Friday, April 30, 2021

First Of May & Holy Communion 1962

Carl Schurz 1962 @Otto Nelson

Tomorrow, the First of May reminds me of my 1962 First Holy Communion suit. When you’re a seven year old pig-boy, Mom rarely gets an opportunity to dress you up and keep you dressed up in one piece. (At least through noon)

When Mom bought my blue outfit I didn’t know I’d have to wear it three horrifying times.

Besides the communion event, we wore our monkey suits for the Crowning of the May Queen in St. Stephen of Hungary’s Grotto on the side of the church. 
don't mess with them

Since the second grade class all had new suits and pretty white dresses, the nuns drafted us into the school-wide ceremonial crowning of the Statue of Mary. Some girl was made crowner and every one else in the class were her drones. Most of the Moms showed up for this non-prime time event simply because they couldn’t believe they got their kid to dress up again. 
Ryan girls 1964



My third appearance in the suit nearly killed me.

For an unexplainable reason, the nuns at St. Stephen’s school and certain mothers were compelled to put on a talent show every year, despite the fact there was no talent in the student body If you discount the Rheinwald Brothers' dueling accordions. They were good. 
talent show 1965


The show's producer, Mrs. Otis, took advantage of our recent Sunday's best purchase and forced the boys and girls to dance a Viennese waltz in our blue suits and white communion dresses. You got to be kidding. She insisted the boys wear white gloves. Make me vomit
Confirmation 1963 three of us happy with Dad

I begged Mom to stay home. I faked sick the day of the show triggering a swift kick in the ass on my way out the door.

Rory communion 1964 w/Mearns girls
 

Rory in talent show 1965

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Madame Butterfly Goes Down

My first published short story, "Madame Butterfly Goes Down," appeared in Thomas Beller's anthology, "Lost & Found: Stories From New York." Here's the true tale from 2006. 

Last Saturday night, I had smelly cheese, cashews, black bean dip, spooned Hellmann’s and three Coronas for dinner. I over-bought crap for company, it’s causing me stomach problems, but I have to finish the stuff. Sunday morning, I met a writing editor on Cathedral Parkway who took too much money to tell me too little about my work. I left her apartment feeling down. Driving east, I saw a woman trip in the middle of Manhattan Avenue. She hit her head. I parked along side her forcing traffic around the scene. Her face was pressed to the asphalt. It was hard to see how injured she was. Someone called an ambulance. After a few minutes, she turned her head towards me. She was bleeding from two cuts, one on her nose and one on her lip, but otherwise looked OK. Her name was Grace, an Asian lady in her sixties, curly gray hair and weak English. I knew her name because the guy helping me help her was her neighbor in the tall building across the street. Once Grace got her bearings, me and the other fellow walked Grace into her lobby. After she sat down, she tried to force an envelope into my hands. “Take this, take this.” “I don’t want it.” “Take this, take this.” The other guy said take it, so I took it. On the sidewalk, I opened it and found a single ticket for Madame Butterfly at Lincoln Center, Row A in the Second Ring.



Performance started at one thirty. It was twelve thirty-five. My life-long opera experience was limited to Alfalfa’s Barber of Seville, Elmer Fudd’s Siegfried & Bugs Bunny’s Brunhilde.




Despite this handicap, my interest was high because the “Un bel di, vedremo” aria was my Mom’s favorite music. Coming home from school, if I heard this sorrowful melody coming through my front door, I knew Mom was having a special afternoon. She’d have a look on her face that nothing else ever put there. I parked the car on East 82nd Street, dropped my stuff off and hailed a cab at one o’clock. The Greek parade cut off cross-town traffic through Central Park. We ended up going down to 53rd Street, to go west, and back up Eighth to get to Broadway and 63rd Street. I made it on the button. Walking through Lincoln Center’s plaza, I felt a breeze on my crotch through the hole in my dungarees. I remembered Mom pulling me back into our Yorkville apartment when I tried to sneak out of the house in a torn shirt. She’d be so proud. Entering the theatre’s second ring, sitting in my first row seat at the end of the aisle, I floated back to the late ’60s when I regularly scored a single ticket for a New York Giant football game at old Yankee Stadium. Being at the opera was strange and familiar at the same time. 

Despite my best efforts, Act One had me on the ropes – the dark space, the sweet music and a comfy chair conspired. I couldn’t stay awake. I was having these mini-dreams involving Sigourney Weaver, loose clothing and me. I didn’t want to stay awake. I only needed to hear Mom’s aria in the second act. Unfortunately, the lady next to me was an arm-rest hog. She was eating and swigging soda with a friend, and felt that half my air space was sovereign for her meat hook. Every time Sigourney went to lick my ear, my neighbor’s elbow took my arm out from under itself, like a judo leg swing. At one point, my glasses flew off when my chin bounced off the wood arm-rest. In the distance, I heard B.F. Pinkerton romancing Cio Cio San in Italian, my ancestors’ tongue. I didn’t understand a word. Recovering my specs, I plotted revenge. Gathering all the gas in my intestinal tract, I secured it in a single room right above my exit passage. I held it still. Saturday night’s meal was the perfect storm. I built pressure and blocked it. When I fatigued my sphincter muscle, I lifted my right cheek and let her blow. The strength of the release lifted the rest of my ass off my seat. Using my arms, I arched right to ensure my aim was true. The cloud sucked the oxygen out of the air. When the wind died down, I got a quick look at the woman’s face, her bushy eyebrows were waving and she was barely conscious, then I ran out to the lobby. After the intermission, my neighbor switch seats with her friend. I had no further arm-rest issue. The cold air during the break woke me up and I was all there, listening to the beautiful soprano sing “Un bel di, vedremo” gorgeously. I cried, thought of Mom, it felt good. 

During the second intermission, I scouted one of the information tables in the lobby. There was a brochure for a free Big Band concert the following week. An attractive volunteer leaned into me. “Do you like Big Band music?” “I adore it.” I answered. “You’re kind of young to be into it.” “I have all my Dad’s reel to reel tapes, Dorseys, Miller, James, Shaw and many more. We fought over music, but ended up liking a lot of the same stuff.” “Oh, that’s wonderful. My late husband loved the Big Bands. I have 150 albums that he played all the time.” She said. “You’re very lucky, I love vinyl.” “I don’t listen anymore, I have most of the stuff on CD and that’s fine for me.” “Give them to your kids.” “They don’t listen and don’t want them. Would you like them?” “That’d be great, but please think about it before giving them away.” “No, no, I’ve thought about it, and they’re clutter to me. I’d feel much better if someone was enjoying them.” Edith smiled. She and I exchanged personal information and kept talking until the chimes went off signaling the start of the third act. As I walked back to Ring Two, I thought about my day. I thought about Grace and her cut face. I thought about Mom humming along to Madame Butterfly. I thought about Dad’s devotion to Sinatra and our fights over Francis Albert’s best song. I figured my day at the opera would give any O. Henry story character a run for their money. I’m picking up the records next week.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Sunshine Came Softly Through My Window Today


Good day sunshine! Good day sunshine! Good day sunshine!

Between the ages of 3 to 13, I slept and woke up in three Yorkville apartments:

517 East 83rd Street, #4R,

1582 York Avenue, #2S

1616 York Avenue #1N

The morning light came into each household differently.

517 E. 83st #4R

517, a rear apartment faced northeast. My bedroom saw no light ~ it was on an air shaft. I woke early on the weekends, crept into the living room and turned the TV on low and sat right on top of it. Watched black & white cartoons immediately after the flag and the National Anthem signalled broadcasting was restarting. My favorite cartoon: Farmer Brown tortured by mice running up and down his walls. He chased them with a pitch fork. The bright light coming in our two yard facing windows warmed the back of my pajamas.

Aunt Mary 1582 York Ave.

1582 ~ I slept on the punishment couch in the junk room, there was no light, one of my Italian grandmother's giant cabinets blocked the air shaft window. Mom said Nan bought the flat lifeless couch at a rummage sale at a prison. In the early morning, the light in the apartment slowly leaked through the two kitchen windows facing due east. The light hazy like a lake right after dawn before the mist lifts. The light was filtered by a single family house directly in back of 1582 that you entered through an 84th St building, that preceded the tenements that began to rise around it in 1915.
Tommy & Barbie Pins @ 1616 York

1616 ~ the best ~ the apartment's kitchen faced due east with no obstruction, the sun came in like gangbusters. It slipped through unimpeded through the opening in the wall between the living room and the first bedroom where I slept on two cushy pillows my grandmother always puffed up for me before she hugged me tight and kissed me good night. I miss Nan Ryan. She made tea with Carnation Evaporated Milk and there was always a little milk bubble on top the can after you poured some.









Last Blossoms of the year

Monday, April 19, 2021

Safety Last!

I strolled the neighborhood with Dad all the time. Whenever I could I tried to direct our walk past Rappaport's Toy Bazaar on the east side of Third Avenue between 78th and 79th Streets. They had gorgeous model sailboats in the display window perfect for cruising Central Park's sailboat lake, south of the Alice in Wonderland statue. I pictured myself in my captain's cap directing my "Flying Dutchman" over the sea just off Fifth Avenue.
One day in the early 1960s, I got Dad to turn left on 79th Street putting us directly in front of Rappaport's. It was Saturday, and the street was crowded with people. Dad grabbed my hand and we did a punt return dance through and around most of the folks. I wanted to stop and pitch Dad on the boats, he wanted to get to 72nd Street to meet a friend. As he pulled me forward and I pulled him back, a tall man said, "Hi, Tommy." I said, "Hi, John." Dad gave me a funny look and we kept going. Crossing 78th Street a short chubby man with a moustache said, "Hey, Tommy." I said, " Hi, Jeff."



Once we were on the sidewalk, Dad stopped dead and twisted my head with his hand straight up so we made eye contact.

"Who the hell were those two men?"
"Oh, they're Emergency Room doctors at Lenox Hill."
1960

1958



Dad shook his head and we kept walking.


Later that night, Dad said to Mom, "I think Tommy should wear his football helmet all the time." The look on Mom's face said she was giving the idea strong consideration. I had no defense. My stitch collection was starting to make my face look like a hockey goaltender. A clumsy fellow, I regularly fell off the ten cent rides in front of Woolworth's, Lamston's and Grant's.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

St. Francis, The Pope & The Devil Dog


On October 4, 1965, the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Stephen of Hungary's student body marched up to Third Avenue to wave to Pope Paul VI driving by on his way to Yankee Stadium in his limousine. This was important to me on a few levels:


We were getting out of sixth grade early.

The New York Yankees stunk in 1965 and having the Pope say a Mass on their home field should help the team.

I'd have free rein to look at all the older girls in the school, and they couldn't do anything about it.

"What are you looking at?"
'Ha, ha,' I'd think, not say.

The Franciscan priests in our parish were good guys and the nuns and the students got into the spirit of the day each year, whether the Pope showed up or not. Plus, I loved the guy. St. Francis was cool. I loved animals and he blessed them. Unlike Doctor Doolittle, St. Francis could really talk to them. And, St. Francis was in my grandmother's holy trinity along with St. Anthony for lost objects and super duper St. Jude for hopeless cases ~ a biggie for our family.






Every two years, the school ran a movie of the Life of St. Francis in the auditorium getting us out of a class for a Friday afternoon. The movie wasn't bad, and I admired the comfort of only wearing a robe with a rope belt, best uniform every invented, and Italy was beautiful and I considered it a place I definitely would visit down the road. After lunch, we lined up outside the school and like a gaggle of 300 geese we waddled up 82nd Street to the avenue, where we stood against police saw horses on the east side of Third between 81st and 82nd Street.

Earlier that morning, I served eight o'clock mass with a guy in my class, Michael Toth, who was a big pain in my ass. One of those guys that always had to be first in everything: out the door, on line for the water fountain, first at bat in punch ball. Toth located a Siamese pipe connection right behind us against a building, and used it to sit on, its shape perfect for a kid's bottom. We waited a long time, and Toth also planned on standing on it when the Pope went by for a better view. Toth kept coming over and telling everyone how comfortable it was and how he was going to have a perfect view, and if anyone tried to sit there he'd run over and throw them off. We all wanted him dead.

While he's doing this, I'm eating a Devil Dog the long way, taking the two cake parts apart and starting to lick the crème out of the middle, when Toth comes over to tell Freddy Muller, "Ha. Ha, I've got a great seat," While he's yapping to Freddy, I slip one half of my half licked Devil Dog onto the Siamese connection, crème side up. Toth satisfied with himself, sits on it and he's so caught up he doesn't notice, the nun, sick of Toth popping up and down moves over to straighten him out, Toth pops up again on his way over to brag some more. The nun notices the Devil Dog sticking to his pants and smacks Toth in the head thinking he's an idiot. After she hits him she says, "Wipe yourself off, wood head."






Toth puzzled about everything, reaches behind and grabs most of the cake, and I could tell by the look on his face he was praying it wasn't dog crap. Meantime, the Pope's a half block north of us. I missed him, Toth missed him, and the nun hit Toth again because she missed him, too.

Above us from a window, I heard 'The We Five' singing on the radio, "When I woke up this morning, you were on my mind." I returned my focus to the older girls.




**********************************



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 134 Amazon five star reviews out of 134 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways & Checker cabs.

Praise for the book:

“Thomas R. Pryor has written a sweet, funny, loving memoir of growing up old-school in a colorful New York neighborhood. A story of sports, family, and boyhood, you’ll be able to all but taste, smell, and feel this vanished world.”
Kevin Baker, author of the novels “Dreamland,” Paradise Alley,” and “Strivers Row,” as well as other works of fiction and nonfiction


“Tommy Pryor’s New York City boyhood was nothing like mine, a few miles and a borough away, and yet in its heart, tenderness, and tough teachable moments around Dad and ball, it was the mid-century coming of age of all of us. A rousing read.”


“Pryor could take a felt hat and make it funny.”
Barbara Turner-Vesselago, author of “Writing Without A Parachute: The Art of Freefall”


“Pryor burrows into the terrain of his childhood with a longing and obsessiveness so powerful it feels like you are reading a memoir about his first great love.”
Thomas Beller, author, “J.D. Salinger: The Escape Artist” & founder, Mr. Beller's Neighborhood

The Jean Shepherd of Yorkville has a book - you should get! -Adam Wade, winner of 20 SLAMS at The Moth (18 StorySLAM victories and 2 GrandSLAM Championships)
I've been a HUGE fan of Thomas Pryor's stories for a long time. It's so great to read so many of them in this fantastic book. Pryor pours his heart and soul into each and everyone of them. Some gut wrenching, others laugh out loud funny. And you don't have to be a NY Giants fan or a Cowboys hater to enjoy this book (though that will help). You just have to have a heart and love fun, authentic stories. Buy this book, I promise you'll enjoy it!

Dave Hill "The Goddamn Dave Hill Show" ~ WFMU radio
I wasn't alive for the New York Thomas Pryor writes about, but thanks to his brilliant, honest, and hilarious book, I feel like I was there."

Great writers are supposed to transport you to their world -Nicole Ferraro, writer, N.Y Times 
Thomas Pryor is one of those unique writers who can grab your heart and make you laugh and cry in a single sentence. The portrait he paints of growing up in New York City -- in Yorkville, specifically -- in the 60s is so vivid that you'll feel yourself there with him in every single scene, and every single memory. Great writers are supposed to transport you to their world, and Thomas Pryor does this exceptionally well. You'll walk away from this book feeling like you know intimately every butcher and bartender in town, every Sister at St. Stephens, and certainly every member of Thomas's family. Even more than that, though, this is a book about being a kid, growing up, loving people and losing them, losing people and loving them even more, and finding one's way. Basically, it's a book for anyone who's ever experienced the sheer pleasure and pain of being alive and growing up. Buy it today. It will leave you feeling enriched, touched, entertained, and eager to turn to page one all over again.

Wonderful Storytelling with a Time Machine Effect! - Leslie Gosko, entertainer, storyteller, comedian, "Funniest Woman in NYC"
Heart-warming, hilarious, and wonderfully quirky, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys" has something for everyone. Thomas Pryor does a fantastic job of transporting you to 1960's New York where you feel like one of the characters in his Yorkville neighborhood. Stylistically reminiscent of Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story," this book, too, becomes an instant classic!

David Terhune - The Losers Lounge, co-founder
After reading "I Hate The Dallas Cowboys", I felt as if I had grown up with author Thomas Pryor. His stories of a childhood in New York City, punctuated by family photographs, drew me into his world and took me on a personal tour of the streets and neighborhoods of his youth. Living there were a host of vivid and eccentric characters - his parents, brother Rory, grandmother Nan, Joe from the candy store, Sister Mercedes, stewardesses Marie and Justine, and his many friends and co-conspirators with whom he shared his adventures and dreams. Mr. Pryor’s humor is gentle and infectious, his memories animated and engrossing. These essays are both historically valuable as well as entertaining in a way that befits the unique voice of New York City.





Monday, April 12, 2021

There Will Be Blood


Mr. Beller's Neighborhood published my bloody Yorkville story. Thank you, Mr. Beller's! 

At 16, my dream job was working behind the deli counter at Daitch Shopwell. As a stock boy this would be a coup. Watching Milton or Marty cut thin slices of rare roast beef and Jarlsberg Swiss, I cried with pain. Pain that some son of a bitch was going to eat that tasty mound of meat and cheese and it wouldn’t be me. One Saturday in 1970, Milton got sick and Marty asked if I wanted to help him out for the ladies afternoon cold cut rush?
“Huh?”



Did I want to see Emma Peel nude?
Did I want Ranger tickets on the glass?
Stupid questions, of course I wanted to be in the deli. And there I was, helping Marty make orders and sneaking bits of delicious cold cuts left and right into my mouth. I gained five pounds that day.

The following month, Milton was scheduled to be off for two Saturdays in a row, and Marty talked Harry Cohen, #16 store manager, into letting me cover. “Harry, you’ll save money using the kid!” Harry looked like Mr. Dithers from the Blondie comic strip. He pulled his starched collar, wiggled his neck with the huge hairy mole and said, “OK.”



I brought my LaSalle Academy schoolbag in. 


It was well used and had holes in its four corners from me throwing it around the subway platform while waiting for the #6 local at Bleecker Street. I needed the bag. I had no control this close to the goods. I talked Marty into letting me cover up the salads so he could leave early. This left me alone with the roast beef and Jarlsburg. I finely cut 3/4 of a pound each on the slicer, wrapped them like a spastic, and shoved the wax paper lumps into my bag. Making sure Pete the Assistant Manager saw how good a job I did cleaning the sawdust off the deli floor, I gathered my bag and said good night to all and went around the registers towards the exit. Two steps from the automatic door, I heard, “Pryor!” I turned towards the voice. The Assistant Manager was looking down. I followed his eyes and saw a long trail of blood leading from Pete’s feet to my LaSalle bag.
“Drip, drip, drip,”
I listened to the faint sound of my thieving deli days being cut off.



Sunday, April 11, 2021

"You Win Some, You..."


On my 12th birthday in 1966, Dad gave me a basketball. This was an odd present for two reasons: (1) Dad gifts to me always reflected his interests and he hated basketball. (2) I was terrible at basketball.

Right after Christmas 1965, I made up my mind I was going to change that. I would learn to dribble the ball with my right hand, drive in both directions to the basket, and force myself to jump higher. My vertical leap was challenged. When Dad and I played catch he’d sometimes throw the ball a little over my head so he could get a kick out of the short distance I put between the sidewalk and my chubby body with the dead legs. My left handed dribbling was something to watch. Each time I played a new rival I’d drive left, hit two to three baskets with a nasty hook until my opponent figured out "the lack of right" in my game and then I’d be blanketed for the rest of the match. Only reason I played basketball was for a good sweat because it certainly wasn’t pleasurable playing it poorly.



Dad was sick of hearing how much I wanted a basketball from New Year’s through St. Paddy’s Day so he bought the ball to shut me up. On the morning of the 20th, Dad passed the ball to me over Mom’s head as she was doing the dishes. I named it Joe, after my round headed friend, Joe Menesick, from 84th Street. It was Saturday, and I had to try it out down Carl Schurz Park. I thanked and kissed my parents, my brother, Rory, rolled his eyes and I ran down the four flights of stairs into the street.



A blast of wind headed west smacked my face on the 83rd Street stoop. I awkwardly dribbled the ball with one hand towards East End Avenue. I avoided the Drive near the water figuring a gale storm was whipping the river up. In the park, at the basketball court in the Hockey Field my left hand was numb and coiled like a cripple. I took my first shot from the top of the key, a doozy. It left my hand on a high arc and caught a demonic stream of air that lifted and carried the ball over the left side of the back board. Losing altitude near the fence, it struck a spike and let out a death rattle, “whisssh,” it hung there disheartened. I walked over to the ball, gave it an up and down but didn’t bother to touch it. It was useless. Like the ball, deflated, I walked home.








If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N.
Thank you!


Friday, April 9, 2021

Talking Scales!


"Please! Step on the scale!" said a firm voice.
I waited a second; listening closely, making sure my grandmother sounded busy three rooms away. When I heard the sink running, I stepped onto the scale.

"Your weight is 178 pounds. Have a nice day. Goodbye!"

"1985... I'm a fat bastard." I mumbled.

Laughing started in the kitchen at the other end of the railroad apartment on York Avenue. My grandmother with the hearing ability of a nocturnal animal was clearing her lungs and stomach, big ol' belly laughs starting way down. I wanted to kill her, and kick my cousin, Kathy, in the ass for buying her the talking scale with Don Pardo's voice.

I loved Nanny Cuckoo dearly but she wanted me fat. She wanted everyone fat. She loved food and loved eating with people, so she filled her fridge to the point it was dark in there because the low watt light bulb was shaded by a colossal head of iceberg lettuce sitting on two large tubs of Cool Whip. The Cool Whip to go on top of the Turf Cheese Cake that she bought in the bakery right next to our house. Italian Village pizza place on First Avenue considered her family and the Parkers’ bought their first car on the profits they made off Nan's cold cut orders at their grocery store.

She never bought a quarter pound of nothing. Half pound was a snack. Three quarters of a pound was getting into sandwich country. I was a cold cut junkie.

The bond with my friends was strengthened by the load of cold cuts, Jewish rye and condiments in my Nan's fridge. Artie Peters met me on Saturday afternoons on lunch break from my delivery job at Corner Pharmacy on 79th & York. We'd go straight to Parkers, buy a pound of Swiss cheese and a loaf of rye on Nan's credit in the marble book, go up the apartment and make six grilled cheeses, two each ~ Nan included. We made dark chiaroscuro swirls on Nan's white tin ceiling with the plume of smoke coming from the butter soaked black frying pan with the foot high flame under it.

Buddy McMahon and I, had a kind of exchange student relationship with his mom and my grandmother. I'd sometimes hang out with his Mom and shoot the shit while she loaded me up with 4 C Ice Tea. Buddy would drop by my grandmother's when I wasn't there for a quick sandwich and glass of milk and catch up on the local gossip and politics.

About a month after Nan got the scale, Buddy dropped up the apartment - for a change - while I was there. "Hey, Buddy, try out the new scale," Nan said.

Obediently, Buddy stepped on the scale clueless, and Nan looked like she just ate a canary.

"Your weight is 180 pounds. Have a nice day! Goodbye!"

Buddy startled, frowned and rubbed his belly. I was pleased, and Nan grinned.


Tommy Buddy 1985


Artie Tommy 1969

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Big Bunny

 


"It's bigger than Nan's turkey!" Rory said.
"Leave me alone, it's too early."
"Tommy, I swear it's huge. Get up!"

I tried to punch Rory but missed and my momentum carried me out of the bunk bed onto the bedroom floor. I got up and scratched my butt through my PJ's' on the short walk to the kitchen.

"Holy crap!" Rory was right. This was the largest chocolate bunny I'd ever seen. It took up half the space on the dinner table. Nearly twice the size of the big one in the window at Woolworth's on 86th Street. This monster rabbit was surrounded by painted Easter eggs and cream-filled chickadees. Mom out did herself, but this was no surprise with Mom when it came to chocolate and sweets. When she was 13, her class at St. Joseph's visited a candy factory in New Jersey owned by Father Heidi's family. When the kids were leaving the factory, the nun pulled Mom aside and patted her down. Mom had bars of chocolate stuck in various spots on her clothing and body. The nun grew suspicious when Mom kept her winter coat on for the whole trip despite the fact it was an unusually warm April day.

When I got home from school, I knew Mom was having a good afternoon if she had chocolate stuck between her teeth. She smiled a lot after chocolate, and smiled harder when Dad hit his thumb with a hammer.
Happy Easter, Ma! love, your Boys


Rory Tommy Bunny @1959





Ryans' @1938

If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. Thank you! (133 five-star Amazon reviews out of 133 posted)