If I can recall an incident, or two, I can build a story around it. Arnie and the guys are part of a period, a semi-quiet time between World War II and the Korean Conflict, as it was called. Young men in their late teens or early twenties, most sons of immigrants, although you wouldn’t pick up on that—high school graduates, often working in family businesses, when cars were getting better, and roads being built from east to west. Some escaped the mold and went on to college, but most were content with the neighborhood, meeting at night at their eating joint, talking about girls, money, cars, jobs, sports, food, whatever young guys talk about. They smoked, when cigarettes were twenty cents a pack, but they didn’t go to bars or smoke dope. They had other hurdles. Their way was to be together in their favorite hamburger joint in a booth yakking it up into the night. That was their fun and their classroom.
Sultz, and sometimes others, were different because they were straddling two worlds: the inside, with the guys, and the new outside, with art and artists and wherever that would lead them. The latter gave him a chance to define the ‘inside,’ and his place in both.