Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
The memory swelled up. Mom, Dad, Rory, 7, me, 9, sitting in our
In 1966, Dad bought his first small saw and lathe and worked on wood. He set them up near the fire escape window as if this would help. Now the noise, ink, lead, clay, and show polish was complimented with sawdust. I fully expected Mom to murder Dad and easily sway the jury and get off.
After her swift arrest and a speedy start to her trial, Mom would bring the jury to our Yorkville apartment and ask Rory to turn on the Victrola all the way, she’d tell me to start the power drill buffer and use lots of brown shoe polish on three pairs of shoes, then Mom would flip on the saw and lathe and grab a few pieces of wood and get at it. With the music blasting, the buffer drilling, the saw and lathe humming away, the jury would all shake their heads slowly side to side as they passed Mom on the way out of our small junior four apartment. With the sawdust flying, they’d squeeze her shoulder and give her short hugs.
Dad’s work was exquisite.
Mark your calendars: I have Storytelling Shows scheduled for Cornelia Street Cafe @ April 12th & June 14th.
Both shows are on Tuesday @ 6pm.
Tales from the stoop, in story & song. The Cafe is easy to get to, I promise you a wonderful time.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Here are two sections of the 1921 Atlas of Manhattan.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
For some reason, I was staying over my Aunt Barbara's apartment in Elmhurst. I liked to wander around the neighborhood by myself, so I was window shopping along Roosevelt Avenue under the El, breezed past Jackson Avenue. I had a buck, which meant today I would buy one 45 single, and it better be a good one. When I was eleven, no decision carried as much weight and thought as buying a record. There was a small music store near the Jackson movie house. I tired out the clerk looking over the new releases and finally decided on "Till the End of the Day," by the Kinks, because I heard "Where Have All the Good Times Gone?" the flip side once and liked it fine. It was a unexpected gift buying a single when the B side was a good song too.
I ran a half mile to Barbara's apartment on Macnish Street, not breathing, said hi, and went straight to the Victrola. Saw something disturbing.
"Barbara, why is the record player unplugged?"
OK now I was in hell. New music with no means of playing it. I dropped into a chair. Barbara saw the shape I was in and made a suggestion.
"Tommy, Joannie's not home, but why don't you go try Betty?"
Barbara, my Aunt Joan, and their friend Betty Mulhern, all lived in the building. Betty Mulhern was Emma Peel, Barbara Feldon and Serena, Samantha's evil cousin all rolled into one. If you didn't like brunettes, and saw Betty, you'd like brunettes. She danced every new dance, and her wild hair flew. She wore tight shorts on long legs, she wore clam diggers, she painted her pretty toes. Her eyes sparkled, her nose twitched. I couldn't make eye contact with her without my belly feeling funny.
I went down the hall and knocked on Betty's door. Music was playing.
"Hey Tommy, what's up?"
"Sure, come in."
I put it on. Betty was doing the dishes, and she started to sway her hips. All I could do was watch her move back and forth, back and forth.
I played both sides five times. Would have made it six, if Barbara didn't come in to retrieve me.