Vinny was a little red-headed kid with glasses who, besides being small, red-headed and bespectacled, had the last name Santana. Every time he was called on or had to go to the front of the class, we'd start singing, under our breath, "You've got to change your evil ways, baby". Occasionally I was dragged into the fray, and accused of being his "Black Magic Woman." We thought this teasing would annoy him, but one September he read his "what I did over my summer vacation" essay, and it was about how he went on tour with his uncle Carlos.
Robert was the heart-throb of Mrs. Sheldon's 2nd grade. A latte-skinned Puerto Rican boy with European features, he accented his exotic sexiness with v-necked velour shirts, tight black bell-bottom pants, and actual shoes, as opposed to the sneakers all the other boys wore. He parted his slick onyx hair down the middle, like a teen idol. He always looked as if he might break out into a spontaneous tango. He had a tinge of an accent—just enough to make the girls swoon. The girls adored him, but the boys, as you can imagine, were highly suspicious of his sartorial choices.
Michel was my mother's friend's French boyfriend. He looked just like Bryan Ferry, right down to the highly stylish if slightly foppish suits and glossy, sharply parted black hair. Unlike Bryan Ferry, he had a French accent and he was dating my mom's friend. He was some sort of businessman who traveled to New York from Paris quite often. He met Candy at Sutdio 54. His English was OK, but I recall he said "neighborhood" as "neblewood." He would sometimes end up in our kitchen, waiting for my mother's friend, Candy, and complaining that she was crazy. She was.