I was more than a little resentful of the suggestion in your article that I was an inappropriate choice to reign as Queen for “Welcome Back to Brooklyn Day” on June 9  (anyway, I thought I was to be King). Regardless of my worthiness, it does seem to me that “type” should play no part in this warm-spirited ceremony. One wonders what your greatest concern is – am I not funny enough? I can slip on a banana peel with the best of them.
I was born in Brooklyn Heights in 1936, where we lived for a short time before moving to Flushing. When I was 6 we returned, this time to Ocean Parkway in Flatbush. It was in this neighborhood that I lived for the next three years, learning much about the spirit that produces laughter, fear, anger and – last and above all – tolerance.
The Moores and one other family were the only Catholics in an Orthodox Jewish community where my grandfather owned the house that we would live in. I made my first Communion at St. Rose of Lima Church and took no small amount of kidding for the bride-like veil I wore on that particular Sunday.
“Well, so are you married to God now?”
“No, stupid. How come you can’t touch money sometimes? And what’s the big deal about sundown?”
We never let each other forget our differences, fistfights being a regular part of our activities. I don’t think I was without a bruise or scraped knees for the whole time we lived there. Nor were some of them. But I remember feeling that whatever the bullying, we also had fun. We knew we were struggling with more than childhood’s fight for supremacy and territory. There were differences that could have been given indelible names but weren’t. Instead, we found ourselves and we found ourselves to be friends.