Tuesday, April 30, 2019

IT PAYS TO SHOP

When it comes to big-ticket items, and for me that means anything over $2.00, it is incumbent upon me to shop around.

Case in point: Since I am moving and putting the house up on the market I looked for a roofer. My roof was last re-shingled way back in 1996. It is over 20-years old and it will be the fourth layer of the house. I put up two and the original owners never needed to since they sold the house before it needed it.

I dread doing a new roof because it cost money, something I love to preserve in earnest fashion. I also like to make money and lots of it if at all possible. If that is not possible, I usually take naps until something comes along.

I called a real estate to come to help me market my house and was told to fix the driveway and the roof. He had a guy he could recommend for the roof and so; we went ahead and called the fellow. A nice young man who makes his living repairing roofs Ever arrived with his helper, took a look around and walked on the roof to determine how much to charge. My anticipation was in the range of $10,000 give, or take .25¢.

Ever is a nice young fellow from San Salvador, has an accent that is Hispanic, represents his self very well and is very personable. My wife and I both like him and were eager to do business with him. He told us he is married and last week just became a father! He owns his home and has his own business, speaks English so he is pretty smart too, speaking two languages in my opinion.

Well, old Ever came down off the roof with a funny look on his face. Suddenly he voice lowered and he kind of wasn’t really looking into my eyes when he did.

“It will cost you $14,000! That includes labor, material, and carting away the debris.”

“How… how much!!!???”

“$14,000”.

“I… I need to think about this.”

“Very well I understand.”

No, he doesn’t, I’m not re-shingling the Vatican, just my simple abode. So I call my sister and ask her what she paid for her roof and she gives me an idea and the name of the guy who did her roof. I call him. His name is Pedro. He comes with his Dad and once again, my confidence level goes way up as we meet. A good balance would be high confidence with low price. This equation works for me every time.

Like Jesus, he ascends to new levels, measures, and returns to Earth. He comes in as I brace myself for what I know is the inevitable, a price.

“$8,000”

This includes taking off three layers, labor and materials and carting the whole thing off.

It pays to shop!





Sunday, April 28, 2019

WHICH GOD ARE WE PRAYING TO?


"Is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's blunders?"
Friedrich Nietzsche

Once again the ugly truth rears its head, and we read about people who kill other people in the name of God, because of the way they pray to God. I assume that God is God, the ‘Almighty’ the one true and only God, the one that the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Catholic, the Jew and other Semites pray to, the one true God who made Heaven and Hell and all between, the Earth and its inhabitants, that God.

Yet, once again I read that a group of worshippers killed collectively for the reason being that they do not pray as their killers do.

I can’t understand the complexity of it all, how one person or group could determine that their way is better than someone else’s to have a private conversation with God in which their only criterion should be that they need to seek comfort in the Almighty. Who are we to determine that Jews can’t exist? Who are we to determine which cults, have a right to which lands? Who are we to determine without God’s say-so which way to pray to God is correct?

The problem lies in the fact that we have organized religions, sects, groups not deemed by God himself, but the self-proclaimed true believers, who in the name of God will destroy anybody of non-believers and non-practitioners of a faith?

Mankind should get out of the business of religion, it is the most destructive force in the World, it causes mankind to strike out at himself and his brothers, pitting one sect against another, even though it is the same God.

I have stopped going to church, not because I don’t believe in God, but because I do. I don’t want rituals to guide me away from my conversation with God, I don’t want to be swayed into believing in God in a certain way, I want to speak to God in a natural way, He and I in a one-on-one conversation, without distractions, without all the rituals that religion entails.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

GET IN LINE

The photo you see is from 1959 and those people with their children are waiting to get a polio shot. Polio, measles, mumps and chicken pox were all the rage of the day when it came to childhood diseases. Slowly the medical world found ways to either defeat or contain the diseases and so life progressed.

I was a victim of mumps, terrible inflation of the cheeks that causes pain and in my case illusions and a great loss of hearing. I remember laying in bed at the age of 5-years and seeing my father on a ball of some kind, standing on it in a space with no identity. He was shouting out the word ‘NO!” constantly. It made a huge impact on my life for the next 68 years.

A student entered Franz Hall at The University of California, Los Angeles, on Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. Hundreds of students and staff at two LA universities, one of which is UCLA, are under quarantine since they may have been exposed to measles. It is unknown if people either have not been vaccinated or cannot verify that they are immune.

It is seemingly spreading across the country and I wonder if it is heading west or east? I also read that many of the serums and vaccinations that have been developed through the years are now being resisted to the very vaccines that were developed to combat the diseases. That is pretty scary stuff to contemplate, especially since I have such young grandchildren.

We as a society have traveled a long way since the 60-years ago photo posted above. We have done battle with the AIDS virus and many other types that affected both children and adults around the World.

Will modern medicine cope with the new threats or are we in for some tough times ahead?

Friday, April 26, 2019

NO SHIP!?


My disguise from the automobile shippers
Recently, TLW (The Little Woman) put out a feeler for a cost estimate to ship a car from my home to Los Angeles. It is one of the options we have to figure out how to get around when we move to Burbank. As I explained previously in one of my exciting blogs, we have options like extending the lease for 6-months or not and getting a new car and shipping it to California. I rather extend the lease, and get a new lease in Burbank and save $1,200 in shipping fees. I could use that money for something like a stick of new furniture or spoil money for my grandchildren.

Since that feeler went out, car shippers have been ringing my phone off the hook, out of my cell phone case, and flooding my in-mailbox on my computer.

Every day, and I am not exaggerating, I am getting three to four phone calls and the same number of emails! This has been going on for at least a week and it is making me nuts. 

I put out bids for a new roof and new paving for the driveway with only one for each. I really don’t want more calls than I can stomach.

Taking care of things is tough, there are so many things to take care and you must coordinate them all for perfect timing.

So, I called someone who now lives in California and used to live on Long Island. I asked him what he did, what he faced and how it all turned out. I find out that we are doing what we should be doing. The constant calling of the car shippers was exactly what he faced.

So, I’m in this for the long haul.
Add caption

Thursday, April 25, 2019

GETTING IT ALL TOGETHER

A GREAT reason to move to Burbank!


One of the major tasks of moving from the East Coast to the West Coast is arranging for the many things I take for granted that need change. My medical records and a new doctor are in order, my daughter’s life needs to be settled, a place for her to live and her medical records need to be forwarded to her new residence and of course, my car. Do I drive to LA, ship the car or is there another way to do things.

I would like to get a new car but think I should wait until I make the move and get it out in Burbank or LA.

How much furniture should I bring or maybe leave it all behind? Clothes, how much winter stuff do I really need? The housing question doesn’t seem too bad, there are many apartments in the area that would suit me fine, just where and when to decide. I’d like to be as close as possible so I can play and spoil my grandkids, yet sneak out of their house as it gets out of hand.

One thing I would love to do is fly to Chicago and board a train to LA, just to see the country, and do it in December when the weather is getting too cold. Leaving ice and snow, sleet and cold winds would be the ideal situation heading into Burbank.

To watch the countryside at my leisure, to see the transformation of the USA from the cold to the warmth, to experience the hugeness of the country and the marvels of the beauty that exists in this once-in-a-lifetime adventure is a great way to close out my life.





Wednesday, April 24, 2019

HOW SAD!

I am closing up my life. I am erasing to some degree my past, I am leaving the place I know best, and I am rushing to do it. I feel like some Nazi with a past I would like to forget. I do these things because I need to, to be near my grandchildren.

As I peruse through my old files from my business days I go through the folders and read about things I did so many years ago and remember it all fondly and with sometimes tears in my eyes.

I designed so many pieces of advertising that I can’t remember it all, yet there are things that trigger times in my life where I was so happy and care-free. The days before I was engaged and met my wife Ellen were fun days too. My first job, my first day on that job where I sat at the top of a skyscraper in a corner office that I shared with an incredible man I will never forget, and after a great lunch at a fancy Italian restaurant with a song that was playing over and over again in my head: ‘If they could see me now, those dear old friends of mine, eating fancy foods and drinking fancy wines’.

There are things I designed before I left for the day to get married. I got kudos for it and made me very happy as I got on the train and went home, in very high spirits.

The books and whatnots, the souvenirs I accumulated, all being tossed because I don’t have room any more to keep them, I haven’t looked at in so many years and why? So, out they go, all the things I really don’t need. There is comfort in those things but it is time to part, time to let go and head out West with a song in my heart, the woman I love and a life long dream of moving out West.

I would love to move this coming December. Why? Because it will be getting cold, the weather is beastly in the East! I will be leaving for sunshine and palm trees and heeding the advice I always gave my son Anthony, TAPT (Touch a palm tree). What it means if you are in a great place to live, realize it. Maybe we can go out together and do that.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I REMEMBER DAD




Dad was always a simple unpretentious man who loved people and did what he could to help them. He had dreams of winning big in the lottery, played games for cash where he didn’t bet money because he never had much. His life was work, work and when on vacation, work.
                                                                     My pitching coach

He also had aspirations for me as he did for himself, and those aspirations seemed to work out in a funny way, yet he never realized how well things would get.


I was definitlyminor leagues

When I was about five years of age I became due to his influence a baseball fan and loved the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was a spring Sunday morning and I believe it was an Easter Sunday at my grandmother’s house where we were waiting for relatives to arrive. Dad was sitting on his hands and decided to take me out to the front of the house on Fulton Street in Brooklyn and make me into a major league pitcher. He stood over me and explained the mechanics of pitching being he had absolutely no qualifications to do so. This episode I am about to explain may have saved me from his teaching me brain surgery too.


My career as a pitcher ended at the age of five years

 He stepped away about maybe twenty feet and crouched down like Roy Campanella and told me to pitch after his verbal lessons. I had a rubber ball, a Spaldeen as it was called and I went into my windup, just like Carl Erskine to let loose my fastball. Peering into my catcher as he braced for a pathetic attempt at a fastball, I readied myself just like I saw on the television. Into my windup I went, I could feel the crowd cheering me on, all 32,000 screaming fans that were cheering me on at the SRO crowd at Ebbets Field!



Suddenly my arm made its downward arc and directed the first pitch to Dad, or was it, Roy Campanella? Leaving my hand it made its way directly to home plate, through the hands of dad (Campy would never have let this happen) and smacked him right into his forehead.

The ball bounced back to me on a bounce or two and dad, well he retreated to the dugout, the club house and from the field of dreams.





Monday, April 22, 2019

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DATES

It seems to me that throughout my married life in particular dates seem to loom for some strange reason. For instance: Ellen my wife is one-year younger almost to the day. I was born on July 6th and she was born one year later on July 9nth.

My two oldest children were born a year apart, almost to the day. My daughter Ellen was born on March 20th and my son Anthony on March 26th.

My sister’s grandson was born on July 6th and my granddaughter was born on March 26th, my sister’s birthday.

I graduated from college on the same date, June 19th, which happens to be our wedding anniversary.

Death anniversaries seem to get close to the same pattern, my daughter-in-law passed on June 18th while giving birth to my grandson Bobby the day before our wedding anniversary.

My dad died on June 12, 1991, and mom died on June 11, 2014!

My birthday is on July 6th, my son Joseph’s birthday is on April 6th and my Grandfather Joe’s birthday is November 6th. Obviously, all birthdays fall on the sixth of the month.

There is probably no significance to all this, but sometimes I wonder.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

'IL PASTO DI PASQUA DOMENICA'.

The Easter Sunday meal is a ritual borne from the tradition of Life itself. The relief filled feeling that winter has ended its misery it inflicted upon us and that spring, like God, is among us.

We see the beginnings of why we love the creator as he blesses us with the creations he has made over and over again. It is the hope that we see in the turning of trees and the greening of the grass and the tulips that start to spring from the soil, so our hearts bask in the sweet repast of the meal of Easter Sunday breaking bread with one another.

It is spring that renews us, takes away the dirt and the grime of our everyday lives as we plan for tomorrow, and when the sun rises for tomorrow we are fortified by its glory.

I wish you all a Happy Easter and a blessed Passover. Wishing you both to me means you are ALL my brothers and sisters, together we will share the Earth and all it holds. It matters not that you are Christian, Jew or any other belief, as long as we can have a belief in each other. It is better to abandon the slings and arrows of those that aim at us than to stoop down and do the same.

A church or temple is but a holding place where we go to join hands and pray to the Almighty. But I firmly believe He does not reside there, no, He resides in each and every one of us, and every time we forget and defile his temple, misspeak his name or harm a child of his, we have caused pain for all of us. We believe He is everywhere, and for Him to be so, He resides in our hearts and souls.

Some of us believe that to praise him is to buy insurance that we will not be dragged down into the depths of hell, but a religious education teacher once said, and I don’t know how he knows this, but I believe it: “You might be surprised how many priests, rabbis, and ministers lost in hell because they knew better!” It is better to speak to God in the solitude of the mind and the structure of the heart and the sanctity of your soul than to put forth outward signs to prove to others you believe. It is our hearts that moves us, it is our minds that sustain our hearts and our souls that will be humbled before God.

So, have a great Easter or Passover or whatever you celebrate and let us all reach across our collective egos and embrace in love and spirit.

HAPPY EASTER!
P.S. PASS THE GRAVY.




Saturday, April 20, 2019

HOW EMBARRASSING!

I have been through many indignities before but never like the last one.

My garbage was rejected!

That’s right! My garbage was rejected, but your run-of-the-mill garbage man!

You can blame this all on President Trump and the Chinese government.

The Town of Brookhaven has rules about how the townspeople can divide their garbage as far as recycling goes. It once was you put glass, metal, and paper in one bin. Then President Trump decided to take issue with the Chinese. The President decided to impose high tariffs on Chinese goods unless they played fair with trade deficits and the price of take-out. The Chinese said: Oh yeah! We won’t buy your garbage anymore, go find another consumer.

This left us without a garbage market, so we had to change the rules of recycling. Now no glass goes with metal and paper is separate, and we toss the glass with the eggshells and coffee grinds!

Somehow, through the slip of indifference, we allowed a wine bottle to fall into the can with the metal recycling, a huge garbage No-No! As I returned home from a busy day, I went to take the recycling can in and noticed that it was still full while others had empty cans. As I looked into the can was a label slapped on the empty wine bottle (I hope it was empty) that said “UNACCEPTABLE!” OH! THE SHAME!

The shame is that my neighbors, family, and friends will now know that I drink wine: everyone! Once they sober up they will talk about me, we will be shunned at the community outhouse and drinking fountain and shame will follow the name all the way to California when we move!

Friday, April 19, 2019

LAND THAT I LOVE



Spent one of the best days of my life Wednesday. I spent it in the land of the mystic borough, the ‘Borough of Churches’, the ‘Borough of Trees’ the borough of Defonte’s great sandwiches.

As we lined up places that will be hearing from us to discuss our book: A PLACE CALLED BROOKLYN, Frank and I decided to stop at the location that the stories were built around and the sandwich deli that is located at the same location for 100-years and mentioned in the book. The family that started this deli is in the same location from day one, and the quality is so good, the ownership a hard-working man who puts his big heart into every sandwich made, and hospitality that makes one feel that this is a second home.

Nick Defonte is a pro, his staff, dressed in red hats and shirts that illustrate his wares, proudly and it seems loyally demonstrate that loyalty by the way they work, hard, dedicated and with a smile.
Brooklyn is undergoing a wonderful renaissance, the streets are cleaner, the businesses are prospering, great looking eating seems to be the norm as it still retains its old-time flavor while building a future with the young and upcoming people that populate it. The streets are bustling in the business districts and as you travel through the quiet streets and residential areas, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and life is beautiful.

My partner and I spent our day visiting the places that will see us signing books, and talking about the neighborhoods and people of the great borough of Kings County. We visited the waterfront, spent time on a boat talking to PortSide New York about the impact of the waterfront on the area of Red Hook and the docks and loading points that make the area so vital. We visited Books Are Magic and Barnes & Noble about our book signing and promo for the book. We got bread and biscuits from local bakeries and as two Italians, just salivated as we passed restaurant after restaurant.

At one time, Brooklyn was its own incorporated city, and I think it is time for it to succeed from the union with NYC and show the world what it is made of on its own.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

VALUES CHANGE


Thirty years ago, when home computers were still a novelty, things like Twitter and Facebook would be considered a frivolous waste of time. There was nothing like social media, just your run of the mill newspapers and TV or radio as a form of communication from the World to you.

Posting things like jokes and prayers, or silly pictures (some of which I am guilty of), recipes and political or religious points of view would not be something that was acceptable or tolerated. As far as it has any Governmental attention, it would seem ridiculous! The national concerns would have been Russia or China, the economy, civil rights, and things like breaking up large corporations.

Today, as we look around, the President has used Twitter as his form of acceptable communication, breaking the lock on the silence of the White House to the general public, other than the office of Press Secretary.

It is suddenly becoming so important that constitutionality is now brought to the forefront as the right of Free Speech needs to be interpreted, National Security is a big concern as Russia used social media to try to affect our national elections, and the creators and operators of these media are questioned about what they can or can’t do.



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE CATHOLIC…


To appreciate art and the beauty that Le Cathedral de Notre Dame d’ Paris was. It is like losing a beautiful painting on a grand scale, something that adorned the whole world and gave testimony to the genius of man and the power of God.


For 850 years the cathedral stood in place for the world to see as it overshadowed the beauty of what is Paris, the city of lights. Second, only to St. Peters in Rome as the home of Catholicism, it presides not only for Christianity but also for all the world who believe in God.

It withstood the assaults of man against man in the many wars it witnessed. As bombs fell and bullets flew, as swords clashed and cannon balls rained upon Paris, it stood in contrast to what is Man’s instinct, making war and slaughtering each other, for only Man can make war, yet only Man can create such beauty!

The building was made when building edifices as such were impossible to do and man had not the know-how nor the technology, but only the will. It shows what an amazing thing man’s will is, what it is capable of in defiance of nay-Sayers.

Losing this monumental masterpiece is like losing beauty in her prime, her elegance, grace, and inspiration are lost forever and never to be reclaimed.

What will fill the footprint? Perhaps the French will re-build something that can memorialize the old masterpiece but will never equal it. But, life is strange, some of us live a long time and some of us die in infancy, but all of us die eventually. Death is the consequence of life, it can’t be denied and can’t be stopped. So it is with even buildings, iconic ones as well as inconsequential ones. Buildings are brick and mortar, wood and stone, they testify to our existence. The pyramids, cathedrals, temples and mosques, all fall eventually, they are the residue of mankind’s ideas and inspirations, and like those ideas and inspirations, they too will die.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

TRYING TO CHANGE OVER!


Being an old coot as I am, I decided to get with it and join the modern age. You know you can tell just how old a man is by how he plans his future!

For years I had and still do, a pocket calendar to make my appointments. Like all of them, the one I have has every day of the week, and every week with all 52 weeks in between its covers. Very basic and all I needed was to record events and consult it every day.

Recently, I retired from the Board of Directors, where I was very active and involved with business and having all kinds of committee and board meetings. Now I am retired and seek to eliminate the need for the date book. Instead of the date book, I will record all future events in my cell phone, just like everyone else.

Here is the problem… I don’t trust myself to record all events because I can be a little lazy, like a “Little Pregnant”. It is a pain in the ass to take my phone out, look for the calendar and open that, go to the right thing, in this case, the date setup, press the ‘+’ sign and start entering all this information, most of which I don’t think is really necessary.

But, I will try because again, I don’t have the book to carry around with me all day, usually in my shirt pocket or pants. The old way is somewhat cumbersome but it did the job accurately and it was easy to record into.

I will try… but I’m not tossing the book version away, just yet!




Monday, April 15, 2019

ENOUGH!

I’ve been going to the same dinner every Sunday morning for years, and the food is good and the price as well. But sometimes familiarity breathes complacency, forcing me to reconsider my options.

I have certain things I want to be done for my breakfast and it seems it is too hard for the simple little minds that take my order every time I go there.

For instance, I want water with a straw, not a major problem. I like my French fries extra done, a little crispier than the usual. When I order my eggs, I want them without meat so I don’t mention meat. And my biggest gripe: the waitress is not swimming in perfume that it could make my eggs move off the plate by themselves!

My last visit to the diner was a nightmare. I walk in and immediately, the waitress who bathed in perfume walks up and the stink immediately sticks in my nostrils. The stuff she is wearing is cheap and so invasive as to make me puke.

I ask for tomato juice and they forgot to bring a straw, so I have to ask for one. Then the waitress stands over me and takes my order. I ask for two scrambled with French fries, EXTRA CRISPY and rye toast, which one would assume is buttered.

“OK, extra crispy, YOU WANT MEAT? BUTTER ON THE TOAST?”

If I wanted meat I would have asked for meat.

So my order comes out and immediately sets me off. It is bad enough the stinking waitress is choking me with that crap she is wearing, but the French fries are limp, just like I don’t like them every Sunday. I look at the fries and know if I send them back my eggs will get cold so I just accept the poor service and try to move on. My tomato juice has no straw and so I must track a waitress who will break the waitress code of stupidity to actually look at the customer after serving the food so I can get her attention to get me a straw!

I notice that there is no water at the table. Someone brings me water but no straw, I have to ask three different people for a straw before a get the attention of one woman who from a distance shakes her head ok to my gesturing for a straw as I point to the water. What does she do? She brings over more coffee and looks confused, that’s what.

To finish off the meal I get someone else’s check!

Sunday, April 14, 2019

THE COOKIE MONSTER

FEAR was my co-pilot
Many years ago when life was simple, there were no cell phones or Internet there was very little for a pre-teen to amuse his self with. Fortunately for this one, there were things to explore.

It was a Saturday morning and Mom needed Dad to take her to the supermarket since she didn’t drive. I was up and my older sister was sound asleep in her bed.

As the morning wore on I became very hungry and looked around for something to eat. I open the closet where Mom kept the cookies. The cookies were designated for the two youngest sisters as per Mom’s rules. “The cookies are for the kids! Don’t touch them, OR ELSE!” This was considered a direct order from on top, one that not even dad would break! These words echoed in between my ears as I reached for the Vanilla Wafers.

The box was unopened and sealed by the factory. What to do? Just then like the 12 Apostles hanging in the room after Jesus died, a ray of light struck me! I advanced to the kitchen drawer and withdrew a butter knife and proceeded to exact revenge on my sister for past serious transgressions where I got the worst of it. Carefully and with skill, I began to undo the glue without ripping the box top. Surgically I did a great job! I proceeded to eat about at least a half a box of those little vanilla wafers before I realized that time was running out, my parents would be home soon! I took one more cookie out for a sinister purpose, to redirect responsibility for this grievous crime. Tip-toeing to my sister’s room, I gently opened her door and stood over her bed, cookie in hand. Like a farmer feeding his flock of chickens, I began to ‘seed’ her bed with crumbs that fell as I squeezed the cookie. It was a pretty good job if I say so myself.

Returning to the box of cookies I re-glued the top back and slipped the box on the shelf and retreated to the TV to await my sister’s fate!

Soon the front door opened and in entered Dad and Mom, with the order to get the grocery bags sitting in the car and bring them in.

I sat at the kitchen table and watched as Mom unpacked the bags and started to put them on the shelves. To make room for the new groceries, she reached for the doctored box and as she moved it she made a quizzical face expression, weighted it by shaking it and notice that the box was kind of light! Shaking it again she turned her head suspiciously towards me and squinted her eyes.

“YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?”

“Huh? Who me? What do you mean, Mom?”

“THIS BOX OF COOKIES SEEMS A LITTLE LIGHT!”

I decided to lie to my mother, the woman who endured 9-months of agony carrying me around during her pregnancy one more time! This, of course, would hold me over until the next time.

“No Mom, I have no idea.”

“I’ll get to the bottom of this!”

With those words, she turned on her heels and marched into my sister’s room, and without a paused demanded an explanation of why a cookie box that was full one day managed to become almost empty a day later.

“I didn’t do it!!! Did you ask HIM?” pointing at me, who happened to be leaning against the doorframe enjoying the encounter.

"LOOK! THERE ARE COOKIE CRUMBS ALL OVER THE BED! WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?”

Two things here: I think it is bad manners to point and call someone “HIM” when that person has a perfectly good name. Secondly, should Mom have said: “Whom” rather than “WHO”?

“I didn’t do it!”

“Oh, don’t give me that, your brother would have ripped the box cover off! You are grounded!”

It was my perfect crime! Also, the cookies were good!


Friday, April 12, 2019

IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE!


Ever since I was a young child, I dreamt of living in Southern California. Back in 1955, I watched a special on my black and white Olympic TV of Walt Disney and his opening of Disneyland.

The thing I remember is the palm trees and the sunny openness of the place and how enchanting it seemed to me. As I looked around my Brooklyn flat nothing seemed as wonderful as that far away place of enchantment.

Today I go out there about 2 to 3 times a year to visit my grandchildren and son. It has not lost any of its charms for me, as the years go by the more I dread the day I have to go home and leave my little family in California. The six-hour flight is well worth the time and discomfort just knowing what is waiting for me at the end of the flight as I land in Bob Hope International Airport.

One of the things I love about the area is that it is historic and remains that way in many ways. As you arrive at the airport, Burbank has maintained a lot of the flavor of when it opened way back when in 1930 when Herbert Hoover was president. It has no terminal access from a central point, but each airline has its own gate that you access from the main entrance then step out onto the tarmac and climb the steps to the plane.

Many of the streets are lined with multistoried palm trees, aligned in a straight row, as you would see them in old Laurel and Hardy or Buster Keaton movies. The homes are most fascinating, following the Old Spanish or Mexican style with red tile roofs. There are small single-family homes and next door a mansion stands out, all cared for by the owners, all beautiful in either simplicity or grandeur.

Then you head downtown to Burbank itself and you find some great and many different restaurants, all offering something special from seafood to Sushi, from the Mediterranean CafĂ©’ to Chinese or Mexican cuisine.

But the biggest attraction besides the movie lots or the beautiful cemetery called Forrest Lawn and Mt. Sinai is a house that houses my two beautiful grandchildren, Darby Shea (La Principessa) and Bobbie Courtney (Muscles Marinara.)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

HOW DO YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART


Let alone many?

She married my son Anthony and wore his promise on her finger until she died. She left us all still wanting more, as we linger at her crypt, washing the stone with our tears. We witnessed her last giving to this dark and dreary world, and because of it the sun rises and the snows glisten, the birds soar and the wind whispers her name.

She was born on this day, unknown to those who knew her. We all had the common interest of love, for that is what she left in the end. She did her best work for last, then reached toward the heavens and said: “My work here on Earth is done.”

She did not leave behind her survivors they only validate her being here on Earth, once upon a time and yes, now too. There is no prayer, no solitude, and no reason for it all, yet it stands there in my mind, heart, and soul.


But her gift… what a wonderful gift she gave, she traded her life so that a child would be born, out of love, to give love and barter with our hearts for one more time of pure joy as he slides and crawls across the room, smiling eagerly and eagerly resting his eyes on your heavy heart and soul to pick him up and squeeze and hug and kiss him. He seeks to play and be inventive in his many ways he takes your breath away and captures your soul.

Yet his sister is the reminder, the spirit of her mother that captures me and makes me fall hard for the sweetness of her face, the fragility of her wounded soul and the strength to understand what has happened to her and her brother. She can be a lady without being ladylike, a 5-year-old with the cunning of a 50-year-old warlord, the diplomacy of a seasoned diplomat and the grace and beauty of a Princess Grace Kelly, thus I can call her La Principessa, the princess of my weary soul, the queen of my heart.

I remember one summer day on a Saturday as I attended her graduation. She had achieved the highest honor of her graduating class and as is the custom had to share her comments with the audience. As I watched Courtney move across the stage, a look of happiness consuming her face, I snuck a peek at her Dad and my son and realized they must be graduating too, along with Courtney. I speak with pride when I say she is a hard worker, and I told her once she worked too hard, but that is who she is, that is what focus is, that is why I admire her so.

God gives us all talents. What we choose to do with them is up to us. Courtney had many talents she never wore them out! She was successful in whatever she did, wherever she went she was welcomed in the business world.



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

PLANNING IS EVERYTHING

Since the release of ‘A PLACE CALLED BROOKLYN’ on March 4th, my co-author and I went our separate ways for a few weeks. He went to Florida, returned then I went to California and returned. We lost about 4 weeks of planning and seeing the idea of selling the book.

Yesterday we met and it got my creative juices flowing, looking for a way to promote the book. I feel like a young guy again, doing what I love, designing and planning and now writing. Ideas formulate in my head and I can’t wait to get started!

One of the things we are planning is placing ads in newspapers, to sell the book and the authors. We see ourselves looking to do book signings and talks about how we met, how the book originated and how it took shape. All that and eat!

We are planning on visiting Defonte’s sandwich shop in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a place that was featured in the book and on the TV show: Diners, drive-Ins, and Dives.

At our ages, the thought of a challenge is thrilling and welcomed, we did not put ourselves on the shelf and die from idleness but challenged ourselves to reach further into the future with relevance.

I have friends that say they will never retire, why? Because they feel they would have nothing to do. How sad, go out and find something to do, me, I reinvented myself thanks to my son who encouraged me to write. If I had his talent than it would really be something, but the blog: DelBloggolo.blogspot.com fulfills my joy of writing and the need to create. Having an ability to draw and paint only enhances my life as does taking on cooking in the kitchen. Life is great!

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

AFTER 14 YEARS

It has been 13 years since I started to write this blog. In March of 2006, I discovered that it was possible to express oneself in a formally published format.

Over these 13 years, I have written about a lot of people I know, places I’ve gone top and complaints I have. In fact, I do a lot of complaining when I write this blog.

Some days there is nothing but a blank screen and nothing in the fingers to fill it. Then I go back over the years and it seems like someone else wrote the article! “Did I write: that! Really?”

I discovered something about myself, I love to write and I love the challenge of expression, of bringing the reader along with me and giving them a good ride with words. Sometimes in life when someone dies, we wait until the person is dead before we say anything positive about him or her.  That is still my pet peeve and so I use this forum to express those I think deserve singling out.

It has been a lot of fun writing this, I used to have many followers but no one responds anymore, but that is ok, as long as I respond to the challenge.


Monday, April 08, 2019

GOODBYE


NEW DAWN

I thought I’d never do it, yet I did and I’m glad I did!   

Friday I sent my letter of resignation to the Board of Directors I served on for about thirty years. As I put my signature on the bottom of the document, I re-read it one more time and then put the cursor that was poised on the ‘send’ button, stared at it for a moment or two more than felt the surge from my brain to the index finger, then pressed.

As the document was sent off, there is a sound that goes with the sent document, kind of like air flying off in a whiff or blast. It makes you know the document is on its way!

My reasons for my resignation were two-fold. One was that I plan to move to Burbank, Ca., in the future to be with my family, namely my grandchildren and that is exciting. Second, I feel that the agency is heading into the future with a new direction that was trusted upon the board and needs to have new people with new energies and new ideas. One thing I don’t want is for this to be about myself, but those we serve, and I served as best I could.

As the document disappeared into cyberspace, I asked myself a question: “What now?”

All the years of retirement I was kept occupied by the various committees I was on, some as the chair, all of them were very important, from conducting audits of homes or the business of guardianship to writing new policies and procedures, to overseeing pension plans.

I will miss the people that constitute this oversight committee, the Suffolk AHRC Board of Directors. I will miss the many friends I made on staff and of course, the people I served, each and every one of them.

Being a board member is a heavy task, you must put away your self-interest and embrace everyone else who has a child or sibling. You become an advocate for all and not just the program participants, but staff as well.

I wish all the Suffolk AHRC family, the New York State Arc and the National Arc success, greater success than they can even imagine. I want to thank all who are part of the Suffolk family with my love and thanks for your friendship. God bless the organization, stay strong and carry on the good fight!

Goodbye!

Love,
Joe Del Broccolo





Sunday, April 07, 2019

WHAT SPECIAL GRANDMAS DO!

"Grammie"

Little Darby Shea, my perky little beautiful granddaughter was given a backpack from her mom before mom died. It was worn, the zipper was broken, it was dirty and needed to be stitched, and when Cricket, Darby’s Nanny tried to toss it out into the garbage, Darby said emphatically: “NO!” It was from her mom and she wanted to keep it.

before
after
As we visited back in Burbank, Ca., I came across it and asked Grandma what she wanted to do with it, toss it? “NO!” said grandma and explained why. So out we went to a craft store in Burbank to find a new zipper and thread to fix it. After at least an hour of commiserating over which zipper to choose, we found what we thought was the right one and purchased it.

Flying home we had an old backpack, a new zipper and a plan, grandma’s plan to mend the backpack and help heal a broken heart.

Grandma spent almost a half a day fixing and mending the backpack, then soaking it into some Oxiclean. A new zipper and stitching then a good soaking and Grandma’s love did it all! One little button was missing, but that little button will be happy when she is reunited with her mom’s gift of love that was compounded by grandma’s added gift of love!

Saturday, April 06, 2019

WE NEVER FORGET

It has been 28 years ago that he passed at the age of 20 months. He was a brave little soul, fought very hard to live and his fight inspired me to never ever leave him to the past, but to carry him in my heart to the day I die. His name was Joseph a name that my grandfather had and of course yours truly.

When you lose a child, it is like having swallowed hard every day. There is no getting away from that, no getting away from the sadness it brings to a parent. I know parents with this particular heartbreak and how devastating it is over the rest of a parent’s lifetime. I know the pain that must be following my fellow grandparent Roger, father of Courtney, my son’s wife.

I wondered at one time where to go when the pain comes on. So, I built a place, a place of where hard labor is needed to construct it and when I finished it I dedicated it to my son, Joseph. It sits outside my dining room window, surrounded by a fence on two sides and the house on one side, yet it opens to the street, to the World so he can look out and be included in everything Earthly.

Today is his birthday, he would have been forty years of age, entering middle age and maybe have had a family with little to older children, who knows? I often think the same thing about my daughter, but life deals some hard cards for me to play, but play them I have to. But both Ellen and Joseph remind me that it is one day at a time, look to do what I can today and hope for tomorrow.

Each day I awaken, there are many reminders for me to play and use to keep me remembering the little boy who suffered. I remember when one day, one of his final, he was rushed to the hospital at North Shore University Hospital and I got there to find him still on a gurney waiting in the ER, he saw me and reached for the bottom of my tie and held it in his little hands, then looked up at me wondering what was happening to him.

No, I will never forget him, he will be at my side when I go.

Friday, April 05, 2019

AND SO IT ENDS


After almost thirty-years of serving on the AHRC Suffolk Board of Directors, I finally submitted my resignation of the position of ‘Director’.

Over the many years of service to this board, I slowly learned that advocacy is a duty, not for one, but for the many. I have served under stress, overjoyed, and with passion, unfortunately, passion has to be rekindled and worked at. 

My reasons for retiring or resigning is that it is time to go, time to turn the keys over to a younger generation. Younger people have more energy and more ideas. It has been a long road, especially at the beginning of my service when I worked then served on committees at night. Some nights were dark, rainy, snowy, the glare from traffic intense from a headache during the day of regular business hours that I carried with me to the meetings. In these days the meetings lasted until 11:00 PM! My tired body, aching legs, and hunger all playing a part of the hard days of service to the board as well as feeding my family was the norm and not the exception.



So, what to do with the extra time? I will be dedicating my time to getting my wife and daughter to the west coast and trying to convince #2 Son Mike to do the same and join us. It would truly be a great way to end my life and have some joy.

We all need to enjoy our lives and mine has not been that enjoyable, especially with death and disabilities that seem to rule the day. The disappointment of my siblings save for one or two has broken that bond permanently and now it is time to free myself of all that crap.

My children and grandchildren are all I want at this stage, to see them prosper and enjoy their lives as my wife Ellen and I enjoy them and each other.



-->

Thursday, April 04, 2019

THERE’S NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT!

It's not myaltitude but my attitude that riles me.

Leaving Burbank, Ca. is hard enough, leaving on time is even harder on JetBlue. My last day with my grandkids was marred by the incompetence of JetBlue both in New York at JFK and at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. As you can see below, the flight home was supposed to be at 2:16 PM. The limo service picked us up at 11:50 way before the promised time of 12:26 PM.

Now, we have had bad delays before from Burbank, it is nothing new to us but sometimes it gets frustrating if you fly East and start arriving at 3:00 AM in NY, have to get the airpark service to pick you up and then drive the Belt Parkway at that time.

We get to Burbank Airport and since the flight is at 2:16, we get a text:
Original departure time: 2:16 PM
Updated departure time: 4:05 PM

We decide to eat lunch at a nice restaurant at the airport. I had a pasta dish of Pesto with mushrooms and mozzarella cheese. It was very good when accompanied by 2 (two) Jack Daniel Manhattans. As we sit there and try to guess if the lady across from us eating alone is gay or a man, it was really hard to tell I get another text message:
Original departure time: 2:16 PM
Updated departure time: 4:38 P

So, there is no hurry to finish lunch that we do and casually stroll down to the waiting or boarding area and as we settle in, another text message comes across.
Original departure time: 2:16 PM
Updated departure time: 5:40 PM

You are talking four hours and change waiting for a five and a half hour trip across the country. This situation has gotten out of hand, the airline is running very poorly and I’m tempted to start taking Southwest with their stupid seating policy. Most time going home after a wonderful time in Burbank, the morons screw up the departures


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

A RECORD-SETTING NIGHT!


Enjoyed a great taping of THE BIG BANG THEORY last night and was told by Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cuoco that the show was setting a record for the most episodes for the genre, 276 shows!

Met with Kripke (John Ross Bowie, and Bernadette (Melissa Rauch). These are two really great individuals. I have a picture in my den of John on the set with my son Anthony posing for the camera. John is wearing a Mets shirt and so I hung the photo on the wall. It is one of my many prized possessions. We talked about baseball and the Mets of course. He was wheeling around the star of the show ‘SPEECHLESS’ Micah D. Fowler. John is into people with disabilities.

Then as I moved along with the stagehands, creators, and writers, I ran into Melissa Rauch, another person who I love to meet. She has a little history with
my family. She sent flowers to Anthony and Courtney’s honeymoon suite in NYC when they were attending the play: Harvey. It seems that Jim Parsons was starring in the play when the stage that was supposed to turn malfunctioned. He appeared on stage and apologized to his friends and audience and mentioned Anthony and Melissa Rauch. Both didn’t know the other was in the audience! Melissa sent flowers to Anthony’s room after texting him.

Then there is a photo in a frame of my granddaughter under this beautifully embroidered blanket and stitched on it was her name, Darby! Who sent it? Melissa Rauch. She is so tiny and cute that you need to be careful when she hugs you, which she did.

Kaley Cuoco was walking around the stage with ‘Blueberry’, Johnny Galecki’s dog! A tiny little dog who may stand taller than Johnny!

They have this incredible comedian Mark Sweet, who had the audience in his hands, making rollicking comments, driving people to laugh and leading them on.

It was a great night, courtesy of a little blond kid that used to run around my house years ago!

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

AS TIME WENT BY

As I sit here in the morning sun of Burbank, California, the azure sky silhouettes the tall waving palm trees that remind me I am in a special place. There are birds that are whistling the beautiful day and telling me that this is the special place where I need to be.
Flowers are in full bloom, a doting of red and white, splashes of cerulean and magenta with a backdrop of greens that frame the picture of my contentment.

Knowing that every day is special around here, I see my beautiful granddaughter Darby, as she goes about getting ready for her preschool, her fine blond wisps of hair, gently fly about as the loose strands of her hair defy the restrictions of her comb. “Grandpa, can you close this for me? Grandpa, do you want to go outside and play with me?” All this is always possible.
There is a little bundle of joy, someone so magical, playful, and above all, beautiful who fills my day with laughter and fun at his attempts to defy his age, a ripe nine-months-old. Bobby D as I call him, discovering so many new things as we take him to parks, and even supermarkets, sitting in his child seat viewing the new world with keen interest, getting smiles from the ladies as he returns the favor. His eyes shine, his smile ever-present, his joy eternal or so it seems.

Then there is Linus, an old dog who has seen it all for this little family. He sits next to me on the couch or at my feet in the yard. He and I have become great friends, we converse on matters of state, and sometimes baseball. We agree on all and it doesn’t hurt to slip him a little something under the table. Every morning he comes to lick my arm or face, then he curls up and falls asleep, content to be next to me. Lucky me!
There is Cricket the house nanny, Marta and Victor the house cleaners, the yard guys and Andrea the laundry lady, all part of the family, all caring and loving of the children and very friendly to my wife and me.

So, I will see how soon I can take us all here together in this beautiful place called: Burbank!