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Thursday, June 29, 2017

LAST STOP, PATCHOGUE!

Since Patchogue was my childhood retreat, there are memories everywhere I go in Patchogue today. From Main Street to Norton Street, from South Ocean Avenue to the Carvel store on Montauk Highway, it seems every inch of Patchogue will jettison thoughts of the past.

I recall those high school and college days, working in Rollic at the corner of Grove Avenue and East Main Street, across from the Hills supermarket and the movie theater, the luncheonette and the barber shop, all filled with characters that entertained me and made me feel right at home, special days that highlighted each day.

Once we went crabbing off a pier in Patchogue, and Dad had his technique. As the sun was setting we stood at the edge of the pier, a net attached to a long pole, and a flashlight to attract the crabs, and as the crab followed the light to the net, we had crabs, a simple operation that Dad understood. Then suddenly, a large crab surfaced and Dad got real excited, leaning over the edge in his excitement. Suddenly he saw the crab and started going: "OOH, OOH, OOH!" and leaned too far, right into the drink!

My uncle Joe worked for the LIRR in Patchogue, and often because I loved trains would take me with him on the job on my summer vacation. I would sit in one of the cars and he would have a crew who swept, and cleaned, and filled the water tank and add additional cone-shaped paper drinking cups to the dispenser. Many times, the train was reorganized as the moved it about to relocate the iron monster of a steam engine. One day as I sat in one of the cars alone for the first time, the train started to move and I got frightened thinking it was going to another station and I would be lost forever, or worst, going back to Brooklyn! I was about 7-years old. The train then stopped and a few moments later along with a lot of noise, I notice the engine speed by and as I did I hear this voice shout out: "LAST STOP, PATCHOGUE!" It was my uncle, laughing at me.

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