We never called him by his first name and I am not sure of why. We simply called him Babbitt and that seemed to make him smile on most days and laugh on the great ones. With this in mind, lets start at the end as opposed to the beginning.
Some of you might have read of the murder of my old friend Jeffrey Babbitt last week. Man in Union Square says he will punch the next white person he sees or something to that effect. Enter the sweet and harmless Jeffrey Babbitt. He is hit and a few days later, he dies. End of story. Please Google him if you have interest. I write this short note because I do not want Babbitt him to be forgotten. More important, I want you to know just a tiny bit about this man who is gone for no good reason
Babbitt and I attended PS 241 on President Street. We graduated in 1963. Babbitt, as we called him, was a sweet soul; a gentle guy who was what might be labled as a bit "slow."
Babbitt lived in a fancy apartment building on Eastern Parkway near the Brooklyn Museum. I lived at the corner of President and Franklin. I used to go to Babbitt's house and we would laugh and play with his amazing set of electric trains.
Bottom line is that Babbitt was kind and Babbitt was sweet and Babbitt never had a problem in the world with anyone. He was a fine and gentle human being; the type of person that belonged to a far better place than the world you and I call home.
I have not seen Babbitt since the sixth grade but I have searched for him online for the better part of 10 years with no luck. This is no surprise as Babbitt would have no use for an online world or Facebook or things like that. He had his comic books and his trains and his 92 year old mother to look after. He had his friends and his neighbors and his life to enjoy. I long ago accepted the fact that I would probably not see or hear from him again and that was all right. I imagined him to be living quietly and enjoying life. A call from my brother at 11:00 changed all of that as apparently even Babbitt's world was not immune to the illness and the rage of all the folks out there who are so badly broken. It is all so very sad.
Should you pass by PS 241, pleae take a quick second and try imagine Babbitt laughing and playing in a time and a place that was devoid of the madness we seem to believe to be normal. Babbitt will be glad that you did. Maybe you will be as well.