We drove into Massachusetts Avenue and found a place to park about a block away near Harvard Yard, the name given to the main campus. The time was just after ten. Mrs. Atkins had said to come any time so we walked together to the Admissions Office, finding her at her desk. I introduced Barbara and we took our seats. The very first thing I did was pass the folder of photographs across the desk.
“I had asked Barbara to marry me the previous Friday night—Friday before Palm Sunday. She wore her engagement ring to school on Monday and there was a bit of a disturbance among her classmates when they first saw it. The nun who was teaching the class grabbed Barbara by the wrist and wrenched the ring off her finger. Later, just before noon, Barbara approached the teacher and asked to have the ring returned.”
“I told her that I wouldn’t wear it to school again, but she grabbed me by the elbow and yanked me into her classroom. She called me all kinds of names. Whore and slut were the kindest. And….”
I could see Barbara having difficulty recounting the incident so I jumped in. “The results of that incident are in this folder.” I sat back as Mrs. Atkins opened it for the first time, gasping as she first saw the photographic evidence of the hell that Barbara had been through.
“Barbara drove my car to my parents’ house and my mother called me at school. I phoned my attorney who told me to take her to an emergency room in Yonkers while he phoned a friend who is a detective. I think you can imagine what happened next. One of the things that the nun told Barbara was that she had been beating girls for almost twenty years and that the principal knew all about it. Yesterday I went to the school to get her records and to demand the ring and action against the teacher. It was an interesting conversation because I was working for the police, the entire thing was recorded, and she basically screwed herself and the monsignor from the archdiocese who is second only to the cardinal. Later he did the same for her and himself, too. That’s what we were doing yesterday. There’s more, but I think you’ll be able to read all about it in the newspapers even up here in Massachusetts.
“The reason I asked for the meeting is that I won’t be in a dorm. I need to find an apartment to rent. Can you point us to something worthwhile?”
“The one thing I strongly suggest is that you stay away from any of the nearby apartment buildings. They are primarily for students and they tend to be noisy and there have been a lot of problems with the police. I suggest you try to find a house to rent if you can afford it. I can recommend a real estate agent if you like.”
“That would be great. Next question—Barbara was set to attend a college in New York, but now she’ll obviously be here with me.”
“I know about St. Claudia’s. It’s a fine school. Tell me something about your experiences there, Barbara.”
“Well, the first thing I can tell you is that I’m not in Jack’s league. I had a B+-A- average at St. Claudia’s. I wanted to study business management in college and I had a score of 1210 on the SAT.”
“I’d like to suggest Lesley University. I happen to know that they have openings for September, especially since you won’t need a dormitory room. Some students fail to understand that they need to maintain their grades during senior year so occasionally college acceptances are revoked. My husband is Director of Admissions there. Why don’t I call him for you? Incidentally, Lesley is almost next door here in Cambridge.”
“What is the school like,” I asked.
“It’s much smaller than Harvard and it’s more for students like Barbara—good students, just not good enough for a school like this. Their programs in business and education are well regarded. How long will it take to get Barbara’s records?”
“Um…about ten minutes; I have her records in the trunk of my car. I had planned to give them to my school next Monday when Barbara registers.”
“You know, a lot of public schools won’t accept a married student.”
“I have that covered. My attorney has secured a writ from a judge of the New York State Court of Appeals. That’s the state’s highest court. The writ orders the school district to accept her. Apparently, there’s nothing in the state law barring married students, but the cost of fighting the school’s decision is more than many can afford.
“I know that colleges don’t want records that come from students because of the potential for cheating, but I could have lied about having them.”
“Hmmm. Okay, can you get them for me? I’ll phone my husband while you’re gone.” I was out of my chair in a flash, remembering to give Barbara a quick kiss before disappearing onto the sidewalk.
Mrs. Atkins wasted no time, picking up the phone as soon as Jack was out the door. I was nervous as I sat there. I had never imagined that I would be able to find a college so easily or so quickly. I listened carefully as Mrs. Atkins spoke to her husband.
“Morning, Roger, I’m going to do you a big favor and send you a young woman as a prospective student in business.” She continued after a short pause. “Yes, she’s here in the office as we speak. Remember last night when I told you about the outstanding student-athlete who was coming to see me? The student I’m referring to is his wife. They have an extremely interesting story to tell you. I’m going to look over her records in a few minutes. I’m sure they’ll tell you why they have her official records. Yes, I know, but in this case I’m sure they’re real. You can take me out to dinner if it works out for you. Okay…bye, dear.”
“Is everything okay,” I asked.
“Yes, Barbara; he’ll see you this afternoon and he’ll arrange for a student to take you on a tour. You’ll find Lesley to be an intimate place. There are about 4,500 students, but most of them are part-time graduate students either in education or business. Those are their two claims to fame. There are only about 1200 undergrads, but because of the graduate students the library and other facilities are really very good as is the faculty even though they lack the snob appeal the faculty has here. Truthfully, I like many of their instructors more than ours. They’re more down to earth. I think you’ll enjoy the tour. How many students in your school?”
“St. Claudia’s has about 400 students…all girls, but I’m sure you understand that.” I was about to continue, but Jack rushed back into the office, passing a grey folder across the desk to Mrs. Atkins.
“Wow, I guess you do have the official records. How’d you manage this, anyway?”
“My lawyer’s brother-in-law is a judge. He explained what had happened to Barbara and asked for an order for the records. It was either give them to me or my attorney would have phoned the police. What they don’t know is that my lawyer had already phoned the police and they are definitely involved. Mind if I ask what your religion is?”
“Not at all; we’re Episcopalians. Hardly anything is a sin to us. I know all about Catholic guilt. There are probably millions of Catholics in the Boston area.” She stopped chatting then and began to peruse Barbara’s records. After about ten minutes she took a pad and pencil to check some figures. “Okay, Barbara, I compute your academic average to be…88.4 percent. You won’t have any trouble at Lesley.” Reaching into her desk she retrieved a multicolored map of what I presumed was Cambridge. “Here’s a map of the area. I’m circling the address for you. It’s only three blocks away. I’ll phone my husband once you leave and he’ll expect you between 1:00 and 1:30.
“If you want a good, cheap place for lunch try Elsie’s behind the west end of Harvard Square. Their hot pastrami can be a bit fatty, but it’s really good. Just turn left outside and go straight ahead through the Square. Turn right and you’ll see it on the left. I’ll tell my husband to suggest a real estate agent for you, too. He knows several good ones in the area.” She stood, shook our hands and Jack led me outside into the beautiful sunny day.
We did have lunch at Elsie’s and Mrs. Atkins’ assessment was right on track. We left, following the map, in plenty of time to meet with Mr. Atkins. He met us in the lobby and escorted us to his office. “Barbara, I’d like to take a look at your records even though Sandra has already done so.” He continued a few minutes later after quickly scanning Barbara’s file. “Okay, everything seems to be in order. If you like what you see here today you can come back and complete an application.”
“Under the circumstances with my school I don’t know how I will get any references.”
“Well, let me hear your story and then I’ll decide what we’ll do.” He sat back in his chair, but listened carefully--stopping Barbara and me several times and I could tell that he had some doubts until I slid the folder of photos across his desk.
“Who took these pictures?”
“I don’t know his name, but he was the Yonkers Police photographer. Barbara’s back has been so bad that even this morning I was only able to touch it to apply an ointment and bandages. I don’t know how she was able to handle the drive up here.”
“I understand that you married her to protect her.”
“Yes, sir—that’s correct. I promised that I would love, cherish, and protect her when I proposed so I would never allow her to return to that school. Unfortunately, her foster parents would have insisted had I not stepped in.”
“Foster parents? Are you an orphan, Barbara?”
“Yes sir; technically I was a ward of the state since my parents died when I was three. I’ve been lucky until now to have the same wonderful foster parents the entire time. I’ve heard some real horror stories about other kids.”
“Yes. Hmmm. Okay! I have someone waiting outside to take you on a tour. She’s a sophomore. Let’s go find her.” We stepped outside into the lobby and an attractive brunette stood. Mr. Atkins introduced us to Michelle Baker then left us to her. I could easily understand why she would be chosen as a guide. She was knowledgeable, bubbly, and gregarious with an excellent sense of humor. We had a great time with her over the next hour and I had to agree with her. Lesley was an interesting and friendly place. We were stopped and greeted several times by students and staff alike. I could tell by the expression on Barbara’s face that she would make every effort to enroll.
It was almost five by the time Barbara had finished her application and had received Mr. Atkins’ approval. “I’m just looking for a reason to take my wife out to dinner. She told me she’d thrash me if I didn’t accept you, but I would have under any circumstances. I think you’ll fit in well here.” He recommended a real estate agent in the area and marked the address on our map. We shook hands and left, with Barbara elated and me relieved. Now we only had to find a place to live.
Rather than return to our motel in nearby Belmont I drove us into Boston toward Faneuil Hall and Durgin Park. I had heard about this place when I was here with my parents, but Dad didn’t want a big meal. Now, even after a big lunch I was starving, I guessed from all the nervous energy I had expended during the day. Apparently, Barbara agreed because we each ordered their huge prime rib as we sat side by side in the middle of a long table with about twenty other patrons. I enjoyed the company and it seemed that they did, too.
Several diners asked why we were here, immediately recognizing our New York accents. We explained that I was headed to Harvard and Barbara to Lesley and that brought another whole series of questions and comments. But when someone noticed my height and asked if I played basketball Barbara couldn’t contain herself. You would have thought that I could walk on water to listen to her, but when she said the words “All-American” the men at the table went wild. They wanted to know all my statistics and were disappointed that I didn’t know most of them. “I only know that we won 129 games and five state championships in a row. That’s all that matters.”
Then Barbara mentioned that I played baseball, too and I was relieved when our huge slabs of meat arrived.
We were stuffed when we left the restaurant and eating like that always makes me tired so by the time we arrived at the motel I was ready to sack out. Barbara, however, had other ideas. Remember that part where she told me she was going to show me her love every minute of every day? She wasn’t kidding. First, she dragged me into the shower. It was close quarters in the tub—so close that Barbara’s succulent breasts were constantly rubbing into my body as she carefully ran her soapy hands over my torso and especially over my cock which responded strongly in spite of my exhaustion. Who would ever think that taking a shower could be so much fun?
Finally, Barbara handed me what was left of the tiny bar of soap and I had the opportunity to return the favor. After more than a week of pain she was at last able to tolerate my touching her back. There was still discomfort, she told me, but that was all. I rubbed in the ointment until it dried, but the bandages were no longer needed.
“I’m looking forward to doing missionary again,” she whispered as we climbed into the bed. “I enjoy wrapping my legs around you and forcing you as deep as possible into me.” I thought that was a great idea, too. As predicted, Barbara had gotten her period on Saturday while we were at the bungalow. I would never have guessed how horny having it would make her. Her only restriction was no oral on her. Twice she had sucked me to completion, swallowing every drop my testicles and prostate could produce and I had always thought that was a lot.
Tonight it would be cowgirl. For one thing we still had to consider the injuries to her back. For another, Barbara thought it would be neater. She would rush to the bathroom to insert a tampon then return to me with a wet washcloth to wipe her blood from my organ. That’s what she had done almost a dozen times over the past four days although being home with my parents and sisters had crimped our style considerably.
Barbara pulled the bedspread and blanket down as I lay on the left side of the double bed. She carefully placed her body perfectly on top of mine, her incredible breasts easily within my reach, as her lips sought and found mine. Her tongue spent more time in my mouth during these sessions than it did in hers. Barbara’s love and passion for me never failed to amaze. Reaching between her legs I found her extremely wet and eager. I grabbed my rod and aimed it in the direction of Barbara’s slit. She did the rest, beginning with a slow sensual rhythm.
I was tempted to move my hands behind my head so I could relax and watch Barbara in action, but her firm breasts with their hard swollen nipples were irresistible. I rolled them gently between my fingers while massaging each orb, knowing how much Barbara loved tit play. Sure enough, she threw her head back and drove that big sensitive clit into my hard muscles. In less than a minute she was humping me with abandon, developing the friction that would bring me to my inevitable climax even as the friction on her clit was doing the same for her.
I had read in the Kinsey Report that simultaneous orgasms were extremely rare. I wouldn’t know from our experience because Barbara and I had achieved that goal almost every time and from the tremors in our bodies I guessed we’d reach it again tonight. Suddenly, Barbara reached for the other pillow and held it to her face. It swallowed her scream just as my hips drove into her, lifting her body easily and holding it there until both of our climaxes had ebbed.
I had shied away from wrapping Barbara in my arms for fear of hurting her, but tonight she pulled my arms up and around her body. “Damn, Jack, but I’ve missed this. I’ve always felt so loved in your arms. Unfortunately, I have to get up.” She kissed me and jumped out of bed, trotting to the bathroom. It was fascinating watching her insert the tampon then washing her groin with the wet cloth. Barbara and I were very open with each other. We pissed and moved our bowels in front of each other and I’m sure we’d wipe each other if necessary.
Barbara cleaned me then rinsed the washcloth in the basin and returned to lie on my body as she had every night since we had begun making love. I pulled the blanket over us, kissed Barbara and turned off the light. We fell asleep almost immediately after a long but productive day.
We were up early and asked the motel office where we could find a decent breakfast. They sent us up the road to a big shopping mall where there were several restaurants in outbuildings. We found one that was like a diner—well, it was the closest thing we could find. I assumed that diners weren’t all that big in Massachusetts. We ate heartily not knowing what we might find for lunch.
Following our map we arrived at the real estate agent’s office just after nine. Sara Kline was a woman in her forties and it was obvious that she was a native from her accent. She had several ideas that we found helpful. She suggested that we look in neighboring Somerville, a blue collar community nearby because property values were somewhat lower there and also that we think about buying if we planned to be here for at least four years. “I’m sure you’re aware of the problems with renting. When you leave you get nothing back. On the other hand you are responsible for maintaining the house and yard if you buy. Here that means shoveling a lot of snow.”
She drove us around for more than three hours, first showing us several apartments. They were much as Mrs. Atkins had described. The hallways were littered and there was loud music bursting from apartments even though it was only mid-morning. Next she showed us several houses that were for rent. While they were quieter, they were all in poor physical condition and one house had a front porch that I was sure would collapse under my weight.
Finally, she showed us four houses that were for sale. I remembered several things my parents had said about when they were looking. I checked floor plans, knowing that nothing we looked at would be ideal. We wanted three bedrooms—a fairly big one for the master and one for a study center. The third we could use for storage or as a guest room in case we had a little visitor for a weekend. I knew that Carole would love to come for a few days. I also wanted at least one and a half baths and an eat-in kitchen would be a plus. The first two we saw were too small. One had windows that were ancient without working storm windows. Replacing them would be a major expense. The second had terrible water pressure and the third bedroom was smaller than the closet in Big C’s bedroom. It helped that I had worked summers and weekends for my dad. I checked out all of the plumbing to make sure it was up to snuff with copper supply piping and galvanized and cast iron wastes. I also checked out the fixtures—sink, basins in the bathrooms, toilets, and tubs.
The third house was a big improvement. There was a small nook off the kitchen where we could eat most nights and the master bedroom was twelve by fifteen—big enough to handle most bedroom furniture sets easily. There was also a small powder room—basin and toilet—between the kitchen and living room. It had a full basement with a decent oil burner that had been replaced only five years ago. It was on a slight hill so water from snow or rain would drain away from the house. The lot was small, but that was the norm in Somerville.
The fourth house was okay—better than the first two, but not as good as the third. Mrs. Kline told us that the husband had been transferred and that they were eager to sell. Asking $18,500, we offered $16,500. I knew that they would come back with a counter offer and we’d make another before we settled. How could I know that? I’d had two flashes while riding in the car.
Earlier, when we had just entered her office, Mrs. Kline had asked if we could handle a mortgage with all of the other expenses we would have. “I think we’ll stop off at Narragansett on the drive back so I can win enough for the year.” Barbara laughed at the expression on Mrs. Kline’s face so I briefly described my personal history, proving my point by moving her coffee mug across the table. I left a $100 deposit on the house before we left at 2:25 that afternoon. We opted for pie and ice cream rather than have a big late lunch then we returned to the motel so we could phone home.
We wanted to share our excitement and my family was totally thrilled for both of us. I told them we would drive home tomorrow—Thursday—but might not be there until Friday because we were going to make a stop in Rhode Island. When I shared our plans with Dad he asked if I could make a few bets for him. Of course, I agreed.
Once again I drove into Boston, but this time to a famous seafood restaurant on the harbor. Barbara had told me that she had never tried lobster. “It was always too expensive and we couldn’t afford it. In fact, we rarely ate out.” I was determined to change that. Mr. Atkins had told us that he planned to take his wife to a fabulous seafood restaurant on the harbor so that was where we were going now. Once there we settled into comfortable leather chairs at a table overlooking the harbor. We were early, arriving at five o’clock so we could be assured of getting a good table. Barbara asked me to order for her. “We’ll have the clam chowder, tossed salad with vinaigrette, and the two-pound lobster—steamed--with baked potato and ear of corn.”
The meal was fantastic and I was extremely pleased when Barbara showed her enjoyment of her first bite of the tender steamed lobster. Barbara was elated on the drive home. “I hope we can do this again, Jack. I loved the meal…really loved it. The soup was yummy and I liked the salad, too, but the lobster was out of this world. I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” I promised her we’d do it many times in the future, especially while we lived in New England. I already envisioned driving up to Maine for a romantic weekend.
The following morning we drove first to the Lesley bookstore where we bought tees and sweatshirts then we stopped at the Harvard Coop where we repeated the purchases with Harvard gear. Of course, we remembered my sisters and parents, including them in our purchases. Our arms laden with bags we stopped off at the Admissions Office to thank Mrs. Atkins for her help. Once we had everything stowed in the trunk we headed south starting at eleven, driving this time on the New England Thruway—I-95--which I knew went very close to Narragansett Race Track.
Of course, we had to show ID to bet, but I had my passport, mostly because it had my photo so there would be no question that I was who I claimed to be. I hadn’t bought a newspaper, but that wouldn’t be necessary. I got the same results from the racing form we bought once we had walked into the track’s restaurant. I didn’t get anything on the first race, but I did on the second, betting on a horse that went off at odds of 12 to 1. I bet ten for us and ten for dad. We had a return of $132.60 on each ticket. I kept Dad’s money in my left pocket and ours in my right.
I took the third race off, but bet on the fourth and fifth even though I didn’t get any flashes. I always bet and lost at least twice to avoid suspicious officials at the track. I bet twenty in the sixth race for us and for dad, receiving a decent payback of $392.20 on each bet. We made our real money on the ninth race, betting the exacta—twenty for us and ten for dad at more than 1900 to 1. I had to go into the pari-mutual offices to collect, taking two certified checks in lieu of cash which would have been bulky and possibly dangerous. All the same, I requested and received a security escort to our car. We left the track just after five, arriving home three hours later—in plenty of time to distribute our gifts to my sisters and cash to my appreciative parents. We learned then that both Lt. Flanagan and Mr. Silverman wanted us to phone them tomorrow morning even though it would be Saturday.
Barbara and I had showered and climbed into bed when she pulled me to her. “I love you, Jack and if I’ve learned anything over the past week it’s that life with you will never be boring.” Then she showed me one of the biggest reasons why. I fell immediately to sleep once she was done with me. My love had worn me out.
I phoned Lt. Flanagan at 9:30 the following morning, realizing that the number he had given Mom was different from either of the ones I had used to contact him at police headquarters. Thus, I wasn’t at all surprised when the phone was answered by a young child. “Hi,” I began. “My name is Jack French. Your dad asked me to phone him at this number.”
I had barely finished speaking when I heard the young boy scream, “DAD! IT’S THAT GUY YOU TOLD US ABOUT!”
“Hello, Jack…sorry about that.”
“No need to apologize, sir. I have three younger sisters and if the youngest, Carole, had answered the phone you would have heard just about the same thing.”
“I phoned you about your appearance at the grand jury. How is Wednesday morning for you and Barbara?”
“It’s fine Lieutenant. Barbara will register for school Monday morning and I’m sure the teachers will be very accommodating. Where do we have to go? Will you be there to meet with us?”
“I think it would be best if you meet me at headquarters and then I’ll drive you to the courthouse where the grand jury meets. It’s an old one and we no longer use it for criminal cases because the jail cells aren’t all that secure. How is 9:00 for you?”
“That will be fine. I’ll take Barbara into the office around 7:45 and give the secretary our note. If we leave by 8:15 we should be a bit early, but you never know with rush hour traffic.”
“Okay, Jack…see you then.” He rung off and I dialed Mr. Silverman. I knew that his children were older so I wasn’t at all surprised when he answered the phone himself. After the usual preliminaries he got right down to business.
“I found you a house to rent through the end of the school year. The owner will be in Little Rock on business for four months. He does want to meet you and Barbara. He’s heard of you, but I think he wants to be reassured.” He gave me the number and the address. I recognized it as being only about a half mile from school.
I took a few minutes to bring Barbara up to speed then dialed Mr. Grover’s number. I introduced myself and we spoke for a few minutes before he asked if we could stop by later that morning. We agreed on eleven and I rung off. “We’re going to meet the home owner at eleven. He lives close by the high school so I think we’ll be okay if we leave around 10:40.”
“I’m a little nervous, Jack. What if he doesn’t like us?”
“Then my family will be stuck with us.” Carole laughed while my parents gave a performance with fake grimaces that would never win an Oscar. Then Barbara did what she always did—she kissed me.
I knocked on the door to Mr. Grover’s house at 11:00 on the dot. He opened the door and invited us in. “I’ve heard a lot about you, John, but I’d like you to describe yourself and why you want to rent my home.”
“Okay, I’m sure you know that I’m a senior at the High School. In addition to playing football, basketball, and baseball I am also a very serious student. I’ll be valedictorian easily and I’ve been accepted at Harvard. That’s where Barbara and I were most of the week—looking for a place for us to live and, hopefully, get Barbara pointed in the right direction finding a college she can attend.”
“How did you make out?”
“Very well, sir; a woman in the admissions office pointed us to Lesley University which is very close by Harvard and her husband who works in the Lesley admissions office recommended a real estate agent to us. She found us a house that I’m prepared to buy in nearby Somerville.”
“You’re buying a house? Where is all this money coming from?”
“Money has never been a problem for me. I need to tell you a bit about my history. My brain changed dramatically when I was struck by lightning at age eight. That gave me some interesting abilities. For one thing my IQ increased by 76 points even though it was high beforehand. I can also do silly things like this.” I held my hand out and his fireplace poker flew into it. He looked on amazed. “I came into some money when I was eight and I’ve done well investing it. I bought IBM when it was about $5.00 a share. Since then it has split three times and now it’s almost fifty. I also have several other investments that have done equally well. I can pay you in advance, if you wish, rather than monthly.”
“What about parties? I would think a young man like you would enjoy an active social life.”
“Barbara and I have dated for months and in that time we went to one party—New Year’s Eve. We might entertain, but it would be a small crowd, more than likely just my basketball teammates and their girlfriends for dinner and TV later, but not a party and never anyone else. Barbara and I are both eighteen, but we don’t drink. We did have one glass of champagne at a Broadway play back in December, but that’s all.”
“I’d need to have you out of the house by July first.”
“Not a problem; I anticipate that we’ll go to Massachusetts once school is out. We have to buy a bed, furniture, desks, and I think we’ll need some new carpets, too. We need to have all of that done before school starts in September.”
“One final concern—you and your wife…I understand that you had to get married.”
“I don’t know where you got that idea, Mr. Grover, but you’re wrong. I offered to marry Barbara because she was badly beaten…whipped would be a better description by one of the nuns at her school. There was a disturbance when the other girls saw her engagement ring. The nun took it from Barbara and around noon Barbara asked to have it returned. Instead, the nun grabbed her, pulled her into the classroom, and whipped her mercilessly until she was able to break away. There was no way I would allow her to return to that school so I stepped in and married her. Now she’ll be able to attend the high school with me where I’ll be able to protect her.”
“Okay, you can stay here, but I’ll expect a $1,000 deposit as insurance.”
“That’s fine. I’ll have my attorney draw up a contract. You’ll have it by Monday afternoon.” We shook hands and I led Barbara out to the car.
“The house looks nice, Jack.”
“I’m sure it is, but I doubt we’ll live there. He doesn’t want to do it. He was looking for an excuse not to. He also thinks he can cheat us out of a thousand dollars. Once he gets his hands on that money we’ll never get it back.”
“Can he do that?”
“He’ll come up with some phantom problem and we’ll have to go to court to get it back. It’s a good location, but I’m sure Mr. Silverman will advise us not to get involved.”
Sure enough, that’s exactly what he told me. “Stay away from that jerk, Jack. We’ll find something else.” And he did. By Wednesday the real estate agent he was using had found us a house to share with a widow. She was pleasant and offered to cook our meals for a small fee if I would agree to maintain the yard and her flower beds. It was a winning proposition for both of us. She—Mrs. Mazzone—had a bedroom and bathroom on the first floor along with the kitchen and living room that she was willing to share while Barbara and I had a good-sized bedroom, bath, and a smaller room where we could study on the second.
Barbara and I walked into the high school main office at 7:45 Monday morning where we were greeted by Mrs. Cecil. “Morning, Jack…and you must be Barbara. I know that Mr. Wickers isn’t too happy, but I think what you did was wonderful.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Cecil. Here are Barbara’s records and here’s a note in regard to Wednesday.”
“You’re appearing before the grand jury? Oh, my! I guess that really will be a legal excuse, won’t it?” Then she laughed and her laugh brought our asshole principal out from his office.
“I’m not very happy with you, Mr. French!”
“I really don’t care, Mr. Wickers. I want Barbara to be here and she is. I’m taking her down to see Mrs. Costello now. You’ll find out soon enough what kind of person she is.” I took Barbara by the arm and led her away.
“Oh, Jack—I’m so sorry. I’m nothing but trouble for you.”
I pulled her into the lobby where there were several large pillars. Standing behind one I told her, “I don’t ever want to hear you say that again. I love you, Barbara, and I’m thrilled to be married to you. Wickers is a pretty good principal most of the time, but he’s also a real asshole sometimes and this is one of those times. Mr. Silverman saw the superintendent last week and he passed the word down to Wickers. His reaction is exactly what I thought it would be.” I leaned down for a quick kiss that, fortunately, was unobserved and walked Barbara down the hall to see Mrs. Costello, the guidance counselor.
Unlike Mr. Wickers she was warm and welcoming. She spent a few minutes asking Barbara what she was studying at St. Claudia’s. Then she created a schedule for Barbara. She would be in my homeroom and my English and history classes, but while I was taking calculus she was taking advanced algebra and she was also taking chemistry instead of physics. Spanish 3 and physical education rounded out her schedule.
We were walking to the lockers when she asked me, “What is physical education?”
“It’s a chance to get good and sweaty in the gym. I’ll have to ask Mom where to get a gym suit for you. Maybe Angela has one that will fit you. Let’s find your locker. I think it’ll be right across the hall from mine.” It was, and it took me a minute or two to show her how it worked. In that time several of my classmates came over to say hello and welcome Barbara to the school. We were only a minute late to homeroom and we were all amused when Mrs. Snyder asked Barbara if she was related to me.
“We’re not blood relatives, Ma’am. We have the same name because we’re married.” Mrs. Snyder was shocked and everyone chuckled, remembering that all-out laughing wasn’t appropriate in school.
I made a brief explanation, telling her that all would become clear within the next month or so then Barbara took a seat near the rear of the room where there was an empty seat. This was a big room—big enough to hold every senior in the school. That came in handy when we had to make announcements to the class or discuss some class activity.
I was headed to physics first period while Barbara had Spanish. Marlene offered to help her find the classroom. We parted with a quick hug and the next time I saw her was fourth period in English with Mrs. Wohl. By then she knew all about Barbara’s presence. She added Barbara to her roll book and told her to take a seat wherever she could find one. Marlene was sitting next to me and got up to allow Barbara to sit there while she found another seat a few rows back.
You’d be disappointed if you thought there would be any shenanigans between us. We had plenty of that at home and our situation with Mrs. Mazzone was better than we had anticipated. “I know you were married only two weeks ago and, believe it or not, I was young once too so don’t worry about making a bit of noise at night. I’m sure you get my meaning.” We did and we still made love every night and many mornings, too. In return we always received a beaming smile from our landlady.
We actually attended one class Wednesday morning before leaving school for our drive to the Yonkers P.D. Lt. Flanagan was waiting for us and whisked us into his sedan only a minute later. He was all business as he described what would happen. “I’ll have to testify first. Basically, the district attorney handling the case will ask a simple question and it will be our responsibility to flesh out the answer. Don’t embellish and be honest in what you say and all will go well. Relax and don’t be nervous. There is no cross examination at the grand jury. Did I explain that to you?”
“Yes,” I said with a little chuckle. “I think you’re even more nervous than we are.”
“If I am it’s for Barbara. I’m sure she doesn’t like reliving that horrible experience.”
“You’re right, Lieutenant, but if it will help stop those atrocities I’ll tell the story a thousand times.”
“You’re a brave young woman, Barbara. I’ll try to get Jack to testify first so he can be with you while you testify.”
I hadn’t realized that we had to go all the way to White Plains, the county seat, so it was almost 10:00 by the time we had arrived. Lt. Flanagan led us inside until we were stopped by several court officers who wanted to see our ID. Flanagan flashed his badge and ID card and Barbara and I pulled our wallets to show our driver’s licenses. Only after emptying our pockets and Barbara’s purse were we allowed to pass. I was somewhat concerned until Lt. Flanagan assured us that it was to insure privacy and confidentiality of the grand jury’s proceedings.
We were about halfway down the hall when a door opened and we saw a woman I guessed was in her mid-thirties approach us. She greeted Lt. Flanagan who introduced her as ADA Linda Koslowsky. We shook hands and she reviewed what would happen even though Lt. Flanagan had just done that in the car. She agreed to the order he had suggested, telling us not to become anxious due to the delay. “The grand jury is always deliberate,” she said with a chuckle. “By deliberate I really mean slow. Not only do I ask questions, but they sometimes do, too and their questions can really go far afield of the issues. But this is the process we use and it’s been in existence for hundreds of years so it must work.” With that she led Lt. Flanagan away.
Barbara and I sat in the uncomfortable seats for more than an hour until she reappeared to bring me into the room. I kissed Barbara and walked in, showing my surprise when the door locked behind me. There were a lot of people seated in rows that rose in four tiers. I thought that there were at least forty, but that was just a guess. A clerk approached and I was sworn in. That was when I first noticed the judge off to the left of the jury. Once seated, the ADA asked for my name, address, age, and a few facts about my high school experiences.
I described both my academic and athletic achievements; I was a bit taken aback when one of the jurors asked if I was the one who had made All-American. “Yes, sir; that was me. I was named All-American the past two seasons.” Then Mrs. Kozlowski questioned me about my involvement in the case at hand. I explained how and why I had proposed to Barbara and I described the ring in detail—size and color of the stone, its quality, and the type of setting and band. Lt. Flanagan had already produced the receipt and I stated clearly that it was the one I had received from Harry Winston in Manhattan. I couldn’t testify about what had occurred in the school. Barbara had to do that, but I did tell about volunteering to go to the school office wearing the wire that could record the conversation.
We listened to the tape in the school office and I swore that it was an honest and complete record of what had transpired. I answered several questions from the ADA and several more from some jurors. Then I repeated with the same set of questions about my visit to Monsignor Moran. I was about to step down when one elderly woman asked why I had married Barbara. “First of all, I love her very much and have almost from the moment we met. She’s an incredible person. Secondly, I felt that I had to protect her. Her foster parents are very caring people, but they are blind to any wrongs that may be committed by the leaders of their church. They still have difficulty believing that Barbara was whipped by this nun even after viewing the photographs you have seen this morning. They would have forced her to return to that school where she might have been further tortured. Would you have allowed someone you loved to endure that kind of treatment? I knew that I wouldn’t and couldn’t.” I was excused from the stand, but was not required to leave the room. Instead, I stood just inside the door where I hugged Barbara as soon as she stepped in. I could see that she was frightened and that nothing I could do would calm her.
She had just taken the oath when the jury forewoman spoke. “I can see that you’re nervous. You have nothing to fear, my dear. We are here to help you, not hurt you. Just tell us what happened to you. Tell us everything. Will you, please?” Barbara seemed more relaxed when she sat and I reached out to take her hand. Barbara responded now to the questions from Mrs. Kozlowski, slowly rebuilding the events of that fateful Monday. She seemed to gather herself as she spoke. I could feel her strength in her hand grow as she progressed from the theft of her ring to the horrendous beating she had received at the hands of the nun who should have been her caring teacher. She told how she drove frantically to my parents’ house, how my mother had phoned the school and how I had responded immediately. She described her experience in the emergency room and how I had cared for her afterwards.
Barbara was excused after she had testified for an hour. ADA Kozlowski thanked us for our time and testimony. “I have no doubt that there will be indictments against all three of these monsters. I know these people. Half of them are Catholic and they hate the thought that their priests and nuns would behave in such a despicable and unchristian way. I’ll be in touch with you by Friday, Lieutenant. I think you can plan to act within the next week.” She thanked us again and Lt. Flanagan led us back to his car.
“I’ll take you out to lunch then I think you should go home and rest. You’ve been through a meat grinder, Barbara. You’re a very brave young woman.” I gave him our new phone number, the one we’d had installed in Mrs. Mazzone’s home even though she had tried to convince us to use hers as our own. I drove Barbara back to what was for now our home and put her to bed, lying with her until she was asleep then I rose and went downstairs to speak with Mrs. Mazzone.
“It must have been very difficult for her.”
“It was. She’s much braver than I could ever be. To relive those horrible moments over and over; I think she can feel the lashes of that whip even worse than she did that infamous day. I can’t wait for this horrible episode to be behind us. That’s one of the reasons why I want us to move to Massachusetts. She needs to be busy, studying as well as building our life together. She needs more work than high school can provide.”
“She needs time more than anything else. I thought I would die when my dear Louis passed away. Now, almost three years later I know that I still love him, but we were not meant to grow old together. I still miss him, especially at night when I am alone, but it gets easier every day. The same will happen with Barbara. Just be sure to be there always for her.”
“You need never worry about that.”
The next three months passed swiftly, but not without a number of spectacular highlights. Barbara made her way into the yearbook—just barely when I phoned Carolyn who was the editor the afternoon after her beating. There was an April 1 deadline unless we were willing to pay a penalty. I phoned a local photographer and made arrangements for her to be photographed and for the photos to be rushed to Carolyn’s home. I trusted her to pick the best, although they were all excellent. I also knew that Carolyn would write something appropriate, in consideration of her late enrollment. She did exactly that, noting that Barbara’s most outstanding senior moment was, “Kissing my husband Jack after winning the state basketball championship.” Funny—that was my most outstanding moment, too.
It was only six days after our appearance before the grand jury that Lt. Flanagan and a squad of police appeared at St. Claudia’s School. There were arrests—Sister Mary Theresa in the main office and Sister Mary Patrick removed kicking and fighting from her classroom immediately—and two others after the records so vainly kept by a series of self-serving principals had been examined. Also found was a small treasure of purloined jewelry in the desk and dresser of Sister Mary Patrick as well as the three other nuns—baubles stolen over the decades from innocent and unsuspecting students and their families. Barbara’s ring was in Sister Mary Patrick’s desk. The blood-soaked whip was easily found on a hook in her closet.
Lt. Flanagan then took a small group of officers to the archdiocese offices to arrest Msgr. Moran. The list of charges went on for four pages, rivaling only those of the two nuns. Not surprisingly, the Cardinal denied any knowledge of the allegations. Barbara and I watched almost everything on the six o’clock news that evening, declining an invitation from the District Attorney to witness the arrests.
As I had anticipated, Stanley Silverman instituted a class action lawsuit on behalf of the three hundred and seventy-six victims, some of whom were old enough to be grandparents now, using the list to identify and locate them. The suit claimed compensatory damages of more than eight hundred million dollars and unspecified punitive damages. He held a major press conference on the steps of the State Courthouse in which he fervently expressed his ire at the actions of the so-called professionals parents had entrusted with their daughters. He wanted Barbara and me there, but we politely declined. We’d done enough.
I had always gone fishing over the Memorial Day weekend so when I asked if I could use the bungalow my parents agreed immediately. We were at dinner two Sundays prior and Carole actually begged to join us. “I think that Jack and Barbara would enjoy some time alone,” Mom told her. But Barbara and I had anticipated her request and agreed if we could get Carole out of school a bit early on Friday afternoon. Thus, Barbara drove from school to my parents’ home on Thursday to get Carole’s clothes for the weekend then she drove into Tuckahoe to get me after our game.
Unfortunately, we weren’t going to the playoffs. I’d had a good year on the mound, pitching my way to a 4-1 record and a 2.05 ERA while batting for a .420 average on exactly 21 for 50. Our other two pitchers, however, had losing records and of my teammates, only Tony had a decent batting average. Even Eli who had made All-County with me last year had been mired in a season-long slump, barely batting .200.
We left the high school at 2:00 and picked Carole up only five minutes later. She was elated to be with us and we always enjoyed being with her, too. We reached the bungalow by four, stopping in nearby Rocky Point to pick up some hooks and sinkers as well as a dozen sand worms, the preferred bait for blackfish in the spring. Blacks live in rocky areas so the north shore of Long Island is almost ideal with the millions of rocks large and small pushed down from New England by the ancient glaciers.
The first thing I did was strip the monofilament from my spinning reel and re-spool with new twenty-pound test mono. When that was done I took my two girls out for a quick dinner—pizza. Mom knew that we were now practicing Lutherans so meat on Friday was not only acceptable, it was the norm. We had a special dispensation as a result. Carole liked pepperoni while I liked sausage. Barbara, ever the diplomat, would accept both so we ordered a large half and half and a couple of Cokes. Getting to the restaurant early meant we could eat quickly and get back to try fishing while there was still daylight.
I made my first cast and stood still, my long rod resting on my thigh. Barbara and Carole amused themselves by playing tag. Somehow Carole was always able to catch Barbara, but Barbara had the utmost difficulty catching her eight year-old sister-in-law. They were laughing like crazy when I had my first bite. This kind of fishing takes patience. The first tug occurs when the fish mouths the bait. Strike then and you’ll catch nothing. You’re only pulling the hook out of the fish’s mouth. I’ve done this for years so I was ready for the second powerful tug. A strong pull on the rod set the hook. I always file the point so it’s razor sharp. Blackfish have thick fleshy lips so a sharp hook is a real advantage. I pulled it easily to the shore, knowing as I did that I would release it. Sure enough it was a lightweight. It was only out of the water for seconds before it swam away.
The fishing was great for the next hour as I caught and kept two fish over five pounds—a gift for Mrs. Mazzone. I cleaned them at the water’s edge, removing the head and the entrails then turning the knife over and scraping it against the scales to remove them. Finally, I used an old set of kitchen shears to remove the fins. I washed my hands and my tools and we were ready to hike up the path. I’d never found walking up the path at night to be terribly difficult because there was usually ambient light from the moon and stars. It was really dark once we were under the trees, but the path was surprisingly easy to see because of the contrast between the white sand and the dark green plants that appeared black at night. Barbara got Carole ready for bed while I washed the fish, dried them with a clean rag then wrapped them in aluminum foil for the refrigerator.
We hugged and kissed Carole as we tucked her in and then she asked the big question, “Barbara, where are you and J.J. going to sleep?”
“Right over here in Jack’s bed.”
“Both of you? In that little bed?”
“Yup! And there will still be room for you in the morning. Okay?”
Apparently it was because Carole smiled, hugged Barbara and me one last time and rolled over to sleep. Barbara and I retreated to the living room where we sat quietly reading some of my parents’ extensive library of paperbacks. Only when we were sure that she was soundly asleep did we shower and make love, with Barbara seated securely on the kitchen counter, me standing between her legs. Barbara had taken a small towel from the linen closet to stifle her usual orgasmic scream. We retired as we did every night with Barbara’s head on my chest and her leg over my thigh. There was one huge difference though—we were wearing t-shirts and gym shorts because of Carole’s presence.
We fished again on Saturday, this time with my friends, but at night we took Carole to the drive-in movie in nearby Rocky Point. She played in the playground before the movie and enjoyed the cartoons, but lay down on the rear seat under a small blanket once they had ended.
We took Carole with us to the Lutheran church with Mom’s blessing then fished all Sunday afternoon. Blackfish are funny. Sometimes you can fish all day and catch nothing, not even getting a single bite. Other times you can’t reel the fish in fast enough. The afternoon was a washout, but after dinner it was hotter than I’d ever seen. I must have caught twenty fish and my buddies caught even more. Mrs. Mazzone was delighted with the fish we brought home to her, treating Barbara, Carole, and me to dinner the following evening.
And then, of course, was the wedding. Setting up the actual ceremony was a breeze, but the catering hall? Yeah…good luck with that. Everything that was worth anything had been booked six months or more in advance. So it was that we met with my parents after Sunday dinner in early April. “I can only see two alternatives, Jack,” my dad explained. “Either we put up a big tent on the side lawn here at home or you book the fire department.”
“Of course,” I said as I began to explain to Barbara. “The upstairs at the fire department has a big open room with a commercial kitchen and they’ve held dozens of catered affairs there.” Dad told us that he would make the booking then all we’d have to do was contract with a catering firm. I was on the phone less than five minutes later, striking gold with the first call to Keens Steakhouse in Manhattan.
Barbara and I handled the invitations and in addition to saying yes or no we asked each guest what they wanted to eat—grilled ten-ounce prime filet or steamed two-pound lobster. Then we had to deal with the florists and dresses for Barbara, Carole, and two of her closest friends—Marlene and Carolyn. Thank God all the guys had to do was rent a few tuxes; that was the easiest part of the planning. That we scheduled for Friday afternoon and evening the week before graduation was just about perfect.
Mom, Aunt Debbie, and three of our neighbors managed all of the set-up that morning while Barbara and I were in school taking final exams. Afternoon beauty salon appointments for the women and haircuts, shaves, and manicures for the guys gave us just forty-five minutes to dress and get to the church while Barbara and the other women piled into the limos.
I had given Barbara her own credit cards just in time to pay for the dresses and lunch in Manhattan. All told Barbara spent three days selecting and fitting although I suspected she was more interested in eating out in the city than the actual shopping.
The day of the wedding was perfect—sunny with temperatures in the low eighties as Eli and I stood near the altar of the Lutheran church with Pastor Moody. The hundred guests were all seated when the organist began the wedding march. Eli patted me on the back as the ushers and bridesmaids made their way up the aisle. Finally, I saw Mr. Gleason and Barbara begin their slow way forward. She had refused to say a word about her dress and now I understood why. It was elegant—form-fitting in an oriental fashion with a long slit running up the left side. The dress itself I learned later was sleeveless with a long-sleeved bolero jacket that ended at her waist.
She joined me with a squeeze of my hand and a quick kiss. Unlike the Catholic Church where we would have endured an entire Mass, the ceremony was short and to the point, essentially the reading of a few bible passages, the exchange of vows, and a few words of advice before ending with a big kiss. We did exchange rings as we had in the Eastchester Town Hall, but this time I surprised Barbara by placing her engagement ring onto her finger once her wedding ring was in place.
I had asked Lt. Flanagan about it almost a month ago and he told me it could be released. “There are so many charges here that nobody will miss this one.” He had delivered the ring to the High School office almost a week before the ceremony where Mrs. Cecil held it for me until Friday afternoon just before we left school. That was the only way I could keep the secret.
Eli had just given me Barbara’s ring and I had placed it onto her finger when I pulled the solitaire from my pocket. The expression on Barbara’s face was priceless as I slid the second ring up her finger—almost as priceless as the kiss she gave me a second later. Pastor Moody had to interrupt the ceremony to explain to the guests before Barbara returned my ring to my finger and we had the official end of ceremony kiss.
We had color-coded nametags on the tables—blue for lobster, red for beef—as well as an open bar even though most of the guests would be drinking Coke or Seven-Up. Barbara and I did share a private toast in which I swore to love her until the end of time and she promised to love me even longer.
The reception began with a cocktail hour which for our classmates was just an opportunity to pig out on boiled shrimp and hot and cold hors d’oeuvres. I knew that I overate, but next to Eli I had eaten almost nothing. After the cocktail hour we did all the silly traditional things—the best man’s toast, the first dance, Barbara’s dance with her “father,” Mr. Gleason and my dance with my mother. I did dance with Mrs. Gleason and with Mrs. Mazzone and, of course, with my favorite aunt. But every other dance went to my gorgeous wife.
Everyone had a wonderful time, but there was almost a nasty incident thanks to my bigoted asshole uncle. Eli had asked Carole to dance and he had lifted her bodily, holding her with his forearm under her legs. Eli was smiling and Carole was laughing, but Uncle Arthur was red-faced and livid that a Negro would handle his niece in such a fashion. Apparently, he had forgotten that Carole’s parents were seated less than ten feet away and were laughing along with Carole.
I excused myself quickly and intercepted my irate relative before he was half-way across the dance floor. “Let it go, Uncle; it’s none of your business. Eli is my best friend and Carole knows him well. What you see as taking liberties is nothing more than being friendly.”
“But, he’s a….” He shut up then because I had my hand over his neck and I was sure he was in a lot of pain.
“Feel free to leave if your racist ideals have been offended. I’m sure you won’t be missed. I’m also sure that Eli could crush you with only one hand since his other is occupied with Carole. Oops, too late…the song is over. Incidentally, if you think you’re going to ruin the party for Barbara you’re delusional. I’ll crush you first. Keep that in mind as you return to your table or just leave…your choice.” I released him then, shoving him back to his table. He turned once, rubbing his neck with his hands as he trudged away. The party broke up at midnight with most of my relatives returning to my parents’ place. Barbara and I got into the limo for a short drive to The Plaza in Manhattan.
We spent our wedding night making the most incredible love all night before ordering room service for a late breakfast. We spent a good part of Saturday at the Bronx Zoo before returning around five for an early dinner and a trip to Broadway to see “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” We stayed overnight at The Plaza before taking the limo back to Mrs. Mazzone’s in the late afternoon. We brought in sandwiches from the deli, eating while studying the rest of the evening.
We had studied for weeks to prepare for final exams and the State Regents’ exams. Barbara had Chemistry and Advanced Algebra while I had French Three even though I had never attended even a single class of French. I had learned years ago that state law permitted a student to take any Regents Exam even without taking the course. I had met with the French teacher several times to learn pronunciation and some idioms, but—other than that—I had learned everything on my own, buying the textbooks and some books on French culture at a major bookstore in Manhattan. I had spent at least an hour a day over junior and senior years and it paid off with a grade of 98 on the exam. I laughed; it was my lowest score on the dozen or so state exams I had taken, not that I cared at all.
I had taken the SAT four times—once in each grade, receiving the same score each time—1590 out of 1600. As a freshman I missed one question in the English section. The next year it was in math then I repeated the sequence again just to prove I could do it. I knew that I would receive a lot of notoriety by scoring 1600, but I had received so much already that I felt I didn’t need any more. Had that hurt me? Not at all; every college interviewer had asked about it and every one had laughed at my answer. I was also accepted at every school where I had applied.
We had most of the week before graduation off from school which proved fortunate. I had bought a lot near my parents’ bungalow—just down the road and on the opposite side of the street—a lot on the bluff with a beautiful panoramic view of Long Island Sound and Connecticut roughly twenty miles away. I considered it a bargain at $18,000. The closing was the Saturday before exams. We also closed on our new house in Somerville, flying into Boston in the morning and flying back at night.
Barbara and I had spent every Friday and Saturday night during those months at Yonkers Raceway, winning more than three million dollars betting obscene sums on what amounted to sure things. I requested and received a security guard virtually every night until I learned that I could have the money wired directly into my account. Of course, our successes raised all kinds of questions, but the racing authorities could find nothing illegal in what we were doing. In fact, they used our winning as part of an advertising campaign for which we were handsomely paid.
We practiced for graduation on Friday morning, finding our places and marching slowly into the auditorium to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, courtesy of the high school orchestra. As valedictorian I was first while Barbara was number13 alphabetically. That