Jackson Heights N.Y.

That Was Yesterday And Yesterday’s Gone

It’s 1970 and I’m in St. Gabriel’s. Brother James and Brother Edmond are finished with glee club practice so I have to call my parents. I reach for the phone and wake up to the sound of my cell phone. My parents are deceased. Those Brothers are now on my Facebook friend list.


Welcome back to Kat Myrman’s Twittering Tales #132 .


Jackson Heights Of Yore

As a kid I lived in Jackson Heights in Queens.

The Q19B bus took us back and forth to St. Gabriel’s daily.

There were traffic congestion and crowded neighborhoods where my childhood begins.

Where Spanish and Italian were both spoken so well and fluently.



Today’s Imaginary Garden With Real Toads asks us to write a poem about an environment~neither rural nor beach~so I’ve chosen a flashback to my days as a youngster in Queens.  My poem is a quadrille with slant rhyme.





Fund Raiser To Benefit Cancer Research

30123797_1750746724987736_1975333189748523008_nI’m originally from Jackson Heights, Queens.  Having just recently found out that Bruno’s On the Boulevard (Astoria Boulevard) will soon be hosting a fund raiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I couldn’t help giving them a bit of publicity. If you’re in that part of Queens next week, please patronize this worthy event.

leap at your own risk

I’ve never been a fan of change, especially significant change. The first time I moved from one address to another~of the moves I can remember~was around my twelfth birthday, when we moved from Jackson Heights to Lindenhurst.  That drove me nuts.  It was an unavoidably necessary leap but I still plum stunk at it. I always tell people that that was the incident which forever left me wary of change.  I can handle incremental change, the kind that happens in small degrees.  That kind of change happens incessantly anyway. Any change, however, that can be referred to as a leap, gets me crazy.  Ever since my earliest  days I’ve always been so pathetically physically clumsy, weak and uncoordinated. I was the kind of kid whom no one else ever wanted on his team, in gym class or otherwise.  Physical leaps are yet another kind I tend to shun.  While I can understand that leaping into things can often be unavoidably necessary, I don’t leap well. I should rather saunter as much as possible.

like a boss

a leap altar and more

daily post

daily paws

leap~daily prompt

peeps for leap

ominous rainstorm in queens

One sunny Saturday morning, I got the idea to go back to my old neighborhood, 92nd Street in Jackson Heights, for a while, just to see what it’s like now.    I also really wanted to visit St. Gabriel’s five blocks away in East Elmhurst.    When I first got into my car, it was the perfect day, with sunshine and clear skies.    Unfortunately, though, that didn’t last.     By the time I  got to Astoria Boulevard, about an hour after I first left, the sky became very dark and it began to rain terribly.    On my way from 92nd Street to  St. Gabriel’s I decided to pull over and to park for a while on Astoria Boulevard.     In order to pass the time until the weather conditions improved I walked into the first store I noticed.   It was a dark, forlorn looking antique store, filled with quite a collection of artifacts, books and mounds of what appeared to be decades-old dust.    I was so happy simply to be inside someplace, safe from the bad weather, that I didn’t mind taking a chance on staying inside for a while.    After a few minutes, I rang the bell on the desk, hoping to get some service.    A large, gaunt, very old man, dressed entirely in black and grey,  came out of the back room and asked me what I wanted.      He introduced himself as Igor and explained that he and his wife, Olga, were the owners.     His glassy-eyed fixed stare and weak voice gave the impression that he was very ill.     He asked where I was from.    I told him that although I’m now living in Long Beach, I was a neighborhood kid, having lived on 92nd Street long ago.     The more I looked around the old place, the more I got the idea that I appeared to have wandered into another world entirely.    It was one big cliche, something from an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” or “The Twilight Zone”.      He gave me a tour of the establishment, even taking me down the long winding stairs to the cellar, explaining that that was where the couple kept all their supplies and records.    I couldn’t help noticing how cold, damp and musty it was down there.     Although it was quite a genuinely seriously terrifying experience I kept trying to convince myself that no real harm could possibly come to me.   I wondered when would the predictable plot twists kick in?   Maybe he’d try to sell me some obscure artifact that would grant me three wishes-or would some long lost ghost appear from beyond the grave?     Eventually I was able to conclude that the fellow was merely a harmless eccentric old gentleman, no more threatening to my well being than anyone.     After a few hours we passed a window, through which I noticed that the weather had gotten very much nicer, with sunshine in a cloudless sky.      I politely excused myself and explained to the old fellow that I was in a hurry and that I wanted to take advantage of my chance to visit St. Gabriel’s.    We bade each other good-bye in quite a gentlemanly fashion.     I took a brief walk over to my old parish, relieved finally to be able to enjoy an afternoon in one of my favorite places.   Perhaps, though, that brief detour through such a tense unwelcoming environment can serve as a warning to me that certain things from the past must never again be referred to.






been a long time been a long time been a long lonely lonely lonely lonely time

It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was a youngster.    Now that I have all sorts of Facebook friends from as far back as my days in Jackson Heights,  even before my teens, I’m constantly reminded that even my very earliest days seem quite recent in my memory.   I also spend quite a lot of time with my niece and nephews.   Bridget recently turned seventeen, Sam recently turned twenty one and Michael will be twenty six next month.     That strikes me as quite an eye opener.    It seems as if it were only yesterday that I was that young.    I don’t really mind the passage of time and can even get used to the kids’ constantly rubbing it in.    Perhaps you could say I tend passively to ignore how old I really am.     A few years ago I told my parents that I could understand that twenty years was a long time, but that I couldn’t understand that the 1990’s were a long time ago, even though we were living in the 1990’s twenty years ago.     Thanks to my lifelong obsession with the humanities.   I understand well that time is divided into both objective time and subjective duration.    Man has to deal, in one way or another, with units of time ranging from Grateful Dead time to the New York minute, depending upon his circumstances.     I still think of myself as being young, though I realize quite well that it’s now a crock.   All I have to do is to meet a former classmate or teacher of mine, or anyone else I knew a significantly long time ago.     My appearance has changed, though I’m still recognizably the same as I was in days of yore.     I sort of live in the past in certain ways.    I should like to think that I shall soon be quite a very interesting old timer, the kind who knows how to tell legitimate stories about the past, and to compare and to contrast then and now, but not in a creepy way.      It’s all a question of facing up to the inevitable.    I’ve never liked that as-young-as-you-feel crap.   I’ve also never been able to stand when characters such as Willard Scott refer to fans of his as a hundred and four years young, or anything like that.    When someone pretends that old people can be young in some way he denies the legitimate goodness, beauty and worthiness of both age and youth.    When that happens no one wins and everyone loses.






best friend

I haven’t had a best friend since I was a kid.   When I was a kid in Jackson Heights my best friend was Earl.    Then when we first moved to Lindenhurst, around the time I turned twelve years old, my best friend was Jimmy.   His family moved eventually so that left me without a best friend permanently.   They’re both now on my Facebook friend list.   Each one has a birthday on Halloween.    It’s a very nice idea for someone to be able to have a friend whom he can always count upon, and whom he can even refer to specifically as his very best friend.    I’ve never liked the idea of a BFF though, not because I don’t think someone should have a best friend.   It’s simply because I consider it quite a seriously annoying trite catch phrase.    Maybe the reason for my not having a best friend in so extremely long a time is that I’ve always been entirely too distinctive a character to qualify for one.   A best friend is quite an interesting character.    It would be nice if each of us could count on someone to play Norton to his Ralph, or Oscar to his Felix.    I know I don’t lack a best friend because of a deliberate decision.    It’s merely dumb luck that has dealt me such an unfortunate blow.



best friend

tom balistreri

tucked into a corner

u be cute

harvey’s and shirley’s anniversary

Harvey and Shirley, from Lindenhurst, have always loved the movie, “It Happened One Night”. They call each other Clark and Claudette. On their fifth wedding anniversary they planned to watch it together. The big day arrived. There was a spring shower that morning that turned to an electrical storm, blackout and state of emergency. They were forced to visit her parents in Jackson Heights, an hour away. Harvey, always prone toward anxiety attacks, was beyond frustrated but all ultimately made the best of it. “Someday we’ll all be able to have a good laugh about this”, Shirley said, predictably.