My name is Larry. Officially I’m named Lawrence, after my mother’s father, who died in late August of 1959, slightly over two weeks before I was born. Although I never got a chance to get to know my grandfather, I grew up constantly in touch with my Uncle Larry and my cousin Larry, on my father’s side. Among my father’s relatives there have even been nine Joseph’s, and a bit too much repetition of other names too. Throughout the years, in order to differentiate from among us Larry’s, I was too often referred to as Little Larry, and even Baby Larry. My niece and nephews, knowing that my full name is Lawrence, have often asked if I have ever gotten any mileage out of that variation of my name. I remind them that under official circumstances it frequently comes up, in school, work, and anywhere else that may require me to be a bit formal. Sister Miriam Therese, of the Sisters of Charity, was my fifth grade teacher at St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst. It was in her class that I was first reminded constantly that my name was Lawrence. She was quite strict about each student’s always being addressed and referred to by his first name. Around the time of my twelfth birthday we moved from Jackson Heights to Lindenhurst. When kids in my new schools, Copiague Junior High School, and then Our Lady of Perpetual Help, asked me what my name was, I took a chance on introducing myself as Lawrence. The Copiague kids stuck with it for around the next three years. Somehow after that it faded away entirely. In my Catholic school, though, things were a bit different. The first kid I met there was Jerry Antonacci. He asked me my name. I introduced myself as Lawrence. He then asked if he may call me Larry. I said yes and that was the end of it. Unlike certain other names, such as Anthony, David, Michael, and Peter, the name Lawrence simply doesn’t strike people as that interesting as far as always calling somebody by his full name. I see no point in ever bothering to change it. There have been times over the course of my lifetimes when it has struck me as somewhat annoying. In general, though, it’s quite nice.
On September 11, 1971, I moved from Jackson Heights, Queens, to Lindenhurst, in Suffolk County. It was five days before my twelfth birthday and I had a difficult time adjusting to my new circumstances. Always having gone to Catholic school, at St. Gabriel’s, I was forced, for two weeks, to attend Copiague Junior High School, the local public school,until I got into Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I ended up spending many decades in Lindenhurst but my early days there were quite a quirky trip.
On September 11, 2001, five days before my forty second birthday, the Moslem terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in Manhattan, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.,also hijacking United Airlines Flight 93. People on the left still don’t quite seem to understand that Islam is ruled by Satan. I was at 9:00 a.m. Mass that day at Our Lady of Perpetual Help when Father Edward M. Seagriff told us about the attacks.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “ROY G. BIV.” Red ..flag at the Long Beach, N.Y. Memorial Day 2015 Parade. That’s my Monsignor Cass 2626 Knights of Columbus Council marching. Orange..cones outside the Soup Kitchen on Pine Street in Long Beach. Green..plants in Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lindenhurst, N.Y. Blue.. sky in pictures taken outside. Indigo and violet..flowers at Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, Park Slope, N.Y. Some of these pictures include more than one color from the rainbow so we may consider that a bit of a bonus. The picture from O.L.P.H. is from when I recently visited Lindenhurst, my last New York address. The pictures from Long Beach were a bit easier because I currently live here. A while ago I visited Brooklyn Botanic Garden and plum couldn’t resist all the fab colors.
Stanley and Alice have always considered Brooklyn Botanic Garden, located in Prospect Park, as the nicest place in all of New York.
After 8:00 a.m. Mass at O.L.P.H. last Sunday morning, they set out from Lindenhurst to make the long but worthwhile trip.
“I just like to come here once in a while to hang around and think, with a lot of peace and quiet,” he reminded his wife of thirty years.
“I don’t blame you, honey,” she replied. “Everyday life is so annoying. Sometimes we have to step back and to enjoy all the perfect smells and sights.”
A few months ago I started going to the local Knights of Columbus, Monsignor Cass Council 2626, on Beech Street in Long Beach. Before that I was in the Assumpta Council 3987 in Luzerne, Pennsylvania. My first council was Our Lady of Perpetual Help Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York. I got my first three degrees in 1992 and my fourth degree in 1994. When I started showing up at my new council I made sure I spoke to the right people, including Nick, the Grand Knight, and Hank, the Financial Secretary. I haven’t gotten my membership card yet but Hank says that they’ve been in touch with my other two councils and that all has been arranged so that there will be no further problem. The first few times I was there, I didn’t stay for the meetings. I just introduced myself, watched an episode of “Jeopardy”, and left. After a while, though, I began attending the meetings. So far I have been having quite a good time. Eventually I hope to be as involved with this council as I was with my Lindenhurst council. Their meetings are the first and third Wednesday nights of each month at 7:30 p.m.
If I were ever forced to point out an era during my lifetime which I could refer to as the very best of times it would be fairly easy.I’ve always thought that there’s a tie between my very early days, up until my twelfth birthday, on 92nd Street in Jackson Heights, when I was attending St. Gabriel’s Elementary School in East Elmhurst, and the time somewhat after that, during my teens in Lindenhurst, when I was attending St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip. During my very early days in Queens, I lived in quite an exemplary neighborhood where there were all sorts of colorful characters. Two thirds of the families on my block were either Italian or Hispanic and constantly spoke Italian and Spanish. I was involved with a lot of activities at St. Gabriel’s, in both the church and school, especially Brother Thomas’ bowling league, and the glee club with Brother Edmond and Brother James. My friends, many of whom are now on my Facebook friend list, were quite an exceptional group of kids. We spent a lot of time together, visiting each other’s families. During my teens, at St. John’s, I had such a nice time too. Many of the kids I got to know there are also now on my friend list list on Facebook. It was a time for me to learn about new things and ideas, and to grow into what would become ultimately my current persona. Then, as in Queens, I was known as the kid with the obnoxious sense of humor. Unfortunately that period was the disco era but once I got over that I enjoyed all the other things about it. I was involved with lots of activities, including the student council and chess club. I realize that those weren’t perfect times for me. I had all sorts of trouble in certain ways. They were quite exceptional though in the sense that the bad very far outweighed the good.
Sheldn Fatrack and Ralph Fensterblau, both long-time employees at the Acme Gadget Company, decided on day to have a bit of a party to introduce their wives, Mabel and Harriet, to each other. It struck them as quite a nice idea at the time. What they didn’t know, though, was that quite a strange surprise awaited them all. The party was at Sheldn’s and Mabel’s house in Lindenhurst. The Fensterblaus got into their car to make the five minute drive from Copiague, little suspecting that they were about to stumble upon a precise replica of their home. Their acquaintances’ house, like theirs, was a brown and white low ranch, with a 75′ by 100′ yard. The inside had exactly the same paint and decorations, the same television set, basement and attic. There was even the same novelty picture, in their basement, of an overweight naked redneck couple.
“Harriet, honey,” whispered Ralph, “Do you see what I see? Something’s awfully seriously wrong around here.”
All Harriet could say was a simple “Be quiet and pretend not to have noticed anything. Maybe we’ve just walked into another dimension again.”
Throughout the entire afternoon and evening they wandered about this exact duplicate of their own lives, checking out the same books on the same shelves, the same food in the same refrigerator. After a while they even started enjoying it in some offbeat way. They casually let the Fatracks give them a guided tour of the house, pretending never to have seen any of it before. They asked how many bathrooms and bedrooms there were, and all sorts of other typical questions, knowing perfectly well what the answers would be. All the while they made references to old television shows like “The Outer Limits”, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and “The Twilight Zone” without giving their hosts the satisfaction of an explanation. In the end they all had such a nice time. Of course they’ve never recuperated from the shock but at least they know that perhaps due to some clerical error in the functioning of the universe, they don’t have to say that there’s absolutely no place whatsoever like home.
It might be quite a shock to be forcibly subjected one day, from out of nowhere, to a world devoid of color. Then that stupid cliche about seeing things in black and white would be more than just a brain dead platitude. If I were ever to have to deal with a world like that, in which I should be allowed to have only one thing retain its original color, I should like to have a really nice pastel colored car. It wouldn’t even make any difference which color it would be. When I lived in Lindenhurst, every year, during the first weekend of October, there was a really big Oktoberfest on Wellwood Avenue. One of the most interesting exhibits for me was always the car show. There was always a group there, each year, that had an exceptionally impressive display of old cars, mostly from the 1950’s and early 1960’s when they had fins. All the cars were in such amazingly impressive pastel colors. I was just thinking, very recently, how sad it is that there are no longer any cars available in those colors. At least I most certainly don’t see any anway. Little kids in the very first years of school have such an exceptionally nice deal with colors too. They get always to be surrounded by such amazingly nice bright colors. Unfortunately older kids and adults don’t get to have those bright colors so frequently. I just got, a few weeks ago, a dress shirt in quite an overwhelmingly bright shade of blue for exactly that very reason. The world needs more bright shades and pastels.
Mitt and Mabel, along with their best friends Keef and Harriet, sauntered off one Saturday morning to their favorite park at Captree. They always went there whenever they needed a break from their hectic Lindenhurst schedules.
“Just think,” proclaimed Keef. “For the next twelve full hours, we don’t have to think about jobs or chores.”
Having grown up together, they had plenty to talk about. They rode their bicycles, danced a while and had a few laughs. Soon, though, it started to rain upon their idyllic moment. Even the rain was seen as an advantage, another shared memory.