Lipton’s Journal/February 1, 1955/412

From Project Mailer

And now I understand Monroe St. and the hammer I got on my head.[1] When the hoodlums wanted to crash the party, I was wrong and the others were right. If I had taken a firm line (firm is pious in Yiddish I believe) and told them to get the fuck out of here—it was precisely the fuck which they wanted to introduce into my party—then they would either have fought immediately or gone away. But I took a tolerant compromising line and that was intolerable to them. They had to find out, destroy or be destroyed.

Just as in reverse, the time I followed Adele[2] down the stairs at First Avenue and she was being whistled at/insulted by two teen-age hoodlums as I came out was a moment where angry at her, a little drunk, and feeling aggressive, I shouted at the hoodlums, “KNOCK OFF,” and to my amazement they did, one staying his distance, the other apologizing.



notes

  1. For six months in 1951 Mailer and Adele lived on Monroe Street on Manhattan’s Lower East side. A gang of thugs crashed one of their parties and Mailer was hit in the head a couple of times with a hammer.
  2. Adele Morales (1925-2015), who he married in April 1954, was Mailer’s second wife. The mother of his daughters Danielle (b.1957), and Elizabeth Anne (b. 1959), she separated from Mailer in early 1961 a few months after he stabbed her with a penknife, just missing her heart. He pled guilty to felonious assault and was given a suspended sentence. They divorced in 1962.