Buddy McMahon is 56 today, Happy birthday, Budwick, my lifelong Yorkville & LaSalle Academy pal.
Buddy is one of the survivors from kids who grew up on the 400 block on 80th Street. My Dad said one summer when he was young a traveling circus came to Yorkville set up their tent on that block and never left. The second problem with Buddy's address was he lived right across the street from his grammar school, St. Monica's. That's nuts! If I lived right across the street from St. Stephen's I'd imagine the nuns would have visited my parents on the weekend to tell them everything I did bad during the week. I figured since I lived two blocks away from the school I was getting away with murder. Poor Buddy.
July 1970, Buddy invited me Upstate for the week. His family owned 107 acres in Worcester, 17 miles outside Cooperstown. I showed up at 429 East 80th Street at 8am with one of Dad's Barber Shipping Line client gifts: a collapsible tartan fabric suitcase, not much bigger than the one Jerry Mahoney used when he visited Knucklehead Smiff. Inside the suitcase were two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, three T-shirts, one pair of shorts and 5 bottles of Red Ripple.
Buddy's father was aware of our stash but said nothing, Larry was a good man.
Later in the week, July 14, Buddy and I went up to the woods and started a fire, roasted potatoes on sticks, and listened to the radio trying to get a bead on the All-Star game from the new Riverfront Stadium. All we could pick up were local religious shows. For one clear moment the Kinks came through, Lola.
After finishing our near wine and eating blackened cold-inside potatoes, we went back to the house to watch the end of the game. As we walked in on the small black and white TV we saw Pete Rose steaming down the third base line and Buddy's Dad watching impassively. Then, "Holy shit," just two words came out of Buddy's father's mouth as Pete Rose crashed into the catcher, Ray Fosse of the Indians ending Fosse's All-Star career. Pete Rose would have been right at home in Yorkville in 1970.