"The New York Yankees, dumbo."
"Yes, the Yankees. I'm for them."
I was for them, yes. But I barely knew what they were.
Then a year later, on a Sunday afternoon in May, just three weeks before I would turn 14, I was wandering around my mother's New York apartment with nothing much to do. My parents had divorced shortly after the Berlin interlude, and my mother now occupied the roomy top floor of a West Side Manhattan brownstone with two of her three sons. Staying with us was a young Canadian couple to whom my mother had rented a room to supplement her high school teacher's salary. Eventually that Sunday afternoon I found myself standing on the threshold of this couple's room.
The door was wide open, but the occupants didn't seem prepared for visitors. Assorted items of clothing lay scattered everywhere. The woman sat on the side of the bed filing down a fingernail, the hem of her negligee drawn up over her crossed knees. The man lay sprawled beside her in boxer shorts, dangling a cigarette in his fingers and cocking his head toward the radio on the night table beside him. The two of them looked up.
"You're listening to a baseball game?" I asked, at a loss for anything else to explain my presence on the threshold.
"Sure," the man said. "Do you want to come in?"
"Yanks and the Indians. In Cleveland. Come on in and listen."