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Authors: Steve Kluger

Tags: #Humour, #Adult, #Historical, #Young Adult

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BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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T
HE
W
HITE
H
OUSE

November 23, 1940

Dear Joseph:

Stephen Early has passed along your October 30th letter for my reply.

First, allow me to express my thanks for your diligent efforts on my behalf. The forty-seven votes you were able to secure for me in Brooklyn counted for a great deal. In an election such as this one, each of them is precious.

Second, I was most impressed with your state-by-state analysis of the electorate—particularly since you were 16 votes closer to the truth than the Gallup poll was. I consider myself fortunate to have you in my corner. I would be in substantial trouble had you decided to endorse my opponent.

Mrs. Roosevelt joins me in sending our good wishes for the upcoming holiday season and beyond.

Yours very truly,

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Dec. 16, 1940

Dear Charlie,

Blessed be the child who

shall lead mankind
.

May the words of Jesus

illuminate your Christmas
.

J
OEY

P.S. “The alphabet we'll always have,
But one thing sure is true,
With FDR the New Deal's in,
And that means PDQ.”

P.S.2. Here is your damned contract. But I know a lawyer so don't pull anything funny.

Dec. 21, 1940

Dear Joey,

Let each candle on the Menorah
light up your heart
.

Happy Hanukkah
.

C
HARLIE

P.S. “Woodrow pulled the whistle,
Calvin rang the bell,
Franklin gave the signal,
And the country went to Hell.”
Lend-Lease my ass.

P.S.2. What's a Menorah?

P.S.3. Almost gave up on you. Guess I should of known better, huh?

P.S.4. Happy 1941. From your buddy.

Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

Via Messenger

To:
Charles Banks

From:
Herbert Demarest, Principal

Re:
Joseph Margolis

It has come to my attention that you have taken a proprietary position with regard to one of my students, Joseph Margolis. While I appreciate the attention you've given the boy in light of his absent father, and whereas the other children have been duly impressed by the occasional presence of a celebrity on our grounds, I believe that there are one or two points we will need to clarify. At 1:20 this afternoon, Joseph delivered an oral book report on
David Copperfield
, along with a few extemporaneous observations of his own. By 1:25, he'd been sent to my office.

Mr. Banks, with all due respect, what kind of smut are you
teaching
this kid?

Mr. Herbert Demarest

Alexander Hamilton Jr. High

2236 Bedford Avenue

Brooklyn NY

Dear Mr. Demarest,

Did
you
ever read the damn book? “Yes ma'am,” “No ma'am,” “Please pop me in the kisser again ma'am.” Is that how you want him to grow up?

Chas. Banks
3d Base

Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

Via Messenger

To:
Charles Banks

From:
Herbert Demarest, Principal

Re:
Joseph Margolis

Thank you for your interest in the boy's well-being. However, since I would not presume to tell you how to bat, why don't you leave his education to me?

Mr. Herbert Demarest

Alexander Hamilton Jr. High

2236 Bedford Avenue

Brooklyn NY

Dear Mr. Demarest,

Then why don't you give him “Withering Heights”? At least Heathcoat knew how to kick some ass.

Chas. Banks
3d Base

Dear Joey,

If your trying to make a monkey out of me your doing a good job. The only reason your principle did not throw the book at us was on account of bluffing him like I have not done since Whit Wyatt nailed me to a 3 and 1 and then threw a curve ball from thinking I was going to bunt. Like I would ever bunt. From now on when I teach you things, some of them are suppose to stay between us. David Copperfield is one of them. I will tell you what the other ones are when they happen.

We get to Florida in the early A.M. and start Spring Training at 11:00. I don't know what they are trying to prove, for even our uniforms won't be here yet. Carl Hubbell is already getting a head start by doing push-ups in the isle, but only when he thinks Mister Terry is looking. So we threw his
clothes off the train somewhere around Baltimore. Let's see how many people take him serious when he is pitching in his under pants.

Right now we are in the middle of a Carolina. Stuke thinks it is still the North one but Mel Ott thinks it is the South. So they bet on it. (At dinner there was a round thing under Stuke's gravy. He thought it was a Lima Bean and Ott thought it was a dime. They bet on that too. Whatever it was, it had legs.) I will be glad when we get out of this part of the South due to Gone With The Wind and etc. They still do not like us down here, though you would think after 80 years they would grow the fuck up.

Stuke finally stopped wearing black from Lucille Ball marrying that Cuban guy in November. Instead he paid a bookie $30 for Veronica Lake's address and sent her a telegram when we stopped at Richmond. But she didn't send one back yet, even though he told her what train we were on. He says he will give her two more days and then he will ask Rita Hayworth. But first he needs to find another bookie.

Hazel will be keeping a glim on you until I get back. So don't try to get away with anything.

Charlie

P.S. Tell your mother thanks for the pointy coconut things, even though nobody here knows what they are.

P.S.2. We heard on Murrow that there's this new
gang in D.C. called America First. Their saying is “Keep Our Ass Out of Wars That Do Not Belong To Us” or such words that you can say on the radio. What do you think? Maybe I should join up huh? You can bet they did not send an invite to Mustard Mouth in the White House. By the way, Stuke started calling Goring and Mussolini The Two Little Pigs. We are taking a vote on who the third one should be. So far Tojo has 8, Stalin has 6, and FDR has 2 (I got to vote twice due to coming up with the idea in the first place).

P.S.3. Your wrong. If Bogey would of wound up with Ida Lupino instead, he wouldn't of got his ass shot off on the mountain. Go back and see it again if you want proof. And stop calling yourself Mad Dog Earle. Your principle will think it was my idea.

Gangland Killing in Brooklyn

B
ROOKLYN
, Monday. An unidentified man was shot and killed on Sunday night as he was exiting a reputed house of prostitution in Sheepshead Bay. The assailant was believed to have been driving a silver 1938 Dusenberg touring car, which reportedly reduced its speed as it approached the victim. Eyewitnesses then heard two shots ring out before the auto sped off. Police believe that the murder bears the all-too-familiar markings of mob-related retaliation as a result of the recent

Dear Charlie,

This was in today's
Eagle
. It happened practically around the corner. The longer we stay here the scarier it gets, with innocent children getting pumped full of hot lead and buildings burning down with children in them (maybe even from sabotage), and children who walk to school in the morning but disappear before they get there and nobody ever sees them alive again.

Me and Craig are almost the only two of us on our block who aren't allowed to go to camp this summer—him because of tilty eyes and me because of not being Gentile. The only other kids who will be here are the ones with police blotters who knock off juke joints and trip old ladies for money and once in awhile shoot a cop. So I guess we will hang around with them and learn a few things. Like how to open a fire hydrant and make it look like we are just trying to cool down from the 112° heat when what we're really doing is pointing it at the jewelry store so the water can blow out the window and we can loot. Come to think of it, if I go on a road trip with you this summer I will probably be a lot safer than I am here.

The lady from the Giants sent the tickets for Opening Day. Craig and my Mom are going, but Aunt Carrie says if she lets you invite her places, the next thing you know she'll be eating ham on Yom Kippur. I don't know what she's going to do, but you shouldn't have told her that Pete Reiser was a chowder-mouth. I think it only made her like him, especially since she knows he will be
playing against you on Opening Day. This is all I need. An Aunt who reads box scores.

I figured out a way to make bathtub hooch, which I'm going to sell to the speakeasies if I don't get my lamps put out first.

Mad Dog Earle

P.S. I hope you have a good time at America First. When we get in the war and I am in a fox hole in Germany shooting Rommel, I will write you letters. By the time you get them I'll probably be dead, but at least you won't have to pick up a gun yourself. Traitor.

P.S.2. I even gave my old radio and some bubblegum and sweaters without holes in them to Bundles for Britain. I'll bet that you didn't give them anything except maybe smelly socks. Double traitor.

P.S.3. What if your bat boy gets sick or something and can't go on the road? Won't you need to get somebody else instead?

Dear Mad Dog,

“If” is a funny word. Sometimes it is a tough one like “If I work really hard” and sometimes it is an easy one like “If I sit on my butt and wish for it” and sometimes it is a word you can blow out your ass like “If I go on a road trip with you.” Guess what. If you had tits you could float. That doesn't mean your going to do that either.

First of all Sheepshead Bay is not practically around the corner, it is half way to New Jersey. Second of all you do not own a whorehouse (yet). Third of all the only scary thing about your block is that you live on it. And by the way, don't get any funny ideas about our bat-boy. He is a good kid. And if he one day falls on the ground with bubbles coming out of his mouth due to arsenic or etc., your going to be in big trouble.

They are making us play Sarasoda for 5 days in a row and the hotel they gave us only has 3 walls. There use to be 4 but one of them blew off in the Hurricane of '38 and they keep forgetting to put it back. Me and Stuke are sharing our room with two tree snakes and a cotton rat but only until Rita Hayworth gets here.

Charlie

P.S. Britain got enough bundles from us already, such as bailing their ass out of France in 1918 and picking up the tab for it. We do not need to give them anything else. Maybe if they paid their bills once in a while.

P.S.2. Your too easy to piss off. You should watch that.

Mrs. J. Hicks

Alexander Hamilton Jr. High

2236 Bedford Avenue

Brooklyn NY

Dear Mrs. Hicks,

Please excuse Joseph Margolis and Craig Nakamura from school tomorrow due to watching me and the team kick the crap out of Brooklyn.

Very truly yours,
Chas. Banks
3d Base

Alexander Hamilton Junior High School

To:
Charles Banks

From:
Herbert Demarest, Principal

Re:
Joseph Margolis/Craig Nakamura

Your absence excuse has been duly received and accepted. In the future, please telephone me directly about such matters. I can't put a note like this in the boys' files—only a handful would understand. Mrs. Hicks is not one of them.

Temple Chizuk Amuno

1243 Parkside Avenue • Brooklyn, New York

Mr. David Margolis

900 Fifth Avenue

New York, New York

Dear Mr. Margolis:

Congratulations on your son's upcoming thirteenth birthday. In accordance with the traditions of our faith, as well as the calendar of our synagogue, we have scheduled his Bar Mitzvah for Saturday, October 25, at 10:00 a.m.

Joseph's Bar Mitzvah instruction will commence in early May, and will continue once a week thereafter. As the father's participation is of singular significance, we are able to offer evening lessons Monday through Thursday in order to accommodate your workday schedule.

Please let me know of your availability so that we may begin preparing Joseph for his passage into manhood.

Respectfully,
Rabbi Morris Lieberman

Rabbi Morris Lieberman

Temple Chizuk Amuno

1243 Parkside Avenue

Brooklyn, New York

Dear Rabbi Lieberman:

My wife and I expect to be out of the country from Labor Day through early November. However, we will be with you in spirit.

Our very best to you and Mrs. Lieberman.

Very truly yours,
David Margolis

DM:mm

[Dictated but not read]

Giants Whip Brooklyn 7–1 in Home Opener at Polo Grounds

Runs batted in—Ott, Banks 3, Danning 2, Phelps.

Two-base hits—Medwick. Three-base hits—Witek, Demaree. Home runs—Danning, Phelps. Double plays—Lavagetto, Herman, Camilli; Whitehead, Witek, Stuker. Left on bases—Brooklyn 5, New York 5. Bases on balls—Off Casey 4, Off Hubbell 1. Struck out—By Casey 2, Hubbell 1. Hits—Off Casey 12 in 8 innings. Wild pitches—Casey. Winning pitcher—Hubbell. Losing pitcher—Casey. Umpires—Goetz, Reardon and Conlan. Time of game—2:11. Attendance—42,653.

BOOK: Last Days of Summer
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