In the summer of 1978 my sister began dating Marco Del Vecchio, who could have been quite handsome if his teeth had grown into their assigned slots. When he smiled, you immediately thought of a broken piano. A group of us spent our summers at the baseball fields - a quartet of diamonds next to McNulty Elementary.
July 12 was Marco’s birthday. Although he didn’t yet have his driving permit, he was handed a set of car keys by Fast Eddie Majewski and told to take a spin around the parking lot. Not yet old enough to drive, I sucked on a bomb pop and watched with disinterest.
The next fifteen seconds would scar us all, living until this day in slow motion memory replay. It was sunny. It was hot. It was the summer of 1978. Suddenly and without cause, Marco flew backwards out of his parking space. Like a rocket he smashed into a cadillac so hard that it jumped to another parking space. In an apparent attempt to undo time itself, Marco threw the car into drive, bolted forward and crashed into a red Dodge Duster. Losing his mind before our eyes, he once again reversed and plowed into the back of a pickup truck. There were screams of terror. There were belly laughs. Fast Eddie Majewski grabbed his feathered hair in disbelief. From the baseball diamond on top of the hill, old people descended in a panic, waving their baggy arms and yelling “Stop! Stop!”
Marco was denied a driver’s license until his 23rd birthday. In less time than it took to eat a bomb pop, I watched as Marco’s entire childhood vanished.