After having lived in our Brooklyn apartment for a while, the subject of rent came up. Our neighbor Ruby, asked us what we were paying. When she found out it was $400 more than it was supposed to be, she gasped. I can't believe those "sons-of- b1tc&e$", came the response (Ruby was a religious person, but she knew how to string'em together at the appropriate moments). In New York certain apartments are regulated, based on the number of units in the building. Ours was one of them.
Now a trendy area of Brooklyn, at the time I was the ONLY black person I ever saw in our Italian neighborhood. The neighborhood was lined with old-timers who hung out in front of their stoops; large personalities in small folding lawn chairs. I was terrified to move into the neighborhood, because there had been a racial incident that had caught news attention, earlier that year.
There is a lady who lives close by me, who due to various touching circumstances in both of our lives, has become very close to our family. She is like a mother figure to me; in fact, she looks like she could have been a sister of my mothers’ except that my mom towered over her, at just under 6’ (was the shortest of 10 children). I call this lady Momish. She is part of my chosen family.
A while ago, I had to fire a contractor that was doing some work for me. Among other things was stealing things from my basement. I'm not a drinker, but I had a good deal of beers stored in the basement, left over from a party. I also had sodas and several boxes of chocolate bars (which I don’t eat now) left over from a summer of camping trips. A few times once finished for the day, I had offered them a beer or soda. They enjoyed it; all was well. Here is the funny thing,