I could not sleep last night I kept on thinking about Joanie’s Boxer, Joy. I still could not understand why anyone would allow people to cut up a little dog just for a certain look or breed. Joy is such a pretty puppy and when you look into his sad eyes you just what to hug him a say everything is going to be all right. I don’t think I can do or say anything to convince Joanie’s parents to not let anyone cut that poor puppy. I was rubbing my eyes as I walked into the kitchen and heard my sister begging my mother to let her go to Coney Island with her girlfriends. “Ma, Ma, Ma, please, please, the summer is almost over and I promise I’ll be a good girl. I will not get into any trouble. I will not look or talk to any boys.” My Mom said “no, no, I ya no trust-a you. You justa boy craaazy.” At that point she runs into her room crying.
I follow my sister to her room and whisper “why don’t you ask Mom to let me go along with you?” She looks up from her bed and wipes away her tears with a smile on her face. “Okay, okay, I’ll ask her.” She gets up and goes back to the kitchen. “Ma if I take Pepino with me to Coney Island will you let me go?” My Mom turns with her right hand in the air “My God youa never stop! Yes, you canna go but you and you friends gotta watch you brother.” My sister was so happy I know that she thinks she can control me. She thinks that she can go off with her friends and hang out with boys and leave me on the beach blanket to wait for her to come back.
She called out to me “hurry up and get your bathing suit and towel. We have to meet Frances, Millie and Maria on our way to the subway at Smith and Ninth Street to catch the D train.” “I told her to hold on. Just know that I plan to go for a swim and then hang out at the penny arcade. I don’t plan to sit on the beach blanket all day long waiting for you to come back from playing with the boys.” She said “listen squirt; remember I’m taking you only because Mom gave me the okay.” I gave her a quick yes only because I can always rat her out and hold it over her whenever I want.”
We packed our beach stuff and took some bread and fresh fruit for lunch. We can always get some water from a drinking fountain at the beach. We didn’t have much money. I saved four dollars by collecting deposit bottles. I look at it as four hundred pennies for the arcade. I think my sister had ten dollars and maybe I can get her to buy me an ice cream or maybe a hot dog at Nathans. We met her girl friends on Luqure and Hicks Street on the way to the subway. They are all so happy giggling and laughing like teenage girls do thinking about all the great looking boys they plan to meet at the beach. We got to the station at Ninth Street. It was far from looking like a “subway” that I always thought was underground. The station is about four stories high. When we got to the top you could see Manhattan on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other. It is a beautiful day and a lot cooler than last week. There are a hundred people waiting for the D train to pull into the station.
I hear a rumble and then I see the train coming. It looked full of people with all their beach stuff already on board. The train pulls in, the doors open and me and the girls push our way in. Phew! We made it; we’re packed in like a can of sardines, with hot a bunch of sweaty people squished around us. The overhead fans in the train didn’t help much. The fans just seemed to blow around these weird odors that were making me feel sick. We couldn’t move and my four foot body with all these taller people surrounding me made me feel like I was drowning in a sea of sweat. I kept on thinking to myself “hold on, only an hour to go.”
We finally arrive at the Coney Island station about 10AM. As we got off the train I felt the cool ocean breeze it smelled so good. The girls yell out to me, “Hurry up! We have to get a good spot on Bay 14 for our beach blanket. The law of the beach is that every neighborhood, in Brooklyn, has claimed their beach location. Our neighborhood camps out on Bay 14 near the pier and the parachute jump ride on the board walk. I don’t know how these rules started. All I know is that if you’re from Red Hook better not put your blanket on Bay 13 or Bay 15’s beach. If you do you better be ready to fight your way back to the board walk.
We started looking for a spot on the beach close to some shade near the pier. The beach was packed with people and it wasn’t easy to find an empty spot of sand. We finally got lucky and found small spot of sand and laid out our blankets; I undressed and ran for the water. My sister yells out “Pepino, stop! Get back here. You can’t go in the water without me.
” Wow, I didn’t think my sister really cared that much about my safety. I stopped and then we all went into the cool ocean together. It feels so good splashing around and jumping into the waves. The weather is so nice and warm and not too hot and my sister is having a great time with her girlfriends. We had some bread and fruit for lunch but I was still hungry. I asked my sister if I could buy some cotton candy. She said “no, that’s junk I’ll buy you a hot dog at Nathans.” Wow, that sounds good to me.
A guy by the name of Nino asked my sister to go with him for a ride on the Steeple Chase. She looks at me probably thinking that if she said yes, I would rat her out to my mother. So she gave me two dollars to get a hot dog and she gave me the okay to meet her on our beach blanket when she gets done with her horsey ride with Nino. My sister knows I’m weak; money will always buy my silence. She went off with Nino and the girls to the Steeple Chase Park. I had my hot dog and played all the penny games at the arcade. It was still early when I got back to the blanket. I laid down on the blanket and fell asleep. Next thing I know my sister is shaking me to wake up.
We packed our stuff and made our way back to the subway. The ride home wasn’t so bad; we even managed to find a couple of seats next to a fisherman who was heading home from a day of fishing at Sheepshead Bay. He had a good day too, I could tell because of the sack of fish on the seat next to him. I think we got some seats on the train because of the strong fish smell. After a while the smell wasn’t too bad. I least I wasn’t being crushed to death by a heard of sweating smelly people. I started looking at the “Good Luck” horse shoe shaped piece of metal with a shinny penny stuck into its center that I bought at the penny arcade. As I was looking at my good luck charm I was thinking about the great day we spent at Coney Island, I fell asleep.