Tomorrow is exactly 18,000 days since my Bar Mitzvah. (You can look it up).

Google it: October 27, 1962. In the heat of the Cuban Missile Crisis, on a day where OSU beat Wisconsin in black and white, in the week after McCovey broke my heart (ending Game Seven with Mays and Alou on base)…at a time of neither Cavaliers in town nor divorces in my family….with JFK , RFK and EMK in Washington and four grandparents in Cleveland…I “became a man.”

Oh yeah, and there were, that day, Bobby and Stuart.

We met for breakfast today, in Chagrin Falls, the three of us. Back in the day we’d shlep to dances at the old Chagrin Armory—word was they had “fast” girls. Not that it would have mattered to me, of course; I wasn’t to lose virginity for another decade. (You can google that too).

It was a typical meal—three Boomer Boys, mixing past and present.

“I forgot the tapes,” Bob moaned. Custodian of our radio past, he’d promised to bring them. H is going to put them on a CD for us. (Note to Hal, in case you’re reading: I meant to tell you—I committed you to copy recordings for us. Thank you in advance. Love, Bruce).

“So, Fenton,” he continued, “Tell us about China.”
“It was great,” said Stuart, “But B doesn’t want to here about it.”
“What do you MEAN he doesn’t?” urged Bob.
“Ask him.”
“B,” Snyder pushed back, “What do you mean you don’t want to hear about China?”
Finally, I opened my mouth: “I never said that. I can’t see why anyone would go, but of course I want to hear.”
So Stuey shared his “trip of a lifetime” after which Bob admonished me. Gently smacking my right shoulder, lovingly he demanded: “See, why are you so narrow-minded. Don’t you want to see the world?”
“Not really,” I rebounded, “And actually, it’s me who’s open-minded. I’m able to come right out and say there’s enough to do here…AND…if it was FREE, if you gave me a blank check—all expenses paid for two—I still wouldn’t leave the country.”

Across the table, Stuart nodded knowingly. Bob knew me too, though, and found my Achilles. “How about Israel.”
“OK,” I muttered. “Even if it isn’t free.”

Yes, it was typical fare, our breakfast. We touched them all, friends to family: from my brother’s health to the Ermine-Wieder summit in Portland to the next Brush reunion….

I’d brought additional food for thought, as well. Brandishing a white album, I showed them photos from Sherwin’s Party Center, 49 years ago.

At one table were the guys: There were Herman, Krinsky and “Codgie”. There was veteran White Sox catcher Fischer, flanked by Ermine (in dark black glasses), then Auerbach, Cohn, Bobby, Will and even Billy Simkoff.

“‘Chronic’ was at your Bar MItzvah?” asked Bob, “…and where’s Fenton?”
“Lighting a candle,” I noted.

The girls, of course, sat separately: Two Shafrans and a names that read like a law firm: Rothenfeld, Madvid, Sumers and Davis.

“Why were the twins there? “They weren’t at mine….and who’s this? asked Snydo, handing Stuart the volume.

“Hey, B,” Stu interrupted, “Here’s Aunt Helen!” failing to realize our friend wouldn’t be denied.
“C’mon, you’ve GOT to know who this is!”

Ponderous conversation ensued until finally, Bob exulted:
“It IS Sandy !” he exclaimed, (just beginning). “Did I ever tell you about the time…” He regaled then, of way back when …a night he was with The Artist Formerly Known As Marvin:

“I had Sandy with me, “ Bob continued, “…And Marvin wanted to go somewhere and park with Mary Lou…so I thought this might be a good influence on Sandy…..and we drove out to God Knows Where, the four of us…and my battery died.”

“No,” I smiled, (I’d missed the story). Chances are I was playing basketball in Wieder’s garage that night, or perhaps it was the off-weekend and Hal and I were with our Dad.

The fact is, I enjoyed the tale more today than I might have then. It used to take an act of Congress to get a date; I couldn’t relate. Moreover, I sense now what I didn’t feel then: that not only am I OK, but clearly, THESE are the good old days.

The conclave ended as it always does, with smiles. A cupcake emerged from the kitchen, with candle lit for my birthday. I shrugged and waved it off, but they sang.

I don’t like those things—I really don’t. My fifteen minutes have long bee gone. And I don’t eat cake.

It occurred to me though—they weren’t singing for me—they were singing for US…for our holy trinity. And that, by the way, is something you don’t google…you just know.

4 Responses to “THE BREAKFAST CLUB”

  1. alan wieder says:

    hey — hope today is a great bday. sounds like the breakfast was great fun. it is interesting, israel would be low on my list, but of course you already knew that. miss you

  2. Mark Ermine says:

    Happy Birthday. Sorry I missed the breakfast. I certainly would have enjoyed the banter. Have a great day!

  3. bob says:

    Interesting, we had positive comments abourt both Mark and Alan that mornig. It was not just a b day celebration for the B but a goodbye to Stuart who was leaving for his winter home. Amazing, there are still stories to tell that have not been told yet(eg. Sandy). Let’s hope in the years to come we have stories from these good old days and are all there to share in them.

  4. Stuart says:

    Who knew 18,000 days ago all of us would be just as close when we’re able to collect Social Security? What a great ride we’ve had. Do you know anyone luckier?

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