My earliest recollections of my bother Charlie are short snippets of us playing “Gangsters.” This was a role play game (like girls play “House”) that he had made up. It was inspired by a TV show on in the late 1950’s, called the “The Untouchables.”
In the show, a group of U.S. federal law-enforcement agents worked to end Al Capone‘s reign of terror on Chicago, in the late 1920’s. You’d assume, in this role play game, that Charlie would play the role of Elliott Ness; the handsome, charismatic Federal Agent who fearlessly led his team in the fight against crime and corruption. However, even at the young age of 11, Charlie had a propensity towards the underworld.
In this role play, I was always given the role of the “Bank Teller” and my he was the “Bank Customer” (aka The Bank Robber!) Money from the Monopoly game came in useful, as did my Mom’s dress up clothes and junk jewelry. He’d meticulously set the scene laying out the money in neat stacks, of same denomination bills on the seat of a kitchen chair. I’d be all dressed up, adorned with way too much jewelry for a Bank Teller, sitting on the floor behind my the chair (aka “the bank counter.”) The slats, on the back of the chair were perfect for providing that “cage” like atmosphere that bank tellers used to work behind, back in the day!
Charlie would swagger into the bank (yes even at 11 he had a definite swagger!) pretending to be a normal customer and he’d begin “casing the joint.” He would then casually stroll up to my counter and I’d say something clever like “My I help you?” He would give me that devious “Charlie” grin, pull the plastic gun out of his pocket and say something like; “This is s stick up lady, give me all the money!” I’d of course act surprised and panicked while I filled a brown paper lunch bag with the multi-colored Monopoly money. He’d want my jewelry too… so off it came and into the bag as well. He’d look around nervously, wave the gun in my face and shout, “Hurry up, before the cops get here.“
He would grab the paper bag with the money and the jewelry and then walk behind the “counter” (because even the imaginary bank walls couldn’t keep him out) and he’d handcuff me! He’d also (just for good measure) put a gag over my mouth, which was usually one of his socks!
And then… he would leave.
No really, he would leave! I mean he would leave the house, not just the room! He’d just run out the back door, go outside and look for his friends… And there I’d be, sitting on the floor, handcuffed and gagged, with a dirty old sock!
These are some of my earliest memories of my big bother Charlie… who even after this, I adored.