St. Nick's Outlaws
By Jim Colombo
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Copyright 2001 Jim Colombo
It was All Saints Day, Wednesday, November 1st, 1962. The first mass was
being celebrated in St. Nick's school gym because of the fire at St. Mary's Cathedral. The
altar was a cafeteria table covered with a blue silk cloth with a white cross in the middle. A
gold chalice with a round gold tray on top was placed on the altar. Blue signifies the
season of Advent prior to Christmas. All Saints Day is a holy day of obligation. There are
seven holy days of obligation during the year. The Catholic Religion makes it mandatory to
attend mass every Sunday and the seven holy days of obligation. The nuns in grammar
school had made the first Friday and Saturday of each month mandatory. The only saving
grace now was that the students didn’t have to walk the two blocks to and from St. Mary's
in the cold or rain. While mass was being served in the gym, the cooks in the adjacent
cafeteria were preparing breakfast. It was difficult to concentrate on the Consecration while
smelling hot cinnamon rolls and coffee. The mass celebrated all the saints who had died
for or had spent their lives devoted to Christ. The sermon was about commitment to Christ,
devotion, and prayer. Half of the lads were thinking about sex, while the others were
thinking about the hot cinnamon rolls.
The lads were eager to graduate from high school. In two years they would be free
from the obligation of mandatory worship. Some of the lads believed that they wouldn’t
have to go to church for at least ten years because of all of the masses they had attended
for twelve years in Catholic prison. They had developed a condition of ignoring the
demands of nuns and brothers so that they could cope with the daily bombardment of
threats and punishment. The nuns believed that punishment was part of the educational
experience. Suffering was atonement, and the students were sinners. They constantly told
the students how bad it was going to a public school. The students believed that the nun’s
torture was bearable compared to the shame of going to a public school. Mass ended and
the lads ran to the cafeteria for a bowl of Cheerios and a hot cinnamon roll.
Jim sat with Augie, Duke, Jensen, and Garcia while they ate breakfast. Each
talked about his girl friend, except Jim. They showed off their girlfriend’s tiny high school
rings that barely fit on their little fingers. Most of the girls wore their boyfriend’s bigger
rings on gold chains around their necks. Some pinned the ring to their bra, close to their
heart. Most couples stayed together for two years in high school while some changed
mates often. They talked about the intimate things that they did with their girl friends. Jim
tried to look interested but he believed that if Lucy and he were going steady, he wouldn’t
talk about their intimate relationship. The day that Duke told the guys about his first
experience using a Trojan, Jim laughed, upsetting Duke. Jim didn’t think using a Trojan
was difficult. When Duke finished and tried to remove the spent warrior, it got tangled in
his pubic hair. He almost lost the top half of his manhood. Augie was a pro and explained
that a lubricated warrior was a happy warrior. Words to live by.
The guys were going to a couples only party next Saturday. Jim wasn’t invited.
Jane Harmon's parents would be out of town for the weekend. Jane was going steady with
Bill from Serra High School in Redwood City. Bill and Duke were cousins, so Jane invited
Duke, who invited Augie, Jensen and Garcia. Jane’s quiet party of six couples grew to
twenty-three couples. A lamp and several glasses were broken during the party. When
Jane's parents returned, she was grounded for a month. Bill didn’t wait for Jane, and
found a girl friend in San Mateo. Jane was hurt for about a day, and quickly rediscovered
John with the sexy eyebrows. A year later Jane had forgotten John and a few others, and
was dating Lenny. He rode a motorcycle and was in ROTC. Suddenly Jane had her
appendix removed, a month before she graduated from high school. Lenny enlisted in the
Army after graduating from high school. He came home after boot camp and he and Jane
were married. Three months later Lenny died in a Saigon alley behind a bar, naked with a
knife in his back. Jane was a widow at eighteen. John and Ed went to Lenny’s funeral and
heard gossip that Jane's sudden appendix operation was an abortion. Jane didn’t have
good luck with men or love.
After Jane Harmon's party, Jim no longer sat with the outlaws at lunchtime. Their
world was very different than his. He ate lunch outside, alone, on that island again. He
started hanging out with the guys in the Alley on the weekends. The guys in the alley spent
most of their time working part time jobs and pampering their cars. Tim Cowens was called
the craftsman, because he had the best set of Sears tools. He had a red 1955 Corvette
with a white convertible top and black leather seats. He had bored out the cylinder walls of
a 289 V8 engine and installed oversized pistons, a Webber four-barrel carburetor, and a
La Salle gearbox with Hurst linkage. The car had a Motorola stereo radio with speakers in
the front and rear. Baffi had a long pointed nose, so the guys called him needle nose. The
nose had a yellow 1957 Chevrolet with black leather seats, a B&M hydro that burned
rubber in every gear, cheater slicks for rear tires, and a six-inch rake: the front end was six
inches lower than the rear end. Bordi had tiny eyes and was called the weasel. He had a
purple 1949 Mercury coupe' with a Chevy 327 engine, a B&M hydro, and a 353 rear end.
This was the famous Tijuana special tuck and roll that came apart after one month, and the
adventures of "I Chi-hwa-wa." These guys didn’t sit around and play cards. They were
learning a skill: repairing cars. They went to public school and wondered why Jim
continued going to St. Nick's. He explained that he was Catholic and his parents wanted
him to go. The girls who hung out at the Alley were public school girls. They were fun to
be with compared to the freeze-dried virgins in plaid skirts. Jim no longer hung out with the
23rd Street gang, his friends at St. Nick's, or the guys he lifted with in the weight lifting
room at school. He didn’t need to hang out with a group. He didn't need any one.
The guys in the Alley went to the Mission Dolores High School dances. Most of the
girls who went to MD were Mexican. Mission Dolores was on Bart turf. The Barts ruled
the Mission District from Valencia to Potrero Hill, and from 16th to 30th Streets. Any girl
who went with a Bart was his property. She was called a Chola. There was no courtship or
going steady. Any girl chosen had to comply or be disgraced. It was a macho thing. Barts
took what he wanted, and used their women like sex slaves. If a Bart saw his woman with
another guy, he would cut her face with his knife, and beat the shit out of the other guy.
She was a marked woman, and ignored by all. If a Bart liked a girl and she ignored him, he
would spread rumors about her, saying that she was a lesbian, and calling her a scag.
Most Mexican girls complied. A few ladies who wanted more from a relationship than being
a sex slave were curious about having a white boyfriend, because white guys treated their
ladies with respect. Bordi said that when they went to a MD dance, they waited to see who
danced with whom. The girls left alone were okay to dance with if they were not scags,
scarred, or the property of a Bart. The chubby or plain girls looked safe, and that was all
right with Jim. He just wanted to go to the dance and have some fun.
Some of these wallflowers were fun to be with and a few were very affectionate.
During slow dances, the couples hugged, and some kissed while dancing to the Supremes
or the Shirells. The nuns didn’t see what went on in the inner circle of the dance floor. At
the end of the dance, if Jim walked away and danced with another girl, the previous girl
would sit and wait for another guy to ask her to dance. If Jim asked the same girl for the
next dance and she said yes, she was his date for the night. He danced with most of the
wallflowers. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. He just wanted to dance with most of them and
have a good time.
There was an attractive Mexican girl who sat by herself in the corner. No one
danced with her, and Jim assumed that she was someone's property or a scag. She
occasionally looked at Jim. It was his first time at a Mission Dolores dance, it was Bart
territory, and he didn’t want to violate their rules. He went to the dance with Cowens and
Bordi. After two hours Cowens and Bordi were bored and went back to the Alley. Jim was
one of the few white guys there. It was a lady's choice dance. The attractive Mexican girl
was walking towards him. The chubby Mexican girl who he had danced with earlier was
also walking towards him. He didn’t want to dance with the attractive lady. She was
trouble. As the two ladies approached, Jim extended his hand to the chubby girl. She
smiled and held Jim's hand tight as they walked to the inner circle of the dance floor. She
hugged Jim, and he felt her breast pressing against his chest. She continued hugging Jim
while they slow danced to the Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby” and “This Magic Moment."
She sang the words of the songs like a soft whisper and Jim glided to the music. At the
end of the second song her check slowly slid across his until their lips met. Her mouth
open, and their tongues met. The next song was "Angel Baby." They moved as one as
they danced to the rhythm of the song. Her body language spoke of love and he
Jim opened his eyes and tried to catch his breath. He noticed that Jack Clark,
Tom Browne, and Mike Balliet had crashed the dance. They were looking for action, so
Clark walked over to the attractive Mexican girl. He took her by the hand and walked
her to inner circle of the dance floor. All of the Barts focused on Clark and the girl as they
began dancing close to Jim and his lady. The Barts were insulted when Clark began
kissing the Mexican girl. Browne and Balliet sat and watched. Jim and his lady kissed.
He closed his eyes and was floating again. Suddenly, he heard someone say, "Back off,
punk!" Then Jim got bumped.
Three Barts challenged Clark to fight. Clark quickly replied, and Browne and Balliet
jumped in to help. Before Jim knew what was happening, he was involved in the fight with
the Courts. Jim pushed one Bart away, and tried to take his lady away from the fight. Two
Barts jumped on Jim. He pushed his lady away and fought the two Barts. She ran outside.
The fight lasted for a couple of minutes. Then Jim heard someone say, "The cops are
Everyone scattered. Jim ran outside with Clark, Browne, and Balliet. They hid in
Mission Dolores Park until it seemed safe. Jim started walking home along the J Church
trolley tracks. When he reached Hill Street, Clark, Browne, and Balliet were waiting for him.
He was tired, and there was no point in running away. They knew who he was and where
he lived. Clark approached Jim with Browne and Balliet following. Clark raised his right.
Jim ducked. Clark laughed. He patted Jim on the shoulder and said, "Thanks, man." Jim
didn’t know what to say. This was the leader of the Courts thanking him. These were the
guys that he feared the most.
Jim said, "Sure." They smiled and continued walking down Church Street. Jim
walked up Hill Street to Sanchez and home. This was some night. He thought about going
back to the dance to see if the chubby Mexican lady was safe. He wanted to know her
name and maybe get to know her. She was affectionate and he enjoyed being with her.
The following Monday on the way home from school, Jim got off at 17th and
Church Streets. He walked one block to Mission Dolores High School, and waited across
the street for the girls to be dismissed. Soon they began walking down the steps of the
main entrance. A few minutes passed, and there she was. She looked surprised. Jim
smiled and waved. She smiled and quickly walked across the street.
"I’m sorry about Friday night. Did you get hurt?" asked Jim.
"No. I wondered what happened to you. "Did you get hurt?" she asked.
"No. What's your name?"
"Guadalupe Madrid, Guadalupe, but you can call me Lupe. What's your name?
What school do you go to? Do you live around here?" she asked with enthusiasm.
"My name is Jim and I am a junior at St. Nick's."
"Do you play sports?" She noticed his build, and couldn’t stop smiling.
"Yes. I'm a fullback on the JV football team, and I play baseball, right field. You
have a beautiful smile."
She thanked him and held his hand. When she realized that she was holding
his hand, she let go. Lupe was five foot three and weighted about one hundred forty
pounds. She was chubby but shapely. Her breasts were large and round. She was
stocky but sexy in her own way. Her skin was soft and brown. Her black hair fell to her
waist. She liked being with Jim and smiled all of the time. She held his hand, squeezed it,
and looked into his eyes. He didn’t feel the same way but didn’t want to hurt her. She really
liked him, so he squeezed her hand in reply. She smiled constantly. Her face and neck
blushed giving her brown complexion a soft pink glow. She didn’t hide her feelings for him.
She hugged him and whispered, "Thanks."
Jim replied with a loving hug and said, "Me too."
She woke up a feeling that he had briefly experienced with Lucy. He wanted to
explore this new feeling, and discover what the guys at school had talked about. He
wanted to get to know more about her, and find out if they would be happy together. He
realized that he was lonely. There was a fire now smoldering deep inside of him after
experiencing Lupe's affection. They walked home, and held hands each time they crossed
the street. After two crossings, she did not let go of his hand. All of her girl friends saw her
with Jim. She waved and smiled. She was very interested in him, and asked a lot of
questions about what he was studying at St. Nick’s. She wanted to know what it was like
getting tackled or hitting a home run. She asked if he got hurt playing football. He told her
that he got sore for a few days, and that it was like lifting weights. She was impressed.
They walked along Dolores Street and turned to Liberty Street. They waited for the light to
turn green. She looked at him and said," I’m a little chubby. I hope you don’t mind…” She
paused revealing her insecurity. "You’re the first guy whose made me feel so happy. I’ve
never felt like this before. I thought about you all weekend." She had opened her heart to
him. Would he be honest and gentle? She observed his reaction to what she had said.
Jim put his hand on Lupe's chin and raised her head so that their eyes met. " You
have a beautiful smile. I enjoy being with you," he said with feeling. She felt relieved. He
was the answer to her prayers. He wanted to get to know her. He thought he would follow
her lead to see what direction the friendship would go. They had just met, and she was
telling him a lot about herself, as if they were good friends. She was cute when she smiled,
and she admired him constantly. He thought that it would be better to be with a lady who
really liked him than with an a lady who wasn’t sure.
"Can I walk you home?" asked Jim.
“Sure. We’re almost there.” She held Jim's hand and rubbed it against her face.
Then she kissed his hand, He kissed her hands He put his arm around her while walking
to her mother's apartment on Liberty Street. Lupe told Jim that her mother's name was
Rosa, and that she had worked at Levis Strauss for nine years. They lived in a two-
bedroom apartment. She wanted to work part time to help her mother, but Rosa wanted
her to have a good education. Lupe stopped talking when they approached the stairs of
the apartment.. She looked into his eyes an he saw her open her heart again. She said,
"You’re the first white guy that I’ve known. I feel different with you. I feel happy, but I’m
very nervous." Then she apologized for talking so much.
"I feel nervous too."
"You have a beautiful smile."
"Thank you. That is the third time that you have said that. You make me very
happy." Her blush was starting to dissipate. She told him that she had dated Mexican
guys but she was attracted to white guys. They walked halfway up the stairs and she
stopped. "Can I ask you for one favor? If some time in the future you get tired of me,
don't lie or cheat on me. If you are honest, and if you don't disgrace me, I will understand.
If that happens, can we still be friends? It wouldn’t look so bad with my friends," She
looked into his eyes Eye’s never lie because they speak from the soul.
"I will be honest with you," he replied from his heart. His eyes had touched her soul
and she believed. He wondered what he had signed up for. An innocent hello was
becoming a commitment. He enjoyed her affection. Maybe this was the missing piece of
They stood in front of the apartment door. She paused. Then she looked at Jim and
said, "I feel so embarrassed. We’re just getting to know each other and I am talking to you
as if I you are my boy friend." She opened the door and said, “Please come in.”
“Thank you. I’ll stay a while.”
“I make coffee.”
“No thanks, that’s okay.”
They sat in the kitchen at the table, and searched for words to end the silence.
Lupe rearranged the napkins twice. Then she placed her hands on the table and opened
them. Jim held her hands. A shy voice said, "I really like you."
Jim understood that Lupe wanted a commitment of friendship, and wanted to be
more than just friends. She was very insecure. He said, "I would be very happy having
you as my girl friend."
She looked up at Jim, surprised and asked, "Do you really mean it?"
He repeated, "I would be very happy being your boy friend."
She got up from the chair and hugged him. "I have never been so happy." Lupe
was very affectionate and emotional. Jim wanted to experience having a girl friend. He
wanted to get to know her as a person. She had an inner beauty that attracted him. She
was a fragile, delicate treasure he would learn to love. He thanked her for inviting him in
and explained that it was time for him to leave. They exchanged phone numbers. When
Jim approached the door to say good-bye he said, “I’ll see you next Monday at MD at 3:00.
I have football practice Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Fridays are game day. ”
“ Can I call you some time? Can I go to a game?”
“Sure. You really do have a beautiful smile.”
“Thanks. I’ll call you tomorrow night.”
“I’ll call you at seven-thirty.”
Jim walked down the stairs. He turned and saw Lupe standing by the door. She
waved. Jim waved and started walking home filled with her beautiful smile and soft voice.
He could still smell the fragrance of her hair. He recalled the soft touch of her skin. Her
spirit was in his soul.
The other guys would grade or rate girls on their beauty and body. They never
seemed interested in knowing the girl or having a long-term relationship. They were big
game hunters, and each girl was a new scalp to hang on the trophy wall. Most guys
wanted to satisfy their curiosity about having sex with the girl. Once satisfied, the
relationship was over, and it was time to pursue the next challenge. The girl’s thought
offering sex consummated the relationship. They saw it as the beginning of the
relationship, while the guys saw it as the end. It did not seem to bother these guys that
they had hurt someone. These guys spent their time wondering what the girl would be like,
and when the moment came, they quickly focused on the next notch to carve.
Jim met Lupe at Mission Dolores High School each Monday and walked her home.
Lupe wasn’t as beautiful as Lucy, but she was fun to be with and spoiled him with
affectionate. She satisfied his basic needs, and she didn’t do anything to upset him. She
always agreed with him with a loving hug, and was very happy to be with him. She went to
his junior varsity football games and watched him play fullback. Lupe was moral support
during a difficult football season with Casaza. After each game she waited for him, and
asked if he was hurt. During the Washington game he got a black eye. His cheek was
swollen and his right eye was half closed. She looked shocked and began to cry. He wiped
away her tears and kissed her. He said her kiss was like medicine and he was feeling
better. She gave him more medicine on the way home.
A month had passed and Jim felt more comfortable with Lupe. He showed her
affection by hugging or kissing her in public. She appreciated his affection, and was
happy knowing that he really liked and respected her. The Mission Dolores Christmas
dance was on Saturday the sixteenth. While they walked home after the dance Lupe
asked Jim how he felt about her. He understood what she was leading to. They stopped at
Dolores Park and sat on a bench. There was a large pine tree that cast a shadow on them
from the moonlight. He took off his high school ring and gave it to her. She hugged him.
Jim kissed her and said, "I love you."
He liked her very much, but not love. He wasn’t going to hurt her, knowing how she
felt about him. She was part of his world and he needed her love. She gave him her tiny
high school ring. He put it on his little finger. They were going steady.
Jim had known Lupe for a six weeks and they were going steady. He recalled Bob
and Joan had exchanged Mickey and Minnie Mouse sweatshirts after three months. He
thought that if he didn’t give Lupe his ring, she would be hurt. She was very honest and
thoughtful. Lupe had knitted a blue wool cap for him to wear during winter. Each Monday
day when they walked home, she made him a cup of coffee. They sat and talked until her
mother came home. Jim did not plan to have a girl friend, but now there was someone
who cared for him who he could share experiences with, someone who now took him to
the garden of angels. He no longer thought of Lucy. She had faded into the past. He
hoped that their relationship would be real. He realized that he was falling in love with her.
It felt real.
Now that they were going steady Jim kissed her lips and neck. Lupe trusted him
and let him touch her breast. She wanted more and occasionally unfastened her bra. Her
breast were soft, but her nipples were firm and erect. Lupe enjoyed being caressed. She
would take deep breaths and her thighs would quiver. Jim's hand traveled alone the inside
of her thighs and gently passed by her vagina. Lupe would lunge with pleasure. She
touched him, and made him hard. He wanted to have sex with her but wasn’t ready. Sex
was a total commitment. It wasn’t something that you borrowed then returned when
finished and causally walked away. Lupe was his first experience, and he felt
uncomfortable because he was unskilled in the way of love. He also wondered if she was
a virgin. How many others preceded him? He was not ready for the emotional hurt if she
was experienced. He wanted his relationship with her to be special.
Jim’s Catholic conscience visited him one night, as he lay awake in bed. Having
sex with Lupe would be a mortal sin. He would lose all of his sanctifying grace from
baptism. His soul would be scarred by the mortal sin. He would have to confess his sins
to a Priest in a different parish. If Jim died before Saturday afternoon Confession, he
would go to hell. He wondered if she felt the same way. They needed to talk about where
we were going in their relationship, and the consequences of sex. It wasn’t a question
about he sinning, but they sinning. The fear of sin weighed heavy on his conscience.
Lupe's mother Rosa had never married. Lupe was her only child. Jim understood
why they got a long so well. Jim was visiting Lupe at home after they went to Sunday mass
at St. James Catholic Church. St. James parish was in between St. Philip's and Mission
Dolores parishes. They sat in the kitchen. She offered him a cup of coffee and some
Mexican cookies. The phone rang and Rosa began talking in Spanish to her lady friend.
Lupe said that her mother would be on the phone gossiping for a while. They left the
kitchen and sat on the sofa in the living room. Lupe told Jim that she was a virgin. He did
not doubt her. She asked if he needed proof that she was a virgin. "You don’t have to
prove a thing."
Lupe smiled and said, "Thank you."
She paused, then asked, "Were there others?"
"You are the first."
Lupe looked surprised. "Could he be lying, she thought. No. I believe him. He’s not
lying," her heart said.
Jim suggested that the go for a walk. Rosa was still talking to her friend on the
phone when they went to Dolores Park. In the middle of the park there was a hollow
surrounded by trees and bushes that several couples visited. It was a place where lovers
could steal moments of passion. Lupe and Jim walked past the hollow and sat on a bench.
She leaned against him, putting her head in the hollow of his shoulder. He put his arm
around her and asked if they could just continue going steady, and get to know each other
better before making a commitment by having sex.
Lupe questioned Jim, "Do you really love me?"
"I love you very much. If we never have sex, I will remain your boy friend."
She hugged him. He continued, "I want the same things that you want, but I want it
to be at the right time, and for the right reasons. You are my woman. I respect and love
you. You’re very special," he said.
"Thanks." She paused and said, "I think about you all of the time. When I go to bed,
I imagine that we are together. I want to be with you always."
Jim asked Lupe if she had thought about making love, and the consequence of
sin. Her mood changed. She raised her voice and said, "I have more to lose than you.
Guys don't lose virginity like girls do. What if after we do it, you leave me? I am willing to
risk hell for you. I truly love you. No one has treated me and cared for me the way you
have. I don’t want to lose you."
"You won’t if you follow my lead," he said louder than her. He had never seen
her so emotional. She hadn’t heard him raise his voice. Jim's face got red. They settled
down. He told her that if she really loved him, she would followed his lead. He wanted a
slower pace. She consented.
They spent more time together discovering the other things in a relationship that
were fun. Lupe knew that Jim was committed to her. He showed her that they could
become closer, not intimate, by sharing the simple pleasures of life that he had discovered
from Bob and Joan. Jim really enjoyed being with Lupe. Sometimes he helped her prepare
dinner while Rosa painfully watched the white guy mutilate the onions and garlic. Rosa
had a long talk with Lupe about relationships. Lupe explained to Rosa that she and Jim
had talked about how they felt, and that sex wasn’t going to interfere with their life. Rosa
told her that she worked hard to support her and pay for Catholic high school, because
She wanted her daughter to have what she had missed: an education and marrying the
There were two women that Jim now cared for, Lupe and Rosa. They were Jim’s
second family. Life was starting to make sense. Jim loved his parents, but that was a
different type of love. Jim’s parents did not show affection. They kissed once a day, at
night when going to bed. It was an implied love with Jim’s parents, but with Lupe it was
expressed. Lupe woke up a dormant feeling that now captivated him. He told his parents
about Lupe. They had noticed a change in his attitude. He was happy all of the time now.
Jim’s mother asked if he was getting serious with Lupe. Jim said, "We’re good friends." His
parents would be more receptive, and there would be less pressure on Lupe, if his parents
thought that they were just good friends. His mom Mary noticed that he wasn’t wearing his
high school ring. Jim told his mom that he was saving it for his senior year. Lupe had
asked Jim if his parents knew about her. He told his parents that he had met someone
special. He invited her to meet his parents for Christmas Eve. Lupe asked, "What if your
parents do not like me?" He told her that his parents were good Catholics and not to worry.
Jim loved Lupe and would take care of her. He had only known her for six weeks,
and she had become part of his world. He believed that his parents would accept her.
Lupe filled the void in his life. He felt very comfortable with her, as if they had known each
other for years, not months. When he was with her colors were brighter, the sun was
warmer, and the birds always sang at Dolores Park. He actually enjoyed going to mass
because he was with her. She made him a better person, and life was better because of
Lupe. She was goodness and love. He needed her.
More next week...