Flatbush: Chapter 1 – Albemarle Road

The Levine family lived in a big colonial house on Albemarle Road in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn Father William (Bill) owned a successful kosher deli on Flatbush Ave near Brooklyn College.  Mother Jenny was a stay at home mom who occasionally helped out in the deli; she loved the movies.  There were five movie theaters within 1 mile of their home.

Son Marlon James Levine was born in 1956.   James was named after Marlon Brando and James Dean,  mom’s two favorite actors. Son Heston Welles Levine was born in 1957.   He was named after Charlton Heston and Orson Welles  , the stars of mom’s favorite movie, “Touch Of Evil”, also directed by Welles.  Daughter Marilyn Elizabeth Levine was born in 1959. Obviously, she was named after Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.

The children all did very well in school.  They were all also very good looking.  In fact, each one of them was voted best looking in their class as a senior at Erasmus Hall High School.  They got their looks from their mom, Jenny, who as the expression goes, was drop dead gorgeous.

What they didn’t know was they were, in fact,  half siblings and not full siblings, because they each had different fathers.

Bill Levine was the true father of Marlon. An unnamed  restaurant supply salesman was the true father of Heston.  The true father of Marilyn was actually Eugene (Gene) O’Connor, Gerald’s father,  who was drowned in Prospect Park Lake in a boating accident in 1979.

The O’Connor and Levine families were next door neighbors on Albemarle Road and the death of Gerald’s father brought Gerald and Marilyn closer.  A romance developed and they got married two years later not realizing that they shared the same father.

Well………………….….not really, because Gene O’Connor was not actually Gerald’s father.  Gerald’s true father, unknown to anyone except for Gerald’s mother,  Maureen, was actually Bill Levine’s best friend, Rabbi Stephen Roth.

You might ask, “why did Jenny Levine, a somewhat typical middle class mother of the times, except for her beauty, sleep around?”  She did not really sleep around.  She never looked for it.  She had a weakness that she could not overcome.  Three good jokes or funny remarks affected her loins and made her horny as hell.  A sense of humor was better than liquor to make Jenny amorous. She found those men sexy and irresistible.  When she found herself alone with  a man with a great sense of humor, her thighs would slowly spread apart and twitch, among other things.  In mixed company she could control herself. If she was wearing a skirt rather than pants and  she happened to be alone in a vehicle with a funny guy, or just about any other place that afforded privacy, there was a good chance there would be an eruption of passion.  She did not really want this to happen.  She was very happy with her husband, Bill.  Sometime Bill would unwittingly encourage the illicit behavior.  Bill doted on Jenny.  He would say things to her like “why don’t you wear that new blouse and skirt to the party?  You would look so sexy”.  He’d pat her on the rear and smile.  So  Bill was sometimes an unwitting accessory to the transgression.  Jenny did not have great feelings of guilt over her liaisons.  She never had an affair with any of the men.  She could live with her weakness and after the fact, realized she often enjoyed it.  She said to herself, “some women play mah jong or bridge”.

Because some men tend to brag, some of the neighborhood men got wind of Jenny’s proclivity.  Many of the men who heard about this did not believe it.  They knew Jenny was in love with Bill.  They thought that the men who bragged about it had tried to make themselves look good by claiming to sleep with a beautiful woman. 

Those men who did believe it, and were not naturally funny, were always asking their friends to tell them jokes.  They would carry around small voice recorders so they could record the jokes and practice telling them.  These men did not have any success; Jenny  could easily differentiate between the true sense of humor and the wannabes.  Eventually the men got tired of carrying around their voice recorders and the neighborhood spring garage sales would see an abundance of voice recorders for sale.

How did Rabbi Roth come to be the father of Gerald?

Maureen O’Connor  and Rabbi Roth had come to be friends  as a result of the Rabbi’s frequent visits to her neighbors, the Levine family. One day in the spring of 1958, while they were both visiting the Levine’s,   the rabbi mentioned that he had to leave to officiate at a bris.  Maureen asked what a bris was and the rabbi explained it is a ceremony where a Jewish male infant gets circumcised.  Maureen  stated that she had never seen a circumcised penis.  This was true as the only man Maureen had ever been with was her husband, Gene, who was not circumcised.  Coming from Maureen, this was not considered an inappropriate comment as she was known to blurt out anything that came to mind.  She had no internal censor.  Neighborhood people and family couldn’t wait to hear the next thing out of  Maureen’s mouth because it was usually colorful.  She generally had no awareness of what she was saying.  She was considered loveable and slightly scatterbrained.  Upon hearing the comment, Rabbi Roth smiled and left to go to the bris.  Maureen was disappointed because she was very curious and wanted more information.   She had thought about this since she overheard Bill Levine tell her husband, Gene, a joke about a circumcised penis. They had both laughed uproariously but she had just not gotten the joke.

The next day after dinner, Maureen dropped by the Rabbi’s temple to drop off some Irish soda bread for the bake sale at the temple.  After dropping off the bread in the basement of the temple, she went looking for the rabbi and found him upstairs, alone in the study.  She said to him, “Stephen, it doesn’t seem right that I don’t know anything about the circumcised penis.  I never get the jokes and I feel foolish  when I have to give a fake laugh.  It makes me feel stupid.”   “Maureen, what would you like me to do?  How can I help you?”   Maureen said, “If you just show me your penis, that would educate me and I wouldn’t feel so foolish.”  Although taken aback by this request the  rabbi found it not without merit.  While he thought this was possibly the most outrageous thing he had ever heard Maureen say, he knew he had to somehow satisfy  Maureen’s thirst for knowledge because Maureen was not one to take “No” for an answer. She was both scatterbrained and obstinate.  As he unzipped his trousers he told himself, “anyways, isn’t this Catholic-Jewish friendship week?”  To his surprise Maureen gently put her hands on his penis and examined it.  This went on for about a minute without any words being spoken.  Maureen noticed the penis was now much larger than her husband’s.  They shared a look and it was clear they were both getting ideas.   What clinched it  was when Maureen said she needed to experience the circumcised penis.  The rabbi said “Maureen, Do you think this is  a good idea?”  “Rabbi, I’m told I often have bad ideas.  They’ve  got me a beautiful colonial house on Albemarle Road,  a 1959 Cadillac convertible, a mink coat, and some terrific friends, including you.”  They were in the Rabbis study and  there was no one else on the top floor of the temple. They  silently looked at each other for a few seconds,  they both looked at the Rabbi’s penis, then they realized they were about to become closer friends.  The passion lasted only five minutes but it was a hot and heavy five minutes and it came to full fruition.  After it was over they were both apologetic and vowed it would not happen again.  And it did not happen again for 21 years. Before leaving the rabbi’s study Maureen told the rabbi “Thank you for educating me.  That was the most fun I’ve had doing research.”  Nine months later Gerald was born.  The baby, Gerald, bore a strong resemblance to both mother, Maureen, and alleged father, Gene.  Of course, it never occurred to anyone that Rabbi Roth and Gene O’Connor looked so much alike that, sometimes when they were together, strangers thought they were brothers.  Baby Gerald was not circumcised.

Maureen was the first time the rabbi experienced sex outside of his marriage.  It would not be the last. Unbeknownst to all,   the rabbi would become the stud of Flatbush, doing all he could to ensure that interfaith week was a year round venture.

  1. Annette says:

    After reading this previously I had the thought that it might have been better to somehow gradually reveal the father of each of the children;that it was too confusing to throw it all out there immediately. Might have more of a hook that way.

    I’ve just reread the first 6 or so paragraphs, and, I’m asking: Gerald, who the hell is Gerald?

    O.K., I’m having a glass of wine, so, perhaps I am not thinking as clearly as I might, but, I almost have a feeling that you were so anxious to get to the part about the circumcised penis that you were not carefully examining how you were unraveling the story?

    Also, this story does have a too male, boastful, a little demeaning of women cast to it for my taste.

    • Bob Jacobs says:

      I need to rethink gradual vs. throwing it out all at once. Someone else found it a little confusing
      You are absolutely right about Gerald. I knew it was a problem left over from a previous edit. I will fix it.
      Male, boastful because the rabbi is clearly a cad. I mean him to be a cad who tries to make excuses for himself.
      He will eventually get his comeuppance. Ultimnately, if there are any heroes in the story they will come from some women or the youngsters.
      I greatly appreciate your feedback.
      I don’t consider anything in Kats Book or Flatbush the final version. I expect to do more editing.
      I should be putting out the next chapter in the next few days.

Leave a Reply