"A fool and his money are soon parted," goes the old saw.
Gullible describes me as a 19-year-old U.S. Army private in 1964, stationed just outside of New York City.
On weekends, my buddies and I would take the New Haven Railroad from New Rochelle, N.Y., the home of Ft. Slocum, into Grand Central Station.
As privates, we made a whopping $78 per month. We'd go into New York City, load several guys into a cheap hotel room, and attend a Broadway show or see a Yankees game for virtually nothing.
I remember one particular weekend in the city.
After lunch in the mess hall on a Saturday, I purchased a roundtrip train ticket into NYC. I met a couple of buddies downtown and we shared a room. We each had weekend plans.
On Saturday evening, I went to see the Broadway musical "Fade Out Fade In," with Carol Burnett, Jack Cassidy and Tina Louise. It was a hoot! On Sunday afternoon, I watched Mickey Mantle hit a towering drive over Yankee Stadium's right-centerfield wall.
What a weekend!
After the baseball game, I took the subway to Times Square to do some last-minute people-watching.
As darkness fell, I commenced the 15-minute walk to Grand Central to take the train back to New Rochelle. I wasn't in uniform.
Several blocks from Grand Central, I sensed a person tailing me. I continued walking.
"You must be a G.I.," I heard the person call out over my right shoulder.
I kept moving, but glanced backward. He appeared non-threatening and in his late 20s or early 30s.
"Yeah. How'd you know?" I replied, maintaining my pace.
"I could tell by your military bearing," he said, revealing a pronounced "noo yawk" accent.
"Where you headed?" he asked
"Grand Central," I replied, "I'm going back to the post."
"Ft. Dix?" He knew something about the military.
"Naw. I'm at Slocum, near New Rochelle."
"You ain't from here," he probed. "Where you from?"