richie milsovic saved my life
I didn't like Richie Milsovic. I didn't like the fact that he had a brother and I didn't. I didn't like always being the bad guy when we played Army, or cowboys, or did anything. It was always two against one.
Their dad was in the Army, mine was in the Navy, guess which one was the best. Their dad had seen combat. I remember once when he fell off a ladder, something about wires in his hands. All very mysterious and heroic stuff. My dad was never even on a boat. He caught his commanding officer fooling around and got stationed stateside for WWII.
We used to play this game called Muggins. The object was for the Milsovic's to hit me across the knuckles with a deck of cards until I went home crying ... game over. To make matters worse Richie could kick my ass. Proving the Army was tougher than the Navy and so on and so on.
There was no getting away from the Milsovic's. Our houses were so close together you could stand in the alley between the two, spread your arms out and touch both of them. When Mrs. Milsovic said good night to Richie, "like on the Waltons" half of Westwood Street said good night.
I hit richie in the head with a brick once. It was a big deal. He was all right, but I got chewed out pretty good, although I did catch a faint smile on my dad's face when he was apologizing to Mr. Milsovic.
It was on one of thsoe bright Pittsburgh summer days that Richie saved my life. The Milsovic's invited me to go swimming with them at Dillworth city pool. I couldn't admit that I didn't know how to swim so I went along. The pool was so crowded all you could do was stand in one place and bob. I was standing and bobbing and started to have a pretty good time. For a moment I forgot all about Richie. The pool cleared a little and I got caught up in the water and summer. I was a bobbing fool. I'd bob, hit bottom, kick up, have that one eye closed moron look and bob again. I was cool. Right at the time I started to get cool I realized I was in trouble. When I bobbed I wouldn't reach the surface, I was sucking in water instead of air. The harder I kicked the more it pushed me to the deep end. I went down for more than three times. I started to get scared, petrified, is more like it. I wasn't getting any air, I was drowning in a pool full of people.
It dawned on me that I was dying, I was dying. When this pleasant thought hit me, I felt some one throw an arm around my neck and start pulling me in. It was Richie. Mr. Milsovic had seen me floundering out by the rope and sent Richie to haul me in.
I talked to my Mom the other night, I'm grown with kids of my own now. She said that Richie Milsovic had been transferred to Memphis. My first reaction was, oh no, but then I remembered he saved my life, and I don't think I ever thanked him. I hope I'll get the chance to now.