After days of research I was unable to find out who John Randel, Jr. was. It seemed that no where in any of the encyclopedias in our university library was he mentioned. Although it was a waste of my time to do this instead of studying for my exams, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was something I should make my business to know.
In what I thought would be a vain attempt, I asked Dottie one morning as she rubbed her throbbing head. “Oh yeah, he was the lead surveyor for the New York City street grid back in the 1800’s.”
Days of research turned up nothing and my cigar-smoking, hooch-drinking dear friend and roommate could tell me off the top of her pounding head. She must have seen the stunned look on my face because all she said was, “What? I did a report on it for Ms. Mancini in fourth grade.”
I asked her where she found her information. She looked at me strangely. “It was in some huge book about the history of New York. Pop needed to carry it around for me.” When I asked her where she got the book, she simply said the library in Bay Ridge. “Every library had one. All fourth graders need to report about their city.” She paused. “I got an A on that project and Ms. Mancini was a real bitch about that stuff.” She huffed, “Whatta bitter spinster.”
Then she laughed, “You kinda remind me of her, Vel (she’s taken to shortening my name now).” I threw a pillow at her, assuming she was joking.