----------- THERE IS NO HEAVIER BURDEN THAN A "GREAT POTENTIAL" -------- _____________ ____________ __________ PRE-ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ERA 1949-1954 ___________ ::: --- I was born in the Adelphi Hospital in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday October 30, 1949 at 7:11 AM. My mother was being teased about giving birth to a Halloween pumpkin if she didn't hurry up. I was so large that they couldn't fit me into a bassinnette so i started out in life already separated from everyone else by being placed in a laundry basket down on the floor. I never knew where the hospital was until 1999 when I noticed a web map of brooklyn with "Adelphi" right in the middle. My parents brought me back in a cab to greenpoint via cab and my father ran up into the house with me, forgetting my mother in the cab. 5-21-99 friday. According to my mother I actually made up my own sounds for things i wanted as a baby rather than just cry. I also actually remember the very first time my mother dressed me in pants. I crawled under the bed and, sitting up(!!) I actually recall pulling them off while my mother was trying to reach out to catch me under the bed. But i recall she wasnt angry and thought it was funny. I also recall the time the front door was left ajar and i actually crawled out the doorway, around the curve, down the hall and all the way up the long flight of stairs to Mrs. Tedesco's (landlady) apartment at the top of the stairs. i remember having seen others go up there and wondering what was there. I learned to read VERY early. I recall my father teaching me out of his books about Microbiologists entitled "Microbe Hunters" and "Life Among The Doctors, both by L. Paul De Kruif which were best sellers back then. I just learned the HP Lovecraft, one of my favorite authors, leaarned to read at age TWO. i doubt if I was quite that precocious. I recall watching our DuMont TV very early in life and my Great Uncle Stashu (mother's side) giving me a kitten for an early birthday that crawled all over my father as he was driving us all home. The next day i was watching the Original "Beany and Cecil" PUPPET show by Bob Clampett of the late 40s/early 50s in which the sea Captain always said, "Ishefoof" when he got angry. I was sitting on the floor in front of the TV and my mother came in from the hall to the kitchen on my right front saying. "What are you going to name this little kitty cat your Uncle Stashu gave you?". Immediately, I answered "Ishefoof". The cat plagued my mother with kittens for years to come. (For many years I had believed I got that cat for my first birthday but now it seems that my mind at that time was too clear for me to have been only one year old).. I remember my father teaching me to tie my own shoes and having to stop to figure out for himself exactly what he had been doing as he was doing it for decades automatically. I recall the day he taught me to cross the street by myself and I kept doing it correctly, looking both ways, but then, for some stupid reason, I did it once without looking and i had to start all over and prove to my father I could do it. Some man one day came by with my father when I was really small and reached way down to me when I was in the second room from the entrance door, near the living room doorway (I still retain the mental image) and handed me a fur-covered metal wind-up bear. I've often wondered if that was the only time I saw my grandfather. ..... I was with my mother at a restaurant on the corner of Manhattan Avenue (northest side and ? street?) and the man behind the counter gave me a little red car. It was made of a strange substance i had never seen before called "plastic" and it was the old type of crumbly rubbery plastic that was made in WWII as a substitute for rubber...... There was a Chinese restaurant at the top of a LONG flight of stairs at the corner (sw) of Meserole and Manhattan Avenues. I was up there with my mother and Aunt marie. In front of that same place a photo of me on a pony still exists from when I was even younger..... My father bought me a Lionel Train when I was way too young to touch it. A few years later the original control box burned out when left on too long...... There was no Rock and Roll. I'd sit on my parents' laps and watch Your Hit Parade with them. ..... My father had me watch Stan Musial play against the brooklyn dodgers on TV and said, " Someday you'll tell people you saw him play". I often do..... My mother liked Pee Wee Reeses of the Dodgers and Liberace on TV...... From the very beginning my mother taught me to be a gentleman. I always had to walk on the curb side, hold doors open for her, and when we were in restaurants she would hand me the bill and the money under the table as the male was supposed to pay. The rstaurant people got a big kick out of that..... I definitely recall the Gillette Cavalcade of sports opening and the song.... I could rapidly name the nine planets from the sun in order and my parents had me rattle them off quickly..... 5/28/99 Friday... I had a pull-toy bumblebee and a pull-duck that played the drum. made of wood in those early 1950s days. ..... My baby sitter lived across the street and one New Year's eve I was in my crib and my parents cam back with some New Year's novelties and a Mister Potato head. In those days the Mr Potato Heads were made of white aerated plastic and after you stuck to parts in them too often they would break up. I think now they have only a few holes one can use. When was that New Years? 1951/52? 1952/53? Beats me!!...... Phone number EVergreen 3-5501, Brooklyn 22, NY. No zip codes until 1963?.... We tended to not get Xmas trees until Christmas Eve. My father said it was a tradition because on Xmas eve he couldnt find a tree and then he saw on scraggly one locked behind a fence that noone bought and a cop came along and helped him over the gate to get it........ I went with my parents back past banker street into the area which was all factories and back in one plant some lady gave me a whole bag of little Golden books. But my favorites, which had been given to me by my parents were, "The Churkendoose" (About an egg that opened and the bird inside was a combo of many birds- genetic mutation? That book got me thinking about such things) and "The Little Train to Timbuktoo" ( got me into Geography as i wondered where Timbuktoo was. It's in Mali and was then the last own before the French Sahara Desert and the ancient trade city for that desert). My reading abilities were way beyond the books but I still liked the pix and stories. ....... I recall being very small and some other kid eating at our house (Who could that have been?. I dont recall anyone else ever eating with us) and I finished first and he'd throw peas on the floor and I'd step on them right in front of my parents. Wow! I must have been young!................ Some lady came over with her little daughter one day and I would throw a pencil and she'd scramble after it giggling and hand it back to me and I'd do it again. I was probably 4 and she 2. ....... I recall being on my knees on the floor with a huge Life magazine on the couch and trying to turn the pages with my tiny hand as they seemed gigantic. I'd lift here and the page reached to the back of the cushion and was very hard to flip. The photos were of a war (Korean War??) ....... As clear as today I can recall playing on the squares of linoleum on the floor near the TV and watch my mother moping the other side of the floor by the entrance door. ..... I had a stuffed reaindeer and a stuffed bear. As I had no imagination they were Rudolph and Teddy. ...... I was scared by a few things on TV. Once they flashed a weird cartoon of a crazed Donald Duck during an oscar showing and, for some weird reason, I feared Gabby Hayes.! (beats me). Later I was also afraid of the weird little robot man with a TV camera who turned at, I believe, the start of Kraft Shows....... But the biggest thing that ever scared me as I had no idea what was going on was a show presenting "Galloping Gertie". That was the bridge over the Tacoma Narrows that wasnt designed correctly. A steady wind came along that was the same frequency/wavelength as th bridge. The bridge then starts moving and twisting like a snake and people are running off and cars flipped in the air. I had no idea of frequency modulation and thought that the bridge somehow came alive!! I then refused to walk over the new Pulaski Bridge and my mother had to take me over via the bus. And when we visited Astoria Park years before we moved there I recall looking up at the Triboro Bridge while at the shore railing with my father, screaming, and running into the car with my mother. Now I know more Engineering Physics than 99.9% of people. ............... My parents friends and relatives would come over to play penny ante poker and smoke up a storm and drink some beer. (stupid adults, I could hardly breathe, eyes hurt and watered like hell)....... When my parents argued i envied kids with brothers and sisters as misery loves company and i had to listen and worry all alone. No one to cling to...... The people in the next apartment were a little older than my parents and their apartment was immaculate and everything seemed rich and new and smelled like the furniture in a dept. store. I recall a little girl in there once playing a wooden toy piano. My parents bought me one. I still have it....... The old bridge still existed at the end of Manhattan Avenue back then but we rarely got down that end. The buses were all ELECTRIC buses with the wires over the street and all the sparks would fly. The square at McCarren Park was especially exciting with all those wires coming together and all the sparks. There were still trolley tracks in the street and cars would get their wheels partially caught in them.......... Now I distinctly recall the great National Civil Defense Drill day. I was on Manhattan Ave. and had to back into a doorway with adults. The cars pulled over and the drivers had to lie on the floor. Men with CD helmets patrolled. What I don't understand is the date. According to the records it was Summer 1954. Yet I know I was walking alone on Manhattan Avenue. Only thing I can figure is that my mother was inside working in the A&P and I was outside it. Yet my memory is that of being a couple of blocks down towards the St Anthony Church (MY church, where I would later make my First Holy Communion). If it was in 1954 that means I was 4 year's old.!!! 6-1-99.... ....... There were some people who lived a little down the block on Clifford Place in the Meserole Ave direction. Lots of people in there. I was really small. Was it Vi's family?............. I had two good friends who also got picked on by all the other kids. One was Anthony a few brownstones down towards Meserole and 3 or 4 flights up and the other was Timmy right across the street at 12 or 14 and on the 2nd or 3rd floor. There was also an older kid who sometimes showed up to play. He was in my brownstones backyard one time playing army with me and knew all sorts of things I didnt. He 'shot' down my planes with 'anti-aircraft guns' (clothespins in the grass). I recall the last time I saw him. I was sitting in my fathers car parked across the street and he came up to the window and said he was moving and I wouldnt ever see him again. I havent. I think he was two years older but I forget his name. ....... My Aunt Marie (still alive, the LAST one) lived near McCarren Park but way up the other end by a huge Michelin Man statue. She got a refrig that had TWO handles and could be opened from either side. Naturally, some idiot kid somewhere pulled both at once and the door fell on him so they were banned. She always had a big bowl of Kraft Fudge in her living room which I'd eat and watch TV while she spoke to my mother in the kitchen. I was the only kid on that side of the family. None of my mothers brothers or sisters had yet had children. ................. There were two kids around the corner named Wally and Chucky. The mother wanted the the kid to be baptized Chucky but the priest insisted on Charles. They were bigger and periodically mean to me. (Always other kids)........... I was watching Romper Room and the TV lady would say hello to the kids by their first name. I didnt think she could really see us but I wasnt 100% sure. Once she not only said Walter, she said "Little Walter" which was what I was always called. I rememebr my mother washing me while I was standing up on a kitchen chair by the hall to the living room. (Long hall between the kitchen and living room had the bathroom door along it). That must have been even before I was old enough to take baths by myself........ I remember later being on that same spot leaving for school whil my parents were starting to decorate for my birthday party. (After that I think they were all on weekends)....... I believed in Santa, The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy...... For many years I had a baton with a silver head on it. I may have gotten it at a Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. My faher and I always went to them while my mother often stayed home and made the turkey dinner. But sometimes she came along. Always to the same spot. I went to that spot for the parade in 1981 just days before she died....... In Times Square there used to be a Planters peanut place. Huge!.Everything in it was there peanuts and/or Planters Peanut related toys. I'd run through it looking at the very unusual toys that existed nowhere else. It closed when I was very young.1957?? It came back in 1999!!! when the new mayor cleaned up Times Square. ..... There were BB gun holes in the windows of the front door of 13 Clifford Place. Didnt know what they were for a long time....... MY UNUSUALNESS: I was the ONLY only-child on the block. I was the ONLY kid whose mother worked. Those two things put together made me a real loner and hermit. Especially since every kid on the block knew I had no brothers or parents around to protect me and noone to run to in emergency in a rough neighborhood like that. I was also always very sickly and missed a lot of school. Much was expected of me because of my so-called "great potential" (that term screwed me up). Very religious mother made me very religious and afraid of eternal punishment for any transgressions. . Very Moral. Very shy and afraid of people. (I had good reason to be). Very sickly. Very weak. Unprotected. Bullied. And I had to deal with unthinking older relatives who all grew up in big families who stupidly expected an only-child/latch-key kid expected to stay inside and study alone all the time to act in the same outgoing fashion as they did........................... I loved Rootie Kazootie and had books and clothes and aglove and other stuff. His girlfriend was Polka Dottie, and he had a dog. My mother liked him too. I still have some stuff in my basement. Howdy Doody was nowhere near as sweet. ......... I really liked Crusader Rabbit cartoons. It was the ORIGINAL Rocky and Bullwinkle. The two guys who made it left the company but couldnt take the characters so they redrew the tiger as a moose and the rabbit as a flying squirrel. .......... ..... _________ ADDENDA: ADDED AFTER MONDAY JUNE 7,1999: _________ The neighborhood I grew up in was just a couple of blocks from the East River docks. There were mostly factories and warehouses from our row of tenements to the river. And a factory on our block across the street on the right. And all factories from our block all the way to McCarren Park. Perhaps that's why our one block was named a "place" and the rest of the street, being all factories, had a different name. To the left it ended with our block and was crossed by another street. T-configuration. my father said I met my grandfather once and my other grandparents were long dead. Mother had brothers and sisters. She was oldest and brought up the others after her parents died. (Uncles Eddie and Johnny, Aunts Loretta and Marie. John and Marie the young ones, only Marie survives in 1999) (These were the relatives I grew up with. All brought up as Catholics. To the point where the priests blessed the apartments) Father only had sisters. I recall my mother saying once that she heard her father screaming outside their apt. one night as thugs tried to saw off his finger to get his wedding ring. Also that he was eventually murdered. Her sister once told me that when my mother was young she was playing with her kitten in the stairway and her drunken father killed it before her eyes. If that's true he got what he deserved. My father's father disappeared. my father repeatedly said his body probably wound up in Potter's Field (where they put the unclaimed bums.) My home was cold. Lots of shivering before falling asleep. Those old tenements didnt have much heat. My parents would pile clothes on me to get me warm. No storm windows until after we moved out. I recall going back to the old neighborhood with my father and his noticing the storm windows immediately. NYC was also held up on a big bed of roaches but my home didnt have many. People in my area were either Underclass, Working-Poor, Working Class, or maybe Lower Middle Class if they were lucky. Middle-class kids were called "rich kids". My father grew up shovelling coal off coal wagons and chopping down trees. he was the strongest of all the strong workers in the area. Now he worked in factories or fixing cars. Many of the adults I met were missing body parts. Usually fingers from the "punch presses" but sometimes eyes, arms, or legs. My father's best friend had one leg. My father could only see shadows out of one eye so he couldnt get into the military during WWII which meant he couldnt use the GI Bill to get ahead. Yet he still worked with some civilian thing with the Army Engineers. I used to see these beggars all around NYC with horribly burned out eyes that wore signs saying, "I had lye thrown in my eyes". All these ruined adults scared me about growing up. I didnt want to wind up in that horrible Working-Poor class that seemed so dangerous. Made me study more. Local national brewery just south in Williamsburg stunk. (Scheaffer?) I recall my mother in a factory even though she was tiny. I didnt recognize her at first as she hid behind a welder's mask. Every one of my mother's relatives and neighbors "knew" I'd be the first to rise out of the situation. ... Area was weirdly quiet on weekends when factories closed. ....... My Uncle Johnny, I was told, lived with us after my parents got married as he was too young to be on his own. I dont recall him there. He did say that kids picked on me and I'd go to him for help. And sometimes the kids who picked on me were bigger than HE was and he was about TEN years older than I. This shows what I had to deal with as a kid: bullies, bullies. Mindless cowards picking on someone much smaller. ..... I recall opening my Xmas presents on my parents bed in the front room. ... Considering how many nights I also slept with my parents as a kid its no wonder i had no siblings anyway. (up to here inserted Tues 6-8-99) ________ ________ _______ ...................... ........................... ........................ ......................... ........................ .................. ________ ________ ________ ________ _______ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ERA IN GREENPOINT, BROOKLYN 1955-1959, _______ ________ PS 126, John Ericcson School (He made the "Monitor" ironclad in Greenpoint) ( I was always told that PS 126 was actually a high school that had elementary classes but I never saw any older kids. I guess they kept us little kids together in one area)::;;;......:::: I was ALWAYS a very sickly kid who missed a lot of school and had to have the homework brought home to him. At least once I missed FIFTY school days. That's TEN WEEKS. Fifty out of 180 schooldays! I once got just got back after being out for Measles and then was sent home immediately when they saw I had GERMAN Measles. So I was out for two more weeks. My physician (pediatrician) Dr. Walker, said he never heard of anyone having an immune system so weak that he even got Whooping Cough twice. My faher had a lot of complainta about a lot of people but he always thought Dr. Walker was a great doctor...................... JANUARY 1,1955 Top Ten: Hearts of Stone/The Charms, Earth Angel/ Penguins, Sincerely/ Moonglows, White Christmas/ Drifters, Mr Sandman/ Chordettes, Teach Me Tonight/ D.Washington, Ling,Ting,Tong/ Five Keys, Hurt/ R.Hamilton, this Ole House, R.Clooney, Mambo Baby/ R.Brown (My father said he wrote a letter to Rosemary Clooney and got a nice one back..... ______ ______ __ ______ ______ ______ KINDERGARTEN (1955). ______Me: 5/6___ Mother 27/28___Father 32/33 ______ _____ I recall something about my being allowed to start school a little early as i was a smart kid and my birthday was in late October (30). (I had always thought I had gone in Fall 1955 but that doesnt work out. It had to be either Spring 1955 or Fall 1954 or both). ... My very first day of school started off badly for me. 6-2-99 They suddenly had a Pledge of allegience to the flag and I had no idea what was going on as everybody knew what was happening and knew the words but me. I tried to fake it but couldn't so I ran over to the side and cried. The teacher then came over to comfort me. I still don't know how the others knew unless I either was signed up for school late or the other kids learned at home somehow. But how would the teacher expect me to know if she knew I was starting late or if it was the parents responsibility and she didnt know from them if I learned it? (stupid adults) New things usually start out badly for me. Teacher's name was Miss Bearle, the very image of an old spinster Kindergarten teacher. The K-clasroom had a single bathroom for both boys and girls which I, even then, thought was weird. I would only use it alone. I was into my privacy even then. The first graders came in one day and we thought they were huge. Once I had a 'toy' with which one could make words by moving letters around slots on a wooden disk and I loved learning new words to make. I then brought it in on the same day that another kid brought in one that just made random faces the same way. I was ignored and he had the kids all around him. I wondered why they liked mindless silliness instead of wanting to learn new things. (Stupid other kids). Once I thought the teacher gave me permission to leave early when I heard her say, "Go on ahead". I ran home and told my mother. (Looks like she was there then, unless she cam home later and I forgot). Then the teacher called on the phone. She meant that I should go ahead and hold the door for the class. (Stupid me). I dont know when we started coloring eggs for Easter but I recall always doing it with my parents. ... We went to Rockefeller Center some time to see the HUGE Christmas Tree (Either Xmas 1954 or Xmas 1955) and in the RCA part they had the very first color TV I ever saw. We got on a small moving sidewalk that went a few yards, turned, and cam back. At the turn was a color TV that continually showed bright red molten steel being poured.... We always had American Turkey and either Polish ham or kielbasa for Xmas..... Halloween masks and decorations were then made out of a weird air-pocket soft brittle plastic. I was 5 at this time... We got both the Sunday NY Daily News and the Sunday NY Mirror for all the comics. .... When I got my first haircut from a barber (I remember the barber shop and that it was a little up from Manhattan Avenue ) I recall sitting on that plank they put over the arms for little kids and the barber, on my first haircut, naturally jammed the scissors into my head. I still have the scar. (My first times were almost all like that. I got fearful very early of trying new things and I had no confidence in the competence of adults. I thought they were just older morons)(Untrustworthy adults!) I had no friends in Kindergarten...... MARCH 12, 1955: Pledging My Love/ J.Ace, Ive Got A Woman/ singer?, Earth Angel/ Penguins, Tweedle Dee/ L.Baker, Wallflower/ E>James, Thats All I Want From You/ D.Washington, Kokomo/ Little Walter (My mother always called me either Little Walter, "Micky", or "Teen")(I think the Micky came from a 1953 movie of that name I saw one night around 1991), BALLAD OF DAVY CROCKETT/ B.Hayes (1st appearance on charts), Let Me Go Lover (T.Brewer)(My mother often sang this)_ ..... ....... JULY 9,1955: (Beginning of Rock & Roll): Aint That a Shame/ F.Domino, Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White/ P.Prado, Bo Diddly/Bo Diddly, Story Untold/Nutmegs, Unchained Melody/ R.Hamilton, Somethings Gotta Give/ McGuire Sisters, ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK/ B.Haley & Comets (1st appear on charts), Blossom Fell/ N.K.Cole, Bop Ting a Ling/ L.Baker, Unchained Melody/ A.Hibbler ( I used to sit on my parents laps and watch "Your Hit Parade" @ 1953,4,5 ________ _______________ SUMMER 1955_______::: 6-3-99::...... 6-4-99 In the summer of 1959 my mother and I took the Greyhound Scenicruiser down to Jacksonville, Florida. Those old Scenicruisers with the upper deck window to look out of were wonderful for kids and the bus bathroom fascinated me. (In the 60's they started calling all Greyhounds 'Scenicruisers'. What nerve! Typical 'downward inflation' of almost everything). I heard that the doctor told my parents that I should get away from NYC for a while as my health was so bad. I was always a weak, sickly kid. So we went to visit my Aunt and Uncle there. All it did was cause me to lower my guard where other people were concerned. I normally distrusted other kids in NYC as they usually did mean things to the small, sickly only-child who had no parents or siblings around to help him. The very first day I was there I met some kid and he teased a dog. The kid then led me up on top of the doghouse to escape the dog. He deliberately led me up there just so he could attack me from behind and push me off on top of the dog. The dog was okay and it didn't bite me as the kid wanted but my elbow was shattered. I recall standing there unable to move my arm and yelling at him, "You broke my arm! You broke my arm!" as my mother ran out. Always other kids!! Kids were always rotten to me but I didn't expect it to happen down there as well. My mother and I then had to spend the vacation "for my health" going back and forth to a clinic a few blocks away. Luckily, I was such a reader that when my arm was broken I knew that the physicians could eventually fix it and that it wouldn't hurt when they did. (I visited that clinic again at age 25 when I was living in Gainesville, Fla). I did love the X-ray machines and other equipment. Especially the stand-up one (Fluoroscope??) where I could peek around and see my own insides. I recall walking back once and almost stepping on a gigantic red anthill on the sidewalk. Other memories: The first time I walked around the corner to the left from my aunt's home I smelled fresh mown grass for the first time. We went to see the brand new Walt Disney movie, "Lady and the Tramp" which just came out (The theatre was still there, closed, in 1975), A block away to the left from their house were numerous stores . One place, on the right as one approached, had a BIG ramp going down into the street! We once stood there in the middle of a crowd to win a prize in a drawing. I think it was a basket of something. I won two ceramic flamingo planters by dropping balls into a box right into the winning holes. (Later they got broken and my father put tape on them)(I dont know if I won them on that block). Across from the ramp place there was a barber's and I sat there with a "How To Tell Time" Golden Book which had movable hands. (I knew how to tell time. I even knew that Mongolia wasn't on Greenwich Time. But I didn't know that Florida didn't have the same time in 1955 as NYC. That really surprised me when I got there.).. I was given a huge blackboard to play with my numbers on which had to be taken all the way back to NYC. I recall watching them load it on the bus. I ate Lima beans for the first time. Ick! Dry! I heard crickets for the first time and Uncle Ham showed me how to tell the temperature from their chirps. I heard my first intercom as they had one in their house. I heard my own voice for the first time on his tape recorder and I hid behind my mother in embarrassment. They bought me a water pistol that had a tube which led to a plastic box for water that attached to my belt. Guess people needed more water in hot Fla. than in NYC.On the city buses I always ran right to the back to look out the back window as thats where the kids loved to go. I didnt know that only Black kids were supposed to be back there. ...................... .... On the Greyhound coming back my mother rented me a pillow for sleeping. They would walk down the aisle and offer them for 50c which was very expensive then ($5.00 in 1999 dollars). I was way in the back of the crowded bus in the middle of the back seat with all black people around. maybe the interstate laws forbade it then but that's how it was. I had a very solid, heavy well-made toy Scenicruiser bus but don't recall if we got it going or coming....... .................. I recall standing out in front of my home in Greenpoint wearing my cast and talking about it to someone. (I wonder if the little fiends had the decency to leave me alone when my arm was broken. I don't recall) I had that cast in my 'junk drawer' over the years and later marvelled at how small my arm must have been. Casts were plaster and gauze in those days........................... ADDENDA: IF I RECALL ANYTHING I LEFT OUT ABOVE I'LL PUT IT HERE SO NOONE WILL HAVE TO SEARCH FOR NEW STUFF: Friday 6-4-99.... 6-7-99 My broken arm did not set right so they had to re-break it at least once and re-set it.......... ............. .... Under Construction.....

There is no heavier burden than a 'great potential' (Peanuts Cartoon)

------------- ------------------------------- Nothing has been proofread ----------------------------------- ---------- ------------------------ ------------------------- --------------------------------------- --------------------- -------------- ------------------------- ------------------------- ---------------------- ------------------------ ---------- -------------------------------- -------------------- ------------- ----------------- ---------------- -------------------------- ----------------------- -------------------- -------------------- ------------------------------- ---------------------- --------------------- ------------------------------------ --------------- ----------------------- -------------------------- ------------------------ ---------------------- ---------------------Two finger typist -------------------------------- Nothing has been proofread ----------- ------------- ----------- ------------- ----------------------- -------------- ------------ --------------- ________ _________ ________ ________ FIRST GRADE, 1955-1956, ______ _______ age 5/6 (Birthday Oct 30,1955) ____ Mother 27/28___Father 33/34___ Ishefoof 4/5?___Lots Of Cats!__ (Class 1-2: They didn't sort us out until after First Grade as many kids didn't take Kindergarten. In NYC, once sorted out, there were multiple classes in each grade. The "1" class (as in 2-1) was always the highest and the bigger the number the less smart it was. I do not know how many classes per grade we had in Elementary School but I recall that in Junior High we always had 12 or 13 levels. So perhaps '6' was for Average kids (?)):: I do not recall much of anything about first grade. We had a woman teacher whose name I remembered until the 1980s, but not now. I sat in the front row in front of the teacher's desk. The othet kids read so slowly that I was bored out of my mind and always read way ahead. (Stupid other kids) This meant that whenever the teacher called on me I had no idea where to start reading as I wasn't paying attention to the one reading out loud. 6-4-99, 6-7-99 Once, out of boredom, I started to do my homework right in front of the teacher who then wrote, "To be done over" on the paper. (Well, when you've been rading "Microbe Hunters" for a couple of years, reading "See Jane and Jim throw the ball to Jip" doesn't exactly tax your IQ). Numerous people in history were reading before their second birthday. When we first graders went into Kindergarten Class now i noticed how small they all were. I was standing there in line looking off to the right front where I had been standing the year before surprised at how much we must have grown. I vaguely recall all the adults being outside when the Brooklyn Dodgers FINALLY won the World Series (1955, just before my 6th birthday)... My parents took me to see the sci-fi movie, "Forbidden Planet" way out on Greenpoint Avenue where it goes over the stinky part of the Newtown creek and past the cemetary and into Queens. (Back in Nov 1981 I walked back from the theatre to Greenpoint in the other direction) .... I recall my old 1949 baby carraige in the basement. What ever happened to them? They shifted to 'strollers' in the 60s. We went to Coney island and my mother put me in a swimsuit while she and my Aunt Marie covered me from view from both sides. I was still embarrassed. .... There was a brewery down south along the East River a little ways near the garge where my father worked and the 'hops' stank.... My father also worked for Milton Can Company at some time. I think my father worked at the Brooklyn power plant in the 1930s and then for a Long Island lab until I was born and then he worked for Milton Can but I recall when he was at that gas station fixing cars so it had to be around my pre-school or early elementary school era. Around 1955?56?. ... The adults were arguing about "Which came first, the chicken or the egg". Uncle Stashu was there. I piped in with, "It had to be the egg because God would want him to have a chance at a full life". That stopped the conversation as I was about six. ...I had a collge fund bankbook that I put 50c in every Friday plus other money I got. Put money in for years and then it vanished.!!??. Everyone, including myself, automatically expected me to go to college even though noone else in the family or in the neighborhood had ever done so or even graduated high school. How I was ever going to pay all those thousands of dollars noone ever said. (Stupid pressuring adults). There were NO 'college loans' in those days and only the rich few went to college in the 50s........ I once sat on the couch and threw a BIG floppy plastic doily towards the little gas heater on the other side of the room. It flapped thru the air, went over the heater, flipped over and down, and slid right into the foot-wide very thin slit where the top of the door closed. "You'll never do that again in a million years", my father said. No, but I'll remember it that long. .... I loved going to Coney Island and Rockaway and then Far Rockaway. ... Every Saturday Night in the 1950s I took a bath with my big plastic pirate ship. My mother then came in and washed my hair. I then got out and sat in the living room watching "Oh, Susannah" wrapped in towels. Never did learn what was on TV while I bathed. It was always at the exact same time... age 5/6... My parents had old 78 records to play and got some song sheets. My mother had a good voice and would sing... Back in the early 50s she always sang "Little White Cloud That Cried" to me. (She liked Johnny Ray and Liberace while disliking 'homos' !!??) ... I used to draw pretty well before i started school but then I went backwards by watching other kids. I even fell back to stick figures which I had skipped in the first place. My father once said, "I liked it better when you put pants on them". ..... A horse-drawn huge fruit and vegeatble wagon came up the street periodically and the adults would swarm around it. There was also an ancient icetruck that came around once in a while (was it the one my father told me he worked on when he was a kid?) I recall him taking me into the cab with him and the other guy driving. He bought me a toy icetruck with little ice blocks...age 5/6.... The Good Humor truck came through and usually stopped right in front of my house.... The sharpener man walked down the middle of Clifford Place and yelled something while all the dangling metal he carried clanked. He had a big wheel on his back and I'd take things out to him to be sharpened.... The Fuller Brush Man would come by. I recall the day one teenager said to the other, "Yeah, he's full of something else, too" and I didnt know waht he meant.... There was a HUGE snowstorm and I walked to and around Clifford/Meserole Avenue with the snow up to my neck or high chest... The year 1955 sure seemed long to a five year old... I recall my SIXTH Birthday on Oct 30, 1955 as I realized I'd no longer have the 555. Five and 13 were my favorite numbers. I recall standing in the hall deciding to stick with 5 and not switch to 6. My mother's was always 7. ... I saw Viking movies on Manhattan Avenue.: "The Long Ships", "The Vikings". (I got the VIKINGS soundtrack in at the Columbia Farmers Market in 1979 when the record collectors were there and I brought a girl I knew.) I recall walking back after the movies at night with my parents on Meserole, going by the Knights of Columbus, and wondering where the Knights were. (I found out in 1962)..age 5/6... DISNEYLAND opened. I never got there or to Disneyworld (Even though I was living near it). I bought a great Disneyland Game at a stationery store way out on Manhattan Ave across from St Anthny's church. It even had cardboard punch-out pieces. I always loved Disneyland on TV. My favorite was Tomorrowland as it was all about what SCIENTISTS would do in the future. But all four segments were good....... 6-7-99 ...6-7-99 ... My father says that it was my mother's decision to only have one child. Whoseever decision it was it caused me to be the only only-child in a huge family of "big-fmaily" people on both sides of my family. It would then be a lifetime annoyance for me when all these dozens of big-family people would constantly expect me, an only-child, to have the same outlook and personality that a big-family person would have. It also made my life far more dangerous and lonely than it should have been in a Brooklyn neighborhood like that. My father also claims it was my mother's decision to be the only mother on the block who worked regularly. Whoseever it was, the combination of being the only only-child and the only latch-key kid was a very bad one. My mother should have had more than one kid if she was going to work. And if she was only going to have one kid then she should not have worked. With no siblings and no parents around it meant that I was unprotected and easy prey for every rotten kid or kids out there. It was all of them versus little sickly me. The result was that i spent the vast majority of my childhood hiding in my room and often afraid to go out.That only made me sicklier. I dont know when my mother started working regularly. I dont know if it was in Kindergarten or in First Grade or if it was a gradual thing. But what I remember of my childhood is that I would get up in the morning and see my parents. (Both? Just my mother? I also recall times when the only thing there to greet me when I got up was a bowl of cereal covered with wax paper). Then I'd walk to school. Then come home and let myself in with a key. Then I'd eat a wrapped sandwich left in the refrigerator. Then leave and lock the door behind me. The knob was about in my face. Then walk back to school. Then walk home alone at 3pm (I never had any friends in any of my classes in greenpoint). Then I would let myself into the empty house and do my homework and study IMMEDIATELY. Then I'd wait until my parents returned. 5pm? 6pm?. However, I do recall one time that I dragged myself out of bed very early and was dead tired but I wanted to see my parents before they left for work as I was tired of being alone. Anyway, I was a small,sickly kid without human company in what seemed to me to be a large apartment who was expected to be the number one student in the entire school and yet people who were supposed to be mature, intelligent adults were always peeved at me for being 'different'. Well, duh!!! I soon learned to avoid people. The ones who werent attacking me or trying to corrupt me would expect such stupid things of me during those years...age 5/6... I dont know when I got my first library card but I sure recall waht the library looked like inside and out. I remember the librarian lady handing my father my first library card to sign and he handing it down with a huge pencil from way up above. The desk was far above me as well. The first books I took out were, "The Story of... (Steel, Salt, Wheat, Etc)". They were a series of books telling me the procedure by which each thing got from where it started to my house. ........ Good thing I had that library card as I was sick so much. I was often home alone sick. My parents couldnt afford to always take off all the days i was sick so i often was home alone in my sick bed reading and waiting for kids to come by to bring me my homework. I always missed the most days of any kid in each class each year yet I was a straight A+ student as I studied in bed...age 5/6..... My mother was also making sure that her ONLY child was going to grow up completely moral. I dont know if I started going to Catholic Church regularly yet but she sure brought me up with VERY Conservative morality from birth. However, one toime I was trying to make my own cardboard signs (stop, rr crossing, etc) and something wouldnt work right so I repeated something I heard as I threw it down, "G--dammit old thing" I said! My mother was sitting right next to me on the chair. Boy!, was she ever surprised! She didnt get angry. She just told me it was wrong and said, "You shocked me up to here" as she smiled. But she sure made sure I never lied and never stole or cheated or whatever. I didn't. I was an extremely strict Roman Catholic with myself until late into my teenage years and still retain much of it. ( I was in my 30s before I would even knowingly and barely willingly speak to an unrelated divorced woman). 6-7-99, 6-7 monday night: Of course the big fad of 1955 was Davy Crockett. I dont recall if it was in the Summer or Fall of 1955 but I was 5 and I had the coonskin cap and a plastic powderhorn and I don't know what else. I watched it on TV. Disney must have just started on Tv about then...... One day I decided to cut my own nails and cut them down too far. My mother said not to try it again without her being there..... My father hated alternate side of the street parking as he had to keep moving his car.... I sold Kool-Aid from my window and the kids stood on a bent pipe sticking out of the ground to reach up to my window to get it. Naturally, they'd keep spilling it on the floor. (Other kids!). Now that Im older I realize my mother was humoring me as she was making it and the price of the sugar probably meant that I was selling at a loss..... I rolled out of bed once while sleeping and hit the meatl mattress holder on the way down. Boy, did that hurt. Especially just waking up on the way down.... There were strange lady shut-ins. One in Timmy's brownstone apartment building way up on the top floor and another a couple of bldgs down from me on the first floor towards the grocery store corner. They probably had what my mother would later get..age 5/6.... Guys on motorcycles with black leather jackets would go down the street once in a while. And that song was still around: "Black leather jacket with an eagle on the back, hopped up sicle that took off like a gun, that man was the terror of highway 101". Greasers!..... Anthony was a prodigy at making plastic airplane models. As good as any adult when he was a little kid. He also saw one guy do paper mache and did it immediately. I think we saw it together at school in an auditorium or someplace but it may have been on TV..... 6-7 night,... 6-8-99 131pm: His father would come home each day and sit in his chair for hours smoking his pipe while he read every word of the newspaper from page one to the back. Anthony and I could do anything and he'd say, "Fine, boys, fine". He would glance up and get a kick out of anything we did. Anthony would use up all the masking tape making outlines of ships on the floor for us to play in while we'd move all the other furniture around and spread toys everywhere and mess up anything and everything and Mr Z would be charmed and go back to his paper and pipe. Then MRS Z, Anthony's mother would come in and go, "OH MY GOD!!!" and practically have a heart attack when she saw the shambles. But she never got REALLY mad although she got really close when she once went into the bathroom and screamed, "Who peed all over the toilet seat??!!!" when Anthony and I would try to see how far awy we could stand. ... Anthony also had a model submarine he built and I had a metal one that blinked lights and we'd play with them under the couch. (Hey, I just remembered that after 40 years)...... My father would take me by subway to the American Museum/ Haydn Planetarium. Both subway stops were SO FAR from our home. We lived exactly in the middle plus a mile East. ... One time we took Joey G. I recall being in a huge museum room with huge windows opened the time he came along. (That might have been later than 55/56 though. 57/58? ) .... Just before Xmas my parents and I walking down a dark street in Lower Manhattan past some closed department store on the way home and there was a kid walking in front of me with a weird head. My parents were behind. (I was always ahead or behind, I preferred solo) Later we got home (subway?). We turn on George Gobel late at night and then after hin is a show called, I believe, "Eye on New York". And there we all were on TV!!! They had a camera in the dark dept store window!... I was an only child. My mother usually worked when most mothers did not. Usually alone. Often sick. Unprotected and bullied. I knew that MUCH was expected of me due to my "great potential". Very religious. Very moral. Very quiet. Very shy. Afraid of people. I did my homework and studied the MOMENT I unlocked the door and came in from school instead of going out to play. All my relatives grew up in 'big families' and demanded that I, an only child/latch key kid, act like a Big Family person would so I naturally avoided them, too. Just another type of bullying to me...age 5/6...... Around on Banker Street (The other side of the same block) was a dirt sidewalk for a while and behind it a fenced-in small factory yard. Two bldgs with a narrow space in between, just enough space for a little kid squeezing sideways to get in. One group of kids was inside and the other outside and they were throwing rocks ans bottles back and forth and some kids got hurt. I was inside and just trying to stay out of the way of those idiots. (Always other kids). I dont know how I wound up there in the first place. I probably let myself get talked into going inside with them and I recall the other gang came up from the docks and started throwing things at us as we were stuck inside. I remember being between the two building and some bottle hitting over head, the glass shattereing, and me jumping out from between the bldgs so avoid the glass showing down and immediately getting hit by a rock. All those low-IQs were crazy!! .... In that same place, but outside on the dirt, I found my first dead cat and buried it. I'd go around to that dirt sidewalk and teach myself how to shoot marbles when noone was around. The place smelled of creosote. ... Once a man invited me to go around to Banker Street on the other end of the block by Meserole Ave where the Tootsie Roll factory was so he could hit balls and his kid and I would catch them. I had a big plastic periscope I liked. I did have a cardboard one before it. I placed it right next to wher the man was hitting and I fielded his flies. When he was done I walked back to get my scipe and it was gone!!!!. He says, "Oh, some kid came by and picked it up and took it". I was flabbergasted!!! I could not believe an adult would just stand there and let that happen when he knew it was my scope. I went all over trying to find the kid who stole it. No luck. (Stupid adults). Things like this made me keep away from people more and more. It never stopped. Whenever I'd trust someone they'd stab me in the back. It was almost never that associating with any human being didnt come with a big price. It just wasnt usually worth it....... Timmy's mother tried to make some money stuffing envelopes and clipping things from papers. They were pretty poor but they must have saved up because they got a nice little house on Long Island years later. .. We went to a movie house South on Manhattan Ave (near the ice cream parlor) one day and I wanted what i thought were furniture miniatures that I'd never seen before. I had no idea they were for 'dollhouses' but my parents got them for me anyway. Didnt turn me into a 'homo' (My mothers word).... I used to make 'rockets' out of cardboard toilet paper cylinders after learning it somewhere..... I had a big red metal firetruck that I sat in and peddled up and down the sidewalk on Clifford Place.. It had a bell on the front. I recall being on the Meserole Ave end where there was a restaurant on the corner because the sidewalk was much wider there. ... But I mostly stayed indoors. Came home for lunch. Let myself in and out. Came home at 3pm. Did my homework. Studied. Played by myself most of the time. Read by myself. Was always sick from birth to age 14. Sometimes 50 schooldays a year. That's TEN school weeks. Almost died a few times in the 1950s from high fevers. But always at top of highest class in each grade. Parents would not let them skip me. I was already small and sickly and didnt need to be even smaller compared to the other students. Sent kids to my house sickbed with homework for me. Got all the awards but my mother worked so she couldnt come to the auditorium awards ceremonies to see me stand on stage so as I stood there I'd look out at all the other mothers and wonder what the point was of my being there. Other kids had mothers at home. They had mothers AND siblings. (Its crazy for a woman who wants to work to just have one kid to leave alone in an empty house) Had cats come in and out when parents were there but I never opened windows. (Not allowed?? Couldn't?? Didn't think of it??) I loved school and I loved homework. I had a fantastic attention span. That was the MAIN thing about it. That attention span. Could study for hours, fascinated. And my mind never wandered. ("It's a pleasure to hear him speak", teachers would write on my report cards)... 6-8-99 228pm. I sat in a real firetruck in the firehouse on Greenpoint Avenue. I recall sitting way up behind the steering wheel and looking down at my father and the firemen. I had a wallet with a horsehead on it. I think I got it at the Woolworths next to the A&P where my mother worked. (But I may not have gotten it until I made my First Communion in 1957. I dont know).... Visiting relatives, all on my mother side then, would always push money into my hand as they shook it goodbye. The first time it was done I kept pushing it back as I didnt want to steal it. I had no idea what was going on. And that wasnt even a relative but some well dressed thin man. Visitors who didnt come by often to see my parents gave me bills. (That first guy gave me two and I didnt even know who he was). Constant visitors like my Uncle Stashu gave me quarters (His were always weird old silver ones I couldnt figure out where he got them from. I thought maybe he had a bottle full at home from his youth. Now I realize he could probably get them from a bank in those days.) Money was worth ten times as much then for kids stuff. All dimes, quarters, half-dollars, silver dollars were 100% silver. .... Once when I was sick (I was always sick) I had to take both a green medicine and a red one constantly. I felt guilty as red was my favorite color but the red one tasted worse. ... Always only child, mother worked, alone, other kids had siblings and mother at home, sickly- missed many weeks of school, unprotected, bullied, 'Great potential' pressure, Very Catholic as in fear of Hell and purgatory, Very moral, Very decent, Shy, Relatives all had that Big Family Boarding-House competitive personality and expected me to have it too...... I recall my parents helping people claiming they were trying to work thru college. One sold us magazines. Maybe thats where my Science Digest started??? Another pulled a milk scam. He told them a low price of milk. But each week the 'company' put the price up another couple of cents. My parents finally had enough and cancelled it...... I once found a part of a toy boat outside. Then I searched and searched until I found the rest. Some kid comes out and I tell him what I found. He says, "It's mine. I lost it. Give it to me". I believed him as i never lied and expected honesty in others.He then smashes it to pieces under his foot in front of my face just to be evil to me. I run in crying and my mother comes out. (I learned over my whole life that MOST human beings are evil just for the 'pleasure' of hurting others. I learned that time and time again. I always say that the life of one dog is worth far more than that of one million humans. People never stopped being rotten to me until they no longer could be. Including various rotten relatives who hid behind my own father until he lost his health and they 'suddenly' got kind. Yeah, right.)......... I dont know if it was in First Grade or Second Grade but one time (was it the only time?) I was in William S----'s house as a kid and i left a group of noisy kids in the kitchen (was it his birthday?) and went back to the dark front room looking for something to read. His big sister came in. She said, "You cant read that book. Thats a big kids book", "Sure, I can", I said as i whizzed thru it. Next day she comes into my classroom to talk to my teacher. I go with her to her class. (5th? 6th? grade). Her teacher hands me the book and has me stand in front of the class and read it. I slide through it. She then jumps all over the class because a tiny little younger kid can read the book so easily and they cant read well at all. That was really smart thinking on her part: Now I had a clasroom full of large enemies whom I'd just humiliated and had to watch out for from then on. (Stupid adults). ...... I had no friends in First Grade. Just people I competed against..... The year 1956 sure seemed long to a six year old...6-8-99 422pm__________ ___________ ______________ _______ ___________________ _______ BIG SECTION ADDED TO FIRST SECTION ABOVE CONCERNING PRE-SCHOOL 1949-1954 on Tuesday June 8,1999 1pm _________________ ________________ --------------------- ______________________ ______________ __________________ ______________ SECOND GRADE: (2-1), 1956-1957,__________ age 6/7 (Birthday Oct 30,1956)__________________ wed 6-9-99 1040am My teacher got married and changed her name from Miss Ragusa to Mrs Smith. I recall her making the announcement..... I was once in the back of the room painting at one of the two easels next to Patricia Ciecierski, a very pretty little blonde (No, I didnt have a crush on her as I never thought of her when she wasnt right there) and I was doing a bunch of planets in space. I walked to the font of the room to carry the dirty water out, knowing that some jerk would bump me no matter how careful I was, and some idiot did. I got angry but the teacher said it was all right. I just KNEW one of those idiots would do that. I alwys tried to think ahead and it seemed others didnt, even in the supposed 'Top' class in the grade. (I HATED having to deal with other kids. Stupid, Immoral, Nasty) By now I was definitely a Conservative Catholic. But it was a Polish neighborhood so it wasnt abnormal. Went to Catechism on Wednesdays to learn morality, Mass on Sundays, Practicing to make my First Holy Communion and also to go to Confession on Saturday mornings. My mother's whole family was very Conservative Catholic. They went through these things growimg up and I took it for granted that almost the whole world was that way.. ROLAND JUST WALKED IN. OFF TO Thomasville. 1050am. 343pm Im back. Very Christian, Very moral. I sure got surprised when I got older and increasingly learned that there were very few of us who worried about being 100% moral all the time... I was number one in my Catechism/Communion preparation. We had to go out and get a new suit and new clothes and new shoes for me. Then, after a zillion practices to make sure we were perfect, we made our First Holy Communion. I went up, took mine, and went back to the seat. I sure felt fantastic after doing my First Confession in 1957, totally pure inside. And First Communion added to it. Confessions always did that to me in the future. Then we had to go outside in a long line from St Anthonys onto Manhattan Ave and around the church. Someone grabbed my shoulder but I didnt look up. In the procession you have to look down like monks praying. Turned out to be one of my parents. I believe my father. So then after all these weeks of preparation it's over and we are supposed to go to the back to get our equipment (Catechism book, rosary, other stuff) and there are lots of us. Im waiting and waiting forever. Turned out that I, who was #1, was the only one they forgot to get the stuff for. That figured. (Untrustworthy adults). And my parents were the last ones waiting outside. Anyway, we then go to get all the fancy Communion pix taken and handed out to everyone. (Hmmm. I guess we had to do that BEFORE the big day?) And I have my suit on under my robes. We go to a florist for the first time in my life (I recall this like it was yesterday) and then we start making the rounds of all my mothers relatives and parents Catholic friends. Center of attraction. Now Im expected to be the smartest and most successful AND the most moral forever. ("There is NO heavier burden than a 'great potential'": Peanuts comic strip). But, BOY! Did I get stuff!!!. Candy and cookies and cake and presents and $27.00!! That had $270.00 buying power in those days. I recall lining up all the singles on the floor to see how far they reached. I got a lot of games including one where one had to figure out the best tracklaying route between cities. Also I was given a REAL watch! (In those days a watch was expensive jewelry for adults) But from then on I was a worrying and regimented Catholic believing that God knew my "every thought, word and action" and one little bad one meant Purgatory if I didnt get to a priest in time while one big BAD one (eating meat on Friday, missing church ) was a trip to Hell with the worst murderers. Mnay times over the years adults would comment to me that they never knew anyone so young so worried about his future and about dying like I did. From then on I went to Catechism every Wednesday, Confession every Saturday, and Mass every Sunday. And I believed divine justice and retribution could come at any time. I did those three things every week until July 12,1964 and still felt guilty for not doing so any longer for many years after that..... The year 1957 sure seemed long to a seven year old. ........................... ............................................................................... ................................................ .......... ...................... .........................................................

There is no heavier burden for a child than having a so-called 'great potential'

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I discovered sci-fi comics, the first being a Mystery in Space with giant preying mantises I recall reading in my fathers car. I believe I got it out on Long Island and then searched for and found more at the Franklin St candy store. ...... Once I was asleep in the front room in my parent bed in the summer and I heard some kids calling for me thru the window. I went out and one, the bigger one, says to the other one: "See, I told you he wasn't sleeping". Well, I was. I dont recall who the two were. One MIGHT have been that guy who left....The candy store at Franklin near Meserole got in some plastic spaceship toys and futuristic cars and trucks that i used to pick out of a box. I recall overhearing some teenager saying to the owner, "Isn't he too old for those?" Huh? I wasa 7 years old and small at that.(Stupid teenagers). I think they were 10c apiece, about $1.00 in today's money. .... My favorite comics were always Superman types. Especially the ones with his father Jor-el in them. Jor-el was the greatest scientist on Krypton. ... My heroes were never rock stars or sports stars but 1)God, 2) scientists. But I did like the Pope and Superman. (My mother later told me she hid the papers when George reeves died but I knew he died and that he was an actor. I read of his death at my fathers friend Benny's house. (Benny and Genie had kids Barbara, Joey, Christalie and Loralei and a cat named 'cat' with six toes. They lived closer to the docks and a few blocks north). .... I always liked to shop for new stationery each school year. Still do.... My Uncle Johnny was in the Navy on a destroyer and he brought me back two metal ships on green wooden boards...... We were required by our second grade teacher to get a booklet on presidents she wanted to use for the class. But by getting this 'free' booklet every family was plagued by Encyclopedia salesmen..... I was in Tims home at a party playing pin the tail on the donkey.... Across the street from my house I found that by pushing a pin into a water balloon I could write with the stream. I didn it once too often and it blew up and drenched me..... A counterfeiter was caught on our block just a couple of houses from Anthony's home towards Meserole. I wondered how he snuck his printing press up there. (Obviously, he just lived there).. Thurs 6-10-99 ..I finally blew up one day. I had so many other kids doing bad things to me just out of pure meanness on each of the rare days I ventured outdoors that one day I just popped. Some kid I was sitting with on my front 'stoop' suddenly grabbed and stole some colored string from me. I trusted him. I had no clue that even he was like that. No warning whatsoever. I trusted him and he obviously had it planned. I had enough. I instantly threw a metal cowboy gun I had been holding at him and it bounced off his head and he started crying and dropped the string. Naturally, someone saw me do it but not him stealing. Noone ever seemed to see anything anyone ever did to me, just what I did back. I didnt care. I told my mother and she knew I didnt lie. She just told me to go back into my room and nothing would happen to me. Nothing did. I didnt bother writing down the constantly repetitious problems I had with other kids. Only Tim and Anthony were good kids like me. Also good Catholic boys. To this day I cant stand little boys. I know they are 99% rotten..... A kid named gaylord was living in abject poverty in a real broken down slum. His mother had run off with another man and the more monied husband cut off all money. But Gaylord (Who later used 'Richie' around the early 60s as 'gay' was considered a weird word way before the homosexuals took it) had a bankbook with a huge sum of money in it that he would show off in class. His father arranged for him to have a lot of money from the Vacuum Cleaner company of his last name when he reached an older age. Ironically, his stepfather put his whole future into a new company risk that became Frito-Lay!. Once I was trapped under a cardboard box with him in the pouring rain and his stepfather and my father found us on Banker Street. Gaylord did not have my strict Catholic morality so I wasnt as comfortable around him as Tim and Anthony. ..... Our teacher once took us for a walk out of the school on Franklin and then north along it to where the street curved a block or two away. We were surprisingly in a much nicer area I never knew about where there were lots of trees and fancy houses behind wrought iron fenced in lawns around that curve. After being shown it I went there often.... Was it in the Summer of 1956, 57 or 58 I chopped my finger off and had it reattached??? Thats something You'd think I'd know as it was so traumatic and I still have trouble with the nail. I recall that a kid right around the corner on Meserole at the house I would be introduced to Trick or Treating at came up to me in the Spring to show me his bandage and tell me he had gotten his finger caught in the cellar door and damned if I didn't do the same thing a few weeks later if even that long. 6-10-99, 6-10 333pm My father was in the kitchen. I was in the hallway by the bathroom. I had a plastic plane which i could somehow guide well. I threw it from the hall all the way across the kitchen where it then glided out the back window past the dumbwaiter. I then went down into the basement and then to the huge cellar door to the big backyard for the whole apt bldg. I stupidly somehow slipped my finger under the door by the hinge and the huge heavy wooden door kept slowly coming down on my finger and slowly cutting it off. I screamed as i struggled with my one little arm to hold back the door and my finger was caught as it kept coming down, taking off the top third of my finger. Luckily for me my father was still in the kitchen. I actually saw him jump out the window and all the way to the ground. The window was pretty high above the concrete as the backyard was lower than the front. He stopped the door. But it had already torturously cut off and crushed the top third of my finger. It held on by a piece of skin. Somehow my mother showed up. I got into the car. She held my finger in a handkerchief as we went to the hospital. The first hospital strapped me down and I screamed as it was like a torture chamber where they strap down all your limbs. (Untrustworthy adults). we went to another. They did something too rough as well. (Stupid adults). We finally went to one in Long Island City. They were MUCH better. They simply let me sit and put my arm on a table so i wouldn't feel helpless. They made it so i could see a little between them but not too much and they gave me a shot to deaden the pain. It still hurt like hell when they sewed it up but it was done. .... Some days later I'm on Banker Street playing and my parents show up in the car. They tell me we're going for a nice ride. Then after I get in they admit they lied and Im going to get the stitches out. Well, they didnt have to lie. The finger was numb and I didnt expect it to hurt. When we get there the doctor said it was just dead skin and would only tickle and i said, "Uh-huh, dead skin". I wasnt worried. i had read enough to know the stitch-removing would be no big thing. It's still very scared though. but it works fine. I was just disappointed as my mother never lied to me before. Naturally, the kids just saw it as a way to pick on me even more as they thought it would be sensitive, just as they did when my arm was in a cast........ I was in my father's car parked across Clifford Place on the other side where my babysitter lived. (I forget her name but she was there every New Years Eve and any other time my parents went to a wedding or something where they'd be out very late) I throw open the right door without thinking. A car hits its brakes. Almost crashed into the door. (Stupid me)(But I was just 6/7, and not deliberately evil). HMMM! If that car only had one lane it meant that there was no alternate side of the street parking as that made two lanes. So it was either a holiday or BEFORE they started having it. Could this have happened earlier? WARNING: to tell the truth Im not always ABSOLUTELY sure when most of these things happened. At my age now I cant always tell the difference between 1954,55 or 56. Or if something happened in 1957 or 1958. And something I thought happened in 1956 could have happened in Late 1955 or Early 1957. But I tried my best by putting ever single memory on its own index card and tried to put them in order........ teenagers used to crowd on the top of Timmy's stoop and play dice. They had PILES of silver quarters. A FORTUNE! as I walked past them to get to Timmy's. (This makes it sound like I was out a great deal but its the trips OUT of my house that were memorable. Inside, all I did was play by myself. (Remember, in 56,57,58 a quarter had $2.50 buying power in 1999 money. .... I remained a latchkey kid. (That term didnt exist then). I walked the two blocks to school. Walked home and let myself in. Sandwich in the refrig. I'd eat it, leave, lock the door behind and go walk back to school in all weather. At 3pm Id walk home. Unlock door. Immediately do my homework. Study. That was my childhood as I recall it. Sometimes alone at breakfast (bowl of cereal under wax paper), usually alone at lunch, usually alone at 3pm, do homework, not play with kids, not go outside as too dangerous, play by self, wait for parents to return. Now that i think of it I probably only went outside to play on those days when my mother was home from work so there would be a parent around just in case. Well, one day I was on the phone with a parent. Who told me to go check the mail during lunch. I absentmindedly pulled the door shut behind me as that was what I always automatically did when I returned to school. Door locked shut behind me and my keys and jacket were inside and the phone was off the hook and I couldnt get back in. So I eventually gave up and went back to school. Figured whichever parent was on the phone (Think it was my father) would guess what happened. I dont recall if I had to wait after I got back at 3pm or not...... The drugstore at Manhattan/Meserole had Xmas decoration tape of various types. I kept running back and forth to get more. (that was a long walk!) and I used it all up on household objects, especially the floor lamp. That standing lamp was covered with it for as long as we had it (1980s). Working mothers humor their sons...... Sometimes we'd go out for a drive around Brooklyn and Queens after eating. But we almost never ate at a restaurant of any kind. VERY rarely. ..... Sometimes one or both parents had to work late. .... I forget when my first Trick or Treat was. But I was on the corner of Clifford and Meserole and some kid told me about it. he also said a man in the one apartment house on that block before the factories started had just gotten married and he had a big jar of HALF-DOLLARS he was giving away. That's like giving little kids five bucks!!! So another kid and I went to wher he said and , sure enough, he goes back and brings out this big bottle of half-dollars and gives us each one!!! The other houses gave candy bars or 2c or 5c but thats like 20c or 50c in those days. So we kept doing it. The next year someone told me that the best place to Trick or treat was the bar across Meserole on the corner of whatever the rest of Clifford was called. But I avoided bars until I was a teenager.... There's a photo of me in suspenders with a pencil sticking out of my pocket that has a huge eraser the school took in 56/57. And I was given a booklet with it that says, in my own handwriting, that my favorite song was Elvis' "Hounddog"..... 6-10-99 Thursday 420pm..... Friday 6-11-99 1154am:... Come to think of it I dont recall any friendships in any of my elementary school classes. Those highly competitive top-level classes were too cutthroat. We little kids were all competing against each other. All our familes expected all of us to be the best due to our 'great potentials'. Normal kids in normal lever classes could have friends in class as they werent competing against each other all their lives. They just went to school because they had to and di no more work than they had to. The only parts of school they liked were the social ones.... I was playing baseball for the first time ever in the schoolyard and I got a single. Then the next guy hits the ball and I didnt move off the base as i didnt know about forceouts so I caused a double play. I wonder why they didnt teach us the rules? I only watched baseball if my father had it on. ..... My father brought me home Sugar Ray Robinson's autograph and I didnt know who it was. It's still around here somewhere. It's to "Little Walter"...... As I said, my mother always called me Mickey or Teen. And she HATED it when my fathers relatives called either one of us "Waller"..... Whenever my mother put a leaf in the table it meant we were having a rare visitor.... Joey G. had his leg broken when stepping on a metal sidewalk loading basement door in front of the grocery near his house and it opened up on him. .... My mother had pop-together beads I would play with..... I had a Dick tracy remote control car. They had a wire then..... I watched Popeye on TV quite often and recall one time when I was VERY hungry and waiting for supper.... One night we went into the McCarren Park swimming pool complex and got locke in. The sun was setting. The huge metal gates were extremely high and there was a huge pillar on either side. I was amazed to see my father JUMP with one bound all the way to the top and then jump down. He then got help to come back and let us out. (I went back at age 31 and STILL couldnt believe he could hop that high)..... Buch of teens all over the front stoop steps in 56/57. One asks my mother, "Is it okay if I send him for cigarettes?" My mother says okay and I go to the corner store for them and get money for doing so...... Some kid had a slinky on those steps once...... I was once in the car on a street a few blocks left (north) of Clifford heading towards the river (I still have the mental image) and there is a sad song on the radio. I ask my father why such songs existed as i felt nothing. He said I would some day when i had had some experiences and memories..... Once I heard my Aunt Marie having an argument with my mother. She was in the hall yelling at my mother and I had never seen that before. They were yelling back and forth and my Aunt actually spat in the direction of my mother and my mother raised her little fist and went after her and my father stopped her....... The car was stolen once. It was then found by the police around the corner from their station days later after being reported. I heard that my Aunt Marie's boyfriend took it to be mean. (Was this right after the fight?). Other than that they got along well..... I went with my mother to get a big electronic toy spaceship at the 5&10 across from the St Anthony Catholic Church but they had sold them all. So I got a big electronic fighter jet instead. (And some damn kid visitor broke the wing. Damn other kids)...... I also had a toy robot that did things...... I ALWAYS took very good care of my toys but anytime some kid cam into my room he broke or stole something..... When I could stay up late I'd watch Tex Antoine with Uncle Weatherbee. It was a face upon which he would place magnetized hats, scarves, etc. to tell people how to dress next morning. In the 1970s, at the height of Feminism, he STUPIDLY made a joke about rape! and lost his job..... Each tenement had a fenced in area between the stoops that jutted way out. A few houses down from where I lived towards Meserole there were two kids who played Monopoly in theirs every day...... We had a Monopoly Game and I played against my parents a few times in the main room by the entrance door..... My mother had penguin shakers I would play with ( I now see them listed on the internet for collectors).... I had a toy walkie talkie set with a wire in between them. I think they were Dick Tracy's wrist radios but with that wire...... I never had the huge ugly Polio shot scar that almost all kids had on their shoulders at this time in history. It was a big disk filled with bumps. My father, who worked in such labs, didnt like the sloppy way they prepared them...... Somewhere around this era I had my tonsils out. I was always gagging and the doctor said I should have them removed. Removing tonsils was the 'answer' for many things in those days. Everybody got them out in those days. I had to wait in a big room with a lot of other kids. I used a bunch of building blocks to construct a bowling alley complete with a return-mechanism. I then bulit castles with drawbridges that worked with string and a bunch of other weird elaborate stuff that did things. They sent in a psychologist to examine me. I was just bored with all those unthinking immoral idiots they expected me to play with. And there was nothing adult to read. I recall being on the table and them putting the horrible ETHER onto the weird strainer over my face. I woke up later and when i tried to lift my head a horrendous headache hit me. But when i fell back it went away. So I just lay there staring at the ceiling. Later they inspected each kids throat and, for some reason, some kids had to have something stuck down and pulled up. I hoped I wouldnt be one of them as the other kids were gagging horribly in bad pain as it was done to them. Luckily, I wasn't. Then they stuck rectal thermometers in each kid mass-production. I left with my father and found 50c by his car. He said he found 50c, too, when he had his out. (40 years later I now wonder what a 'coincidence' that was). I was given a big stuffed lion for going through it all. I wonder why my mother didnt show up? Work?.... The tonsil removal didnt really help. I still was sick most of the time........6-11-99 1234pm ...... One Christmas Santa actually returned to my house!!! He came back on Dec 26 with Hopalong Cassidy Hair Creme. So I ran and told my friends how I got a special visit....... We once had to sit in a NON-honors classroom for a day. I could not believ how awful it looked. The desks were all chopped up and the whole room was a wreck compared to our pristine classrooms. Until then i didnt know that the Honors kids got the best and that non-honors kids tore up their desks and rooms. What a bunch of animals..... We took turns once a week bringing in cookies for the class. I liked to bring the three color wafer cookies from the 5&10 (They wer sold loose then and much better as no plastic smell or taste). I went up and down the rows giving them out..... On the corner of Clifford and Meserole there was a factory (Pontiac parts). One day in either Oct 56 or Oct 57 I came home from school and there was a very detailed Halloween painting done on the small corner window that stayed there for years. The factory had a loading dock on Clifford and we could see inside it. there were always these little white plastic BBs all over the sidewalk and we wondered why they made them. (Obviously, they were left over from making something else)..... On that same block where the painting was was a house my mother took me to where she would talk to another woman in the kitchen while I talked to a little girl with dolls. Once one of her doll didnt have any clothes on and she jumped to cover it up as if there was something to see........ Across the street from her house was the Post Office and its loading docks to the side indented so the trucks went in and turned. I mailed away for a little printing set once and bothered them for months. .... My father made me a big wooden toy box at the foot of the cellar stairs and my mother would send me down with food and coffee for him. ..... My father took me to PS126 for Election Day 1956. Eisenhower vs Stevenson. They had a practice booth. I went in there and pulled the lever next to an Eagle because I liked how detailed it was. That was Republican!! My father was Democrat!! He said, "You like Astronomy. Dont you like the nice star?" Well, it was just too simply drawn. And I also liked animals..... I forgot my money for a bakesale so a teacher gave me some. It was held in the school basement cafeteria. I still recall that basement very well as I was there often. But I only ate in the cafeteria once and felt very self-conscious...... Some kid came up and kicked me in the knee for no reason and an infection set in and I had to go to the doctors. Kids often just hit or kicked me when I was going past them as they knew they could. I raely ventured outside and when i did something usually bad happened. The unprotected sickly only-child is the target prey for all the predators having problems at home or at school...... For one birthday (Oct 30, 1956? 57? ) my father took me to Queens Plaza to ride all the different things they had there. It had TROLLEYS with a bunch of little concrete islands for them, the ELEVATED TRAIN, the SUBWAY TRAIN, the REGULAR BUSES, and the ELECTRIC BUSES. So thats what we did all day. (In 1964-65 I'd have to cross that same Plaza every day to high school)..... My father and I flew a kite at the edge of McCarren Park. Right next to the school in the little triangle. really got it up there. Some other big kid was competing with us for the highest. .....6-11-99 Friday 105pm..... 6-15-99 Tuesday 145pm, Just took father to hospital for catheter he has to wear overnight. Have to go back tomorrow. ....... I wore train engineer PJs and would wear them outside right in front of my house once in a while. I couldnt understand the 'logic' of why I wasnt supposed to wear them out in front of the house as they looked like a uniform and covered me more than my regular clothes...... I was sitting in front of a house a few more doors away from Meserole where the houses were single family. There was an old man. Another boy was sitting on the other side of him. A bee landed on the sidewalk in front of us. Just like that the old man spat a wad out of the side of his mouth and covered the bee and he immediately stepped on it. We kids were amazed by his markmanship....... I stood on top of those same stairs one day trying to whistle and couldnt. I never could..... Of course I was still a very shy only child hiding inside most of the time. sickly, avoiding bullies, worrying about being the smartest kid an the highest grade to please my mother, very moral, being brought up by a very catholic mother who worked at a time when mothers didnt. I was always being told how very, very few kids got to go to college in those days and that it wasnt enough to just be in the highest class of each grade but you also had to be the best- especially if you were hoping for a scholarship. When it came to studiousness or morality I felt I always had to run as fast as I could just to stay in the same place!!!! .... Once the big kids organized a ballgame in the middle of the street with a lot of guys, both big and little kids. It was just after sundown. The only time I saw that happen..... My father would subscribe to Science Digest as we both liked to read about the new discoveries and waht theyd become in the future..... My father once took me to this candy store way out where Manhattan Ave was near the park. Past Bedford and the little triangle.To the left. So I could get a toy cement mixer. Yet when i got there I wanted a bunch of comics to read instead. I still think of that cement mixer..... Another time I saw a big standing bowling game at Timmys house and wanted one. My father took me all the way in the other direction on Manhattan Ave to get one that they had in the window. At a small dept. store. Yet when i got there I saw a fleet of wooden boats I wanted instead. (In the same storefront years later, Cousin Christalie started talking about when she learned Sanat was a myth and I acted as if I knew it as long as she did when I had actually only found out recently. An only child in his room most of the time doesnt have siblings bringing him news about the parents....... I dont know when she started. It could have been during my Kindergarten for all I know, but my mother worked at the A&P on the manin street, Manhattan Ave. A checker at the register. Amazed me how she knew the price of everything without even looking at the prices stamped on them. Just whizzed along on that register. It was a weird supermarket with TWO levels. How that worked for the grocery carts I dont know. (People were asking that at www.greenpointusa.com) But there was a WIDE staircase. in the back right of the store with a fancey WIDE bannister that more-athletic kids slid down. I pushed the carts around for hours. Better there alone than dealing with other kids. Amazing how I was allowed to do that. I still recall where much of the stuff was, especially the weird straws that were the rage with kids then. And I located the Pepperidge Farm bread that was always being advertised on TV yet I never knew any household that had it. And where the lady stood just to grind coffee. There was a conveyer belt that the basement groceries were put on and they went all the way up at a slant to the outside of the store parallel with the stairs. They also did it via dumbwaiter on the other side of the store. New products were given out for free by young women. Thats when I first had chocolate graham crackers and soda in a CAN! The first soda in a can was called "Super Cooler". The major brands refused to do it for years after that. Cans were still just for beer and cheap brands. I recall sitting and reading the very first Superman "Bizarro" comic on the front step to the right of the A&P entrance while my mother worked inside on a warm day. (57? 58?). _________________ SUMMER 1957 ______________ That Summer I was really into ZORRO! That was the LAST fad I ever got caught up in. By the next year, 1958, when the Hula Hoops came in I had already realized how degrading it was to blindly follow fads and i never let myself be brainwashed again. So between 7 and 8 i had developed the self-esteem and ego that many adults NEVER develop. But in 57 I was so much into it that Timmy and I built a wagon out of an old baby carriage and every day we'd go to one factory after another to ask for bottles (2c regular, 5c large, was the deposit) and we'd get dozens of them and buy ZORRO cards. The most wanted ones were the few with his portrait on them............ Around this time I learned how things worked with other kids my age. If I was with them one at a time I could get along fine with that one person. But if there were ever TWO of them together they'd gang up on me, unless one was also an only-child. But as few people, by definition, are only-children I was almost always in trouble. ---- So I took pains from then on, for the rest of my life, to make sure I never let two kids who had siblings get together as they would always eventually get together against me even if just by teasing. My two best friends were Anthony and Timmy. Both had siblings. In all the years I knew them I made sure I never brought them together to get to know each other. Or I would have lost them, too. This equation NEVER failed until I got to be almost 30 years old..... .. I never liked to be touched by other human beings. I was not used to it as my parents werent around that much and I had no siblings and when I was touched it was usually 1) someone physically harming me or 2) some relative handling me and making demands of me (to magically have the same outgoing personality as those who had other family members around the time or to always be the best at school or at church or whatever.) I learned to keep away from people..................................................... .................................... .................................... ............................... ................................. .................................. ............................... .................................... ............................. ............................... ................................. .................................... ............................. ................................. ......................... ................................ ............... ................... ................................. .................................... ................................. .......................................... ....... ............................. ..............................

----------- __________________ THIRD GRADE_________ September 1957 to June 1958_______ Age 7/8 (Birthday Oct 30,1957)________ This was my happiest era in school as I had Mrs Hamilton for BOTH Third Grade and the first half of Fourth Grade. She doted on me as her "Little Scientist". She gave me any Science-type things she could find. I was at my studious height under her. ........ I guess the Pope died about this time. Pope Pius XII, a good Authoritarian pope (as Ignatz Reilly, my alter-ego, says in "A Confederacy of Dunces") I recall reading about it in my Great-uncle Stashu's house in Lower Manhattan. His home was always weird. No toilet or tub. Just a small shower in the KITCHEN! The bathroom was outside the apartment and down the long dark hall in the basement. And the toilet was a double-seater!! It was a slab of marble with two openings! I recall the EXTRA! about the Pope was down in there where someone had been reading it. Stashu never got married and had male roommates who were always much older than he was. Two of them died off on him. The first one loved kids and would surprise me with things when I came over. My mother couldnt figure out why he always had older men as roomies. Now that I'm older I figure two things: He could have been a homosexual or he could have been very private about a heterosexual life as I am while prefering the company of older people as I usaully do........ The Greenpoint Savings bank opened an extension and they gave me a balloon and something else to each kid going down the back stairs. Naturally, I dragged my parents thru twice. (Or was this earlier?)...... We drove up to Boston when JFK was still Senator. Walked around the curvy streets. I still recall walking in spots. It was very dirty and no trash cans anywhere. My father went into a hotel to check the prices, said we couldnt afford it, and we slept in the car: Me in back with my mother. (In all our trips everywhere we slept in the car.)..... Thurs 6-17-99: 118pm: The candy store to the left from my home just off Franklin St. started selling punch-out books. One was of Vikings, another of spacemen, another of knights etc. I lost one Viking on or around the bed in Anthony's house and never found it. ..... The Zlockis moved to Sunbury, Pa. Watched them load it all into a huge truck. But they only were allowed half which I thought strange then. He let me pick out some of his plastic plane models. Was surprised when I didnt pick the one we played with most but I became bored with it...... I went with Timmy and his sister to "Caterpillar Park" (Didnt know its real name). We filled a box of caterpillars. I left it in his cellar. Next day it was gone. His sister was all apologetic but I wasnt surprised. I didnt think they crawled out like they did. I thought adults got rid of them...... Went to a Monster Movie with "Cousin" Chris Gielbeda. (One of father's friends daughters). Went from her house to and across my block to movie. Must have been staying there during one of my parents breakups. Recalled how weird it was to walk thru my own street and not stop. Creature had little arms coming out of its shoulders. (A few years ago I described it and put it in "Billy Bobs" newsletter for naming old movies and a few people gave me the name but I dont have it here)..... Way over by the library the PAL (Police Athletic League) had a three-legged race. I wanted nothing to do with others but I got pulled in. Some adult tied my leg to that of another guy. I said to him that the obvious logical thing to do would be to start off with a specified leg and move at a pre-planned rate. So we did. We were WAY ahead of everybody else but a couple of steps from the finish line the rope fell off and he says, "Damn, he didnt tie it right". (Stupid adults. Why did I even bother to go near people?)..... Anthony's mother used to brag that he was in the same classes as I but he was actually always one lower. But he and I were in the same class for the same day in Sept. 1957 and they sat him NEXT to me on the left and they even had the desks pushed together. But next day he was gone. I could never figure that as on Clifford he always seemed just as smart as I. Perhaps he was more interested in building his own things than do schoolwork...... Even at age SEVEN I worried about the draft as I couldnt get along with other people, was scared of other kids, needed intense privacy as I embarrassed very easily, and was weak and sickly. ..... I also worried about getting into college and how to pay for it..... At some time my father brought home three Polish language books and tried to get my mother and me to learn Polish. We werent interested. They were naturally red and white....... At a birthday party the stupid kids of my father's friends were playing with my solid metal Lionel steam engine on top of the bed. Something I NEVER thought of doing. I was on the floor below. Then they drop it off the bed (accidentally??) and it lands on my 7 year old finger and crushes it horribly! I run screaming through the house and off I go to the hospital again. They had to rebuild it. It's stillscarred. And they found an infection in the first ruined finger. (Damn kids)............ I still rarely went outside because of the little monsters that made my life miserable....... Over by the Triple Decker sandwich place on Manhattan Ave by Bedford Ave there was a storefront that was being used for a dance. I was there sitting by the door with my mother for quite a while waiting for my Aunt Marie...... The babysitter took me up the very steep stairs of the house right next to the schoolyard and Arthur Godfrey was on TV. I had always heard about how famous he was but I never saw him as my parents didnt like him.( Godfrey? babysitter? This must be earlier!)..... I was in the candy store on Franklin St. and somehow the soda truck outside fell over. In those days the trucks were triangular and the sodas piled up on the outside slants. Looked like two playing cards balanced on each other upright. Noone touched the stuff until the driver called in and then went out and told them to go ahead..... Uncle Johnny took me to a teenage hangout near the Bedford St. triangle where the guy was known as Jungle Jim...... Once I got a phone call right after school from another kids mother who wanted to know the math homework problems. .... Some kid visiting someone on the block one day got his houses mixed up and kept trying to get into my house by mistake..... My father used to get phonecalls in the middle of the night from other guys wives asking him to go out and find their drunken husbands...... The 5&10 across the street from my Catholic church had Classic Comics and my favorite was "War of the Worlds"...... Claude Kirshner was on TV each day with a real circus at 7pm and a beautiful woman the kids fathers all liked. (Later when I was in Astoria it became Terrytoon Circus and the two of them hosted cartoons the same way)..... Once I was in PS 126 with my mother and I dont know why we were there as it may have been Summer? and I noticed we were in my earlier classroom and i felt older...... Of course I was out for MANY weeks and I always had to worry about bullies, but there were none in 3rd grade. I recall one sitting right next to me in 2nd grade though.... 6-17-99 154pm .... 6-17 329pm: I recall we'd sing things in the back of the room from Humpty Dumpty magazine and the October issue (58/ 57?) had a Happy Jack O'Lantern Song. I still remember a few words..... Some guy had a portable Tv and was walking down the street with it on Manhattan Ave right past the Greenpoint Savings Bank and up to the A&P. First one I ever saw...... Drove me crazy how Ken lee was my competition and we had to put our names on every page of each test page before starting and all he had was six letters and i had six in my first name ALONE! plus my long last name. So I started using Walter K...... Rocky and Bullwinkle were on TV in NYC in 1958!!! In 1991 they had this big 30th anniversary celebration but that was the year they went National!..... Anthony had always loved Hopalong Cassidy. ..... Anthony and I once set up a globe with a flashlight on it to look like the half-lit Earth would in outerspace and we made satellites on strings to follow the actual orbits of the few that were then up... I was actually on Steinway Strett on the day it was announced that Sputnik had gone up. That might have been the day i was given white cowboy six guns (because noone else had white). I remember like yesterday standing in that store by the front desk as it came over the radio..... I was learning to play the accordion. I learned fast, too. (Unlike typing on this tiny keyboard too small for my long fingers).... My father took me to a house where BOTH adults were principals. They had a WONDERFUL dinosaur book. I sat there quietly for HOURS taking notes from it. They were enthralled by my studiousness...... This may have been the year the visitors from Pennsylvania came. They stayed in my parents front room. They had their own Woody Woodpecker cartoons and a projector!! Now THAT impressed me.! They brought in a portable toilet, put it in the front room with them, and the father got up in the middle of the night and used it.The girl was eating up all my little colored fudge candy in metal pans. My father later had me go buy, wrap, and mail her some more. My father always did like Loralee better than me but it didnt bother me as it wasnt another boy and fathers like daughters and mothers like sons. ..... There was a fire in a basement a few doors up. Some guy ran up to the corner to break the glass and pull the alarm. The hook and ladder couldnt make the turn out at the left corner by the grocery store and I heard someone from another street say that it was such a little street..... I was walking down the street behind the 5&10 one day and two kids run down the back steps from the store. One says, "Hey, kid. Do you want an airplane?" I said, "Sure" ( I really was that naive. I never knew people actually stole and ran like that). A man comes running out. He asks where I got the palne. I point and say, "Those kids gave it to me". He runs off after them. Believe it or not but it never dawned on me that the palne was stolen until I recalled it in my 30s. I didnt put the simple things together. the thought of stealing when i was a kid never existed in my mind...... I bought some new comix at a new candy store that just opened on Meserole just a block from manhattan. I owed one cent. The guy said i could take the comics but bring back the cent. I ask my father for the penny. He gives it to me and then drives me all the way up there. After I run in and pay the guy my father said, "He could have let you go for the one cent". (I recall one comic was the first "Challengers of the Unknown" I had ever seen. It was donr by the guys later famous for Marvel comics a few years later. And the plot was about the creation of living things from chemicals which was the first time I had thought of such a thing. Even the Frankenstein monster was merely re-animated..... My parents said they'd get me a truck but they got their wires crossed. My mother got me a nice fancy pretty truck with a rear door that opened. My father got me a more manly looking, unpretty one that carried more stuff but didnt have a back door. Their selections fit their sexes. I wound up getting two instead of just the one...... We went to the Gielbedas' older relatives house in Glen Cove, Long Island. Fancy house in a nice area but small and no sewer line so the bathroom had a weird porta-potty. We played Badminton on the back lawn like upper middle class people. They had a big portrait of Marshall Pilsudski. I wasn tsure who he was at age 8. The Gielbeda kids and I went across the road into the woods and Joey G. chased us with Daddy Longleg spiders. I didnt know at that time that Whitey Ford grew up in Astoria and was then living in Glen Cove. Later in life I noticed that the Poles with Pilsudsky portraits tended to be right-wing ones with money. Those people were the first Poles I ever saw who werent poor...... I was in Timmy's home one day and went towards the kitchen. On the way the bathrom door is open. Inside is Timmy's siter who is about our age standing on a chair facing the bathroom mirror and her mother was washing her mouth out with soap. It was being done unbelievably rough. My mother never laid a hand on me, thank God. That poor girl was green!!.... I forget that girls name but the younger one was Lydia...... 6-17-99 Thursday 413pm (also had to fix glitch).... 6-17 916pm.... One Xmas my father didnt put on the regular star but instead put on some pointed thing he bought. I was used to the star. At night ther pointed thing fell off and crashed while I was sleeping and awakened me. My father came running in. .... There was a milk strike in NYC (58?57?59?). We drove all the way over to Jersey to get milk. I recall the late night store along a wide road we went to. I had a toy machine gun whose red nozzle, battery operated, went in and out quickly. ..... We went to Greenwich Village and saw Beatniks going in and out of a coffeee house that had a very ugly dragon carving above the door. We could see a counter and an espresso machine on the far end. ...... When driving in the car one day we saw some disgusting guy standing on the sidewalk. My father says "Thats what dope does to you, remember that"...... I saw my first buddha and was told it was 'the Chinese god"...... We helped someone my father knew move out of his house in a basement with a long, long hall before his apt door. I recall carrying things..... Timmy gave me a comic, Katy Keene, which was a girl's comic. I recall sitting on the curb up near the grocery store reading it next to him...... I woke up one Xmas morning and went into the living room to see a metal Cities Service gas station my father had to put together. I had never heard of Cities Service as we had none in NYC. Those stations were the big toy then...... Both the Dodgers and the Giants left NYC in late 1957 but I thought for years that the Giants had left a year earlier....... It was about 1957 that I recall first thinking about Mickey Mantle while in front of that grocery store up around the corner........ There were subway gratings right in front of the A&P and 5&10. Trains would roar underneath and cold air in summer would blast upwards. Kids would put gum on a string and fish for coins. ..... A shoe store had a foot x-ray machine all the kids wanted to try. It was across from St. Anthony's....... We went to a place called Floyd Bennett Field at night which my father told me was famous. We were there at night. It was the one that Lindbergh and others used to make various world records in the 20s and 30s..... My mother loved Egg Foo Young and liked to say the name quite often..... A smart girl in class gave me my first little 'calculator'. It was hard, thick yellow plastic and one used a pencil to move dials to add and subtract.. ...... Things stayed the same from Sept 1957 to June 1958. Only child. Latchkey kid. Alone. Home alone for lunch. Both parents worked. Other kids had siblings and mother at home. Home alone after school. Immediately did homework after school. Studied. Stayed indoors. Read or played or watched TV. Often sick and home alone from school..... _______________ ________________ ______________ FOURTH GRADE __________ AGE 8/9 (Birthday Oct 30, 1958) ________ SEPTEMBER 1958 to EARLY FEBRUARY 1959 ___________::: 6-17 Thurs 933pm..::::::.. Fri 6-18 1247pm..::: I really cant tell this six month period from the previous year, especially as I had the same teacher in both grades. But I know that it was about here that I was in the Gielbeda house and Joey was playing the Tactics II game with another older friend. It was the first intellectual wargame i ever saw. But he said I was too young to play it. I didnt see another until 1963...... I'm sure I went Trick or Treating on Oct 31, 1958 and that the 5&10 was wonderfully decorated as it always was. My 9th birthday was on Oct 30, 1958 and I must have had a party. Probably on a Saturday before it...... Had to have a good Xmas and Thanksgiving 1958. ..... Parents must have celebrated New Year's Eve 1959/1959..... We spent January 1959 searching all pver NYC for a new home. Well, mostly in Queens. I recall being out there in the freezing cold with lots of ice on the ground night after night after they came home from work. And one night we went to check out an apartment that had no lights so we were walking thru the rooms in the dark and there was one other man there also looking. But they had a big board game with loose pieces everywhere in a closet I was looking in. I was thinking that if my parents chose it Id get the game, too but had sense enough to know that wasnt the reason to pick a home.. age 9..... I recall the very first time we went to see our future home in Astoria. There was a young newlywed couple there. We walked thru it as they explained it. I followed. In the next to last room (which would be the second from the front as one enetered such places by walking thru a long hall to the back. It was also late became my room for many years and had a mural on the wall. From 63 on it became my parents room and where visitors would stay) there was NO furniture but lots of loose little junk on the floor with a diagonal path thru it from one door to the other........ I recall moving day to Astoria, Queens. I was a little disappointed that we werent going to have a BIG van like Anthony did to go to Sunbury. But we were just going up the East River on 21st Street from North Brooklyn to North Queens. I was sitting on the boxes near the front door while the adults took out the stuff. I really wanted to move. (Boy! Was I ever wrong!)..age 9... I had disassembled my plastic models for shipping and they were in boxes. I dont really recalll the very last time I walked out that door after doing it as a latch-key kid so many times..... Things the same from Sept 1958 to June 1959. Only child. Both parents worked. Latchkey kid. Others had siblings and mother home. Home for lunch alone. Home at 3pm alone. Did homework and studied immediately. Stayed indoors most of the time. Played by myself. Or read or watched TV. ............... ....... ................. ....................... .................. ................. ...................... ........................ ........................... ........................ .......................... .................................. .......................... ................................... .................................. ......................................... ....................................................... ................ ............No room to insert above so Ill put these here. ::: _______ _____ OCTOBER 29, 1955 (My sixth birthday) (First Grade): Yellow Rose of texas/ M.Miller, Only You/Platters, I Hear You Knocking/S.Lewis, Maybelline/C.Berry, All By Myself/F.Domino, At My Front Door/El Dorado, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing/ D.Cornell, All Around The World/ Little Willie John, Moments To Remember/Four Lads, Aint That A Shame/ F.Domino..... ..... ___________________ ..... DECEMBER 24, 1955 ,Christmas, ( First Grade, age six)::: Hands Off/ P.Bowman, Sixteen Tons/ T.E.Ford, Only You/Platters, Autumn Leaves/ R.Williams, Adorable/Drifters, Love & Marriage/F.Sinatra, Shifting,Whispering Sands/ R.Dr???, Witchcraft/Spiders, Memories Are Made of This/ D.Martin, At My Front Door/ El Dorados.... ____________________..... APRIL 14, 1956: ( First Grade, age six) Hot Doggity/P.Como, Rock & Roll Waltz/K.Starr, Blue Suede Shoes/ C.Perkins, No,Not Much/Four Lads, Why Do Fools Fall In Love/ Teen Agers, Ill Behave/ P.Boone, Lisbon Antigua/ N.Riddle, The Poor People of Paris/ L.Baxter, Eddie My Love/ Teen Queens, HEARTBREAK HOTEL/ E.Presley (1st Appear of Elvis)................................... ................................. .......................................... ...................................... ............................................. ................................... ................................................ .................................................. ............................................ ................ not proofread .............................. .............................................. ............................................ ............. ............................................. .......................................... .................................................

My Snazzy List of Links

Coney Island:
Greenpoint Addenda (Page 2): To the next page in sequence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Calendar for 1948: When my parents married: Truman upsets Dewey, Ted Williams' only World Series
Calendar for 1949: Year I was born: Yanks over Brooklyn
Calendar for 1950: I'm in my baby carriage: Korean War Begins, Philly Whiz Kids
Calendar for 1951: I was one year old.: Bobby Thompson Homerun,
Calendar for 1952: I was two years old.: Yanks over Brooklyn. Eisenhower over Stevenson
Calendar for 1953: I was three years old.: Duke Snider!Statistically best Brooklyn Dodger team
Calendar for 1954: I was four years old.: Willie Mays Giants Team
Calendar for 1955: Kindergarten/First Grade, Trip to Jacksonville, broken arm: Brooklyn FINALLY wins the World Series!
Calendar for 1956: First/Second Grades: Mickey Mantle Triple Crown, Ike vs Stevenson, Hungary, Suez War
Calendar for 1957: Second/Third Grades: Summer: Zorro, Autumn: Sputnik
Calendar for 1958: Third/Fourth Grades. Both Mrs Hamilton: USA in Space, Hula Hoops, Anthony moves away
Calendar for 1959: Fourth grade. Moved to Astoria in Early February.: Quiz show scandal, Kitchen debate