew nothing even though he delivered pizza all over Squirrel Hill. Even the local police officer waiting to get a haircut while looking at a Playboy magazine was not sure. Ron at the bookstore thought it was a family called Rabinavitz, but as it turned out, they moved away to Long Island over three months ago. So how can Dominic find her?
Coco the bear gets into trouble.
The local Humane Society had been notified about a bear wondering through people’s back yards. Swimming in their swimming pools. Knocking over garbage cans in the middle of the night. Special agent Miss Noir, a short woman with upright manors, some called her Miss Anoying, and her partner Mr. Honeycutt, who follows everything by the book and crosses his T and dots the i, are on a mission to capture the bear that was seen going through garbage and sometimes in people’s kitchen eating raspberry pie. Sometimes apple with braided dough on top pies. Also sharing a walnut pie with his new found squirrel friends. And even opening kitchen cabinets and stealing honey if back doors were left open as most people were not worried about thieves. After all, he is a bear and has a sweet tooth. But this bear is not ordinary. He is very clever and can open doors and outsmart the two agents Miss Noir and agent Mike Honeycutt.
Practicing Gypsy magic.
In his little makeshift room inside the camper shell. Below a framed photo of his mother and father riding in a horse drawn wagon. Long before he was born. Dominic reaches into a wooden box and chooses from over a dozen Gypsy charms. One is for fertility, and a magic square charm for harvesting good crops to eat, a lucky number seven that could bring you luck at dice throwing. And of course lady luck, the one he chooses for lover come back to me. An amazing stone that kindles love.
As he goes to find his heart friend, walking trough an evening with a warm fall shower. Wet streets reflections of the small city lights on the broken sidewalk. His gypsy charm has a low glow pulsating. He turned from street to street looking for luck, then the gypsy charm glows brighter as he approaches a big three story house on Hobart Street. The house was old with a large porch that lead to large oak doors with side window. There were oak beams above the porch where a yellow glass lamp hung. With a overly bright bulb that annoyed the eyes. Wicker furniture sat next to a leaded bay window. And a porch swing, hung by chains from hooks in the ceiling. Next to the door was a small Mazusa, a Jewish good luck charm. A round door bell and a old brass mail box.
Lights shown through the windows and curtains. There he could see only glimpse of Anny. As she went from room to room talking with her father.
Don’t ring the doorbell yet.
Just as Dominic gets enough courage to enter through the gate to the stairs to the house. He is confronted by three very strange young guys walking by the house. Two of them with shaved heads and swasticas tattooed on their foreheads, the other had a Mohawk with a cross on his cheek. The trouble starts where they say things and make fun of him. They push him and one of the guys punches him in the face. Dominic face stars to bleed. Then Dominic turns on his Gypsy powers. He uses a ring he is wearing to shine a bright light reflecting from the porch light into their eyes and then creates a fire above their heads and singes the Mohawk. The three run off.
Through all of this commotion, Rabbi Moskovitz looks out the window, and sees what is going on. He comes out of the house to help Dominic and sees that he is bleeding. The Rabbi takes him in to the house.
Actually this what really happened.
Dominic’s Gypsy powered really did not work at all. Around the back of the house, Coco the bear showed up and growled at the three young men and they got scared as Coco chased them down the street. The squirrels also helped and made chattering sound and hissed at them showing their teeth. Dominic was sitting on the ground with a bruised cheek. Through all of this commotion, Rabbi Moskovitz looks out the window, and sees what is going on. He comes out of the house to help Dominic and sees that he is bleeding. The Rabbi takes him in to the house.
She is always on the phone
Anny was in her room talking on her pink princess phone with a long cord that reached from the hallway into her closed door room, she was talking to her best girlfriend Natasha with her door closed. Dominic could hear her laughing all the way downstairs, they talked for hours about boys, clothes and school or their future. Also about the young man who bumped her and made her fall while he was wearing his underwear in public. They giggled about that. Anny had little knowledge that Dominic was in her house. He was downstairs in the kitchen and her upstairs in her room. A pink room with stuffed teddy bears, travel posters on her wall and clothes thrown all over her chair and bed. Make up on her dresser. Shoes and boots straddled the floor. Now I know why women look so beautiful when they go out of their room, it was their beauty lab for experiment certain looks. She had long outgrown the little girl pink look of her bedroom, but her mother liked the look and kept it that way.
The Barber plays “Fiddler On The Roof.”
Handsome Harry the barber as some of his friends called him, enjoys playing the violin in the barber shop when there are no customers around. He play his violin with a Gypsy sole. Making the violin cry. Sometimes Dominic is a sweeping up hair from the floor while Harry plays his violin. This reminds Dominic of his Gypsy family and how he used to hear a Gypsy from the circus playing. Almost a crying sound came from his violin. The Gypsy’s would dance around a fire that crackled into the dark starry sky. Giving off sparks and casting long shadows on the circus tents. Best seen from far away with the moon shining above the tent, and sometimes a shooting star passing over. Sometimes Gypsies singing “If I were rich man”
Dom, as Harry called him. Tells Harry what happened last night at the rabbi’s house and how he never got to meet the Rabbi’s daughter Anny. But wishes he could.
Harry has a plan, as most older people do.
“Always good wisdom is from the gut” says Harry. Harry looked at Dom, over his half prescription glasses. His one eye is stronger than the other, but he could see well. First he says to Dominic to go next door to the mens clothing store and buy new clothes. A bright yellow silk shirt, and dark brown pants. Nick the shoemaker will give you some brown boots to replace the shoes with a hole in the soles you are wearing. Then you need to wear a bandana in your hair. I want you to look like an elegant Gypsy with one big earring. I want you to have a fire in your soul. When she sees you she will want to be week in her knees. Flush with a warm blush and make her body moist with feelings. Play with her heart. Do not run to her and bore her with ordinary talk. Harness her and out smart her because she will play games with your heart. And if you are ordinary she may think you do not care. And you know she is the right one for you.
Nick the shoemaker tightens the belts on the green shoemaking machine and carves a pair of brown boots with a zipper on the side. He nails on kliets so that the heel will not wear down. The shoes make a metal clicking sound as Dominic walks. Harry’s customer Mr Singer the men’s store owner is a tailor and he make a yellow shirt with a big disco collar. ( very stylish at that time ) his pants do not need a belt because they have a high waistline cumber bund with metal clasps to hold them up.
A Gypsy melody.
Harry teaches Dominic how to play the violin. First Dominic does not want to learn, but Harry insist he learn. “Learn one Gypsy melody” Harry says. Make the violin cry with passion. Dominic practices every day for four days. From screeches to melody. Dominic learns to play. And now the magic begins.
With a box of homemade humantosh cookies filled with raspberry that Sarah, Harry’s wife made and a bright yellow shirt with his violin under his arm. He goes to win her heart.
What is that awful screeching sound?
The neighbors were ready to call the cops as Dominic played the violin in front of Rabbi Moskovits house on quiet tree lined Hobart Street. One neighbor thought it was a cat that got hit by a car.
Anny looked out the window and saw the young man in a bright yellow silk shirt playing a violin in front of her house. At first she was to shy and embarrassed to come out. Yet she was warm with feeling about him and could not hide her blush. She told herself to go out to talk to him so he would stop playing the violin before someone would call the police.
A bear trap.
Miss Noir and Mr. Honeycutt design a trap. They pour honey onto the swings at an abandoned playground. And a net above to drop onto the bear as he reaches for the honey. It is getting dark, as they hide in a bushy area near by. I will come back to tell you what happened.
Anny invites Dominic to sit on the porch.
They talk for hours about everything, his life, the circus, Coco the bear stories and her life, they share the cookies he brought. Her sisters and brothers interrupted them many times to sneak a peak of the young handsome gypsy.
Then the Rabbi yells out ” it is late “But they still talk for at least another hour.
But wait, this story seems to ordinary, here is what really happened.
This time, as Dominic approached Anny’s house. Two runaways from the circus that stayed behind long after the circus left town known as Gypsy Circus Freaks. One was a midget fortune-teller wearing a white shirt, suspenders and a bow tie with stripped pants that were to long and rolled up so he would not trip all over himself. His head was twice the size of a normal head. The other freak, was a lady, weighing close 450 pounds. Imagine what people would say as they saw them walking together.
Freaky as they were, they were nice and sometimes not so nice. This time they were not so nice. The both of them jumped and spinning around as though they were possessed with a spirit in them. Praying to their own gods some would think. Dancing and shaking their arms and legs. Praying for a miracle that god would heal them and bring riches to them. Make them tall and thin.
This St Vidas like dance first scarred Dominic, but then he remembered that many Gypsies went into a trance as a full moon would appear. And as he looked up at the seven o’clock sky a fall harvest full moon appeared over the purple hills still lit from an orange sunset.
He then turned his back on the circus freaks and headed towards Anny’s house gate with the number 5827 written with metal numbers.
As he knocked on her door…
The circus freaks kept dancing, turning and spazzing, then midget got up and ran into the house as Anny opened the door.
A short, short story.
The midget ran through the house, dancing and swirling from room to another room. Knocking lamps over. Dominic and Anny are in an amazement. They are chasing the midget from room to room and Dominic tackles him and bites his ear to get him out of the house. This is another gypsy tradition to calm the trance down. Finally he gets the midget out. Then the 450 pound woman sits on the midget to calm him down. Then the freaks leave. Anny is in shock, invited Dominic into her house.
Lucky her family was not home during this ordeal, Anny shows Dominic her house.
A living room filled with antiques. Marble coffee table pushed almost against the gold colored sofa that is covered in plastic which made strange squeaking sounds as he sat on it. Photos of her and her family throughout the years are above the fireplace. Some of the photos were black and white with hand colored water colors on the faces and flowers in the photo. A cuckoo clock ticking and going of every hour.
The house was built at the turn of the century, old and three floors strong, with a full basement, where they kept the washing machine. Dominic never lived in a house, all he knew was circus tents and makeshift campers. So when he asked to use the bathroom he was expecting an outhouse.
Anny invited him into her room and then reached over and kissed him on his lips. As she kissed her eyes closed and she felt warm from his lips that were soft. his rough unshaved face scratched her tender smooth skin, but Anny put up with his rough beard. She opened her green blue eyes and looked into his hazel blue eyes. feeling heat traveling through her body. he also felt warm and excited as he reached towards her left breast. she pushed him away. Then they heard a bang. It was not their hearts pounding but her father slamming the front door shut. How could she explain a young man in her room? Where could he hide?
She rushed him through a closed door, up to the third floor attic. The third floor was hardly ever used. He almost tripped on many old shoes that are lined up on the steps. Her dad tried to save many shoes with the hopes that his children could wear again after he had Nick the shoemaker repair and spit shine them. There were black shoes with buckles, small boots and many ladies shoes that were long out of style. The third floor has two rooms that had slanted ceilings that formed the roof of the house. And a bathroom with an old fashion claw bathtub. A pedestal sink with white and chrome handles. She told him to hide until later.
The floor creaked as he rushed up the stairs. Fortunately Rabbi Moskovits didn’t hear a thing.
Ghosts in the attic
When Dominic is upstairs in the attic he wonders around.
Finds old clothes, furniture, some paintings leaning against the wall. Boxes with dust on them. He is curious and opens one box. Inside there are old photos. Photos of Anny when she was a baby. Family photos, also grand parents photos taken in Russia.
He also finds a old photo of a young man sitting next to a older woman, maybe this young man’s mother. They are sitting on a horse drawn wagon. She is wearing a babushka. He is wearing old rag clothing. On the back is written mother and son 1928. Strange enough this reminds Dominic of his Gypsy upbringing and some photos he has seen of his grand parents. Also of the framed photo of his parents in his camper above his table where he reads and sometimes practices Gypsy magic.
But life is not all chocolate and marshmallows
Dominic thought about the photo of the rabbi and his mother and started to realize that Rabbi Moskovits also was a gypsies at one time. During World War Two, many gypsies were put into concentration camps with the Jews. Over 500,000 gypsies died by the Nazi Army. He also heard his father tell stories of how the Jews and Gypsies hid in the forrest together during the war. And how they tried to help each other to survive.
Dominic, faded into a dream like trance. He went back in time as his father told him stories of WORLD WAR TWO. He saw terrible images in his mind of Gypsies running in the winter snow woods, found by the German Army and shot. He also sees a beautiful young woman with green blue eyes and ragged clothes standing in the cold snow. With her breath coming from her mouth. Cold from being scared and cold from the snow. She meets a young man, he is Gypsy and she is Jewish. They are attracted, but fear their safety from the Nazi Army. Both of them run and hide in the woods. They are trapped by the army and hold each other, but then they are shot. She dies and he is wounded, given up for dead. Somehow after the Nazi left, he manages to escape. This was Dominic’s father.
Through all of this he feels that Anny is more than a beautiful young woman that he wishes to be with, but also a connection for both their heritage. And through his understanding. They are connected.
A trapeze artist
As the night grew older, Dominic had to figure a way out of the attic.
There was a window between the two arches of the roof line. The window was slightly open. Dominic climbed out and now looking down three floors with the full moon shining on him and reflecting the roof tops. How can he get down without making noise.
Circus people have no fear of heights, he jumps up onto another rooftop and leaps yet onto another roof then grabs hold of a telephone wire and slides down onto the grass, it’s a good thing he was a trapeze artist in the circus.
A bear on a bike
Coco, steals a bike that was leaning along side of a wood shingled house. He rode one in the circus and now is riding down Hobart Street. A tree lined street with large fall colored leaves. This is the street where Anny lived, but Dominic just looked away as Coco the bear rode by. The houses are charming on Hobart Street. Most of the houses have porches and small lawns. Some have hedges in front next to the sidewalks. Coco rides downhill very fast and does not know about breaks on the bike. As he approaches Murray Avenue, a busy intersection with many stores and businesses, he does not stop, but barely squeezes through the rushing traffic. And pedals up hill until he sees Shenly park. The place where he hides far from the noises and traffic. I wonder when he will find his way back to the camper?
Anny brings meat ball soup to Dominic’s camper. Almost like an Italian Wedding Soup, but a Russian version. And it is hot. First she puts down a beautiful paisley tablecloth, two bowls, one green the other yellow. Two spoons and serves the meatballs soup with hardy good Black Russian bread. With butter. Makes me hungry just to talk about this.
Dominic is in a glow about all this. They talk about Russia where her family is from. St Petersburg. Also about Russian good food and baked items.
Dominic has a box of chocolate bears he kept in a drawer in his camper ( chocolate filled with marshmallow ) and offers her some. Her green blue eyes light up. She loves chocolate. They seem to be connected. Then Anny leaves. Dominic’s heart was warm as he smiled to himself.
Twenty nine years later
Dominic father came to America, a poor Gypsy. He decided to join a circus. There he met a woman in the circus. Her name was Sonia. She was a trapeze artist walking on high wire over the crowded circus audience. Sometimes her father, also a trapeze artist would flip her into the air and catch her as she flew very high without a net below. This made young Dominic nervous. His mother looked beautiful flying in mid air, her long dark hair waived like that of a mermaid. Her slender figure spinning through mid air with the spot light shinning on her, reflecting her sparkling pink ballerina like costume. The audience cheered as she landed.
Eat And Park
About two blocks from Anny’s house on busy Murray Avenue is a restaurant called Eat and Park. More like dinner style. Harry the barber brings Sarah once a week for the Early Bird Special. 4:30 – 6:30 he orders the Flounder Fish Diner, cooked in butter and lemon sauce for a special price of $4.95 Sarah orders fried chicken with mashed potatoes. In the booth across the restaurant is Anny and Dominic. They are laughing, talking and enjoying a turkey open face sandwich with gravy and also a cheeseburger with fries inside of the sandwich. They draw pictures of each other on a placemat, also write a list of their favorite things.
Harry looks out the window and sees a bear looking back at him. Sarah screams out, a bear, it’s Dominic’s bear.
Dom, as Harry calls him, hears the commotion and runs outside of Eat and Park, but Coco takes off before he can catch him.
Coco runs inside a ladies dress shop and sneaks into the dressing room. This is where Natasha, Anny’s best friend works. She is on the phone and does not see or hear the bear. Coco used to being dressed up in the circus, finds a dress in the dressing room and puts it on. She darts out of the store in the dress, but Natasha still on the phone doesn’t pay attention to anything happening around her. Coco runs down the street stirring up quiet a sight. She ran by me and I thought it was a hairy women in a flowered dress. Coco runs up Douglas Street and heads to the park. All streets go towards the park or the golf course. Passed the golf course is a university where Coco runs in. Through the Arts and Science Department. She causes a total scene.
The university guards show up and try to catch her, but again she outsmarts them and heads through the thick woods surrounding the campus and safely ends up in her favorite tree wearing her flowered dress. The squirrel, are laughing at her and making jibbering sounds as they throw nuts at her. Poor Coco, she is tired, and falls asleep snoring like a bear.
On her way home
Anny and Dominic are walking home, as they pass me, I could see how happy she is. He too is in love. I’m sure they had no clue where they were walking. Both their eyes and smiles were on each other. Dominic reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small round rock. The small rock was smooth, grey with brown thin waves of another stone melted together. On the rock was etched, or should I say carved the word “Forever.”
He gave her the rock. ” would you find a place to bury this rock, maybe somewhere in the woods, or throw it into the river. It will be a dedication to my Gypsy grandmother. But it has to come from you, so we two can become one?”
Anny takes the rock and promises him that because of this, they will “Forever” be together.”
They kiss and through the city evening lights and under a fall tree their silhouette
formed a heart with a ray of light shining through.
But that is not what really happened
All this romantic stuff was only in Dominic’s imagination.
Anny was not a push over, not an easy date. After all she had morals. When it came to kissing, this was special. she saved her kisses for when she would have a husband, and not being married yet, she greeted men with a small peck on the cheek or a proper handshake.
So yes they ate diners, had desserts together and went to museums, movies, especially foreign films. But never holding hands in the movies.
Sharing was Anny’s way.
Sometimes Dominic showed up wearing a bandana in his hair, he wore a gold earring
And looked more like a pirate than a Gypsy. Anny was excited to see him dress that way. She too had a gypsy soul. She liked music and art. They listened to her Walkman and shared earphones. Music like Billy Holiday, Beatles and sometimes Muddy Waters. Just because she was a rabbi’s daughter did not stop her love for music or wanting to see films and sometimes dance at high school dances.
Annie studies Russian Ballet with Eva Besnovsky.
Anny’s passion is dancing, since she can remember she danced. Her body wiggled and twisted, always stretching, never sitting still. Toe touching, hands over her head, hands stretching out. Anny loved to go to Ms Benovsky and practice true Russian Ballet. True Russian Ballet is different than European Ballet. More creative and imaginary.
At Eva’s class she wore a pink leotard with pink slippers, it was a delight when she invited me to see her practice. There was a performance at the local college with a full orchestra. She leaped across the stage into mid air as though she could fly. There was silence from the audience as she was caught by her dance partner, and then a big cheer. After her performance she took her ballet shoes off and sighted them and gave them to Dominic. A treasure he would keep forever.
It’s that time again.
Just as the the leaves turn bright red and yellow. When there is still a warm breeze mixed with cool air. When an unexpected shower falls from the sky. As the clouds block the sun for a few moments. A circus comes to town.
This year is especially exciting, bigger, and more exciting circus acts. More daring, fire eaters, sword swallowers and high wire acts. Exotic animals from around the world. Giant snakes and white tigers. There’s even a monkey ridding a motorcycle upside down inside a giant wheel. And not to mention the cotton candy and hot dogs that made a snapping sound as I bit into them.
Dominic missed the circus, and was happy to see his friends and mostly his mother and father. He was eager to introduce Anny to them. Dominic was all aglow and feeling proud about Anny.
Dominic’s father Zak upon meeting Anny, took out out his squeeze box and played a Gypsy song. She was slightly embarrassed but enjoyed the attention. His mother Sonia was also happy that Dominic met a nice young women with beautiful eyes.
The big top.
It was three o’clock in the afternoon and the crowds that filled the three ring circus were anxiously waiting for the excitement to start. Kids with big eyes sitting on the edge of their seats, as vendors sold pop corn and all the colorful cotton candy, also animal crackers and Cracker Jacks with prizes inside. I got a compass that actually worked.
As the lights dimmed, and spot lights swirled, and the audience quieted down. The orchestra played, a man in a grey suit with a tall hat came out and introduced the first act in the middle ring of the three ring circus. The Flying Succini Brothers. There were six brothers that juggled and rode unicycles on high wires. Exchanging round circles to each other 50 feet up in the air on a high wire. In another circle of the three ring circus was a women with 25 hula hoops spinning around her body. In the first ring a man was balancing dishes on sticks as he was standing on a large rubber ball. Kids faces looked in awe and were excited when the tiger cages came out and a man dressed in safari outfit holding a chair and a whip. He would snapped his whip and put each tiger on different height pedestals.
Yet in another ring were lions, there a woman put her head inside a lions head. Kinda scary.
The drum roll.
Now the show really gets exciting. The hi-life of the evening. Dominic and Anny are sitting at the front row of the center ring. Drums are rolling, spot lights are swaying back and forth across the ceiling of the circus tent. Lions roar and clowns riding their bikes around in circles. Jugglers are tossing bowling pins into the air. Even a fire truck and police car filled with more clowns are circling the ring. There is a beautiful woman on a white Arabian horse riding into the ring. A bright white light shines on her. Millions of star burst reflections from her sequence costume reflect through the circus tent. A diamond tiara on her long flowing brown hair. Dominic’s mother looked absolutely beautiful.
A long thin wire with a pink ribbon tied to it lowered from the center of the big top. Sonia put her hand inside the ribbon and held it tight. She gently spun around as the wire pulled her up. Creating beautiful body poses. Up and up she went. So high to the ceiling. Then she dropped very fast, only to catch herself with a creative pose held by a thin wire. The crowd ooed and awed. Then Zak appeared from up in the sky of the big top and lowered himself. Wearing a black cape and a mask over his eyes.
The two twirled and danced on the high wire. Dominic looked but always worried that one of his parents would fall. And times I too worried. Anny was amazed.
What ever happened to Coco the bear.
Coco came riding on a bicycle into the circus ring wearing a dress that he stole from the dressing room. The audience started to laugh. Dominic’s father and mother had to stop their high wire act. The bear was very disruptive again.
Dominic got off the bleachers and started to chase after Coco. Both running in circles. Even the clowns tried to chase Coco. the sirens from the fire truck filled with more clowns also added to the confusion… then finally Dominic caught her. The crowd cheered. And the show continued on.
A chair on a hill.
Up on the hill, where the yellow chair sit. Watching time pass by. Far from the circus sound in the distance. There on the ground among the falling colorful leaves with green blades of crass and twigs. And maybe a stone. Is a blue flannel blanket with black and blue stripes also a red thin stripe are Dominic and Anny. Both naked to the fall warm wind. He, holding her with one hand around her waist while the other hand clutched into hers. Kissing her on the neck. While heating her with his body. Playing her like a gypsy violin. They both are as one. Feeling her soul, then … Do I need to describe more. She closes her eyes. He, exhausted. They both are silent. Smile and then kiss. From now on this was their romantic place.
A gypsy, a bear and the Rabbi’s daughter
Young as both they were. But love has a strong way. They decide to tell Rabbi Moskovits and her mother that they want to get married. First the Rabbi is shocked but also remembers when he was young and in love, when all he could see was Sonia’s eyes. And the eyes, window to their soul. He married Sonia.
Gypsies and Rabbis dance.
Dominic arrives at the wedding in a flowered garbage truck, seems as the garbage truck workers cleaned the truck and put flowers all over it. They looked like a float in the Macy’s parade. He had a tux, with tails. A nice haircut from Harry the barber. New shoes from Nick and his custom tux made by Mr. Singer.
Anny was looking beautiful. She was dressed in a Gypsy colorful dress.
Anny stepped on the wine glass wrapped with a cloth napkin, it broke, the cheers were loud, the party started. On one side of the wedding tent which lit up with thousands of small lights on the ceiling that looked like the starry night painted by Van Gogh were about 100 Gypsies. Men, women, children. Dressed in colorful costumes. Gold trimmed dresses with many layers of materials, patterns upon patterns. Big round earrings reflected the starry night ceilings. Men dressed in colorful blouse shirts with bandanas on their heads. Children dressed similar to their parents with clean washed faces.
On the other side of the wedding tent about thirty Rabbi families and over 100 locals from Squirrel Hill, mostly dressed in dark traditional suits. Women in elegant dresses.
Off to the side a music band made up up of both Gypsies and Locals played.
Then, the music stopped. Silence fell upon the wedding as Dominic stood center on the stage not saying anything. Took out his violin, started to play beautiful music with Gypsies passion. A few minutes later Anny appears from the left side of the tent. Dressed in her leotards. She begins to dance. And dance she did. Twirled round and round with such beauty and grace to Dominic’s violin playing. Their eyes met and she stopped in front of him. He too stopped playing. They kissed and the crowed roared. The band started to play as couples danced around the newly wed. In the center was a dance floor. Mr Honeycutt and Miss Noyer both started to dance as Cocco the bear grinned and ate cake.
So why am I telling you this story
After writing the “A Gypsy, a bear and the Rabbi’s daughter” story, I called my brother to tell him what I was creating. He replied. “Maybe I may not know this. But my father was a true Gypsy and my mother was the daughter from a very Hassidic religious Rabbi’s.”
It is strange what our subconscious minds think and create.
I created this as a fiction story, but the truth came from somewhere deep in my memories.