The Brunette with Blond Hair
Goose Chronicles Note – Marty is currently suffering from late stage Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the details for this story were provided by Marty’s daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.
The 6:30 whistle blew and one by one the hydraulic machines that had been cutting and bending and pressing sheet metal whirred to a stop. One of the boys cracked a cooler of beers and laughter and the faint scent of beer and sweat replaced the smell of grease and screams of twisting metal. It was Friday night and some of the boys from Local 28 were headed to The Dublin Pub for drinks.
Marty wiped a rag across his forehead, threw it on his work bench and exhaled. His body felt tired and heavy after a week of climbing on 10 gauge aluminum panels, slicing the metal into different shapes and operating the machinery.
“You coming tonight Marty?” One of the engineers asked him.
Marty nodded. Tired or not he didn’t want to miss a night with the fellas. More importantly he knew the blonde bartender would be there. A blonde beauty in a sea of brunettes. There was just something about her…
When Marty saw her, with her blonde hair lining the sides of her face, it was like the other girls at the bar didn’t even exist. His heart beat like a trip hammer when he ordered a drink.
“You again?” She smiled.
He’d asked her out twice before and she’d declined both times. Maybe tonight was the night. Maybe the third time would be the charm.
That night, when the drink orders slowed down, they got to know each other. She was a Catholic girl from Ireland, the oldest of fifteen. She’d been bartending a few weeks. He was a Jewish boy from Flatbush who got his high school diploma at night school. After graduating he joined the United States Army and was stationed in Germany.
“Whatcha do over there?” She winked. “Wars over, ya know.”
“So what’d ya do?”
“Not much.” Marty said in his self-deprecating way. He didn’t tell her he operated a fifty-ton Sherman tank with a 105 MM gun that could hit targets from a mile away.
“Whaddya do now?”
He could have had a career in the military but the sheet metal business was in his blood. It’s what his father did and what Marty always knew he’d do one day. He didn’t get into the business to become a millionaire. He got into it because it was hard and honest work. She seemed to appreciate that. He told her that the metal he worked on was used for cars, airplanes and even repairs on the Statue of Liberty. His company had just signed a contract to do some of the metal work on the Twin Tower Buildings that were going up.
“You heard about them?” Marty asked. “Tallest skyscrapers in the world.”
“Yeah.” She nodded. “I heard about them.”
The next weekend he stood outside her apartment in Hempstead and nervously rang the bell. The beautiful blonde girl had a name, Theresa, and she had agreed to go on a date with him. A moment later a pretty brunette opened the door.
“Oh,” Marty said, not expecting someone else to answer the door. “Does Theresa live here?”
“What are you some kind of jokester?”
Theresa laughed all the way to the movies. “You mean to tell me you thought that was my real hair?”
Marty nodded sheepishly. He’d never heard of a woman wearing a blonde wig as a fashion accessory. It was hard keeping up with the trends of the 60’s…
It turns out Marty didn’t have a thing for blondes, he had a thing for Theresa. He married her because she made him happier than anyone he’d ever met. They moved to their dream home in Mineola and weaved a beautiful life together with their two daughters.
Marty continued working in the sheet metal industry. When the economy soared work was plentiful but when it tanked he cleaned banks at night to make ends meet. Theresa stuck with him through everything. And through all of Marty’s life, the good and the bad, he always smiled when he thought of the brunette girl with blonde hair who had given him a life better than his wildest dreams.
Goose Chronicles Outtakes:
“I drove a tank in Germany.”
(Daughter and Granddaughter together) “What grandpa? We didn’t know you drove a tank!”
“Sure did. A fifty ton Sherman tank with a 105 MM gun. I could hit targets from over a mile away…”
“Any life advice?”
“Don't burn bridges. I never did and I always got call backs for work.”