Nick and I were close friends for four years through seventh grade – his family moved to Chicago right before eighth – and he and I always competed for solos for the midnight mass we attended as part of the school choir. He beat me out two of the three times we went head-to-head.
He, Jeff Clawson and I were sort of the three musketeers of our recess playground.
He was a friend from my college days, and sometimes we’d join up at Java Express for either study, or a rubber of bridge with a couple of other friends, or, if studying flagged, rolling the Amigo pinball game at the next door arcade.
Once his bicycle was stolen (he lived only about four blocks away). I knew his bike fairly well – it, like mine, was a steel-tube English racer. His also had some crude touch-up paint on the frame. One afternoon not long after it was stolen, three kids came ambling down the hill in front of my apartment house, two of whom were walking bikes – and one of them was Charles’ beater.
I confronted them about where they got the bike, and they were naturally evasive. I got someone to call the constabulary and Charles, and he got his ride back.