Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Flying Shoes" ( LaSalle Academy, 1968)

Brother James Gully, Homeroom/English teacher 1968/69
In September 1968, during my first week as a freshman at LaSalle Academy in the East Village, Brother James Gully was teaching us English in Room 406 at 44 East 2nd Street. We were reading “A Tale of Two Cities” and it was hot. I was sweating at my desk in the window row, which looked out onto the New York City Marble Cemetery, when something started stinking awful. I looked down and there was a pair of gigantic loafers that belonged to the kid sitting in front of me. I didn’t know his name yet, but he was a tall black kid with a serious face who was telling everybody who would listen that he was good at basketball. I thought he had a real puss on, plus his feet smelled horrible. I leaned forward and whispered loudly, "Put your shoes back on."

He shrugged and ignored me.
"Put ‘em on!"

Trying not to get Brother James’s attention, I whacked him in the shoulder. Dismissing my suggestion, he turned around and told me to go do something to myself I wasn't capable of doing."OK, that’s fine," I said, and reached down and flung both shoes into the cemetery.
Day after Jets Super Bowl. I'm now sitting against blackboard. 

That's the day Robert Gumbs and I were formally introduced. We both got punished and he stared at me during detention like a bull studying the matador before his rush. Starting the next day, he chased me between classes for two weeks. I was very fast. After school he'd wait for me on one side of the building and I'd go into a classroom and look out the window and see him and run out the other side. By the time he caught me, I had exhausted him. I don't think I was in that headlock for more than five minutes.

All photos here are courtesy of Patrick Cullinan

If you enjoy my stories please  check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 108 Amazon five star reviews out of 108 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs. You can also purchase my photography portfolio, "River to River - New York Scenes From a Bicycle" on Amazon.

Br. James

Br. James pointing at Gumbs.  Sandella looks on with his mouth open.

Robert Gumbs

LaSalle Rally

The man

He was a great teacher

Nuts, lovable & capable of swift violence when you played the idiot too long

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