Soon it was fall of 1973 and I was ready to start first grade. I was excited and had a very sweet teacher named Miss Celeberte. She was tall, slim and young, probably in her early 30’s. I’m pretty sure she hadn’t changed her hairdo since her high school days as she wore her dark hair in an outdated mini bouffant flipped up at the ends. Her eyes were lined in thick black eyeliner that swept much further than the natural shape of her eyes and she always smelled of light baby powder. She was pretty and she was kind and I would be reminded of her years later upon seeing Lorraine Bracco in Goodfellas. She liked me and I immediately fell in love with Miss Celeberte and with school which soon became a place to escape, a place of solitude, a place that was all mine. Jerry had already established a reputation at Emily Dickenson Elementary as it was his second year. His reputation was supported by the fact that he often got in trouble and seemed to get in a lot of fights. Forever after teachers would always ask, “Lang, are you Jerry’s sister,” with a sigh.
On the way home from school one day, a group of nasty boys were throwing rocks as I walked by. I picked up a handful of rocks in a desperate attempt to defend myself and tried to return the onslaught. I yelled for them to leave me alone that I was going to send my brother after them. One boy, standing a few feet away with a rock in hand replied in a snarly fashion, “yeah, who’s your brother?” as if it were a test and if I got the wrong answer, he would surely aim for my head. “Jerry Lang,” I screamed. The three looked at each other with widened eyes and turned and booked it. It would not be the last time I would use his notoriety for my own protection.