Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Recently I wrote about the symbols that the young kids are using to communicate or to show just how cool they are. The name of the blogue I wrote was titled: ‘WHATZIT MEAN????’


“The hand sign I speak of is the thumb raised up, and the index and middle finger sticking out and spread apart. Now I know the middle finger by itself means something, and it has come a long way since it was first used in anger, but supporting the other two fingers I mentioned gives it a supporting role in the communication”.


I received a response that I just knew was coming from a certain source, #1 Son. He wrote:


“Well, you're not going to like the answer. It's a "gang symbol" that members of street gangs used to use in pictures to show everyone what gang they belonged to. It eventually got co-opted by ALL of America's youth as a way to make them seem "cool" or "bad-ass" in pictures, but in reality it just makes them look stupid. I wonder how many of these kids even know what it originally meant”.


And this:


“But on the bright side, at least the readers of Delbloggolo now have a picture of you proving you're a member of the Crips gang!”

-#1 Son


This is of course shocking news since I must be behind in my dues!


And so with this information and request for pertinent knowledge, DelBloggolo will be requesting public funding. Move over Big Bird!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012


You’ve all heard by now about Google’s opening up their top-secret data center. With its miles of wires and loads of data, it is the data cloud of the world, all-powerful and all knowing, a scary place indeed.

I’ve always been impressed with that kind of thing. When I was in Washington D.C. last, I visited the FBI building and wondered how many sets of MY fingerprints they have, how many photos and any records of mine they may have filed. However, there are scarier places than the FBI or CIA or even the KGB, let alone Google!

My wife’s pocketbook.

That’s right: TLW (The Little Woman’s) pocketbook scares me. I have never been in it and often from a distance marvel at the way she may extract information from it, documents, phone numbers and special equipment. She on occasion will change bags, and does that with a hired sentry at the basement door standing guard while she transfers the thousands of documents and records she has!

OK I exaggerate, maybe not thousands anymore, she does clean out on occasion.

There has to be a full line of cosmetics in there that date back to 1971, including Youth Dew, her favorite perfume at the time, an old extra Valium she used to slip in my coffee right before I purposed to her, plus her list of promises I made in a fit of passion and all my mistakes, listed in date of occurrence, and cross-referenced by an alphabetical listing. Including in the files are the things she says I didn’t listen to her about, the things I should do and don’t and the list, her favorite, of the things I should have thrown out, going back to 1963 and still wear.
One night I went downstairs for an aspirin (a lot of married men do that), and passed her pocket book. Suddenly, in the dark, I heard a whirling sound and realized it was a motion detector that activated her pocketbook camera (infra red, heat detecting) all in her pocketbook!

But if she ever decided to open up the bag to the public, it will be like one of those little circus cars where about 20 clowns climb out, the amount of material will be staggering!

You are probably wondering by now why I wrote this, well in all honesty, I had nothing better to do. Just ask TLW.

But don’t go near her pocketbook!

Monday, October 29, 2012


As a special service to the American Public, I am devoting this valuable space to a topic I would not ordinarily devote it to.
annoying comes in all ages!
 There has been an assault recently by the media on the American public by the propagation of and exposure to a certain Honey Boo Boo! I have seen it in the social media and mass media, and frankly, this country does not need any more dumbness than what we have with the baboons in Congress and the producers of reality shows.

So, here goes.

To: Honey Boo Boo
From: Uncle Joe and Jo Jo Cardinal Chocolate'


His Eminence                                             Founder and CEO
Jo Jo Cardinal Chocolate’                        Del Bloggolo

Being a man of infinite patience when I have it, this kid and her annoying mother have to go. Why oh why is she considered even relevant to anything? She may have high intelligence, but so what. I got nieces and nephews who are smarter and cuter than that, and some have yet to be born! You don’t see them annoying people, especially me.

I should be coming home from California with a little side stop and by the time I get home, I expect this child to be gone from the media landscape, and be considered nothing more than an annoying bad occurrence that happened once a while ago.

My granddaughter, when she is finally born, will have smarter smarts and cuter cutes than Boo Boo! My God, where is all this: going as a country?

Aren’t there more pressing things to worry about? The high rate of pending suicide among Mets fans for instance? Maybe the shortage of powdered donuts should be looked into, or the rising price of Jack Daniels could be investigated and the Sob’s pursued to the fullest extent of the law?

That's all I need!
I don’t blame the child, she is given a forum and she does what she does best, annoy. Rather than take it out on her, let’s smack around her dopey mother and change the channel forever.

I hope you don’t think this too harsh, but come on folks, be realistic, Honey Boo Boo and her mother are foisting an evil yuppy scum abomination upon the public once again.

My suggestion is to find her a play date, get her mother a low-fat late’ and tell them to not come back again until it snows in July in Manhattan Island, with the Indians (Native Americans to you knee jerkers) are back holding the deed there.

From the Editor of DelBloggolo
Read it once a day, it’s good for you!

Sunday, October 28, 2012


On our way home from Burbank, California, TLW (The Little Woman) and I will stop off at the Inn at Fox Hollow. We will celebrate the past week and enjoy ourselves in some luxurious accommodations.

The last time we did this was in January when we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, and said: “Hey! This is good!”

It is my feeling and has been for a long time that it is important to treat yourself for any reason that there may exist. Life is too short and we tend to make our lives difficult when we go through our days. Every once in a while it is good to stop and say: “Good job!” And why not, who else will?

You have a job, you work hard all day, then all week, then all month, and before you know it, the whole year, and then the year turns to years. You get a vacation, but how well do you treat yourself? YOU. Kids, school or just getting through a crises every now and then deserves a reward.

TLW and I have had some tough periods in our lives that we shared together, and she especially needs to reward herself, If you can’t recognize your own accomplishments then you are a fool, because you deny all your hard work!

How many times have I said to myself: “Gee, I wish I had done that”, or “Damned, I miss that!” So you should make up for that time. Me, I take TLW out on Sundays for breakfast, it is my special treat and we talk to each other freely and enjoy our conversations. That is only a small reward for her being. That is a little way to remind myself that I am lucky to have her and to say thank you. 

Then those special moments come along where we go to the Garden City Hotel or the Waldorf, or the Inn at Fox Hollow to reward ourselves for all the pain we have suffered in the past together. To me that is a good worthwhile plan. It is more than the usual vacation, and we deserve it.

My favorite quote in life is by John Greenleaf Whittier that goes:
Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these-it might have been.”

So every once in a while, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think!

Saturday, October 27, 2012


My good buddy and fellow blogger from the old sod: Bushwick, Brooklyn, Mr. Jim Pantaleno and I seem to agree on the same things. It seems that life is ending as we know it. The generation of today does not look beyond the 1980’s and knows very little about life prior to it.

I know that today’s generation is buried in electronics, walking and driving with these I-phones in their hands, not looking where they are going and not caring. I remember sitting behind someone in church, a father with 2 kids during the service texting and checking his e-mails.

When I was growing up, mom threw me out of the house on Saturday mornings and said not to comeback until I either joined the army or got married, and I was only 5 at the time! She expected me to play with my friends and stay out of trouble.

I went down stairs and sat on my stoop, and waited for someone to come along. We would then plan our day, no one arranging these sissy play dates, no yuppy mommy to make arrangements.

A play date was something that happened when you saw a friend and you played. This sissy stuff is locking in the mindless child of today into doing nothing if there are no batteries to recharge, and a parent arranging for a meeting time where the parents sit and chat while the child is made to play at a certain time for a certain period of time, making for a imagination-less child.

Playing was an adventure in itself, we didn’t know what we would do, but we knew we would have fun doing it. There were games with set rules that we could play or games that we made up as we went. Imagination was never in short supply, and our parents stayed out of it.
It’s funny, I don’t see any pick-up games of basketball, baseball or football being played in the streets, the kids are all inside playing with their games. When they do play, there is some adult supervising their play-how sad.

I say take away the electronics and throw the kids outside, let’s get some life back into these little sissies.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I was visiting my brother-in-law recently when couple came over whom I’ve known for years it seems. They like me were young once, and something happened, life played a dirty trick on us, we got old!

Looking at them, I realized that the time is fleeting and I better hurry up if I am to become President of the USA, Pope and the leading man in a Nicole Kidman movie!

All dreams die, even the fulfilled ones, and we embrace our memories. I remember this couple when I older sister Tessie (Much older) started working for the Phone Company many years ago before she married my brother-in-law. The couple: two really nice people I consider friends. He and I commuted to the city at one point in the early 70’s and he is very friendly and talkative, she is probably one of the sweetest ladies I know. She is a very stately looking woman with white hair that just seems to complement this wonderfully pleasant face.

It got me to thinking of all those old days, days that seemed to fly by on me, days I feel I never stopped to savor or embrace. It was the days of growing up in a career, meeting new people and trying to build a dream, days that made me very happy, but were taken for granted.

You know, I look back and realize we didn’t have a whole lot, just each other and one by one our children, and as day by day was spent, it got better and better. I see these two faces and suddenly I am back in time, hearing the voices and smelling the smells and viewing the sights. People who long ago passed, are suddenly very much alive,

Then I return home to a silence and remember these people once again, their voices echoing in my mind, and I can almost talk to them, feel them next to me, their aura in my heart and soul. Getting old can be hard on one, yet I remember with a smile, and a special place and thing or person.

Just like old times!

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Well after not having #1 Son around anymore, and it has been a long time, I look forward to seeing him again. I’m happy that he is successful in his life, marrying a wonderful gal, and he has a great job, but I do miss the Anthony we raised in Holbrook all his young life.

All around me are pleasant reminders of days gone by, times we spent together and things we did. Many of the things we did I wish I could have done better, but I tried as best I could in my then state of mind and affairs.

I am looking forward to having a few sports talks with the kid, maybe air out some opinions and ask for some. Life will be good, I won’t complain, and gee, it will be good to see him again.

Although we live in different worlds now, I like to think that he is who he is because he listened to his mother and followed her examples. But we could take credit and say we are responsible, but I know that is not the case, he was responsible. He was too busy trying to please us, and never thought to please himself and so now he gets what he deserves, and I am very happy for him.

He’s been a great brother to both his brothers and his sister, and always cared about them. His life was simple, work hard and watch the Mets and Jets because his father saddled him with them.

I see the show on TV and I read some of his Facebook posts and I laugh out loud. TLW (The Little Woman) relates stories about him when he was young and I laugh out loud. He seems to have a unique sense of humor and it seems like everyone is happy to see him. I never hear: “OH NO!” when HE shows up!

I don’t think we will see much of him during the day, but we look forward to seeing them both at night. TLC (The Lovely Courtney) is no slouch in humor, having an incredible sense of it, and probably they spend their time in many happy moments. TLW and me had a wonderful few days with TLC when she planned her wedding, and made us both feel very comfortable being with her for the first time without Anthony around in Maine and New Hampshire back in March of 2011.

So we will go out there, TLW and I: first to see them, then to see their new home, and thirdly to relax that our child is happy in every sense of the word.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Recently I read where Alex Rodriquez who is making about $30,000,000 a year in salary to play for the New York Yankees, did something unusual. During a playoff game against the Detroit Tigers, a game the Yankees lost, one in which A-rod was yanked from the lineup because he can’t hit a baseball anymore, tried to hit on a few babes in the stands!

Here is a man who has never hit in the post-season except in 2009, who should be leading his team and being a leader, is instead not even involved in watching and urging his teammates on!

Mr. Rodriquez is the highest paid player in Major League history, and that is where his head is! If I were a Yankee fan I would really be angry. As a baseball fan I am angry, because of these obscene salaries that that jackass Steinbrenner started paying back in the ‘70’s, no one can afford to go to a ballgame any more. This insane competition with the owners of each club to sign some freak of nature that can pitch or hit a baseball better than most, has closed the door for young fathers to take their child to a ballgame across the land because he can’t afford to.

I would think it is time for the owner’s to have some kind of agreement to limit the amount of money they will offer any player to play the game. I know the union’s will cry “collusion” but let them go to hell, and save the game of baseball and make it affordable for everyone.

No one is worth more than a million in U.S. Dollars to play for about 250 days a year! This is a game that once held a lot of currency in morality and old-fashioned American idealism. Greed has thrown it all away. Kids can no longer go to the ballpark to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at a ballpark in the sunshine, or have Dad there to explain the game, or have the very thrill I had once when I entered the big arena in Brooklyn so many years ago for the first time!

Guys like A-rod have too much money, they lose interest in what they are doing, they defeat the purpose of the money when that happens. I hope all the owners go broke and the players lose their source of obscene income, and they start over.

Starting over would be a good idea, no more that money from TV that seems to control the game so that a kid on the East Coast can’t stay up to watch the World Series because it may be played on the West Coast at such a late hour. If you live in Boston, or New York or even Philadelphia, and your team is playing in LA or San Francisco, the game isn’t over until well after midnight because of the network scheduling it for maximum profit.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Many years ago I read a book titled: ‘Snow in August’. It is a book about a 1940’s Brooklyn friendship between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly rabbi. Written by one of my favorite authors, Pete Hamill. A great book and if you get a chance, read it. You will find it on

Not too long ago, this past October 16th actually, TLW (The Little Woman) greeted me with some surprising news she said she saw on ABC News that morning.

“Rutherford had snow yesterday!”

“Get outta here!”
How I'll Remember Her

“Yes, there was some car vandalism in a parking lot and there was snow piled up on the sides!”

“Can’t be! It’s too early for snow.”

Going up to the TV, she points to the bottom of the screen and says: “Rutherford, NJ, right there!”

“That’s where the Jets play! There was no mention of snow that day!”

“Yes, that’s right, there was a big NY somewhere, I thought it looked familiar!”

I Have To Believe Her, It's My Job!
“I think you should end your nightcaps a lot sooner.”

“Put the news on now, they run the same thing every half hour.”

“You sure it wasn’t a dream you had?”

“Just put the news on and they will run it again.”

The weather has been in the mid-sixties this past week and I am getting worried that TLW is either hallucinating, drinking or is getting dementia, because I don’t see any rabbi or 11 year old Catholic Irish boys around, and it isn’t August. I know she isn’t writing a book and the only thing she does write is checks and e-mails.
A Happy Ending

Hopefully she will go to work today and calm down, I’m getting to old for this!

Then my faith in her judgment returned!

“You know, it just might be a re-run of some past news story." she said.

Ya think?

Monday, October 22, 2012


And bound to get there, the trouble is TLW (The Little Woman) and I have to pack.

Packing for a long trip is a pain in the butt, you have to plan ahead and you have to anticipate. Having to go through Homeland Security is a big pain in my butt also. It starts with knowing what you can bring on the plane and what you can’t, especially in carry-on luggage. Taking your laptop can be an issue in that you have to take it out and place it separately in a tray, then you need to empty your pockets and all metal objects can’t go through the detector on your person without being scanned first!

Then there is the issue of belt and shoes. There is always the authoritative attitude of the airport Nazis in how they speak to the public, and how angry it can make you. They don’t care if they are disrespectful or annoying. You take off your shoes and put them in a tray and hope they along with everything else comes out from that leather curtain on the conveyor belt.

We had the shoe bomber, and the underwear bomber: they made us take off our shoes, but thank God not our underwear! However, they can see everything in their x-ray machine, which makes me want to carry a cucumber in my pocket! What the Hell, why not impress them?
Homeland Security Porn

Then there is the issue of TLW. TLW is the most organized person I know of. She could pack you off for a ten-year journey into the mountains, jungles and North Pole, and you would have everything you need in order of use and still be able to brush your teeth and pick them too.

“Now we have to pack our medications separately in the carry on.”

Me: “Why?”

“Because if they lose your luggage, you will at least have your meds!”

“OK, do you want to bring the GPS too?”

“That will go into the carry-on too.”

“But we wouldn’t need it until after we land.”

“And YOU will unpack the suitcase in the parking garage at the car rental to get it out?”

“Oh!” (Best I could say.)
I get a charge out of flying

Now that we are so electronically equipped, we need chargers for our camera batteries, our Kindles, cell phones, laptops, and so it goes. I remember when packing was a simple chore, no screening, just checking in. Now everything about the airport is a big production, including getting to the airpark location and allowing time to get to the airport from there.

The reason we are going to California is to visit #1 Son and TLC (The Lovely Courtney) for a while and see their new home. Maybe what I’ll do rather than all that packing is ask them to send me pictures of their new house instead.

I know, I’m such a creep!

Sunday, October 21, 2012


One of my headaches
Many years ago, when I was just married to TLW (The Little Woman), we were poor like most newly married couples, in that we hoped to save and make for a better materialistic life (we believe in Capitalism!). We lived in a 1-bedroom apartment in a very old building and people rented upstairs while we occupied the downstairs.

On occasion, we would need a big ticket item, like a washer or refrigerator or something of that nature, A big ticket item in 1971 was anything over $100. All our expenditures were made on TLW’s recommendation and I would always agree with whatever she felt she needed. She was always very careful of our money, and I really didn’t spend anything since I was too busy commuting and working in the city. An occasional shirt and tie or shoes and that was it. Life was simple. Then when we needed to spend for something over $100, we would discuss it and off we went to buy.

TLW: “Now remember, we are just looking, we are NOT buying!”

“Yes Dear: we are just shopping, just looking around, comparing prices-no salesman is getting by me.”

When we arrived home, I usually had to have a cup of coffee to go with my 3 aspirins, and I would lie down on the couch for a while until the headache subsided. This was my $100 headache as I called it. It never failed, left the house confident and came back with a headache.

If you look close enough, you would see the words: ‘Easy Mark’ inscribed on my forehead, and a very happy wife with a large purchase to go on her shopping acquisition list.

TLW: “Joe, the next time we are just going to compare, NOT buy!”

“Yes, just comparison shopping, not buying in the first store we go to!”

Needless to say, the Bayer Aspirin Company would send me birthday cards.

Then one day I decided to end these headaches. I would take charge of my life, and take charge I did. Those little rectangular plastic cards are really neat. You don’t shell out the money and you go home with something over $100, WITHOUT THE HEADACHE!

Since TLW would handle the bills, (I completely trusted her and still do), I would know things were in good hands. But we soon learned that we had too many credit cards and cut some up, and besides, I had a new plan. It was 1975 and we needed a new car. We were going up against the best in the business: car salesman! I rehearsed the night before, and I wanted to be ready, and I was going to do this the right way!

The next day arrived and I was ready. We approached Sunrise Toyota and confidently we entered the show room, and out pops a salesman.

“YEEEEESSSSS! Can I help you?”

“We are looking for a new car, and let me warn you, this is the first place we have stopped at, I intend to leave here and look for some deals, but I WILL buy today, so tell me what you got and your best price, I’m looking for a Corolla.

The salesman looked at us and became a little less confident, asked some more questions and said finally: “When you are done come back here and I will try to beat any price you got!”

Snickering I we went back to our ‘63 Chevy Bellaire with the puffing back seat headrest: popping out and drove to another dealership returned to Toyota and got a great price. I remember thinking it was a lot of work to buy big ticketed items. I also felt guilty because we told the Toyota guy we were buying another car. He then went to his boss and came back with a price we liked.

P.S. We were buying a Toyota no matter what.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


One Sunday night recently, I took my daughter home to her residence in Shoreham/Wading River. It is a 92-bed facility for men and women with special needs. Depending on how happy she is, she will either be coaxed out of the car by me, or happily and giggly climb out of the back seat.

As we walked toward the entrance from the parked car, I spotted a couple who were leaving the facility after visiting their daughter for the day. His name is Jack and is a former board member, and so he knew where he was. My daughter Ellen would remind him anyway.

As we walked toward the entrance Jack acknowledged me and we started to chat a little when my Ellen went up to him and gave him probably the biggest hug he ever got, maybe bigger than anything his wife ever gave him. Jack stood his ground as he said hello to Ellen and Ellen just continued to hug. She then turned her attention to his wife who was standing behind her opened car door on the passenger’s side. Although Ellen doesn’t speak, she started to make a fuss over this woman too.

Being in an environment that accepts Ellen for who she is, it was easy for these nice people to accept Ellen’s enthusiasm for their being there. As they drove away, I continued to walk Ellen to the front door and as we entered the building, she looked around with just a shift of her big eyes, kind of saying: “Is there anyone here to greet me?” Then she entered her section of the building and ran forward toward the main room where all her friends are, and started a screeching happy noise as she saw everyone, running up to the houseparent hugging her too.

Suddenly, her daddy who had her attention all afternoon, was no longer important, forgotten and as she distanced herself from him, never looking back! I guess after all those years where she never wanted me to leave her, she is now comfortable with where she is and more importantly, who she is. It turns out, no matter where I am in the agency, the main office, the school or workshop, or even residences, they all know her and all love her. She is a character!

Friday, October 19, 2012


The other morning, TLW (The Little Woman) opened up a newspaper and asked me what a certain sign meant. She had seen it all too often when young people especially used it while taking a picture. Usually it is posed with some other kid or kids and it seems to mean something.

The hand sign I speak of is the thumb raised up, and the index and middle finger sticking out and spread apart. Now I know the middle finger by itself means something, and it has come a long way since it was first used in anger, but supporting the other two fingers I mentioned gives it a supporting role in the communication.

There is also another sign that came out of the ghetto or black culture and rap music where the index and pinky are raised and the other fingers bent under the thumb. I don’t know what that means and I see it used in photos too.


Maybe I am out of touch, in fact I’ll admit it, I’m out of touch, I can’t drive and text because I’m afraid too, I pull over when I drive to answer my cell phone on the road, and I don’t go around all day looking at electronic gadgets when I should be paying attention. I have the bad habit of looking directly at people when they speak to me and the ones my age have the same habits.


Then there are the symbols and abbreviations we include on the social network, and in texting. You’ve seen them and probably use one or two yourself. For instance a lot of “LOL” which I find hard to wrap my brain around in acceptance, there is the heart symbols and the sad and happy faces. And while on the subject crankiness, how about the fact that we are getting away from teaching penmanship in the schools, and probably spelling is not far behind from elimination!


The Italian immigrants to this country in the last century used their hands a lot to express themselves and enhance their words in Italian or broken English, and you could pantomime an Italian using those hand expressions and everyone knew what you were doing, so they were communicating well. As for me, to save time and trouble, I’m going to the Comedy Club and this is how I will look.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


She stood on the stoop next door to me, as I looked out surveying the street for someone to play with. Being seven years old, my imagination was running wild with things to do. Brooklyn was the whole world and it extended from Pitkin Avenue all the over to Broadway in those days. To me it was a big enough world to explore and not be disappointed.

She was a beauty in my mind, with a cute little nose and jet black curly hair, about shoulder length with olive black eyes. She was the prettiest girl I had seen since Kindergarten, where I fell in love with this strawberry curled long haired girl, with freckles who whenever she passed me by, I swooned. But she had moved away in just one semester at school, and so I moved on, always looking for her.

But the gal on the stoop’s family called her “Cookie” and in my mind that was the perfect name. She had an older brother named Jerry and they lived somewhere else, but visited their grandparents just about everyday. As I saw this vision of loveliness, standing there in her school uniform, I decided I would try to get her attention.

Between her grandparent’s stoop and mine was a fire hydrant, or Johnny pump as we called it at the curb. I would give her a demonstration of acrobatic skill and flaunt danger as I performed my leap over the hydrant, then for an encore hop up on top of the water release, stand on one foot and jump down, land on my two feet and do it once again. Yes, I would impress her, she would beg for me to tell her my name and we would take the trolley on Stone Avenue and run away together.

Just as I went into my daring performance, someone called her into the house and she disappeared, as I waited maybe forever, maybe a little longer for her to come out. Soon Dad came and it was time to go upstairs for supper.
But now I knew there was someone special right next door, and I would go to the dining room window and look out to see if I could catch a glimpse of her. Then one summer night, I found her all alone standing in her grandfather’s entryway to the alley that led to his garage. I walked up to her and we talked for the first time. My heart was beating excitedly and I was almost fumbling over my words! She too looked a little nervous and we had a nice chat about ourselves, but every now and then someone from my apartment directly overhead was watching! Sure enough, as the time for going in was announced by Dad, I went upstairs and there was my Mother, Father and older sister Tessie (much older) waiting to tease the living heck out of me.

I became friends with her older brother Jerry, we would go and hang out and talk Dodgers and I would sneak in a question about Cookie, and then they too, moved away. But soon afterward, Mom and Dad got the bug to move too, and so we did, where new dreamboats awaited me! I got teased at every turn, life as an only boy was tough.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012



A few nights ago, I went to what is called a general membership meeting for my daughter’s agency. This meeting is a meeting open to the public and anyone may attend. It is also an occasion to make mention of something special, recognize someone or install directors onto the board.

This particular evening was dedicated to a house for residents that we are renovating. It was in long-standing neglect, and abused by the utility companies that serviced it. I was asked a few years ago by the Board to go to the home and evaluate it, and make a report to the board both written and verbally.

On my visit I found the outside crumbling, and it disturbed me to the point that I got angry. Outside the building were strung wires, by both the phone and cable companies and LIPA. These wires were exposed and looked like a map on a board for a railroad, crossing haphazardly and little care was given to the residents and how they may have fell about it.

I went further along the building and found the rest of the building in disrepair, rails attached to steps on the entrances coming lose from the building, pipe used as a railing, the remnants of the State of NY when they sold it to us. We as an agency when we build a home, take great care and pride, we put in all the safety precautions we can and make it as beautiful as possible for these wonderful sweet people who live in them. To find the state of disrepair in this old house shocked me.

I went inside the building and met with the folks who live there, along with the live-in house parent, who all related to me their dismay in how their home looked on the outside. I asked about the wires and they said the agency had been trying for years to have it corrected but were told by the utilities that nothing could be done!
I went back to the board with my report and wrote an unemotional appeal, telling all. A year went by, and in that year a new head of the agency was now in place and off I went to inspect the building once again. What I found enraged me: nothing had changed! But to the credit of the new administration, he was just settling in, and I knew I could deal with this situation with a good man. I wrote an angry fact-filled report to the board and furthered my cause before the board verbally.

Under renovation
 If we have nothing in our agency, we have great staff, and our CEO and CFO are wonderful administrators, doing only excellent work and they didn’t disappoint. The wheels started to turn and so we came to the event a few nights ago.

I sat with a few of the residents and they were happy to see me, the house was dedicated to a wonderful caring and giving woman who had passed away and so her family was in attendance to accept the sincere thanks of our agency.

Today that house, newly renovated has given pride to the residents, joy to the staff that run it, and they can be proud of what the agency does for those we serve.

As for me, I am grateful too, because the board and staff were probably tired of hearing from me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Recently on a Sunday afternoon, as I was talking to TLW (The Little Woman), the phone rang and it was a classmate of mine from high school. I know this man since I was in fourth grade, and once we graduated from high school. I lost touch with him.

When I organized the class reunion with the committee, I had his number and called him to tell him about the plans. We had a long conversation on the phone and talked about everything that had happened to us. We met at the reunion, met his wife and life went on.

Then last year, his wife told me that he was suffering from cancer and how hard it was for her because she had a 50 plus mile drive everyday for his treatments. He was in the hospital and she faithfully was at his side. Then the unbelievable happened, she had a car accident and the air bag caused some damage in her stomach, revealing she had cancer too!

Soon after the accident, she died from the cancer and my friend was left alone.

And so the phone-call that Sunday afternoon, and my friend telling me he has stage 4 cancer. We talked for a while and he told me about his current situation and all the news about his life. I told him I would call him more often to check out how he was.

I hung up and thought about it for a while, realizing this call was a goodbye call. After telling about his cancer, he never mentioned anything about it again as if it is acceptable and life goes on.

I hope I can deal with that like he does. Then I hope he thinks he doesn’t realize what is really happening. I don’t know what to think. I wonder if 60 some-odd years is enough in this life? Saying goodbye is hard enough sometimes, but that is the hardest way I would imagine.

Monday, October 15, 2012


A couple of times a week I try to visit my brother-in-law John, who is suffering from both lung cancer pulmonary fibrosis. I try to visit when it is convenient for them so as to not put a burden on the family. Visiting someone who is ill is not so difficult to do especially when you love him/her: yet visiting is difficult, because you do love the person.

Always there for everyone
We all have dealt with someone sick, someone in need of a light to their dark day, someone to know that as they depart from this world, they will be missed and that is because they are loved. My brother-in-law is one of these people who when he became apparent that he and my sister were going to marry, instantly became family, instantly was one of us. We need John, we need him from an emotional sense, from a loving need, and from the joy he helped spread these many years.

Over the years we have shared a lot of laughs and argued things that were not important, we shared meals together and he brought some of his Polish culture to our lives. For instance, because of him I have invented the Polish Big Mac, which is Kielbasa on pumpernickel with white and red horseradish piled neatly on top. This amazing combination can clear out a stuffy nose, drain your sinuses and hours later remind you that you ate it.

He has embraced our culture, and was universally loved and respected by the whole family, starting with Grandma Frances. In fact, the only one who doesn’t get along with him is his wife, my older sister Tessie: much older, who is always telling him what to do for his own good. Being a married man he is use to living vicariously anyway.

John has an amazing spirit. He is mostly in a good mood, loves singing and we love when he doesn’t. My Dad loved him, and to show it would call him a cheap Polack.  This was a sign that Dad was comfortable with him and could tease him. John took it all in stride and would rather be called frugal. It does sound classier.

During his day, he could play a round of golf or two, then head out to the softball field where he would pitch a no-hitter, then go fishing and maybe clam off his boat in the Great South Bay, all in one day, come home and bar-b-q for his family and guests.

When people needed him, he was there, never said no, and in spite of my Dad giving him the business because his daughter wasn’t living in a palace, was very generous to everyone but himself.

So now he sits with an oxygen tube under his nostrils and covered with a blanket looks for visitors to come to see him. That was something he would do for sick people. I was in the hospital three times, once from a car accident, once because I had a blood infection and once for the heart operation, and each time he came, with a vanilla sundae and sat with me and I ate my ice cream while we joked around. He made life good again.

Recently a friend of mine from my high school days said something very profound. We were discussing a fellow classmate who has stage 4 cancer, and he said: “You know Joe, when you look at it, all the time we spend on this Earth, it is so insignificant compared to the time that was before we came on Earth, and all the time that will pass after we leave it!”

With his beautiful family
I have to agree with him, it is, but John made his time significant, he raised his children without a handout, without thinking twice about helping others, without any hatred toward another human being. He treated the elderly with respect and worried about everyone. His time here is quality time: his example was perfect, as friend, father, husband and brother-in-law.

One of the things that strike me is that he is stubborn, not always doing what he is told until he sees the reason for doing it. As a result when he does, he lessens the burden on my sister. He worries about her, always has. Once they spent a month down in Venice, Florida, and my sister was getting lonely down there. She called me to come down and stay for a week and I did, it made her happy, but it made John even happier, thanking me for the visit. He didn’t need me, his wife did, and that made a difference for him.

I worry about her, how she is handling things, how she is feeling, coping, and keeping her wits, knowing she has a heavy load. And so I go to try to cheer them up, make them both laugh, feel good about the day and take their collective minds off of reality. She, like everyone in our family loves to laugh, so that is what I like to do best, make them laugh.

Some day we will all wait for our time. Who will be there for us if we stumble, who will care? When we are gone, who will notice or miss us? Will there be someone for our family, and worst still, will they say something nice about us AFTER we are gone? I know I’m not the only one who has said nice things about John.