Donna who lived downstairs with her mother in the bottom floor apartment at 121 South Second Street was probably my first girlfriend.
Donna was our landlord Mojona’s granddaughter. Donna was the daughter of Mojona’s daughter, Melancholia, who worked at the Domino’s Sugar Factory and played numbers with my father.
Donna’s father only came around once in a while. He didn’t live with them, like our father didn’t live with us.
Donna was my same age, and Mojona would babysit us together in her apartment. They had more toys down there because Mojona had about 15 grandkids. There had better toys than we had, like a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car with wings that you could stick out. I played with it a lot but then one of the wings came off in my hands. So I hid it under the couch, as far back as I could.
Sometimes Mojona would watch us, but sometimes Mojona’s husband Rheingoldo would. He was a nice man. He talked mostly in Spanish. His face was always red.
He would listen to the Mets on his radio and let us play all over the apartment. One day, he fell asleep on the couch and Donna asked me if I wanted to put my hands in her pants and touch her thing. I said, “Okay,” but only if she did the same to me.
So we slid our hands down each other’s pants. We stayed like that for an hour. We walked out of the apartment, into the hallway, down the stoop, and around the front yard like that. And then we decided to go back before Rheingoldo woke up.
From then on, I kind of felt Donna and I belonged to each other. She was in my first-grade class at P.S. 84, but after that they transferred her to St. Peter and Paul Catholic School.