There were six of us Bryan, Max, Ford, Lucy, Hope and me. We grew up together in Harlem. We were inseparable and were an ambitious bunch of kids wanting to leave to escape the bleak prospects that seemed to envelope everyone and everything around. It was on these streets where we played our first game of poker and got an informal education into many illegal activities.

Those were interesting times to grow up in, our society and lives were going through a metamorphosis of sorts. Those were good times – we sneak into clubs to hear the latest blues and jazz musicians, explored the art houses Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. New York had so much to offer.

Our group of six gradually dissipated after graduation Max joined the army, Lucy the brightest in our group went to University and started teaching. Hope went to LA to try her luck as a singer and was moderately successful.

Bryan and I became a couple in our senior year of high school. Both of us got part time jobs at Lenox Longev the pay was good and gave us opportunity to hear the music we loved so much. We learned the inner working of the place – both the legal and illegal operation. We gradually ran the backroom much to my mother's disapproval. Our poker nights became celebrity events of sorts. We played poker with Sy Devor who became a life long friend and Bryan stylist, Nat Cole among others.

Bryan may have been a grifter but was a good man. There were lines he would not cross, he had a moral code he lived by. Bryan completed me and made me feel totally safe and confident. Ford was much more ruthless, sure we collaborated on a few capers but we preferred to operate as a duo. I retired from the scamming business after Margaret was born, the thrill of con was not alluring anymore and we did not need the money. After a brush too many with the law Bryan gradually went legit we had a beautiful life in Riverside Drive and it seemed fool hardy to throw it all away. He also did not want to miss out Margaret or Brad childhood. None of us had pleasant childhoods we wanted better for our kids.

The gang of six still met occasionally sometimes at Christmas or thanksgiving. We reminisced over our capers as kids; sometimes the stories grew wilder as we gave our colorful spin on the tales. As our kids grew older we participated in the weddings of our kids and took great pride in our grandchildren. Ford making an occasional appearance given his lifestyle. The funeral started first Bryan and then Lucy. When the remaining members of the gang do meet we remember of the days gone by.