It was the inner city with thousands of strangers passing through yet in those days in Brighton we experienced feeling safe. And it was not just in Brighton – I can recall being about 9 and my mom not questioning it when I went with some buddies to see the Mets (I was a loyal early fan who agonized their ineptitude but was proud of their heart), or the Brooklyn Library, or the Guggenheim or the Metropolitan…
What a different world! We did a paranoid’s walk – not to close to the curb nor the alleys ever alert but still, that was the natural thing, done with little fear. And for treks across Brighton like from my home on Brighton 7th to Brighton 2nd for a slice, that I would do on my own. I would walk the half block from our house to the beach and run several times a week at the water’s edge toward Coney and back.
I don’t remember being fearful for my siblings when they ventured outside or when they set up with me on a summer’s morning a blanket with our old comic books for sale in front of the building. Though I didn’t feel the same sense of protection from my relatives even from my Mom’s oldest sister that lived on our floor across the hall I realized they were nearby.
One time I when I was somewhat younger I visited my aunt across the hall and I reached across the sink by standing on the toilet trying to open the medicine cabinet, curious I guess, and fell – my front two uppers cut through my skin above my jaw, several other teeth badly damaged, and she heard me screaming and she started screaming when she saw me, carrying me (while she was still screaming) gushing blood onto my clothes and the floor, depositing me with my mom. After I got out of the hospital I had to go to therapy every week for months with my dad as the special dentists slowly worked on my badly damaged teeth, slow because I was allergic to the popular anesthesia of the time. Just me and my dad on the train, mostly quiet and the bond we had just got stronger and stronger and though I didn’t say much about it after I loved that man so much. So very much.