Monday, September 16, 2013

And When You Wake Up It's a New Morning

Tommy & Rory on subway platform going to Freedomland @ 1962

Rory loved adventures. He joined Freddy Muller and me on one in 1966. Not sure who first discovered it, but starting at 70th Street near the FDR drive down by the East River, you could enter the New York Hospital complex down a flight of stairs into a sub-basement that had a series of walking tunnels that led through many areas of the hospital. The hair on the back of our necks stood up when we passed through the pathology area where every conceivable human body part was floating in liquid in huge glass jars. At first we went down the eerie tunnels because we could, but eventually found they led to the sub-basement of Olin Hall at 69th Street and York Avenue where we found a regulation size wood floor basketball court. This made Freddy and I very happy and Rory indifferent. Rory liked getting spooked and had no interest in sports.

Next time Freddy and I brought a basketball and Rory wandered around until it was time to leave or we got chased by doctors playing a pick-up game. Eventually, the whole neighborhood found out the secret of the buried court. That blew it for everyone, security started keeping an eye out for us. Looking back, this was the best time of our lives together.

Rory Pryor @ 21 years old
Rory's Mom & Baby Ellie for Uncle Mommy's  Bday

Rory died at 42, fifteen years ago today. He was a fine artist but left little of his art behind because he gave it away to his friends. The three pieces shown here are Rory's.

Here's lyrics from one of Rory's favorite songs, "Baker Street," by Jerry Rafferty

And when you wake up, it's a new morning
The sun is shining, it's a new morning
You're going, You're going home.

Harold and Maude plant a tree for Rory

My passion for New York City and it's neighborhoods developed a long time ago, when Dad and Mom dragged us all over town walking, biking, subways, boats and buses.

We had no car so we never got anywhere quickly. This left a lot of time to think about what we were seeing and where we were going, and view things more slowly than if you flew by in a Buick. As a kid you tend to pick something visual to focus on to avoid boredom and my brother, Rory, and I had lots of targets.

Add Dad's obsessive photo taking, and I ended up with a broad pictorial record of most of our trips around the city in the 1960s. In most of these photographs, Rory is front and center, the lead player in the scene.

Looking at these photos, Rory's engaged photogenic face always makes me think we had a better time than we really did. I never mind this delusion.

Rory Pryor at lake 1962

Rory at Central Park, nice hat!

Rory Full Moon Collage with birds

Rory's Chalk Orchestra

Rory with his girls at Queen of Angels 8th grade grad in Sunnyside @1970

Rory sipping milk in 1st grade St. Stephen's Nov 1962

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So sorry you lost Rory at such a young age. From his art samples it appears he was very talented. Tragic he isn't around to contribute more. Margaret.