Ferrick, age 17, one of the assailants in the murder of
Rabbi Samuel Bernard London is flanked by detectives during
of our 20-41 WaveCrest Gardens apartment was ringing. It was 2:50
a. m. on a hot steamy July morning back in year 1952. My father,
awakened from a deep sleep ambled to the front door wearing only
boxer undershorts. Clad only in my tighty-whities I followed close
behind. My dad raised the front-door peephole, looked out into
the hallway and then unlocked and opened the door. Two uniformed
policemen were standing in front of us.
My mother called out from deep within the back
hall: "Who is it, dear? " Even before my father had
the opportunity to respond - one of the officers called out: "sorry
Miss - but you'll have to get dressed and come with us. "
Of course he was addressing my mother who was still standing unseen
at the rear of our apartment. In haste, she had managed to pull
on a robe over her nightgown and had found a pair of well-worn
bedroom slippers. At that point, my father stood aside allowing
the police to enter our four and one-half room rental apartment.
To my child's mind I understood that the cops
had arrived to cart my mother off to jail. I was eight years old;
so what did I know? Briefly, the situation was explained to my
father during which time he began ordering me, not once but many
times, to return to my room. This really was none of my business
but I felt that if my mother had committed a crime serious enough
to warrant an early-morning visit from two of New York's finest,
I needed to know exactly what was happening and frankly, I had
no intention of running off to my room and hiding under the bed.
After all I was a (television) Dragnet fan- and I wanted the facts!
Just the facts, ma'am.
Briefly, the cops told my dad that a few weeks
before, a priest had been shot and murdered in Central Park by
two teen thugs. The two men had dismantled the weapon, carried
it out to Rockaway's Playland, sold it to the proprietor of a
shooting gallery. My mother (then Manager of the playland park)
had granted written permission for the shooting gallery to purchase
that additional gun to be used in that concession. So, mom had
to "go downtown" to answer some questions. "Downtown"
back in those days meant Jamaica, Queens - aka Central Booking.
My father was told to get dressed and to follow the squad car
to Jamaica where, after answering some basic but important questions,
my mom would no longer be detained. My dad would need to drive
her back home to Far Rockaway. No such invitation was extended
to me so I was expected to stay at home and wait for the eventual
return of my parents.