I've been told the play "Over the Tavern" was similar to how our family grew up in Black Rock in the 1950s. The three of us, my sister Carol (the oldest), my brother Tom (the middle child) and I had the adventure of a young lifetime above and in Tommy's Schuper House.
My father, Tom, was a very hard-working and kind man who ran the business and catered to the needs of many. He was known as the friendliest bartender in the city. My mother was a nurse and kept a pulse on the business to make sure it stayed healthy.
The real story for me is about the wonderful life I had growing up with my two guardian angels.
Carol was the one my brother and I could count on to be there for us. When mom and dad were working, which was about 16 hours a day, Carol would make sure that dinner was served. She attended to all the household chores and would watch over what we were doing. She could rule with an iron fist or give us that stare that said "don't you dare."
Tom is the most amazing person I know. I was four years his junior. He had a collection of Lionel trains in a spare room that any collector would love. I was always into anything Tom was doing. On more than one occasion, I would go into the train room and set in motion a train wreck that would make any Hollywood producer proud. While my brother got angry, he never hit me or wrecked my things. He always found a way to get me back on track.
I was the youngest and the most spoiled. An example of this occured on my brother's 13th birthday. Our father took us out shopping for Tom's present. He wanted a BB gun. Once I saw what he was getting, I wanted one, too! I carried on so much that my dad bought me one.
Sharing time upstairs while mom and dad were working could be a neat time. Carol and Tom taught me about the secret passage. If you pulled the rug away and opened a small compartment in the floor, you had a great view of the bar and cash register below.
The three of us had a great time pouring salt into the beer below. We would laugh and bond for what would become a lifetime of togetherness. When my father had time to eat dinner with us, he always was looking in that hole.
Carol was the one who showed me what style was. She recognized that at 13 I needed help in the hair and clothes department. She was and still is my expert in these areas. She turned me into what now is called an extreme makeover. She spent many of her hard-earned dollars on me and I think her efforts were rewarded. I must have received the shopping gene from her. Neither of us ever met a mall we didn't like.
My brother and sister both have the gift of gab. Tom is like my father, the friendliest and nicest guy you will ever meet. I have never heard of anyone who didn't like Tom. Carol would easily win the Super Bowl of conversation. It is like being in the two-minute drill or the hurry-up offense with her. Any hesitation on your part, and you're finished. She is so kind and loveable.
While growing up was not easy for any of us, having the two best guardian angels in the world looking after me made my life a wonderful experience. I love both of them and thank them for taking good care of me.