Jayne’s Birthday

Jayne Jayne, aka Mom, would have been 54 today.

I met Jayne at Mickey’s Bar in Manhattan, on a Friday in November 1981. Mickey’s was a great place, in a great location, on the corner of Warren Street and Greenwich Avenue, back when TriBeCa felt like a small town.

We both liked going to Mickey’s, which catered to varied tastes, with a pool table, and a dance floor. I came to play pool, Jayne came to dance, and we got married six weeks later.

Our first Christmas together was in those six weeks, and it was the day we decided to get married.

Jayne said it was a good day to visit her friend Cliff, and she drove about 60 miles, from Manhattan, to Eastern Long Island, to do so. We chatted on the ride out, but all she said about Cliff was, “You’ll see.”

Cliff was the owner of “Elm Air,” and he had a plane reserved for Jayne. She nonchalantly rented a Cessna 152 from him, and flew us to Martha’s Vineyard.

Martha’s Vineyard was wildly appealing, although wildly impractical. Since neither of us had ever been there before, we chose a modest goal for our trip: Lunch.

We had our choice of taxis after we landed, but all the drivers laughed when we said that we wanted Lunch.

“You can’t eat anywhere without a reservation, and you can’t get a reservation on Christmas.”

When the cabbies quit laughing, they came up with a restaurant, and the fellow at the head of the line drove us to an attractive restaurant, where the limos were double parked. Inside the restaurant, several well–dressed couples scowled, when we joined the reservation line, which was lorded over by an employee, the head scowler.

Jayne seemed resigned to a long wait, but I recognized this as an opportunity. I excused myself, and got around the line, and into the restaurant, by asking for the bathroom. I had worked as a waiter, and I had an idea. I looked around, and found a busboy who did not seem very busy. I said, “Tell the waiter you work for to come speak to me, and I will give each of you something when he arrives.”

Moments later, we were marching triumphantly through the dining room, blazing a new trail, for a new table. Busboy was in front, carrying a table, chairs were spontaneously generated, and Waiter had the rest. This stirred up the scowlers, culminating when an ill–mannered scowler grabbed Busboy, and held his arms so he couldn’t open the table. The head scowler appeared almost instantaneously, said something about “ejected,” and Busboy was freed to a collective sigh from the scowlers.

The defining moment came after we were seated. We looked at each other and we knew. We were married three weeks later.

We flew together many times, and she delighted in torturing me by turning the engine off, and asking:

“How long can I wait before I have to turn it on?“

Jayne and I believed that between the two us: we knew everything. It’s too bad that we didn’t know enough to stay married.