I Have A Confession To Make

Posted by: on Mar 25, 2015 | No Comments



Did you ever think back to a moment in your life that you wish you could have been watching yourself as that moment occurred? To see what you looked like and how people were reacting to whatever it is you were doing? Well, I’m sure I’ve got quite a few of those but there’s one I would really like to share.

Let me start by saying I grew in Great Neck.  In the 60s and 70s, Great Neck was very Jewish. Too Jewish if you ask me, which is probably why I had a group of friends that I affectionately referred to me as the St. Mary’s rejects. These were the non-Jewish kids in town who, for the most part, went to elementary school at St. Aloysius in town, but couldn’t get into St. Mary’s in Manhasset for high school. These were the guys I played basketball with at Memorial Field after school, took auto mechanics class with,  and who taught me to drink beer at the age of 16 (and you know who you are). For this, I thank you. This was pretty my entire exposure to non-Jews, Catholics in particular. Growing up, I don’t think I can remember stepping inside a Catholic church, except for Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal, and maybe another one here and there.

Moving on to the summer of 1979, the summer after my freshman year at SU. 3 of my friends came to visit for the weekend. My life long friend Jeff, plus Flora and Laura, 2 of the girls we were friendly with from SU. For the purposes of this post, the one thing they all had in common was they were all not Jewish.

On Saturday of that weekend, we were out and about in the Big Apple. A very typical mid-summer day in the city. In other words, it was hot and humid. We went to the top of the Empire State Building, walked up to Central Park, and strolled along 5th Avenue. It was here, on 5th Avenue, where the fun begins.

My friends decided they would love to see the inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  We walked inside, and it so nice so to be out of the sun and humidity. What I really needed was a drink of water, and wouldn’t you know it, they had water fountain right near the entrance. I circled the water fountain but couldn’t find the handle. It was then that I felt thousands of gentile eyes staring at me. Actually, it was just Jeff and the ladies, who were in shock over what they were witnessing. Suddenly it hit me,  and I don’t think I have to tell you what water I was trying to drink inside that big Catholic cathedral.

In the end, I laughed at myself, looked at my friends and said “Hey, it says Kohler on the side.” And to this day, I would swear it did.