Slim and Franke

Slim and Franke
Happy New Year

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


One blogger told a story about some problems with neighborhood kids. Her story jarred my memory. This is another juvenile delinquent story.

We moved into a government subsidized housing project soon after my divorce in 1975 and our eyes were opened to a whole new world. The neighborhood bully was all of 5 years old. His name was Ray.

Ray was a dirty, tiny little guy with tough talk and facial expressions that would give cold chills to the most hardened criminals. I did not want my three and four-year-old son and daughter to play with Ray, but in this type of melting pot atmosphere there were hardly any choices. Keep your kids in the house all the times or let them out and hope you could keep them in your sight.

I did get up the nerve once to tell Ray he was not welcome on our sidewalk. Yea, right. He took another drag on his cigarette (I kid you not) and rode off on his bicycle laughing.

Soon after that my son's bicycle disappeared. I offered a small reward for the return of the bike and, believe it or not, Ray found the bike, returned it, collected the reward, and then my son's bike mysteriously disappeared again. Did you guess the same thing I did? I'll always be sure Ray took the bike both times. That was when I nicknamed Ray The Godfather.

My son's fifth birthday approached and I told him he could invite five friends. Our apartment was small and there would not be room for more. Word got out and 22 neighborhood children showed up for the party. They all brought gifts. Each had selected something of their own to give and were delighted to have the chance to attend a real birthday party. My mother was there and managed to organize the children, teach them games and divide a small cake in nice portions for each child.

I looked out the window and could see The Godfather circling the block on his bicycle. He knew we had a party going on. I stepped outside and invited him in. He took off at a rapid pace and said he wasn't a bit interested. The next time he came around the corner I stepped out with a small piece of cake and assured him there wasn't any harm in sharing a piece of my son's birthday cake. Ray took the cake and shoved it in his mouth. There were a couple of piece of hard candy on the plate and he shoved those in his pocket and rode off with icing smeared on his already dirty face.

That evening, after the party had ended and all the children had gone home, we had a knock at the door. I opened the door to Ray who was holding a nice, new little toy car. He brought this gift to my son for his birthday. It is doubtful The Godfather could have produced a sales receipt for this fine car, but I decided it was best not to inquire. We never had any problems with Ray after that day and my children were granted protection for the next three years until we moved. I will always wonder what happened to Ray. He either ended up in prison or he is CEO of some large corporation.

I'm watching The Sopranos on my Netflix right now and maybe I enjoy these mobsters so much because they cause me to remember Ray.


  1. What a fabulous story! It would be interesting to see what he is doing today wouldn't it?

  2. Anonymous3:02 PM

    Oh Ann, I never heard about Ray. What a great story. I hope he turned out okay. : )

  3. What a great story! You reminded me of someone in our past, and I think I'll blog about it soon. I'll link you when I do.

  4. I really enjoyed this story, I popped over from Kenju's blog..she led me here and is waiting better get back and read her story now lol...have a great day, will be back for sure...

  5. Isn't it amazing what a small kindness will do to the heart of a child? I can gaurantee you that as much as you remember him, he remembers you even more. Kids don't forget kindnesses in a world where they don't see many.

  6. Great story! I remember some kids like that from when I was growing up.

  7. What a great story!! You are a superb story teller!!!
    I hope Ray is NOT in the big house. Let's hope he channeled his tough nature and used it for good.
    Maybe he's working for the secret service or is a hired assassin for the CIA. Of course, the CIA doesn't DO stuff like THAT, do they??? (wink, wink)
    I really hope Ray overcame his rough childhood and is living a happy life somewhere.
    Cake.... now, I'm hungry!!
    You were a Good Samaritan to that little tough boy.

  8. Judy sent me...
    what a great story!

  9. Kenju sent me and I'm so glad. All the little Rays need someone like you to show a little love.

  10. Excellent story. Excellent lesson. I stopped by from Kenju's, and I'm glad I did.

    "Love your neighbor..." and "A soft answer turns away wrath..."

    Thank you.

  11. What a great story. Don't you love it when you handle a situation so well.