Kissing Games


With the advent of puberty and early teen years, the boys and girls of the Ginney Block were bubbling and some were even boiling with the biological juices of young manhood and womanhood. It followed naturally that they began to enjoy one another's company in the dimly lit stairways and vestibules of the block. Post Office and Spin the Bottle became a favorite evening pastime.

The mothers and fathers of the block had the custom of getting together on the back porches in the evening hours. The women in their shawls, gathered in little groups to talk about their children and to share their trials and tribulations with one another. The men in their groups almost nightly played "TRE SETTE," the most popular Italian card game of the time. Their enjoyment of the game was further enhanced by several bottles of homemade Italian red wine which were consumed during the course of the evening. It was while the parents were so engaged that the young people began to play kissing games. One night it might be Post Office and another night it might be Spin the Bottle.

We ranged in age from thirteen to fifteen. I was fourteen at the time, rather innocent and not as advanced in such things as the others. Also, by this time I had become an Altar Boy , and served at Saint Anthony's Church under the tutelage of Father Rocchi, who was constantly warning us about "the sins of the flesh," forever exhorting us to resist the "female charms," and to lead clean, pure lives, so we could eventually become priests. Because of this, I had conscientiously stayed away from the kissing games.




On a balmy Friday evening, I fell from grace. I came into the vestibule of the stairway that led to our flat on the third floor at about 8:30 p. m., having spent the after supper hours at the church at our weekly Altar Boys' meeting, to get ready for Sunday services. I entered the vestibule just as Lucille Moffo's spinning bottle came to a halt in from of me. Lucille was fifteen, very mature for her years, and well developed for her age. By this time in her life, she was using makeup, rouge, mascara, lipstick and a lot of Ten Cent store perfume, in great quantity. Before I knew what was happening, she crushed me to her breast and kissed me fiercely on the lips until they hurt from the pressure. I was almost overcome from the pungent smell of the heavy combination of her body odor, makeup and perfume. When I finally was able to break away, I flew up the two sets of twenty-seven steps, taking them two at a time, anxious to get rid of the lipstick and the unwelcome taste that filled my mouth. I proceeded to rinse my mouth and wash my face, time after time. Nevertheless, the taste and smell stayed with me throughout the night, and the experience haunted me as I tried to sleep. Sleep, however, did not come.

Although I felt resentment at having been kissed that way, I was plagued by the realization as Saturday morning dawned that I had also gotten some enjoyment out of the experience.




It was that realization that had kept me awake all night. I felt that I had committed a sin of the flesh, as described by Father Rocchi, and so mistakenly concluded that I was damned. Fortunately, it was Saturday. Like the good little Altar boy that I was, I hurried to confession that afternoon and so cleansed my soul of my first grievous sin of the flesh.