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@ K. 2010 09 29
This is my mother’s story more than it is my story. We moved to Rockville Centre in 1941. I was three. As I understand it my mother soon made a friend she was particularly fond of, and proud of: Betty DeMott Williamson. That is, Betty DeMott married Van Williamson. They had twin boys. The DeMotts had the street up the block named after them (check DeMott Avenue to see if I have it spelled right). In the early 1940s the DeMotts still had a bit of land left: a bit of barn, a stable, and riding horses. I believe that my mother thought she had met the original aristocrats: almost a Mayflower pilgrim.
These were pilgrims gone to seed though. Betty and Van had to send their boys away. They couldn’t feed or support them. Van apparently was pretty well unemployable. I met the sorry son of a bitch once when he was being given a chance at a job by a florist. I remember he was barely taller than I was and I was only a kid. He had tiny polished black shoes, and looked half in a panic.
Well, Van and the florist didn’t seem to work out. Van and nothing worked out. But, oh, did Betty love him.
Van was in debt. The debt was serious, needed repaying. Betty got a job scrubbing floors: some good her DAR heritage was doing her. She worked for years. She saved every penny. Whenever I saw her she looked like she hadn’t eaten in years.
Finally the amount was earned. She put the cash in an envelop and gave it to Van to pay off his debt. They made a date: they’d meet in a restaurant after he made the payment, and they’d celebrate: she’d earned an extra dollar and they’d actually eat, and actually have a drink.
Van shows up late, looking hangdog. “What?” she says.
“I put it on a horse,” he said.
Did Betty still love Van after that? I don’t know: it was the last I heard of them.
Jeez: I was just a kid: and I knew a real idiot, a born loser: a Daymon Runyan character!
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