Monday, January 30, 2017

Half Way Through Winter

We're just about half way through winter. That calls for beach photos on this frigid NYC day that nips at our ears and puts gloves on our hands.

Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."
Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 123 Amazon five star reviews out of 123 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.







Sunday, January 22, 2017

Central Park & Sideshow Goshko

Central Park lifts my spirit. My good life continues this coming Thursday at Sideshow Goshko 8th Anniversary w/Crews, Scholl, and Pryor! Four days away, Jan 26th @ 7pm @ KGB Bar & Lit Mag. Leslie Goshko, Kambri Crews & Rory Scholl, holey moley!

The best NYC bang for the buck since they lifted prohibition ~ FREE SHOW!

Here's a link to 125 Central Park photos!











Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'll Slice It Off!

I earned my first degree at P.S. 77 on the corner of 85th Street and First Avenue. My education continues next Thursday at Sideshow Goshko 8th Anniversary w/Crews, Scholl, and Pryor!
One week away,  Jan 26 @ 7pm @ KGB Bar & Lit Mag
*************************
Here's a P.S. 77 memory.

I'm at work on Church Street in the Post Office building, its ten o'clock at night. I'm making art for a friend's birthday card and needed to use the paper cutter. My whole life I've been afraid of that device.

I went to Kindergarten at P.S. 77 on 85th Street and First Avenue. In the spring of 1960, Eisenhower was a lame duck President and the presidential campaign was kicking off.  Because of Kennedy's Catholic thing, there was a buzz in my papal favorable neighborhood about the election. Everybody's parents were taking strong sides; so of course, you did too ~ just repeating whatever you heard. I was for Kennedy, and John Cupo, a five year old, staunch Republican, was for Nixon. John and I had big mouths and we fought over anything. One day, he hit me, I hit him, but the teacher, Mrs. Brown, only saw my punch. She punished me by putting me under her desk in front of the classroom.

I was pretty angry about this and when I heard Cupo laughing at me I started yelling at him from under the desk. This led to little kicks in my ass from Mrs. Brown. She leaned under the desk and told me, "If you ever expect to get out of there, be quiet for the rest of the morning." I said, "OK."
Five minutes later, I heard Cupo and at least two other guys laughing, I assumed at me, and I went a little crazy, yelling, "stupid, fat head, dummy," and other five yr old insults.

By this point, Mrs. Brown was working my ass with her foot like a bass drum. I was immune, Cupo got my goat. I kept it up.

That's when, Mrs. Brown leaned over and said, "Thomas, say one more thing, and I'll put your arm in the paper cutter and slice it off."

Not a word. I'm still scared of paper cutters.





Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,
"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."
Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 123 Amazon five star reviews out of 123 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.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

And My Father Still Thought My Hair Was Way Too Long

LaSalle Freshman Homeroom 406 @ 1.14.69
Started LaSalle Academy high school in September 1968. Any morning I forgot my tie (often) and needed to get my back-up-shitty-tie in my locker on my neck before Brother Michael or a snitch saw me in front of the school, I'd spy which of the two entrances Brother Michael was closest to and work my way around the cars to the other entrance and shoot in there up to the 4th floor.
I remember my first day at school, September 1968, I split a locker with Kenneth Ropiak. To our right the locker belonged to a senior with a buzz crew-cut, he wore his school sweater every day (I smelled his armpits five feet away) on that first day he opened his locker and there was a Nixon for President poster, in my head, WTF. The guy looked like he hung out with Eddie Haskel and picked on Theodore Cleaver every day unless parents or teachers were looking.

Between our freshman and sophomore year, the summer of 1969 deeply changed our look and the point of view for most of us and our teachers, too.


Al's entry in my yearbook
There were six homeroom classes for each of the four years at the time I went to LaSalle, our graduation total was 212)The coolest guy in our homeroom class was Albert Gomez. A world class anarchist. Sat there as cool as James Bond while instigating three alarm mischief fires on Beyrer, Ernie Kovacs, Cullinan and Gully. To name a few. Gomez never ever got caught. Didn't smirk at you when you were getting slapped or punched. Held his poker face. Getting the thing started was all Gomez needed.

Really pissing Dad off... after four years at LaSalle, my I.D. entering Hunter College in September 1972.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thinking About An Old School Chum

In the La Salle Academy 1972 yearbook, John Egan, a serious and thoughtful friend, (John was part of the relay team that set the national high school record for the 440 in 1971 at Franklin Field) wrote the note below:

Tom,
Well, Teddy, I hope I meet you in 94, in case I don't I'll meet you in 95. Seriously, I hope that you'll harness your comic self and always make others happy, while still staying yourself and use your creative writing."
John ~ 1972

John
It took me 31 years to harness my creative part and write my first story at 49. Your words of inspiration never left my head. They hid under a cloud of doubt and self-imposed responsibilities. Today, I take the yearbook out now and then and when I read your note I hear one word, "faith," Thank you, John.
Tom ~ 2017

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Charlie Plays Saluga, All By Herself

"Who's got the ball? Huh? Me!!!" 

Carl Schurz Park, Saturday morning, Charlie's Second Snow Day. Charlie finds the ball and runs away, and runs away, and runs away, until no one is chasing her. Pleased and annoyed at the same time, "OOOOOOOOO" Charlie bays for a partner, but alas, the game is done.

This Tuesday, Charlie's headed to the New York Story Exchange -Tuesday, January 10th storytelling show.









Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,
"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."
Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 122 Amazon five star reviews out of 122 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.








Charlie relaxing after her snow romp


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Charlie & Coach Spags

In the locker room, Charlie's attention is on Steve Spagnuolo, The New York Football Giants Defensive Coach, as he diagrams various blitz options. Coach Spags relys on Charlie's fine ears and rock solid intuition. 


After flying home from G.B, Charlie's headed to the New York Story Exchange -Tuesday, January 10th storytelling show.











Do you like old New York City photos and street life stories? Then check out my 1960s memoir,"I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood."
Available at Logos Book Store and online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The book has 122 Amazon five star reviews out of 122 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.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Dad Shot Thumper

Mr. Beller's Neighborhood published an old Yorkville story of mine.

Dad used to hunt. He didn't golf, so hunting was another made up reason to get out of the house. He never struck me as the hunting type, but once or twice a year, he'd be off upstate for a long weekend. It was a Yorkville man thing in the 1950s and 1960s.

As he was walking out the door in his Elmer Fudd hat with his rifle, Mom told him," If you shoot something, I want you to think about Bambi's mother lying in the woods bleeding to death, and she's thinking about her poor baby left with that heartless bastard father."

Dad's face did tricks when Mom said that. I never seen such complicated movement from Dad's mouth, eyes, cheeks, and eyebrows. He looked heartbroken, sad, angry, confused and through it all still came back to the look, like he wanted to kill Mom.

Well, one time he gets home from hunting, and he ain't talking. I give him a good look over, and I can see he's not playing mum because he's hungover, something's on his mind. He sits in his chair, and Mom starts pressing him.

"What the hell's a matter with you?"

For a long time, he says nothing, but Mom keeps at him, and he tears up. Up to then, I only saw Dad cry over movies. "I watched it die," he said.

"What?"
"I shot a rabbit, then I watched it die."
"You son of a bitch."
"The poor thing was in pain, I'm never hunt again."
"You bet your ass."

And that was that. While Mom and Dad were talking, I began to think about Thumper. Dad loved Thumper, he drew him and Bambi for Rory & me all the time. Dad shot Thumper. I had nothing to to say.

The next day it snowed heavy, I asked, "Dad, since you're not going to hunt anymore can I use your pigskin gloves?"

Dad gave me one of his "you're out of your mind" looks, he loved those yellow gloves, had them since 1952, then, he thought it over and said, "OK."


I flew over to Central Park with Rory and the McNamara brothers. We worked the hill on 79th Street until we were soaked to the bone. When the chills got us, we dragged our sleighs back home. Mom wouldn't let us in the house until we took off everything but our drawers in the hallway. I was hoping to go back up to the park that night, so I needed to get everything dried quick. I wrapped my dungarees and long johns around the steam pole and put my socks, sweatshirt and dad's pigskin gloves on the radiator. An hour later, I went to check on everything. My dungarees and long johns were almost dried, then, I went to the radiator. The socks were fine, but Dad's gloves looked like shrunken voodoo heads. The fingers were blackened and curled up like they wanted to take a nap, for forever. They were half their normal size. Resembled beef jerky.

Before I could say I lost them, Dad came in the house and saw me looking them over. I tried to palm them down my underwear. They were too hot. He walked up to me and took one of the gloves out of my hand. Dad didn't hit, but sometimes I wished he did, rather than deal with his leaning in, verbal assaults. I could see he was about to rip into me and I rushed to say, "Dad I'm really sorry, I didn't mean it, and you're not going hunting anymore, right?"


His face switched over, he was thinking about the bunny. He held the glove up, looked at it once, gave it back to me and walked away.