so my sister started dating boys when I was in 6th grade and she was in 9th and I hated it. I felt sooo protective of her. I did not like or trust the guys or her judgment because she was in high school and could no longer see clearly like I could. It was just awful.
Then she got this boyfriend Kenny. He looked great and wore cool clothes and drove cool cars and liked great music. He was her first real boyfriend and they were together for years. He was working class and lived in the bronx and wore a motorcycle jacket like the Ramones and thermal shirts with jeans and motorcycle boots. He had longish blonde shaggy hair, not feathered or wings and not in a stylized way but in the great Bronx I-am-not-trying-at-all,-I-just-look-this-way-naturally way.
Kenny was brilliant because he thought I was funny and interesting and he was never a pervert and he let me hang around and come to all kinds of bars and clubs with them. And he drove!!! He drove us to go see Devo in Central Park, Adam and the Ants at the Pier, The Cramps at the Left Bank and Johnny Thunders at the old Peppermint Lounge, on Christmas night! When I was 14 and he took me to Max’s to see Lenny Kaye. He drove me to see Black Flag in 1982, where I wound up meeting my first real boyfriend. He would go to shows I wanted to go to, happy to check out new music and he had good taste to begin with. We saw the Stones together, The Ramones, The Clash at Bonds, and a million other bands. We also spent time in a dive in Yonkers called the Rising Sun, seeing local hair bands like Vixen. Oh man, we ran the gamut. And we laughed all the time, about all the silly things you laugh about as a teenager.
He was the ride in so many of the stories I have told, part of the party when I had my first kiss, part of the party a million times over. Go back and read any of those stories (they are all here in the blog) and Kenny was there. I never directly wrote about him because he was my sister’s boyfriend, never the point of the story. He was woven into the fabric of my life but never the focus, and yet the adventures we shared were staggering. This guys was so cool and generous. As if taking me, (and often paying!) to all of those shows listed above were not enough, Kenny lent me his Motorcycle jacket to wear to high school on my birthday, before I had one, because I loved it so much and so desperately wanted one. Then, he helped my sister get me one for Christmas. I loved it so much I cried when I opened it. He carried my throw-up cover self home from my first new years eve out in a club where I mixed champagne with whatever and where I learned to never mix again. I think that was the first and last time I threw up from drinking. But I was gone, passed out at a table covered on vomit and at the end of the night he carried my smelly body and let me destroy his car on the ride home, covered in vomit.
I don’t know what else to say, there is no tale with a beginning, middle and end to it. I finally got a boyfriend and started hanging out downtown and he and my sister broke up at some point and we drifted. We still see each other now and then. Life dances on. Did I ever say thank you? Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything, for taking care of me and especially for all of that glorious freedom, the thing I wanted the most. I Love you, Kenny. xxH