This is Bert’s sister Jenny with her new guy, Sam. He’s a boxer and a very smooth dancer. He lives in his parent’s row house on Danenhower Street—an alley made sooty and stinky from the adjacent Paper Mill. Which doesn’t stop the mostly Italian residents from transforming their small, raped backyards into prolific Mediterranean gardens. In the summer the family’s garden shed functions as a root cellar and smells like the smoked sausages hanging from the rafters—that and cat spray. In the winter, Sam’s parents rake the dirt from a secret hole they carved into the hardpan earth—a tarpaper-lined hole containing the excess of their summer vegetable bounty.
At the end of Danenhower Street: a grocer. This is where Sam or his brother Salvie or his brother Dominic or his brother Johnny goes when their mother is in need of Gabagool. Sam’s mom keeps her boys close, which is only one of the reasons she is so distraught when Sam brings his new girl Jenny around. The other reason: Irish! Of course there’s no proof that she’s Irish because she was orphaned as a baby, but her red hair! Her freckled skin! Her temper!
In a few weeks Sam and Jenny will go to the Justice of the Peace and get married. Sam’s mother will spit on Jenny and call her a whore and will chase Sam’s car to the end of the alley.