Sunday, June 17, 2018


As I stepped from my car, I looked out across the rows and rows of stones that marked the final resting place of those who have passed. Like soldiers or silent sentinels evenly spaced they stood and represent stories about life and death

My visit was to my son, father, and father-in-law on this special day, Father’s Day. The cemetery was not filled with the living but why would it, even today? At least three times a year I make a visit to my son, his birthday, the anniversary of his death, and Father’s Day. I talk to him a little, say a prayer and move on. The sun beating down on my shoulders as I read his stone for the zillionth time still reads the same, with a phrase: “Let the children come unto me” and then his name and the years of his life.

Today I mentioned to him that I was waiting for good news from his older brother about his new nephew, one he will never meet. I told him that my hope for this unborn child was one with a prayer that sits silently on my lips, and then explodes on occasion as my day passes; that for his safe delivery and health for his life to come and that of his mother. I just wait like everyone else in the family.

Father’s Day is an empty day for me, when you lose a child, the day only reminds me of what I once had and now miss. I am grateful for my children, they are each a separate blessing, but that one child dominates the sense of loss, and the reminder of a dark day once.


Growing up in Brooklyn, my parents were the final authority, the ‘life and death’ of all that matters. Mom had a place and Dad had his place, a mysterious place of high authority. I never intruded into his world but looked to him as who I might be some day.

He went to work every morning, and slept late on Saturdays and Sundays and all declared holidays. When he did something nice for us, we appreciated it and made it the highlight of our week. 
As strong a personality Dad was, his influence ranged just under Mom’s and he always deferred to Mom in the final say.

There was only once that I recall seeing him cry outwardly. It was crushing for a seven or eight year old child, especially for a son and his concept of his dad.
We did a lot together

It was a Friday night and Dad came home and was upset, relating to my Mom what had happened. It seems he was heading home for the weekend from work when he discovered his wallet had been picked and his weekly salary was gone. Someone ran to my grandmother’s house and she came over. Grandma gave him the equivalent of his salary and it took care of the crisis.

This event more than any taught me that Dad, and fathers everywhere, were indeed bonded to their families, that the sacred charge of provider and defender was extremely important and necessary. His tears were the tears of a loss, not of the salary but the tool to provide for his family after a week of hard labor. He feared that we as his family would suffer because of what happened.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


It comes every year now, June 11th is Mom’s and June 12th is Dad’s anniversary when they died. I really don’t know what significance there is to this but none-the-less it is real.

As we go about our lives every day, our children, our jobs, and interest can take us away from these realities and numb us into forgetfulness.

I am currently waiting for my grandson to be born, I am currently trying to put to bed a book I wrote and designed for someone, the agency occupies my mind and one of my children has pain in his tooth that needs attention.

Yet, I forgot about my parent’s anniversaries. How disrespectful and self-centered I am, I forgot my parent’s anniversary. I feel like a heel and unworthy son and in need to get my priorities straight. Dad worked so hard to give me chances to succeed, he wasn’t perfect, but he was and is my dad, my male hero.

Mom gave me nothing but love. Oh, she was quick with the wooden spoon, but that was for her long-term plan, to make me a decent human being. I don’t know if she succeeded, but she took the time and tried. I forgot, and so I need to remember who I am, and what I should be.

And so Mom and Dad, I will not necessarily remember your anniversaries, but I will remember what you did for me, that you will always come to me at tender moments, when the World seems to be against me, the times I step down from the train and there you were waiting for me in your car, to take me home.

Dad with his flannel shirt and ever-present cigarette, wiping his windshield from the dampness and mom, in her apron, wiping her hands from the masterpieces she created as I arrived from the train, my supper waiting for me after a day of school or work, are the symbols of the unspoken love they shared with me.

Mom and Dad, I am sorry to disappoint you.

Sunday, June 10, 2018


The recent spate of suicides by celebrities has taken on an identity that speaks to it. Anthony Bourdain, Verne Troyer and Kate Spade, all fairly young and in the prime of careers or notoriety have left an impressible mark on the entertainment world at large.
There seems to be an awareness now about the darkness of depression and the far-reaching effects it has on society, family and friends.

When we lose people like this we become more aware of the burdens of mental disability and depression. Suddenly there are long reports about their lives and the tell-tale sigs of their pending doom. The pain and anguish they felt prior to taking their lives is duly noted and was never really acted upon.

Stories in newspapers, TV and the Internet all revisit our own minds and remind us that this problem is not necessarily even hereditary and that we must watch the signs to help prevent this from occurring at the pace it has. Even a cartoonist did a drawing of him sitting at his drawing table with the suicide prevention number large on his pad and his comment: “Not funny”.

Yet it was someone whom I forget made a mention on social media that we seem to grasp the severity of the mental health crisis and made it a big deal, yet along many returning servicemen and women returning from Afghanistan and Iraq are committing suicide daily and it hardly goes noticed.

Without sounding accusatory, does being a celebrity make it more valid an issue than the ordinary grunt facing the hardships of war we’ve sent off without thinking of what may be in store for him/her? Not only the reality of war that can terminate life in some roadside bombing or dusty enclave but the double jeopardy of the mental anguish, sense of biting fear that can overwhelm an individual who would not face these abnormalities, to begin with.

Where really is our sense of urgency?

Thursday, June 07, 2018


I learned early on that if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say it. One of my passions late in life is writing, and that is because of this blog. I always had a want to express myself in written form, but never formally did, mainly because I was an artist first. Being an artist is a different form of expression, and although poetic in its own right, writing gives me a whole new dimension.

I never really cared for the construction of sentences until I became involved in writing for an advertising agency and learned that the old adage is: sell the sizzle, not the steak. It means you can successfully get anyone to buy anything they don’t need by the way you sell it. I mean, what could be better than to sit in your pool on a rubber float, the bar-b-q going with steaks on the grill, during a late summer afternoon or early evening, a Tom Collins in hand and maybe a few corn-on-the cobs waiting for you. You anticipate a cold beer once you climb out of the pool to go along with the smell of the steak and life is suddenly good.

There is a lot that has happened these last few days both personally and on the world scene, much of it monumental. The best and biggest news is the waiting for the birth of my grandson who is expected any day now, or should I say any moment?

There is the craziness of Washington D.C., and the shocking news that it wasn’t the British that burned the White House down in the War of 1812, but those Canadians up north!

I am currently writing a book called: A PLACE CALLED BROOKLYN, a romp through one of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods by a child, the people he meets, the games he learns and the lessons that teach him that life isn’t always grand. You dear reader will experience it first hand as he meets friends and relatives and suffers the indignities of being wet behind the ears, innocent and adventurous, all at once.

I am near completion of the book and hope to go to press by the end of the month.

Sunday, June 03, 2018


Peter Sellers was one of the funniest people in movie land. I saw all of his movies and laughed myself to tears doing so. His French accent capped off his use of English like no other could.

“It is the lieu!” (It is the law) was one of his best lines for me, and every time he said it I laughed.

Recently I was driving home from Connecticut and as I entered New York State at a clip of 75mph in a 50 mph zone I saw the highway patrol too late. He jumped out from the side of the road and gave chase as I looked to pull over.

As my grandmother, Francesca would have said: “JOE-JOE, you
getta ticketta”

Humbly and believe it or not, gratefully, I accept the ticket and acknowledge that I deserve it. I wasn’t paying attention and I put not only my life in danger, but, those of my fellow passenger, drivers and the policeman that chased me by my carelessness.

What has happened is I am now paying better attention to speed limits. I usually did before the ticket but now even more so. Stop signs I always obeyed, even in the dead of night on an abandoned road with no one watching.

In the long run, the ticket may have saved my life, or that of someone else’s by reminding me I need to slow down.