Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Courage to Whistle

Marash Girl's father had a piercing whistle.  When he put two fingers in his mouth and blew, out would come a whistle that could be heard blocks away.  Thus, he always kept his children under his thumb, or in his case, under the command of his whistle.  But that whistle got him into (what we saw as) trouble at least once in his life, although Peter did not see it as trouble.  

Peter and his family lived on Lowell Avenue in Newtonville, and every day he would walk to work, a good 1.5 mile walk to his shop (Newtonville Electrical Company, Inc.) on Bowers Street in Newtonville Square, (a shop that later resided at 439 Newtonville Avenue in the building that he and his brother Paul built.)

One day, on his way to work, (as referenced above, Peter daily walked down Lowell Avenue, past the Newton High School baseball field, taking a right on Austin Street, and left on Walnut Street),  as he walked along Walnut Street near the corner of Newtonville Avenue, a car came barreling down Walnut Street, going (according to Peter) 50 miles an hour in a 20 mile an hour zone.  When Peter saw (and heard) it coming, he turned, let out his shrill whistle, and motioned with his right arm for the car to slow down.

The driver of the car screeched to a stop at the side of the road (next to where Peter was standing) jumped out of the car, pulled a knife out of his pocket, and started dancing around on the sidewalk, slicing the knife in Peter's direction.  Peter, who had grown up on the streets of Marash, knew that as long as he kept his eyes on the man's eyes, (and danced along with him, as one would in a boxing ring,) the man would not be able to stab him.  (Is that true? That's what Peter believed.)  According to one of Marash Girl's children, Peter then put his hand in his pocket, as if he were harboring a pistol there, pointing  at the fellow who was threatening him with the knife.

Crowds gathered, but no-one tried to stop the two from entangling on that sidewalk in Newtonville Square in 1950.  (There were no cell phones in those days, although there were open shops all along the street.)  The only thing that stopped the would be slaughter were Peter's eyes, blue Marashtsi eyes that could pierce to the soul.   

And that they did, for Peter's opponent soon turned his back on Peter and slunked back into his car, carrying his knife with him.  

Peter never saw the fellow again, much to the fellow's relief, Marash Girl is certain.


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