Arriving at the car, finding Norman and Shelly sitting on a front fender, “Jesus,” Norman said, “the two’a’you are slower’n sh… uh, molasses in February.”
“Yeah,” Shelly added, “you guys stop off for a quickie or something?”
Smiling, blushing under her tan, “No!” Marsha said, “We didn’t ‘stop off for a quickie or something’! Did we, Mitch?”
“Yeah, we did!” Fishing the keys from his pocket, unlocking the passenger door, “Go on, Marcie, tell ’em the truth, it’s not nice to lie to your friends.” Reaching inside, unlocking the rear door, holding the front door open for Marsha, “It was fantastic, Shelly! Your girlfriend here is a great giver of quickies.”
June 16, 1955 to July 2, 1955
“Mitchie,” having dropped Shelly off, heading back to Pratt Boulevard, “I’ve been thinking about something you said.”
“Yeah?” Glancing at her, “What was that?”
“At the beach, before, when you invited me to your house for dinner on Saturday, you said that you wanted me to meet your family.”
“Yeah,” he said without hesitation, “I do!”
“Why’s that? Why do you want me to meet your family?”
Considering his answer, thinking, Because I always have my family meet the girls I’m in love with. But instead said, “Just because I do.”
Fishing, “Do you always bring girls home to meet your family? Especially on your first real date with a girl.”
“No… Well, yes, sometimes.” Looking at her, bringing his attention back to the street, “The girls that are important to me.”
Needing to hear it, “And I’m important to you?”
Quiet a long moment, “Marcie, yes, it seems like suddenly you are very important to me.”
Digesting this, feeling a glow in her stomach, “Mitchie, I’d like you to meet mother and daddy also.”
Once again picking up on the strange way Marsha referred to “mother and daddy,” stopping in front of her building, turning in the seat, looking at her, “Sure. I’d like to meet your folks, too. Only please, I’ll be so cruddy, not when I pick you up on Saturday!”
“Okay, not on Saturday.” Having not the slightest doubt that they’d be together, thinking, We’ll do it on Sunday. Looking over the seat, “Normie,” Marsha said, “I’m really glad to see you again, and know that Shelly is, too, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing each other again,” glancing at Mitchell, “soon.”
Opening the door, sliding out of the seat, he opened the door for Marsha and when she stepped out of the car, hugging her, “Me, too, Marcie” Norman said, “I’m real glad we ran into you and Shelly tonight.”
Remembering, rummaging through the glove department, coming up with the stub of a pencil and a scrap of paper, handing both to her, “Thought I was going to forget again, huh?”
“You kidding?” Laying the paper on the fender, writing her phone number, “After six years I wouldn’t let you forget!”
Walking to the unlocked plate glass outer door, taking a small ring of keys from her pocket, unlocking the inner plate glass door, “Come on. Keep me company upstairs.”
“Sure.” Following her over the maroon, plushy carpeted floor to a stainless-steel elevator door, “I planned on it.”
Marsha pressed the button. The door opened immediately and they stepped inside. Marsha pushed the 9 button, and before the door closed they were in each other’s arms. But the ride to the ninth floor was much too fast and when the door opened they were still in each other’s arms, still kissing. The door shut, but the elevator did not move.
Grudgingly breaking the kiss, breathing heavily, “Mitchie,” Marsha whispered in his ear, “what if someone wants to go downstairs and finds us here, like this?”
Breathing heavily, “Yeah,” he said begrudgingly, “guess you’re right.”
“You’ll call me when you get in on Saturday, so I’ll know when to expect you? Any idea when?”
“Depends on the wind. Probably about… oh, no later than two or three. But I’ll tell you something, Marcie; I won’t need a phone because as soon as I see Chicago’s skyline I’ll stand on the bow and yell, Marcie Goldman, it’s Mitchie and I’m on my way to you!”
She pressed the button. The door sliding open, “I’ll be sure to leave the windows open, so I can hear you.”
They kissed lightly and whispered goodnight, and he watched as Marsha went to the first door on the adjacent wall to the right of the elevator, unlocked it, opened it, stepped inside, looked at him, threw a kiss and closed the door.
“Where were you tonight, Marsha?”
“Askanaz, for dinner.”
Going to the coffee table, she took the two pennies from the handful of change and bills that her father purposely left there each night before going to bed.
Cotton balls between her toes to keep her freshly lacquered toenails from touching, reclining on the sofa watching NBC’s pioneer late-night show Broadway Open House with Jerry Lester, “Kind of late to be getting home if you just went for dinner.” Rhea’s legs were stretched across the coffee table.
“Yes, I know. But I met a boy there that I used to know from the country.”
“Another one of your winners, I suppose. What’s with this one: blackheads, pimples or just a schlub?”
Going to the dining room, opening the green, imitation lizard overnight case that was on the floor alongside the dresser, taking the change from her pocket, separating the pennies from a dime and two quarters, Marsha threw her four, along with the two she’d taken off the coffee table, into the case.
Returning to the living room, sitting on the edge of the sofa, “Oh, I don’t think there’s really too much wrong with Mitchell.”
“Yes, I’m sure, Marsha. But knowing you, I wouldn’t make book on it.”
“Well, Mother, one of these days you might get the opportunity to meet Mitchell.”
Said with mock enthusiasm, “I can hardly wait!”
“Me, too, Mother. Me, too.”
Rhea and Eli
A petite woman, Rhea Goldman was just five feet, one inch tall, and had a flawless olive complexion and a beautiful, oval shaped face framed by long, raven-black hair. She had dark-brown eyes, thick lashes and brows plucked in the contemporary fashion. She had well-rounded hips and buttocks, and was built in exact proportion to her size… except for two features: her breasts were large—and made to appear even larger due to her diminutive size—and her legs were thin—and made to appear even thinner due to her well-rounded hips and buttocks.
Rhea took great pride in her beautiful face and oversized breasts, and well knew how to use both to her best advantage. She’d also found that by wearing the highest heels of any shoe that was currently in fashion, the radical arch of the shoe would add curvature to her calves, giving some semblance of shape to her lower legs, which, after all, was all that most men would see… usually.
Best described, Rhea Goldman was intelligent, beautiful and exquisite… and vain, narcissistic… and materialistic.
Eli Goldman was a kind, softly spoken, generous and trusting—where his wife was concerned, much too trusting—man.
Eli stood slightly under five-seven, and had a thick neck, broad shoulders and powerful arms. He had a pleasing, manly face with curly, dark-brown hair, light blue eyes, a broad, freckle-scattered forehead, an amiable smile and what one might term a moderately Semitic nose.
Not highly, formally, educated, Eli was, nonetheless, extremely intelligent. But the deep love he had for his wife, and his very trusting nature did not, however, allow him to see any of Rhea’s imperfections, physical or moral, and he considered his wife as a delicate china doll that was always kept upon his pedestal of adoration.
Between the end of the Great Depression and the start of World War II, Rhea had discovered that some men—some rich men—were willing to be generous to her if she were “nice” to them. In addition to her exotic beauty, Rhea had a nimble mind and most men that she’d meet would quickly become infatuated with her. So while Eli was at work—driving a bakery delivery truck from nine to ten hours a day, six days a week—Rhea began a series of affairs and flirtations that continued for the next thirty years.
The “friends” Rhea made were the men—the wealthier men—of her everyday life: the jeweler, the furrier, the insurance broker. Of most importance—besides having money, of course—the man must be married.
As far as the friends were concerned, Rhea Goldman was beautiful and refined, a “classy dame” that needed more out of life than her working stiff of a husband could provide, and so long as they were careful, the situation was perfect for them because Rhea provided a safe place for their rendezvous and, as she was a married woman, she was not about to advertise their friendship.
Pearl Schneider, Rhea’s widowed mother, had been able to keep most of her small fortune intact throughout the depression, and, though she did feel that Eli Goldman was beneath the social strata of her family, she also knew that he was a hardworking man who always treated her youngest daughter with love and respect, so Eli was fully accepted by the family. As a matter of fact, Eli was the person that many of the family’s more educated members went to when looking for a good, common sense answer to a problem.
Pearl was a generous woman that often gave her one son and three daughters gifts of cash, and “things.”
For this reason—after a rather verbal argument early on in their marriage—Eli had learned to never question where the money came from for fashionable clothing and for what he considered unaffordable household items, to say nothing of the additional cash needed for the rent on their apartments, which were always located in neighborhoods far above his financial capabilities.
As for the gifts from his mother-in-law, not necessarily a proud man—except where his wife was concerned—Eli had thought, Hey, it makes life more enjoyable for Rhea, then it’s okay with me.
In 1932 Roger Keith Goldman was born.
Rhea hated what pregnancy did to her body: abdominal stretch marks, sagging—more than their sheer weight had caused before—breasts, misshapen figure, and even a “Oh, my God!” varicose vein.
She had vowed that Roger would be an only child, but Rhea learned of her second pregnancy in March of 1936.
Believing it the child of her then-lover, Paul Sorenson, the light complected, blue-eyed, blonde-haired pharmacist, Okay, Rhea had thought, if it has blue eyes, well, Eli’s eyes are blue. But what if it turns out to be blonde?
When Rhea informed him, Sorenson very quickly backed away from his presumed obligation, and Rhea.
Seven months later, “Look, Eli,” Rhea had said with great relief, “she’s got your nose.”
Rhea loved Roger, lavishing her love on him, and barely tolerated her daughter, which she had always shown by ignoring the girl whenever and wherever possible. Rhea’s family knew of this, of course, but as years went by, they began to feel that if they did nothing to help Rhea with the child, or come to the aid of the child, Rhea would eventually come to her senses and become a real mother to her daughter—but she never did. So what began as a misguided conspiracy to teach a mother to care for her child became an unlearned lesson for the mother and a lifelong punishment for the girl.
Marsha grew up suffering from her mother’s and her family’s own special brand of abuse: apathy and indifference. With the exception of Eli, whom she loved dearly, Marsha had always felt that she was unwanted and unloved, and felt physically and mentally abandoned.
She discovered her mother’s infidelity at age seven, but was then under the threat of death, or worse, by her brother, and was told, “Daddy will have to get a divorce if you tell and it’ll be all your fault!”
Not that Marsha knew what a divorce was, but she did know that a divorce was very bad. And because of these things, and especially because of her love of her father and her reluctance to see him hurt, Marsha never did tell Eli.
In 1952 Rhea and Eli purchased a combination bar and liquor store with money borrowed, in part, from Pearl, but mostly, loaned to Rhea by one of her “friends.”
The Broadmore Bar and Liquor Store flourished.
In the bedroom, “But, honey, there’s only one bedroom. Where’ll the kids sleep?”
“I know, Eli, but look!” Pulling him to the window, standing slightly to the side and behind him, pressing her body against his back, Rhea pointed to the east. “We’ve a view of the lake here.”
“Rhe, I know, but…”
Rubbing her breasts seductively against his back, “Think how cool it’ll be during the summer, when it’s so damned hot and humid.”
“Yes, Rhe, but they’re offering FHA loans in Skokie and Morton Grove, and we could get a house for almost nothing down and the payments on our own house will come to less than the rent here.”
Ignoring her husband’s desire and common-sense logic, “You love to fish! Think about it. On Sundays you and your daughter can just walk to the pier and go fishing.”
“But the kids, Rhe! Where’ll the kids sleep?”
“The dining room’s huge! We can put the sofa bed in there for your daughter. We need a new sofa anyway, so we’ll buy another sofa bed and put it in the living room for Roger.” Dragging him out of the bedroom, into the living room, “There,” she’d said, pointing towards the double-hung windows. “Roger can sleep there, where it’ll be nice and cool in the summer.”
“But, Rhe,” he’d said sadly, “don’t you want to have your own home? Wouldn’t it be nice to own our own house?”
“Eli,” turning him in her direction, standing on tiptoes, putting her arms about his neck, “Sadie and Ida live across the street, and I don’t want to live that far from them!”
From her sisters, yes… and also from her “friends.”
“Skokie isn’t all that far from here, and you know I’ve always wanted a yard that I can putter around in.”
“But, Eli,” pouting, her eyes wide and glassy, she’d looked up at him, “you know how much I’ve missed them since they’ve moved here.” Taking his hand, she placed it on a breast. “Please, Eli!”
The Broadmore Bar and Liquor Store did flourish, until, after an argument and a parting of the ways between Rhea and her friend, with the curt announcement by Rhea that, “You’re never going to see another penny of that money! And just what in the hell are you going to do about it? Tell your wife?”
A week later The Broadmore Bar and Liquor Store succumbed to a fire of suspicious nature.
The Broadmore carried enough insurance to repay the loan from Pearl with enough money left over to purchase a ten-stool, three-booth hot dog and hamburger joint near the Chicago Stadium in the skid row area of Chicago’s near north side.
Eli’s Vienna Hot Dogs & Hamburgers turned out to be a bit of a moneymaker, but in order to continue living in their ninth-floor, one-bedroom apartment near the beach, Eli worked six days a week, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., when he was relieved by his divorced brother, Marcus, who in turn would leave when Eli arrived in the morning. Roger worked at Eli’s from seven in the morning to five in the evening, five days a week.