Susie Scott was my pre-school girlfriend. Except in the 1960s it was called “nursery school.”
This is her real name, since there is nothing in this post but admiration for her and because there are many Susie Scotts out there: I Googled her, and – believe me – her anonymity is secure.
Susie and I attended Park Avenue Christian. I had graduated at age 3 from Miss Brown’s school, which was on 95th Street between Madison and Fifth, and where I recall singing songs and wetting my pants. Park Avenue Christian was a full 12 blocks south of us, at 84th and Park, and most mornings Dad used to walk me and Stuyvie Wainwright, who lived across the street. Stuyvie’s dad would walk us other mornings. Sometimes I walked alone with Dad, my two steps and skips trying to keep up with every one of his strides. I am also using Stuyvie’s real name because, one, it’s a pretty darn cool Upper East Side name – short for Stuyvesant – and he is most likely related to some serious old world celebrities (check out his ancestor’s wikipedia page) and, two, I owe Stuyvie an apology.
In 8th grade, I wrestled him when he was at Buckley and I was at Trinity. I think I beat him in the end, but I used some unnecessary roughness at one point and made him cry. Or so I remember it that way. His dad saw the match and was probably not featuring me. In any event, Stuyvie, I’m sorry. I beat you fair and square, but I probably inflicted more pain than needed. There, my conscience can rest, and I have done my Ninth Step with you, in an e-sort of way.
There’s a picture my parents had of Susie and me sitting on a rock in Central Park, not far – perhaps 50 yards or so – from where I used to make mud pies with glass in them for the Jewish men who sat on park benches and fed the pigeons bread crumbs. We are holding hands: I on her left. Her black hair is pulled back around her ears, and she is smiling like Annette Funicello.
Our teacher was Mrs. Pascetti, whom we all called Mrs. “Spaghetti” since that was either easier to say or a whole lot more fun. Each afternoon we’d take our naps on our “blankets,” which were usually small pieces of shag carpet. Mine was yellow with blue trim.
My mom kept it for a few years after nursery school ended.