Maureen Sullivan, Contributing Writer
WESTBOROUGH – The distance between a young man’s introduction to love, and where he sat on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, was not far in distance – a half-mile, perhaps a bit longer.
In time, almost seven decades have elapsed. But for Aaron Richard Golub, that distance evaporates with a thought.
“That night, it’s indelible,” he said.
Golub visited Westborough on June 3 to chat about his latest work, a memoir about his younger days in Worcester and beyond called “Ruckus.”
About a half-dozen people attended the event at Tatnuck Bookseller on Lyman Street. The visitors included Bob Kirsch, a member of the “Crazy Eight” gang that included Golub.
“The adhesive of childhood has kept us together,” said Golub.
Memories of his father
Golub and the rest of the Crazy Eight grew up in the Green Street neighborhood. Golub’s father and uncle – both veterans of World War II – ran a grocery store.
In the book, Golub described how his father often cashed checks that were bad or forged, and how he tolerated shoplifters.
“Ex-convicts, prostitutes – my dad loved them all,” he said. “He was a born social worker … he was there to extend his generosity.”
Golub went to Rome recently and learned more about his father’s experiences when the Allies liberated the city in 1944.
Charles Golub was directing traffic when a girl came up to him and said she was hungry. The girl brought him to a storage room where she was hiding with her father. Golub gave them some food and then broke the seal of the synagogue that had been placed there by the Nazis.
For this deed, the synagogue installed a plaque in his honor.
What he was, and what he became
As for his own experiences, Golub recalled a lot of fighting, anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination in his neighborhood.
“Worcester was a city divided between extreme wealth and mostly working class with a lot of condescension in between,” he said. “It was also a tough place with lots of contention between immigrants and native Americans.
“There were people from Italy, Poland and Russia … there’s a lot of crazy stuff that’s not in the book,” he added.
Golub himself was not what one may call an ideal student. He was kicked out of two high schools for misbehavior, and got beat up at another.
He took business courses while in college, but he wanted to become a lawyer as a way to “overcompensate” for his father’s job as a grocer.
“By becoming a lawyer, I could pull the entire family up and remove dad’s bloody butcher’s apron,” he wrote in “Ruckus.”
He would graduate from the law school at the University of North Carolina; he became a trial attorney in New York, and he built a clientele of celebrities.
Golub said he started writing while he was in court, awaiting proceedings.
His first book, “Feisengrad,” was published in 2010. In this work, a dystopian world is dominated by four streets – speed (where they traveled), dirt (where the poor people lived), power (Salisbury Street, where the rich people lived) and gold (where the business transactions took place).
One of the main characters, “The Dollar,” a man with a high IQ and equally high fondness for alcohol, was based on one of Golub’s college professors; he also figures prominently in “Ruckus.”
“He pushed me to accomplish certain things,” he said.
Golub said he wrote “Feisengrad” over a seven-month period at home.
He is also the author of a legal thriller, “The Big Cut.”
These achievements receive a passing mention in “Ruckus.” Golub said he decided to focus that book on what happened before he was 24.
This includes the girl he met on a hayride in Westborough – his encounters with Linda Paul become the thread that binds the story together.
“It took almost eight years to write, and that includes many years when I didn’t type a word,” he said. “My 15-year-old son kept saying to me, ‘When are you going to finish “Ruckus”?’
“I was impelled to write it,” he said.
Parts of “Ruckus” could be called “Raucous,” especially his account of a cross-country trip with a school buddy. But other parts deal with heartbreak, frustration and some sadness.
There is also happiness – Golub became a father late in life; his son, Darrow, is now a teenager with some acting under his belt.
That’s Darrow about to light a cigarette on the front cover of “Ruckus.”
He and his father now call New York City home. Someday, perhaps Darrow Golub would want to write his own memoir about his own childhood and whatever career he chooses.
In case he needs to jog his memory about something, Darrow Golub can consult the diary his father is currently writing.
With maybe his own “indelible” moment?