Shared Stories: The Entire Evening was a Surprise

Dora Silvers recounts a beautiful memory of a young boy who later went off to war.  It’s a timely story for this coming Veteran’s day.  Hats off to our service men and women who are the boys and girls next door.   Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center.  Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program.  Curated by Carol Kearns

By Dora Silvers

I was 14 and in the 8th grade in New Jersey. Michael was in my class. I had a crush on him. After class he asked me what I was doing tonight for Halloween.

I said, “I usually hand out candy to the children.”

Michael said, “Meet me at the library at 7.  I have some plans.”

When I got home I told my brother Ben.  He said “Why don’t you put on one of Papa’s paint overalls?”  They were just washed.  Ben got me one of my father’s paint caps.  

After dinner at 6:30, I left to meet Michael at the library.  Michael was waiting, dressed in a black suit with a bow tie.  He said he was my butler for the night.

He told me that his brother worked for the Newark Evening News. We were to meet at his boss’s house. Michael knocked on the door and Mr. Sneed answered. He was the editor.

We went into the dining room and had orange punch and chocolate cupcakes. Then pictures were taken of us around the dining room table.  

We left and were headed for the apartment houses down the street. In between the two apartments was a short flight of stairs. We climbed up and sat on the top step. I looked into a window and saw our teacher Miss Stern. She was sitting on a sofa reading the newspaper. Then she went to the door and handed out candy to the children in costumes.

Michael said, “Isn’t that nice.” I was surprised that he knew where she lived. Then, an elderly lady came out and handed us a bag of candy. That was a real surprise. Actually, the entire evening was a surprise.

Then Michael walked me home, which was only several blocks away.  I thanked him for a great evening.

The next day, when I came home from school, my brother Jay asked me what I was doing around a dining room table.  He showed me the picture of the Newark Evening News. There, on the front page was a picture of Michael, me, and the group around the dining room table. What a great memory of long ago!

Michael and I went to different high schools. I went to my class reunion in 1945. There was a memorial. Michael was in the army. He was wounded and died in Germany.