Prison Pete -- The Formative Years.
We moved from Manhattan when I was about four years old.
We lived in Long Island until I was about to enter the sixth grade and off we went to Brooklyn. I entered the sixth grade at P.S. 20 and was in for one hell of a cultural shock. While I was certainly not raised in a racist household, the fact that P.S. 20 was ninety percent black had to have some effect.
After graduating from the sixth grade, off I went to St. Anthony's and was thrown into an entirely different situation; where I was surround by kids who basically were many steps up on the financial wealth scale.
Not content to leave well enough alone, I remember the day Dad informed me that we were moving yet again. This was the summer before my senior year in high school. Dad actually told me that one of the reasons for the move was they thought it would be good for me!
While living in Brooklyn for five years, the church had little or no kids my age and no Boy Scouts etc., it was a non-issue. While I continued to attend St. Anthony's, the move changed my commute from a half hour bus or bike ride to an hour or more ride on two trains.
While at St. Anthony's I did not develop any really close friends, but by virtue of my love for the theater, I usually hung out with the group that did the tech work, and while I was actually one of the leaders of the gang so to speak, I never really fit in.
The other kids' fathers and mothers were lawyers, medical doctors, etc. One guy had twenty or thirty different fish tanks in his own room, which was three or four times the size of the nine by fourteen foot room my brother and I shared in our apartment. This kid's father was a director for National Geographic, and his family vacations were to places all over the world.
When we arrived at St. John's that first Sunday night and I learned that they have a senior high youth group of thirty plus teenagers, well my mind was blown.
The two neighborhoods I would now be spending all my waking hours are as different as night and day; the rich, gifted, liberal school high, and the blue collar, Archie Bunker
mentality, community where essentially the kids have been together from birth. Yes, now I was an outsider in two places at the same time.
Convinced that everyone at St. Anthony's was getting laid but me, well the first time my future ex-wife started to pay some serious attention to me, I was a goner.
Yes, there were brief starts with a few other girls in the church but my style back then was wow, a female paying attention to me, I have to be with her 24/7. Most of the girls had the good sense to tell me to get lost. She on the other hand thought I was her ticket out of her horrible home life.