Monday, July 15, 2013

Slow down!

Walnut Street, Newtonville Square, circa 1953

Peter was walking to work as he did every morning, from his home on the hill on Lowell Avenue near Commonwealth Avenue in Newtonville, to his shop on Bowers Street in Newtonville Square.  As he crossed Walnut Street, he noticed a car speeding towards him from the south.  Before he even reached the sidewalk, he gave out his famous whistle -- the one with two fingers in his mouth that Marash Girl could never master -- and motioning downward with both arms, he shouted, "Slow down!"

The driver of the car jammed on his brakes as the car screeched to a stop at the side of the road.  The driver jumped out, and pulled out a knife as he approached Peter.  Dancing around eachother,  Peter never looked at the knife--he never turned his steely gaze away from the eyes of the would be attacker. A crowd gathered, but not one person said or did anything.  They just stood and watched the life and death struggle.

"Weren't you afraid?" Peter's children asked as he related the story that evening.  "Never -- as long as I had my eyes on his, he could never stab me with the knife -- he would have to look at where he was going to stab, and he couldn't -- he couldn't take his eyes away from mine.  He finally put down his knife, slunk away to his car, and drove off."


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