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Archive for the ‘Childhood’ Category

I posted on a MamaKats Writer’s Workshop about my best friend and about how his mother, in a way, saved my life. The way I meant it was that my life could have gone in a very different direction than it did and I could have been one of those kids who hung out at the handball courts after, and even during, school with crazy long hair and smoking medicinal cigarettes <wink>. Nowadays, it may not mean the same thing but back in my day, the kids on the handball courts were the burnouts and smoked both legal (age restrictions to purchase cigarettes did not exist when I was in High School) and illegal substances.

Mom Miller kept me in line from that. I honestly do not think that was her plan, but it worked anyway. I think her plan was that I was her son’s best friend and the only one of his friends she liked and never banned from going over there… ever.

Anyway, she treated me loosely like one of her own. If you have been reading my posts, you know that my mother passed away almost 8 years ago from cancer. It took me a while to deal with everything and blogging helped a lot with that. No one read those posts, except for my one close friend from downstate. My thought was that if I am going through something like this, someone else is probably going through the same and if I help even one person then I would be glad I helped.

Well, about a week and a half ago Mom Miller passed away from Cancer. Oh Cancer, how I hate thee! I received the text from Mark at 6:32am. I had no idea he was even going down to Florida to see her. If I had I think I would have done what I could to get down there. Not only to say goodbye, but to also be there for the best friend any guy could ever hope for.

I think I feel a little worse than normal because she was up in mid-May. I had pneumonia, but Mark put together a little BBQ for mother’s day, even though it wasn’t mothers day. When he told me I told Erica that I wanted us to go. We went but she was not feeling well enough to go. I wanted to go see her, but they said she was leaving on Thursday but she actually left on Wednesday morning… the day I was going to see her. So I didn’t see her.

Now she is gone. She was tough. She was VERY tough on Mark but I think it was because her and he was very similar and neither wanted to admit it. They had a funeral service in Florida but it sounds like they are having a service and burial service here in New York. She lived here in NY for most of her life. Her two sons and daughter-in-laws are here. Mark’s older brother is in FL, but her sisters and mainly the entire family is here on Long Island.

I feel bad I didn’t go more out of my way to see her when she was here over a month ago. I will definitely be there for the funeral showings and be there for Mark in any way I can. I called him but he didn’t know what was going on at the time and said he would call me later. That was a few days ago. It’s going to be a difficult for Mark and his family, but this process is difficult for anyone.

What did you do to help with loss of a close loved one?

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This week I decided to write about a time I was tricked.

At first I thought, “This is going to be difficult!” but then, after only a few minutes I had my post in my head and just needed to put it on wordpress! I think it’s pretty bad that it only took me a few minutes for this to pop into my head. Apparently I was a very gullible kid… but it always backfires in the end!

It was a LOOOONG time ago… in a town not so far away.

I think I was about 11 or 12. I used to love to ride my bicycle EVERYWHERE! I rode distances at 12 years old that some people can’t even do in the 20’s or 30’s! But Long Island was different back then.

Anyway, I had just arrived home from a very long ride. My Aunt Cathy was over and her and my mom was in the kitchen having coffee or whatever relatives do. I walked in, said hello and then went directly upstairs to take a nap. My annoying brother was in the living room watching TV.

I remember lying down and hearing my mother and Aunt talking and then my mother called in to the living room for my brother…

IDIOT BROTHER: What ma!

Mother: I need you to go to the store for me.

IDIOT BROTHER: I just got back from going to the store for you!

Mom: Yeah, but I forgot some things. Can’t you go for me please?

IDIOT BROTHER: No. You should not have forgotten anything. It’s faster if you drive anyway.

Mom: You’re an idiot. At least your brother is nice and I can count on him to go for me. Jim!

Me: What?

Mom: I know you will go to the store for me unlike your brother!

Me: OK. What do you need?

I still remember the smirk on my Aunts face as I had not yet realized I had been duped into going to the store for my mother. I didn’t realize it until I was halfway there that she was just buttering me up so I would go for her.

When I got to the store, I remember what she wanted was on sale so I used the extra money to play Pac-Man for over an hour. When I arrived home my mom was upset that it took me so long.

My answer? “You asked me to go but you never said you needed me to come back right away!”

Ha ha. Sometimes the things we remember without thinking about it.

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This week on Mama Kats Writer’s Workshop we were to take one of the stories from last weeks’ Life stories post and go into detail. Since I went into detail on most of them and this story is the one we still refer to when we are together I thought I would repost this.

Run in with the “Hey, Knock it off” guy

One time we were out riding bikes. We were about 13 maybe, and we were just sitting around by the 3rd street hills chatting. I was messing with this really big rock, Pat found this axe handle he was batting pebbles with, Danny had a really big beer bottle. It was a colt 45 bottle but we had never seen a beer bottle that HUGE before so we thought it was cool. And Mark had a wise ass mouth! LOL. Funny how mark is in most of these stories… but then again we have been friends for over 35 years.

Well we got up and left and we all took our found treasures with us. To this day I have no idea why I took a huge 10+ pound rock but kids do weird things.

We rode down the dead end street because we could ride through and I threw my rock at a stop sign and it made a HUGE BONG! After I did that Danny threw the bottle at the sign and missed and it broke on the curb and Pat swung the axe handle at the sign and it made an even bigger BONG.

We rode through the street and this guy yells “HEY, Knock it off!” And, Mark not being armed with a wise mouth mocked him in a very funny voice and we rode to the creek hills.

Now the creek hills were a few small hills with a creek running through but it was an undeveloped area and it opened up to 5 or 6 different streets. We used it many times to get away from kids who were chasing us during our bike chases (but that is a story for another Blog). We stopped on a hill and Mark wanted to keep going but I had my new Puma sneakers on and say “No way, not with my new Pumas!”

So we were laughing about it and how the guy yelled at us and Marked Mocked him again. Just as he did it this big car screeched to a stop about 15 feet or so from us and it was the Hey Knock it off guy. This time he yelled, quite angrily I may add “Hey you kids, get over here!”

So we did what any group of kids does… we took off through the creek and down the path.

We stopped a little down the path because I had a feeling the guy was waiting for us to pop out on one of the streets. Sure enough, he passed by our location and yelled at us again so we took off in the opposite direction.

We did this for about 10-15 minutes with the guy going from one street access to another and we rode to a different one. After 15 minutes he disappeared for a while so we were about to leave and a car drove past one of the entrances but it was a different car. We didn’t leave right away but I knew we needed to because there was something in the trunk. Apparently the Hey Knock it off Guy had gotten his wife’s bicycle, complete with while plastic woven basket with flowers on the front, and asked his friend to bring him to the far entrance and he was going to chase us. Luckily we realized what was happening and took off, but he nearly caught Danny and we took off this time.

Luckily we were all VERY fast on our bikes and he could not catch us. He chased us all the way to the Junior High school which was about 6 or 7 long blocks away and so we did our normal routine.

We cut through Jr. High and jumped the rear steps and waited on the dirt road to see what was going on. This area was always safe because we had about 50-100 feet in every direction to see someone coming at us and a car would have to jump the steps. Once we saw the car with the basket bicycle pull up, we waited for the car to unload the bike and we yelled “Hey Knock it off” in our nasally mocking voice and did the last thing we always did. Beat it to my house, went into the back yard, turned one of the bicycles upside down and popped the chain so it looked like we were working on it and watched through my back yard hedges to see if he passed by. With the hedges we could see people but they had difficulty seeing us.

He rode past and we never heard from him again. To this day we do the nasally, mock voice for him saying “Hey, Knock it off!”, back then – we didn’t go anywhere near that road for 2 weeks… just in case.

 

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This week’s prompts made me really think. I mean I have tons of Life Stories but when you have to actually sit down and put 10 of them on a list… it becomes a little daunting. But I did it. So here they are. In no particular order.

1. Denting a truck

This particular story sounds straight forward, but it isn’t. Nothing with me ever is, at least not the pre-30’s me. So here is what happened.

I had just learned how to ride a 2 wheeler bicycle. I had a bicycle but it was really cheap and from being embarrassed to ride a bike with training wheels at age 7 I didn’t use it and it did not work. Fortunately, some family friends had given a new bicycle to their kids so they gave us their old one. I remember it to this day. It was a Ross 3 speed bicycle. It was brown, VERY scratched and rusted, with a big banana albeit ripped seat and the shifter didn’t work. However, it worked and that’s all I cared about.

Well, it also had this fender on the front wheel and I was riding and watching the tire near the fender and then BAM!

I had run right into my neighbors 1976 Chevy Blazer! I bent the license plate and left a nice dent in the rear door. I cried but more out of being startled than being hurt.

Unfortunately my Dad had to pay to have the truck fixed!

2. Undenting our Aunt’s Car

One time we were at my best friend’s house having a BBQ. His daughter was little, maybe 2 or 3 and we were all messing around and teasing Mark’s little brother Scott. Well, Scott either pushed or punched (I cannot remember which) his brother, My friend, Mark and Mark jumped on him and they wrestled…

Right into Aunt Barb’s Lincoln town car.

At the time Scott was a bit hefty and when Mark pushed him we heard this DOINK and everything stopped. They slowly backed away from the car and there was this really big dent the size of Scott’s butt in the rear quarter panel of her car. We thought we were screwed because then Mom came walking over (it was Mark & Scott’s mom but I was family and I call her mom till this day). Mark leaned against the car covering the dent and she told us to mess around somewhere else because if anything happened to Aunt Barb’s car she would KILL us. We said ok and she walked away.

We have no idea if she knew there was a dent and wanted us to panic and then come clean or what.

Anyway, Mark ran into the house and told us to keep it covered. About 3 minutes later he came out with a bathroom plunger. We put it to the dent, pulled and DOINK the dent came right out PERFECTLY. There was not a single mark on the car.

If they knew about it, they never told us.

3. Run in with the “Hey, Knock it off” guy

One time we were out riding bikes. We were about 13 maybe, and we were just sitting around by the 3rd street hills chatting. I was messing with this really big rock, Pat found this axe handle he was batting pebbles with, Danny had a really big beer bottle. It was a colt 45 bottle but we had never seen a beer bottle that HUGE before so we thought it was cool. And Mark had a wise ass mouth! LOL. Funny how mark is in most of these stories… but then again we have been friends for over 35 years.

Well we got up and left and we all took our found treasures with us. To this day I have no idea why I took a huge 10+ pound rock but kids do weird things.

We rode down the dead end street because we could ride through and I threw my rock at a stop sign and it made a HUGE BONG! After I did that Danny threw the bottle at the sign and missed and it broke on the curb and Pat swung the axe handle at the sign and it made an even bigger BONG.

We rode through the street and this guy yells “HEY, Knock it off!” And, Mark not being armed with a wise mouth mocked him in a very funny voice and we rode to the creek hills.

Now the creek hills were a few small hills with a creek running through but it was an undeveloped area and it opened up to 5 or 6 different streets. We used it many times to get away from kids who were chasing us during our bike chases (but that is a story for another Blog). We stopped on a hill and Mark wanted to keep going but I had my new Puma sneakers on and say “No way, not with my new Pumas!”

So we were laughing about it and how the guy yelled at us and Marked Mocked him again. Just as he did it this big car screeched to a stop about 15 feet or so from us and it was the Hey Knock it off guy. This time he yelled, quite angrily I may add “Hey you kids, get over here!”

So we did what any group of kids does… we took off through the creek and down the path.

We stopped a little down the path because I had a feeling the guy was waiting for us to pop out on one of the streets. Sure enough, he passed by our location and yelled at us again so we took off in the opposite direction.

We did this for about 10-15 minutes with the guy going from one street access to another and we rode to a different one. After 15 minutes he disappeared for a while so we were about to leave and a car drove past one of the entrances but it was a different car. We didn’t leave right away but I knew we needed to because there was something in the trunk. Apparently the Hey Knock it off Guy had gotten his wife’s bicycle, complete with while plastic woven basket with flowers on the front, and asked his friend to bring him to the far entrance and he was going to chase us. Luckily we realized what was happening and took off, but he nearly caught Danny and we took off this time.

Luckily we were all VERY fast on our bikes and he could not catch us. He chased us all the way to the Junior High school which was about 6 or 7 long blocks away and so we did our normal routine.

We cut through Jr. High and jumped the rear steps and waited on the dirt road to see what was going on. This area was always safe because we had about 50-100 feet in every direction to see someone coming at us and a car would have to jump the steps. Once we saw the car with the basket bicycle pull up, we waited for the car to unload the bike and we yelled “Hey Knock it off” in our nasally mocking voice and did the last thing we always did. Beat it to my house, went into the back yard, turned one of the bicycles upside down and popped the chain so it looked like we were working on it and watched through my back yard hedges to see if he passed by. With the hedges we could see people but they had difficulty seeing us.

He rode past and we never heard from him again. But to this day we do the nasally mock voice for him and back then, we didn’t go anywhere near that road for 2 weeks… just in case.

4. Homemade convertible

This one time we were going out east to go 4-wheeling with our trucks. Danny didn’t have a truck so he usually just came with us because 4-wheeling is TONS of fun.

Well, danny decided to buy a cheap wrecker of a car and we decided it would be cool to see if we could make it into a convertible. So we used Mark’s blow torch and cut the roof off and it was cool. The problem was the car.

It was a $100 wreck. It leaked oil like CRAZY! We had to put oil into it every 50 miles or so. And the hood didn’t latch so it was held down with a chain.

Anyway, after the roof was off and we were heading out east, Danny and Don were in the car and stopped to gas up and put oil in the car. So they did but tweedle dumb aand tweedle dumber forgot to attach the chain.

They were driving down the road with us behind them and wind caught the hood and it opened. Now that alone would be funny enough except they were moving at about 50 mph so the hood lifted up, bent back, hit the windshield top where we cut the roof off. The hood creased right along the edge and the hood wacked both of them right on top of their noggins.

Thank goodness no one was really hurt but it took Dan and Don about 25 minutes to calm down from their headaches and almost the same amount of time for Mark and I to stop laughing.

5. How we learned to ski

Some of our friends skied and were very good. Mark and I had never gone, didn’t won skis but figured it would be fun. Plus we were 19 and ski bunnies are HOT! So we went.

Now normal friends would take it easy and bring you up to a beginner or intermediate hill first. Not our friends. They thought it would be funny to bring us up to a double diamond. They also figured Mark and I were smart enough to look down the steepness of a double diamond on Windham mountain and get right back on the lift and go down. Well, little did they know we were NOT that bright… wait… that came out wrong.

Anyway, Mark and I said “Ok what do we do Now?” So our friends gave us a 3 minute lesson on how to ski and told us to go down on the lift to an easier mountain.

Mark and I said “OK” and went right down the double diamond.

Unfortunately our friends did not teach us how to stop. They kept telling me to sit down and I will wipe out stop but when I sat down, I sat right on my skis and went faster.

I had to put my gloved hand down into the snow and use my hand as a sort of emergency break. It worked but it also ripped my glove apart but both of us went down the mountain all the way with our friends and did not wipe out at all.

So, like the brain surgeons we were. We got on the lift again and did the same double diamond again.

After the second run, we stayed on the blue trails for the rest of the trip… until the end. Mark did the double diamond one last time and made it the entire way without trying to stop and did fine.

Oh yeah. We also had no idea what was needed for the trip so we actually skied the entire day… in our jeans! but we were smart enough to bring dry ones for the ride home! LOL

6. Our run in with Drug dealers

One night we were hanging out at “The water tower” not too far from us with some girls we were hanging out with. The area was isolated and we would do burn outs with our car on the road and then go over to the water tower and do the normal things 20 year olds do when in the woods with girls. 😉

Well, we were leaving and Me, Mark and Linda were in Mark’s car and Guy, Terry and Kim were in Guy’s car and this car drove up to us and asked if we wanted to buy Cocaine. We said no and they did the same to Guy. We left and they drove up next to Guy as he was going down the hill and ran him off the road. So we backed around and chased the drug dealers and got in front of them. We drove about 5 miles an hour and our 2 cars blocked the entire road so they couldn’t pass us. We even slammed the brakes a few times and they crashed into our car and their front grill was all messed up. We did this for about 5 minutes until Guy said it looks like one of them was reaching under the seat. We thought gun so we took off.

They tried to catch up but its hard to catch a 69 AMC javelin with a 343 and a 74 AMC javelin with a 360. We were loooong gone by the time they hit the gas!


7. Our teenage weekends

When we were teenagers and had our licenses we would do the typical drive all the common drag strips and meet new people.

Well, one Friday night we were bored!!! So I asked if Mark or his girlfriend, now wife, were working that weekend. None of us were so I said, “let’s go visit grandma and grandpa upstate!”

Mark and Tina both laughed and said no way.

Then about 15 minutes later we were driving upstate and sometime around 1 or so we pulled into their driveway. We had never done anything like this before and it felt AWESOME. We had the best weekend because Marks grandparents owned a mountain and his cousins house was directly across the street! So we were 4 wheeling and shooting bows and arrows all weekend as well as snowboarding off the back of the mountain.

I did get a little yelled at the next day, but my dad backed me up. When I went home to pack my mother was asleep and my dad was watching TV so I told him our plan and he said “ok, have fun” I think he even gave me $20.

8. Why my best friends wife hates me

My best friend Mark and his wife have been dating since high school. The problem was that they were THAT couple. You know. The couple that breaks up every other day and then gets back together the next day.

Now the reason she didn’t like me was because she expected Mark to mope around the house and then go back to her and apologize for whatever it was he did. And he did a lot of things back then. But she never factored me into the equation and I would never let him mope at home.

I remember one time, I went out with a female friend of mine that I worked with after work. When I met up with her, she had a friend with her, so my first call was to mark.

“Dude, what are you doing?”

“Watching TV.”

“Are you and Tina together or did you break up again?”

“Crazy chick! She just left here and we broke up… again!”

“AWESOME! I just met two girls and you will DEFINITELY like them!”

“Nah, I’m just going to stay in.”

“Duuuude!!! You’re killing me! Trust me, you will not be disappointed!”

“OK”

And then a few hours later Tina would call Mark’s house and Mark’s brother Scott, the kid without a filter would say to her. “Yeah. Mark was here and looked pretty bummed, but then Jimmy called and he had met two girls and since you guys are broken up he would out with Jimmy!”

I still cannot figure out why she hates me!

9. Thanks Giving

Most people think of family and dinner every Thanksgiving. Not so for myself and Mark.

Our best Thanksgiving was when we were about 19 years old. We had found these trails a few weeks before and we also found a secret way to get our cars onto them.

The thanksgiving of 1989 or 1990 we took Mark’s Duster and drove all over the trails. We were driving on them and racing through puddles like we were the Dukes of hazzrd all day. That was until the Park Police started chasing us. Then we were chased by the Park police for about an hour until we felt we had a big enough lead on them to get to the secret entrance and get through without them finding it… so we could us it again later!

Every Thanksgiving we remember that day and blasting The Ramones.

10. Teaching my sister how to take aspirin

This one is a short one.

My sister was sick and she was at the evil girl stage. You know, that ages between 13 and 17 when you cannot ask a single thing without being given a rude, sarcastic remark! Anyway, she was taking a couple of aspirin and I told her the right way to take them was to chew them. She swallowed the first one whole and I told her it was wrong and to chew it.

She did and the look on her face made it all worth it since she was the evil teen sister from hell!!

Now she is the best sister any brother could ever ask for!

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This week for the writer’s workshop I chose the top 10 TV shows. These are the shows that I grew up watching. Most were educational in some fashion but some were just only there for entertainment purposes. Although I feel it is important to learn, I also think it is important to relax and just entertain. Here is the list of TV shows I grew up with:

  1. You can’t do that on Television

    I grew up with this show and it was my favorite for a VERY long time. I still remember, over 20 10 years later that saying “I Don’t Know” meant you were going to be slimed and saying “Water” meant a bucket of water was going to be dumped on your head! I remember the introduction to the opposites and locker jokes. Although I want my daughter to watch educational shows, when she is old enough to understand it all, I also think some brainless, comedic down time (besides the kind of brainless humor I will provide) is also needed.

  2. The facts of Life

    This was a good show at the time. It touched on topics needed to be addressed like when Blair fell out of love with her boyfriend of a very long period of time and Mrs. Garrett explained how that can happen and its ok if that happens. My wife sill misses this show as well.

  3. Buck Roger’s in the 25th Century

    This was a good show. It was not as good as Star Trek: Next Generation that actually explored space, possibilities as well as many of the star trek concepts which are based on possibilities and even being worked on today, such as a light speed engine for us to explore beyond our galaxy.

  4. Zoom

    This was my after school show. I don’t remember a lot of it but I do remember that its main theme was making friends and friendships. I even remember a little of the theme song! ” Come on and zoom down to my zoom… come on and zooma zooma zooma zoom… everyone is doing it everyone is making it fly high!” Ok maybe the theme song is more about giving in to peer pressure and maybe drugs? Maybe we will cross this one off the list!

  5. Electric Company

    This was a good educational show. I remember at one point they wanted to try and bring this show back, but what was good for the 70’s is not good for the 21st century. Keeping things up to date and with current needs of kids who are getting smarter and learning more at a faster rate is needed.

  6. The Incredible Hulk

    I used to watch this show on Wednesday nights, I believe. I think bringing it back with a little more educational theme would be good. I mean Bruce is wondering the US trying to find a cure why not go a little further into the chemistry of what he is trying to do or maybe a little more geography about the places he is traveling to. Granted, as the hulk, he rips his pants to pieces and yet his pants and clothes are fine when he changes back and he ALWAYS found his wallet by the end of the show… go figure.

  7. Mr. Wizards World

    This was a GREAT learning show. I used to try some of the experiments with the show, when my parents let me. My mother was a great person, but not very supportive of things like this. I know I plan on letting our daughter try anything like this that she wants to. If she is anything like me, she learns more from doing and from a mistake than from only watching or reading.

  8. Three’s Company

    This is just great slapstick comedy and my wife LOVES this show. Our DVR is usually full of reruns of the show she tapes because she loves it so much.

  9. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

    This was a good educational program. Although, I never knew that Mr. Rogers was a minister but it was obvious that religion was not a part of the show so I think that is good. Informing kids of cultures and information is great, this way they can form their own opinion of things.

  10. Mork & Mindy

    How could you NOT like Mork and Mindy! It was the only show that made me laugh for 30 minutes both as a child AND as an adult. I still think Orson was a jerk for not letting Mork return home when he wanted to but he did have a mission.

Do you remember any of these?

 

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