---- GREENPOINT ADDENDA ------ For what I think of to add later___________ ::::: ..... I was always sick as a kid and the doctors of that time were always blaming TONSILS for everything. Not just the illnesses but also the gagging when a stick was put in a kids mouth. Nowadays it is considered to be usually unnecessary surgery..... I was pushed in one of those big old black baby carriages they had way before 'strollers' started coming out in the late 60s. It had one of those round tops that swivelled. It was always in the cellar and we left it there when we moved to Astoria in 1959. ...... My pediatrician, Dr Walker, was a big fane of using KARO SYRUP in formulas. He believed it increased a babys intelligence....... My mother made my father quit his job because of my birth. My father worked with deadly diseases and once splashe some into his own mouth whil cleaning testtubes. He got sick and almost dies. They had to remove his kidney. My mother feared he would bring a deadly disease home to me. ..... I had toy plastic gumball machine and a toy plastic tootsie roll machine (57?)........ I had a great submarine toy. It was plastic with a cardboard top and a periscope. The periscope would look along the top of the cardboard and it and the backround would look like the sea. There were plastic ships on the back of the board with little nubs in holes in the carbboard. When one 'fired' the metal ball would go down a spiral and pick up speed. Then it would roll under the cardboard and hit the nub and the ship would jump up. (57?)....... There were other such under the board toys then. I had a couple with magnets. One had a steering wheel and the little car on the board. The wheel was connected to a magnet under the board. The magnet would make the car move along the board and under tunnels. One had to stay on the roads and not hit things.(57?) I recall having more than one of those..... I also had a Skee-Ball metal game. Like half a round circle with a wall in the back. Roll the ball and get it into the highest point hole. I recall one day all my mothers relatives were lined up and I had them rolling the ball into it as I sat on the floor and turned it towards them (57?) 7-2-99..... My mother liked Bridge Mix but I didnt like the nuts. She love nuts...... After they closed the Manhattan Ave Bridge there was still a piece left on either side that was used for paid parking. I never knew why anyone would pay to park on the Queens side unless there was a subway stop there. I do recall going over that bridge as a child and that the bridge would RAISE to let barges be pulled through. The new bridge I dont think raises. Its higher. I recall looking up at that raised bridge quite a few times and i must have been awfully young. It must have been 1955 and earlier........ I also recall the trolley tracks in the street for years and my father complaining of them grabbing the wheels of his car. But I dont recall the trolleys themselves....... My mothers nail polish always gave me a headache when she put it on.... As I was always sick and my parents were never saw even when I was healthy if i wouldnt get sick during the night there was so often a bucket of water next to my bed at night for me to throw up in........ My Aunt Vi told me that when my mother got tired of changing my diaper she'd just spread papers like I was a dog and let me run around without one....... There is some ancient photo of me as a kid at some picnic somewhere and I have absolutely no memory of it at all and i wasnt a toddler but a little older so i find that very, very strange that i dont recall it...... William Shafer used to get his haircut at Bedford/Manhattan. Once I was with him and saw that his barber would play pretend and 'shave' the little kids..... My father had a huge ancient standing radio and what was interesting was the huge 'face' that had the frequebcies one can turn to. Because it had a special dial thatif one turned hard enough the big face would 'split' to reveal another face behind with other frequencies......My own made-up word for milk was 'ging'. Instead of crying to be fed, I'd say it...... I was at Uncle eddies Marriage to Lisa. I hit him in the back with rice when he came out of the church and he turned to see who did it. At the ceremony in a huge hall way out in Queens somewhere they gave out these white ceramic hands with candy. I went into the crowd of women who were going to catch the bouquet until I saw they were all ladies.(56?) I recall walking around and hanging around there a lot to this day.... I would sometimes get free milk at school in class for some reason and it seemed that I'd always forget it in my briefcase I always carried like a nerd and the next day it would break and sour milk would spill all over my books and leak out of my briefcase. Nerd that I was....... There were the subway grating along Manhattan Ave and every time we kids heard the train coming below we'd jump on them for the breeze..... My Aunt Marie once gave me two clowns made of that hard chalk-like substance they used then. i still recall the smell of them. She lived for a while a block form Steinway Street and I recall being left there alone with her a couple of times until late at night when my parents were fighting. I think I was also there for a night once and that it was the first time I ate out of those little cereal boxes. (56?57?)..... On that same street but a couple of blocks north there was also a couple my parents seemed to know for a while and we all went to the Flushing park that would later hold the Worlds Fair of 1964. We all stood at the back of this huge crowd or line. Sort of a line five abreast and a half-block from what would be the NYC bldg with the giant miniature NYC in 64 but was then the icerink. We were going to iceskate with them teaching us but it was too crowded so the line never moved and we all were sent home. I was relieved. I feared such things. I was too sickly and wimpy. I have no idea when that was it could have been anytime from 1959 to 1962..... Late one night Uncle Johnny came in with goldfish in a bag that he won somewhere. First time i knew they could be prizes. We put them in a bowl but they died within a day.... .. Once my father was with his muscular friends and they were trying to lift a chair from the bottom of one leg and hold it straight out in front. Only my father could do it. He could also do that Mursurka (sp?) dance where you dance while sitting low..... My parents took me to their parents graves over in Queens and told me to pray for them. A couple didn't even have headstones yet.(57?)...... On Washington and Lincolns Birthday everyone would get ice cream logs at the Carvel on Manhattan Ave down by the Catholic church....... Greenpoint also had a POLISH Catholic church that my father had gone to as a kid...... When in the navy Uncle Johnny got off the ship and had no idea he was docked so close to Greenpoint....... We once drove all the way down to Annapolis when Uncle Johnny's ship docked there. There were TROLLEYS in one city we went through. And in thosedays before the Interstate was done we really went right through the city. I had always thought it was Baltimore but I'm not sure. As we also might have gone thru Wilmington. But I still have the picture in my mind.(57?)....... We were riding in the subway and some guy who is down and out and very depressed starts talking to my father when all that there are on the car are the four of us. The guy does not look like a bum. So my father tells my mother and me to sit elsewhere and listens to this guy's story and then gives him money. It was at night...... We went to Chinatown a couple of times....... Went to Willimsburg a couple of times also to the place in Manhattan everyone called Jewtown just over the bridge. I recall looking around in the stores at these places with my mother and getting stamps before i was a stamp collector and buying HUGE versions og th jelly bars I liked so much and had no idea they had bigger sizes in the Jewish neighborhoods. ...... A full nerd, I had my leather schoolbag with the flap and outside pocket. And my pencil case. And pocket protector..... At Aunt Lisa's house she always gave me cheese. Some I liked, some I didnt. I recall everything about her apartment so well as we went there so often even though they lived all the way down by Coney island. We'd go through Prospect park in the car but we never walked in it. I thought it would be great to live that close to Coney Island. It was at her house that i first saw the huge Gulliver cartoon made by Warner Brothers to try to compete with Disney. Especially recall being there after my Communion all dressed up. Recall the hall to her place upstairs. The one time I really didnt like it though was when they had my new cousin "Little Eddie" (was he my first cousin born on that side?) Aunt Marie wanted me to keep him company while she changed him on the table and I grew up in an extremely modest house where one did not change ones socks in front of anyone else. So I was very embarrassed when she changed him in front of me. Uncle Eddie i should have gotten to know better as he was an older version of me but I didnt realize it at the time. Aunt Lisa was always nice to me but much more outgoing than I was. But except for that one time she never asked anything of me and just gave me things. ........ My afther in the 50s always wore his hat, even indoors he'd wear ir while sitting. So did all the fathers I knew..... I was taught to bow when introduced. In the beginning even with one arm across my back and the other across my waist...... My mother once took me to a strange park I never knew existed. It was way north of McCarren Park around the area of the library but farther..... None of this is proofread so I may be repeating myself...... In Kindergarten we'd have musical chairs. And all thru Elementary School in Greenpoint we'd have a Pledge of Allegience to the flag and one would hold the flag, another would beat two sticks together (singing the anthem?) and a third would do something else (beat a drum?). I never once held the flag....... I practiced to be in a few stage plays but always got sick and NEVER once performed. Once I played a baseball bat.... Friday 7-2-99......Tuesday July 6, 1999: I recall my parents reading to me in bed as a pre-schooler and perhaps after I started school.... Whe I started school I used to memorize everything that happened so I could tell my parents every little thing..... When my parents would tuck me in at night I dint move at all as I wanted the blankets to stay exactly how they put them as I thought that it was perfect and I would mess them up if I moved. This led me to be a person who always slept on his back until I reached college. (Now I can ONLY sleep on my stomach)..... My mother loved 'all-sorts' licorice candies, the licorice Chuckle which I didn't, and would bring home "Ladyfinger" cookies when out with other women. Only time I ever saw them.... My father brought me home an expensive 1950s helmet which might have been owned by the college son of his boss. Way too big for me. All leather and cotton padding in those days...... He also brought home a football board game which we tried to play but neither of us knew the rules. We didn't even know what downs were or other things on the spinners..... When my mother and I would go down into the subway in Greenpoint the teenagers would be wearing 'taps' on their shoes and that was the mark of bad kids, I was told. Also 'pegged' pants..... There were 'No Spitting' signs everywhere in the subways.... In 1957 I counted up my comics and I already had hundreds (makes me wonder when I really started). I had them in categories and I still have the slip of paper here somewhere with a date on it. But each one had coupons for Palisades Amusement park and I cut out dozens of them to show in class. No sooner did I bring them but she confiscated them after all that work. I went up to her after class and asked if I could do some sort of punishment to get them back. She said I was lucky that I wasnt being punished as well as having lost them...... My mother sure wore ugly galsses at times. Sometimes with the points and rhinestones that are made fun of. Even as a kid I wondered why she did that..... On the trip up to Boston we saw Yuban coffee billboards with the WEIRD Muppets on the boards. They had a strange rep then of being very left-wing and for adults only which made them disliked in Catholic homes. "Chex" cereals also had a rep as being something that leftwingers ate. A "Beatnik" cereal..... Near Manhattan Ave and the next block north of Meserole was another theatre. they once had big "The Fly" cardboard standouts there. Whenever we left that movie we went out the side doors which were up in the air and we all went down huge fire escapes. They had ushers with flashlights back then..... My father used to cut my hair in the 1950s. He even had one of those fancy clippers. Perhaps due to the barber injuring me the first time..... Okay, the 3 people up front for the pledge and song had the flag, the sticks, and a triangle...... My father would bring home Delicia chocolate wafer bars in his pocket..... I dont think I ever brushed my teeth back then..... My father brought me home Sugar Ray Robinson's autograph. "To Little Walter"..... (I might be repeating myself. This won't be proofread until later)..... At the 5&10 they sold 'pound' sizes of clay. they seemed really heavy to me at first. As I got older they got lighter. They were sold on the right side half-way back over by where the second littler lunch counter (where my mother worked before I was born) was...... There was a large speedometer billboard on top of a roof on Greenpoint Ave on the way to the Pulaski Bridge saying how a broken one wasnt an excuse to get out of a ticket..... In 1955 after we came back from Jacksonville I looked up from my bed and there on my wall across the room was my Chilly Willie puzzle glued together. My mother had done it without telling me. But I had only done it once. So I took it down and took it apart and she didnt say anything..... There used to be a candy of strips of paper with colored flavored dots on it. I still see them once in a while but in fancy packages.... As a toddle I had a BIG tin top with a wooden handle. Between the handle and the main body of the top was a spiral metal rod. To push on the rod up and down made it spin faster and faster..... For Xmas I once got a milkman game with little trucks and littler egg dozens and milk quarts with a game board. Combo toys and game..... I sure lived in a world of comic books. Mostly just stayed home in my room whether sick or not. Basically afraid of people and didnt like being touched by them..... In the 50s and 60s we had Shelter Drills in case Russian bombers would drop Atomic Bombs on New York City. But even we kids thought it was ridiculous to hide under wooden desks or in the hall from Atom Bombs in NYC. They were still using 1940s thinking about conventional bombs..... We also had the regular fire drills and went out of the building onto the sidewalks..... I was with my father when he bought a 1958 Almanac in the Subway from a newstand. I read that thing for many years..... Went to church twice a week in the beginning then three times a week after Communion. Good Catholic believer and obeyer..... Even in the 1950s I wondered about the cowboy movies in which one cowboy could blow away a dozen Indians or bad guys. And if we really were the good guys or just running Indians off their land. (Sounds leftist today now that things have been going in the other direction but back then noone else thought twice about the Indians always being the bad ones)...... On Times Square in perhaps Summer 1958? we were in a drugstore and there was a box of Superman stuff. Toys that were sharpeners and something else. I had never seen a Superman toy before. I recall being in there, getting them, and leaving with them. Corner drugstore....... My mother kept my baby shoes but never bronzed them. Probably couldnt afford it..... One time I did something bad and my mother chased me into the bathroom. The only time she was mad at me. I just had to say I was sorry but I had a REALLY hard time saying it. (Heck, now I say it off the cuff, then it was near impossible)..... Daisy Air Rifles were always in the comics as were Red Ryder ones (but we didnt know who he was as he was from the 1940s) but "b-b" guns were illegal..... To the right from the Meserole/Manhattan Ave intersection, past the huge standing clock in front of the jewelers (Now the ONLY one of its kind left in ALL of Brooklyn and one of seven in NYC) and down some more stores was a mini-dept store (But it didnt call itself that) which had toys and games seen nowhere else. Once I was in there with my father looking at a crosstrack and a fire house toy. The firehouse was all metal as was the truck. When one put in the truck and closed the doors one then turned a crank and the siren got louder and louder and also spun wheels around in the house under the truck. When one stopped suddenly the doors opened and the truck shot out quickly. But at first I picked the crosstrack for my train instead. Then when we were going down Manhattan Avenue I changed my mind. I told my father that as Xmas was coming I'd ask for the crosstrack then as it was the type of thing Santa Claus did. So he said okay. Then I came out with the firehouse and truck and my father was carrying some other package that looked suspiciously like the crosstrack we just returned. I asked my father what it was and he said it was a tool he needed. Interestingly, the crosstrack Santa left looked exactly like the one we returned... Note: My father told me that 'changing ones mind' was something only women did and no man should do it. So I was surprised he didn't yell at me...... Tues 7-6-99 228pm... Thurs 7-8-99 (7-5 was anniversary of firecracker exploding in my hand in 1964 and 7-7 was anniversary of Callison homerun winning All-Star game that same year.... ON BEING AN ASTRONOMER: I know that I admired scientists from the beginning (DeKruif books on Microbiologists before Kindergarten). I think I KNEW I wanted to be a scientist of some sort by Second Grade 1956-1957 and that I wanted to be an Astronomer by Third Grade 1957-1958. I'm not absolutely positive. I do recall my parents taking me to a Haydn Planetarium show around then and I was impressed by them projecting a comet on the wall and whipping it around really fast. At U.Fla there was another guy in my classes who saw that same show. So that might have triggered it. Or it may have been earlier. But I also loved the photos of planets in the library books and the black light paintings at Haydn. And that is also when I started reading all those Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures comic books in which people of the late Twentieth Century were always visiting beings on other planets of THIS solar system. I always figured that Astronomers would have the inside track for going into space (This was before Sputnik and they chose test pilots for the VERY first). My image as a kid of an Astronomer was of one who LIVED in an observatory AWAY FROM PEOPLE and only had to deal with other loner Astronomers. I also did not think of an Astronomer by the later term:Astrophysicist. I never thought that it would be the damn toughest degree imaginable. I figured it would be a tough degree but NO harder than, say, Medicine or Biology. (Wow, was I wrong!). I was studious at that age but I didnt plan on having to be fanatically so for a degree that was MUCH harder to get and MUCH rarer than I thought. And much more expensive. And I also figured that one went to college for four years and got the degree. It wasn't until I was 17 and either a high school senior or college freshman that I realized how many degrees and years of college it took. Actually, I don't think I even knew it in York High. It also never occurred to me that I would have to be a professor and TEACH rooms full of people. Had I known that I would have backed off immediately as I feared people and the childhood idea was to get away from them. I also had no idea how we were supposed to learn everything about so many things. I didn't have THAT much interest in pure chemistry, math, and physics. I thought I'd only need to know enough for the Astronomy not have to take courses in all three through graduate degree level. But I put all my eggs in one basket and as it increasingly appeared to not be what I thought it was I wasn't as fanatical about it. But the problem was that when you are in Astrophysics you know that any changing of major will have to be DOWN and make you look like a loser. People majoring in other things can switch majors and stay at the same level, you can't with Astronomy/Astrophysics. A number of guys who made it through along with me mentioned how it wasn't what they thought it to be: not enough time in the Observatory and too much time teaching and doing math at one's desk. But as a little kid in the 1950s all this was unknown to me. 7-8-99.... Wed 7-14-99: Had a few Little Doctor kits in the 50s. They were square cardboard boxes with handles. Inside were doctor's instruments: Candy pills in a bottle. Prescription pad. Plastic ear inspection toy. A cardboard band for the head with a 'mirror'. A plastic 'needle' with a button that pushed out a thin rod. Matbe other things.... I recall lying on Anthony's floor when perhaps 6 (1956?) drawing a "map" of the world with the USA having lines from it to 'Germany' and 'Russia'. The lines represented bomber attacks on the two. Seems like I was a bloodthirsty cold warrior who didnt know that Russia and Germany were not SIMULTANEOUS enemies..