Coming from the streets of Los Angeles and finding love in New York City during the 50's.
The year is nineteen fifty-one, Lonnie Sylvan is a U.S. Army Private waiting to be sent to Korea with his fellow troops recruited to go to war.
He waits patiently for his orders to go, when his company commander approaches to inform him that his orders have been misplaced.
Because of this, he is being reassigned to Rikers Island in the New York harbor to serve as a prison guard until his orders are found. This devastated him, because his buddy's have to go to war without him and he knows that he may never see any of them again.
He is huddled upon a small ferry boat to the Island. Private Smithson and Private Taylor who already work at the prison went to bring Lonnie in and get him familiar with the prisoners and his job description.
During the ferry ride, the Privates told him the history of Rikers Island. "Along time ago, Rikers Island was used as a place to hang prisoners being sentenced to death. Like Pirates and immigrant criminals and killers. And since hanging is no longer allowed the prisoners just sit in their cells until they die. Minus the one hour they get outside in the highly guarded yard."
They told him what the prisoners have said about seeing ghosts, hearing screams at night and they feel like someone is in their cells. Or some who hear whispers telling them ways to hang themselves before the guards do it.
"It is said to be haunted by prisoners of the past who were hung." Said Private Taylor. Lonnie thinks they are just trying to scare him, and it's working. The ferry ride went quickly and they stepped upon the Island shore. Private Taylor shows Lonnie where he is to bunk down. "Get rested Private," he said, "we get up at 0500 for chow and I'll be instructing you about your duties in the morning."
After all that talk about the prison being haunted, Lonnie did not sleep very well. He listened carefully for any screams or maybe seeing some ghosts. Finally, Lonnie's eyes begin getting heavy and he drifts off to sleep knowing he will have to be up again in three hours.
As the morning comes, it is still dark out. Lonnie quickly get's dressed and walks out of the guards huts, by this time the sun begins to peek. Out beyond the Island he looks toward the bright lights beaming from New York City and he sees in the distance a beautiful silhouette of the Statue Of Liberty.
In her right hand she is holding up a huge lit torch for all to see. The massive size of her standing upon a pedestal in the middle of her own Island gave him goosebumps, along with a great feeling of pride for our country.
In the mess Hall, he meets up with Private Taylor. They greet each other and Private Taylor says to him, "let's get you started for duty."
Lonnie just barely had time for a cup of coffee. "We have three shifts a day." Private Taylor begins telling him. "Which includes three hot meals and a cot to sleep on. You're lucky Private, you get to be on first shift, so we get more time off and every other weekend."
"You have much to learn how to be a prison guard especially defense moves in case a prisoner get's out of hand and has to be locked down and keeping your gun safe. These men are here to die, nothing more. So dying now or later doesn't matter to them."
Lonnie felt like he was walking on eggshells around the prisoners. The one hour they have outside of their cell's, feels like a whole days of work just from the tenstions you feel being around killers and worse.
All the tales he was told about the Island being haunted were etched in his mind. He never believed in ghosts or spirits until now.
After a few months on the job at the Island, he finds his cousin Mary who lives in Rhode Island with her husband Elmer. Lonnie calls the operator to connect them together on the phoneline. They set a day to meet up after many years.
Both of them serve in the U.S. Navy. It felt good having some family close enough to visit with. He spent most of his time visiting with them during their times off together.
They drove him all around New York City showing him the beauty it has within it's streets and the tiny towns hidden among the crowds and sidewalks. He was so overwhelmed by the crazy amount of people that live there. He has never seen so many people in his whole life.
He always considered himself a simple country boy from the streets of Los Angeles. Only seeing the news if they went to a theather to watch it on the big screensheet. Picking oranges and avocados during harvest with his brothers while their father played as an extra in old western movies. His father was good at breaking a horse in so it can be ridden by the actors in the movies.
His cousin Mary and Elmer showed him where the USO dance halls were in New York City around Radio City Music Hall. It was a busy area. So on his next day off he went out to a USO dance club just to have a look, maybe a beer or two and a couple bowls of his tobacco pipe.
He walked in and went straight to the bar and sat on the empty stool. Making eye contact with the bartender for a cold beer. The place was crowded and there are women everywhere. Beautiful women at that.
But he wasn't ready to be settling down yet, it's about having fun and dancing until his orders are found. Because when he leaves, his chances of coming back dead or disabled are very possible. So he joined in with the other service men in the Big Apple. He focused on having a good time!
After several visits to one of the USO clubs he was approached by a dark haired lady, she said," Hello, my name is Marie." He politely responded telling her his name is," Lonnie, Private Lonnie Sylvan. " She sat on the stool next to him at the bar. She asked a lot of questions." So what are you doing in NewYork?"
Her accent was hard for him to understand, she talked so fast. He had to ask her to repete herself several times. Folks back home in California are quiet compared to New Yorkers. He tried to explaine why he was still in New York City. " My orders to go to war in Korea got missplaced! Go figure!"
He said. He had a nice visit and dancded a few dances.
When she asked him, " if he could come back in two weeks?" He replied. "Yes, I can. Is something happening then?"
"Oh, no, not at all really," she explained. "I want to bring my younger sister Julia here to come out, and meet you."
" Sure thing, he replied. I have duty next week then I will have the next weekend off."
" Very good then," Marie said. "We'll see you in a couple of weeks."
Lonnie waves a cab driver to stop and take her home safe.
" Okay! I'll see you two in a couple weeks." They wave goodbye as the driver pulls away.
The first week went by pretty fast, but the second week seemed to last forever. Finally, the day arrived to go out and meet the lady's.
He rushed back to his bunk and got cleaned up and put on his pressed Army uniform. He added a dab of hair oil to keep it in place. One last thing before he stepped out, he splashes some Old Sice Colone on his face and neck.
He waited on the ferry outside the fence of the prison, nervously pacing back and forth. He reaches for his pipe and tobacco case from an inside jacket pocket. He stuffs the pipe with tobacco and puts it away before striking the match to light it.
By the second good puff of the pipe, the driver pulled up and drove him into the city. The driver said he would be back the next day at twelve hundred hours and don't be late. They saluted each other and he drove away.
There was a lot of other service men and beautiful ladies hanging around outside the USO club. Lonnie casually walks in and begins to look for Marie. She and her sister Julia were sitting towards the back area in a booth. He walks over to them, smiling from ear to ear, he stretches his hand out and introduces himself. She says to him, " Hello, I'm Julia, Marie is my older sister. She told me of the conversations you two had and she was right about how handsome you are."
He blushed and told her that she was simply stunning. A spark of love light bloomed from then on. They danced all night, drinking beers, talking, and smoking. Just having fun in each others company. Before the night come to a close, phone numbers and addresses were exchanged by Lonnie and Julia. He walked them to the subway and said their goodbyes then went into Rhode Island to his Cousin Mary and Elmer home. He had only a short time to visit them before he had to meet up with his Army driver. It's back to work the next day.
Lonnie called Julia every chance he got between shifts at work and duty time. They planned a time for him to meet her parents and the rest of the family. He thought nothing of having a big family because he comes from eleven siblings.
He sees her standing outside a large apartment complex building. She says, "I live here with my family." He looks straight up and the building seemed to go on until it touched the sky. " Wow, you live inside here?" His curiosity was at it's highest.
He had never seen anyone live in a building before. Julia takes his hand and he follows her inside to an elevator. It appeared more like a cage because you had to move it up and down by a chain. She pulled the chain up to the fifth floor, they stepped out and went left passing about three doors. Julia walks in and begins to introduce Lonnie, but he is still standing outside the door. She steps out and holds his arm to insure him that it was okay with her parents already.
Everyone was standing around the couch introducing themselves. Louis, Julia's father still had a strong grip in his handshake. Lonnie felt welcomed during their first meeting. All except grandma Julia. She didn't like him because he was a California boy. Most of the conversation was in Spanish. Lonnie never really heard the spoken language before now. He never knew that the Spanish language is a lot like the English language when it comes to slang, or a certain words having an opposite meaning.
When Julia showed him the apartment he only went about twenty feet in a circle. He asked. " Do you all live in this small space?"
(There are five girls and one son plus father and mother, eight people) They replied with giggles about his question. Making excuses eagerly saying it don't bother them about living in such close quarters with other people so close everyone's like family. He noticed a clothes hanger with pulleys outside a window and seen the neighbors all had pulley hangers for drying clothes outside their windows.
He was quite amused by this different kind of living. He tried not to talk about living on a five-acre ranch near Burbank California.
They might get the idea that he's rich, but that is far from the truth. He is rich by no means of money and by no means of the love he witnessed within this family.
He had love in his family but not like the love the family Julia had in hers. After several other visits with family always, Lonnie asked Louis, her father for her hand. The subject of her previous marriage was brought up and they understood each other that it had no meaning to his feeling for Julia.
Louis agreed, he and Lonnie hugged and shook hands. He left it up to Lonnie from then on. Back on base working his job and duties, he asked to talk to his Commanding Officer about his wanting to marry Julia and make changes in his paperwork. His CO as they're called pulled his folder out of a large metal cabinet. "Lonnie Sylvan"... yes sir...." DOB," "ten-zero/five- one hundred twenty-nine.
"Looks like your in luck Private Sylvan. I see here you were misplaced, don't feel bad there were several others who were too. The War has everyone up on their nerves. You are going to be released in three more months." Lonnie was in heaven. That was the best news he heard in a long time. And he feels ready now to make a life-changing commitment. He couldn't wait to tell Julia the good news. Soon she will move to California with him to live.
words 1477 count. Note to Reader: I am almost on the finishing end of this short story. Is it interesting so far or is it Blah boring?? Love feed back.. Sewcrazy