Caravelle Friday Nights

It was common that after band practice (Northern Lights, Carnivore, Fallout), was an eating festival at Nettie's house, with all the guys barging in looking for food, or Peter raiding the fridge for pies, cakes and a huge gallon of milk to bring down to the basement for his friends. It was common to see Josh and John at the house eating dinner with us or the boys bringing back 7 or 8 bags of McDonalds as the guys would devour burgers, shakes, fries, and apple pies in handfuls and gulps.

An old picture of Pete's friends (and some girls) in the basement
Looks like Josh, John and Peter standing

But it was the night time phone calls from Pete to meet him outside our house to walk down to Caravelle Restaurant  (on Avenue M between East 19th Street & Ocean Avenue) to have a late dinner with him or meet him for dessert. Since he knew everyone there, the waiters knew that when he sat down he wanted a huge glass of soda or milk, an order of salad with their trademark russian dressing (which was amazing), and then Pete would order 3 or 4 entrees for himself with side dishes and desserts.

He loved to joke with the owners and waiters by telling them he was ordering the entire page 3 of the menu, asking them with a smirk to just bring out everything at the same time. The waiters would give us a questioned look, not sure if this giant was being serious with them, and we would giggle while the owner gave Pete a hardy smack on the back saying to "give this big guy anything he wants."

And we'd stay hours, sometimes with various band members popping in, girlfriends, guys from the neighborhood who saw Peter walking by - and Peter would invite them to his table willing to share whatever he had infront of him and ordering other food for these people. During this time, Pete would talk about various songs he was thinking of writing (like Christian Woman) asking us (his young nieces & sisters) what we thougtht about a woman who loved God so much she was turned on by him. We just thought he was kidding when he asked us our advice about things like that - joke was on us when we heard the songs or saw the videos.

We never knew what those late night dinners with Pete would bring, or who we'd meet, or what we'd talk about. For instance, for the longest time Peter told me he was going to remake hip hop singer Stacy Q's song "Two of Hearts." He would even sing the song to me first in a high-pitched girl voice. Then he'd change the tempo into a hardcore grunt. You just never knew when Pete was serious about anything. And he was always so lively.

Can you imagine Peter redoing this song?


  1. Oh, lovely. Dinner always drives good conversation. This was a great story. Quite fond.

  2. Teenage boys eat so much! Peter was so big I cant image how much food he ate as a young growing man.
    I keeping thinking of Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies and how much he ate. Peter was a good example of...if you show someone friendship and respect, thats what you will get back. He was loved so much because he gave so much love and it seems as though he was like that even when he was a kid. I have a funny visual of the Carnivore guys in their outfits barging into Netties house, jumping on the table, grunting eating various raw body parts. Peter could remake any song and it would sound good. I like all the covers he has done better than the originals.

  3. That's a riot about two of hearts.Wish he had done it.

  4. Great story - sounds like Caravelle Restaurant was a great place for dinner & conversations. Also this story shows off again what a generous person Pete was. I can imagine you girls sitting there and listening to his ideas for songs & videos :-)How great it must have been for you when you heard or saw the product of his ideas.
    *ROFL* it would have been rather interesting to hear a remake from Pete of 'Two of Hearts' - so yes I can imagine it very well :-)
    Thanx again & all the best to you & the family

  5. Forgot to mention - this pic is absolutely lovely.
    Much love & respect

  6. it's so great to read your blog,Darcie.Peter was a very special soul he loved his family and friends to no end,I never knew that kind of closeness with what family i had.I truly hope u and ur family will keep this blog alive,as i know u will of the fond memories u all have of Peter,he was awesome n i loved how he just voiced his views on things and didnt care what ppl would think..much love

  7. I just want to say thank you to the Ratajczyk family for doing this blog. It is great to read these stories and see these pictures. Really appreciate it.

  8. The pic's great and yes, *imagining a hardcore 'Two of Hearts' with Pete's voice* that would be his tongue-in-cheek humor. As for Christian Woman, Pete was very observant and he had a point. The lyrics referred to early stages of female sexual development, but I can't count how many women in various stages I've seen expressing their devotion in a manner that crosses the line between spiritual and sexual. Always wondered if they were too repressed or frightened by a world full of men with real personalities and human flaws to enjoy 'em so they turned to a 'safer' alternative.
    Glad Pete had so many fantastic women in his family who made him comfortable around women. Seems like he had close ties with his bandmates and buddies and maintained his own masculinity but never seemed to tire of studying the female mind. Clearly, he liked goils!
    It must've been marvelous, being in on his creations in progress and seeing the results. Most young men on a growth-spurt based food-bender don't realize how much food will be required to share with others. His sharing food and ideas shows a rare form of generosity. Evenings at Caravelle Restaurant must've been incredibly stimulating. One can only imagine being the new waiter. *LMAO* Thanks for being so generous too!

  9. Great story! I would have love to been there to share these great times. To sit down and joke around,eat and mingle and talk about songs that he was working on or thinking about working on. Just everyone being together and having a good time and enjoying each others company ...Awesome Thank you for sharing :)