Massapequa N.Y.

good times bad times you know i’ve had my share

Yesterday I went to the funeral Mass at Maria Regina Church in Seaford for my ninety one year old Aunt Norma from Massapequa.   All went well.     After the Mass we all went to St Charles’ Cemetery on Pinelawn Road in Pinelawn.   Mr. Gargiulo, a teacher of mine from St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School, was the deacon in charge of the ceremony there.   After that we went to Sal’s Place in North Massapequa.   That was where I made my big mistake.    There was an open bar.    As soon as Steve pointed it out to me I made sure I asked the bartender for a gin martini, straight up, with an olive.    Unfortunately I drank it on an empty stomach.    To my credit I made quite sure I only got one, and that I drank it exceptionally slowly, only a sip every few minutes.    I know my limitations quite well by now.    Alas it soon backfired on me.   I got a very violent headache.   I thoroughly enjoyed being with both my cousins and their families and friends-I’ve known their relatives and friends for quite a long time- but the crowd, combined with the length of time it all took, and the drink, made me miserable.    After Steve, Bridget and I left, he wanted to go to Amityville to do something on his boat, and then to Lindenhurst to see my old neighborhood.    Somehow we managed to convince Bridget not to shop for shoes and ice cream.    As soon as we got back to the house I fell straight into bed, thoroughly exhausted and in pain, for the rest of the night.   I still feel wiped out and need quite a lot of rest to recuperate.   The worst thing that could possibly happen to me today  would be if I push my luck and for lack of sufficient rest, end up getting even sicker.    So far most of my headache is gone but it could come back very easily.    The best thing that could happen would be if I refrain from doing anything that could provoke any further trouble.   All I need right now is sufficient rest.    Nothing very eventful is happening in my life these days, so I don’t expect my circumstances to change especially drastically  in either direction.    All I want is to recuperate from this truly wiped out feeling.    I’m quite confident that I’ll be back to normal soon.


if i were a carpenter(mechanic,plumber etc.)

Unfortunately I’ve always had at least a few strikes against me when it comes to being a handy man.   Because of certain medical problems I had when I was a little kid, my hands shake inordinately and I’ve always had less than an average amount of physical strength and coordination.    I’m also quite incapable of handling heights well.   schneiderIt might be quite a very good idea, especially for financial reasons, if I could learn how to fix a car.    After a while the bills that accrue from all the mechanical troubles brought about even by perfectly normal wear and tear on a car over the course of a significant length of time can drive anyone out of his mind.    Maybe it’s because of my having always been so devoid of strength and coordination but I’ve never enjoyed mechanical things and manual labor.    I have the same problem with things like that as I have with math and science.   Like math and science, though, they’re unavoidably necessary parts of life.    If I could develop some mechanical skills, I should avoid all the aggravation and frustration that go with having always to make an appointment at some garage.    When I lived in Lindenhurst I used always to have to go to the now defunct Saturn dealer in  Massapequa .   Then during my time in Wyoming I ended up after a while, going to Frank Gubbiotti’s Auto Lodge in Plains.    Now that I’m in Long Beach I’m stuck with Mavis on Long Beach Boulevard.   Although the workmanship in each of these places has been as good as anyone  can expect it would still be much better for me if I could avoid all the trouble by getting to know my way around the world under my hood.    There are all sorts of other things I wish I could do well too, for financial reasons.    It might be nice if I could paint.   That requires coordination though, since a painter who’s lacking in a steady eye and hand can count on quite horrendous results.   The paint fumes drive me nuts and I tend to get headaches from lots of things.     In the short term, though, before it all catches up with me, I tend, unlike most people, to enjoy somewhat the smell of a nice fresh paint job.   Because of the major problem I’ve always had with heights I should go nuts were I ever to try to paint something that would require me either to climb upon a ladder or to hang from anything, so to paint a ceiling, or the highest part of a wall, would be quite a major struggle for me.   By now I’ve become quite well resigned to the fact that I shall most certainly never be proficient at these kinds of things.    It would be nice, though,if I could at least do something about improving quite a bit.    I always end up being fully expected to help other people anyway, so I might just as well figure out a way to capitalize on it all for my own benefit.

happy fortieth birthday to me

On September 16, 1999, I turned forty years old.    It was nine days before my father’s sixty sixth birthday.    At the time I was working in the customer service department at Citicorp Retail Services on Old Country Road in Melville, New York.    I was also a part time student at Adelphi University in South Huntington.    My parents appeared not to have bothered to make any plans for a significant party for me.   My big day came and went without any significant attention beyond a perfunctory cake, cards and presents.   Something happened, though, that should have struck me as somewhat odd.    All my mother’s relatives from northeastern Pennsylvania came for a visit from out of nowhere.   As a general rule they never bothered to show up for just any birthday or average occasion.    That alone should have made me quite suspicious.   Since my parents , and relatives in general, had always been quite the colorful characters, though, I just took it for granted that it was yet another of their offbeat moments.    Aunt Mary Theresa, Uncle Frankie and Fran were there, as well as Aunt Lauren, Uncle Jim, Noreen, Michelle and Doug.    During the time between my birthday and my father’s my parents kept trying to convince me make plans to go bowling with my cousin Larry.      My cousins Larry, Gary, Joe and I were on a bowling league, for many years,  with the Knights of Columbus’  St. Jane Frances de Chantal council in Wantagh.    On the morning of  my father’s birthday Larry called and we made arrangements to go to a local bowling alley.    That day there was something going on at Immaculate Conception Diocesan Seminary in Lloyd Harbor and I really wanted to go.    It was quite a good thing that I chose to go with Larry though.   We had bowled a few games when his wife Rose called claiming that her car had broken down in the neighborhood of Katie Daly’s, an exceptionally nice Irish restuaurant on Merrick Road in Massapequa.   Larry and I got into our cars and drove to the restaurant.    We pulled into the parking lot, walked into the restaurant and it turned out to be such an exceptionally nice surprise party for me.    After a nice big meal there we all went back to the house and kept things going for the rest of the night.   Perhaps I should have known, throughout the entire week, that something must, by definition, have been going on but sometimes I can overlook the obvious.

lefty’s left arm broke

On Wednesday,  November 13,  during the late afternoon I broke my left arm.    It’s always struck me as somewhat interesting that it happened on the grounds of my high school, St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School,  in West Islip, New York, because I was in the class of 1977.    During the late 1980’s and for most of the 1990’s I was very active in the school’s alumni association.    In 1983 my eighth grade history teacher from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Elementary School in Lindenhurst, New York, convinced me to get involved with Amway.    At one of  St. John’s alumni meetings I convinced one of the school’s long-time assistant principals, Sister Noella, to buy some Amway bubble gum remover from me for the tables and desks in the school.   She’d been on the administration for as long as anyone can remember.     During the late afternoon of that fateful Wednesday, after I had arrived home from my job at Citicorp Retail Services in Farmingdale, New York, I drove over to the school so I could deliver the  bubble gum cleaner to Sister Noella.      When I got inside the school I went over to the lobby outside the cafeteria.   Instead of patiently walking to the administration’s office, I tried to run.    Unfortunately I tripped over a bar that went across the floor,  and I fell flat upon my face.    My left arm was broken.   Within the next few minutes I walked to the administration’s office and explained to Sister William Marie about what had happened.    I then walked over to Good Samaritan Hospital, right next d00r.    I couldn’t even sign myself into the hospital because I’m left handed and my right hand is entirely incompetent when it comes to writing.    They made me scribble something anyway.   I was forced to stay in the emergency room for quite an obscenely long time without any attention.    Eventually  I was treated by Dr. Glen Arvin and his nurse Terry.    My mother, and my cousin Larry from Massapequa, arrived to take me home after I was already stupefied from all the anesthesia and other medication I was forced to take.    The next morning I explained everything on the phone to Carole, my immediate supervisor at Citicorp.      My shoulder and elbow were broken.   Because of the gravity of that kind of a break everyone took it for granted that I would inevitably require both an operation and a lot of physical therapy.    Throughout the next few months I couldn’t drive and I was subjected to a lot of extra boredom and annoyance.    I tried to learn to write with my right hand but that led to nothing but trouble and frustration.    With lots of help from other people, though, I got through it all quite well.   I never needed physical therapy or an operation.    I went to a physician’s assistant a few times for check-ups.  When the big day finally came, and my father drove me to the physician’s assistant one last time to have my cast taken off,  I practically passed out because of the weird sensation I was subjected to when it was first removed.   Other than that, though,  most of the immediate aftermath of my broken arm was only  relatively minor.

classic blotto      1980 provided us with much of the very best music of the New Wave era.    I was still only very young then.   It was the year I turned twenty one years old and all was going so very well in my life.    Sometime during June of that year I got together with a favorite cousin of mine, Gary, who was then living in Ozone Park, Queens, and his then-fiancee’ Maria, who lived in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.     Gary and I drove, by way of the Belt Parkway,  from Ozone Park to Brooklyn to pick up Maria so we could go with some cousins of hers and friends of theirs to Great Adventure Six Flags Amusement Park in Jackson, New Jersey to see the Ramones, one of the biggest bands of the era,   in concert.    It was the first concert I ever went to , as far as I can remember.     We spent a lot of time on the rides and taking advantage of all the other attractions at the park.    The Ramones, of  course, provided us with quite a concert.     All the young people at the concert were decked out in trendy new wave garb and doing the pogo and other dances that were then really popular.     What really sticks out in my mind, though, to this very day, is Blotto’s then-current song, “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard”.     Unfortunately I had never heard of it before that afternoon.    Suddenly, from out of nowhere, Vinnie (a.k.a. Jimmy), Victor and Joe Jag started singing it.    Something about it instantaneously caught my attention.     I couldn’t help getting overwhelmingly curious about it so only a short time after that I made sure I went to Sam Goody at the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa and bought a copy of the album , “Hello, My Name Is Blotto.  What’s Yours?”   It’s still considered an underground cult classic.    Gary and Maria and I still occasionally refer to it.     To this very day I can’t help associating it with that trip to Great Adventure.

two very scary trips to massapequa

scoop-slide In December, right after I first got to Long Beach, I knew I couldn’t spend a significant length of time here without making sure I got a chance to visit my two cousins in Massapequa and their families.   I tried to get in touch with Larry but because he hardly ever bothers with his cell phone I ended up talking to Gary first.   Larry eventually returned my call and asked me to visit him.   I went over to Massapequa that Sunday morning, a couple of hours after Mass,  and spent the day with him, Rose, Eddie, and Jennifer and both her kids.     After a fairly short time we all went over to Amityville to visit Aunt Norma.    We spent a very nice time there except that the elevators were too slow and the music too loud.     It happened to have been snowing very violently all that day and night.   I got into my car and drove down to the exit to get onto the Loop Parkway.   I took the Loop to the Meadowbrook and then to the Southern State.   Fortunately I recognized them all because of my having spent so much of my life around here.    Unfortunately the weather conditions turned the entire trip, each way, into an absolute nightmare for me.    On top of that, on the way back to Long Beach, I absent mindedly  got off at exit 23,  Meadowbrook Road, instead of exit 22,  the Meadowbrook Parkway.    My nerves have always given me trouble so I was seriously frustrated with all the excessive and entirely unwelcome precipitation.    We all had such an exceptionally nice time though.    Eventually I called Gary again and we made plans for me to visit him and his family.    Yet again it was on a Sunday, a few hours after Mass.    That day the weather was very bad because of rain.     Instead of  the Southern State, I got off the Meadowbrook onto Montauk Highway at the exit for Freeport and Merrick.    Each way I could, yet again, barely see where I was going.    When I got there Gary and Mary were their with both her parents, Tony and Carmela.    Tina and her boyfriend Doug were there too.    From there we went to  an anniversary party a short distance away for Maria’s sister Giuseppina and her husband Adrian.    Several of Maria’s relatives were there including Dino’s and Roseanne’s both kids.    Of course as always we made quite sure we made time to visit Aunt Norma.


The Fourth of July went so well this year. As always we ended up visiting my father’s relatives in Hilldale for a few days. The weather was perfect for anyone who enjoys the heat. Most of the kin showed up. Mary Anne and Steve, as well as Michael, Sam and Bridget, were here. Unfortunately, though, Erin wasn’t available. My mother still has lots of trouble with her cancer so she couldn’t go. Each of us took turns staying with her. I was especially happy to see Maelene, Joe and most of their family from North Tonawanda, and Vinnie from North Carolina, as well as Larry, Rose & their family from Massapequa. Anthony showed up from Brooklyn too. An inevitable reality of this occasion is the incessant reminiscing. Predictably we all got together & relived our past circumstances, especially the kin’s obnoxious references to all my supposedly bad driving. We also celebrated relevant birthdays and anniversaries. Rich, the Ronald’s son, got me an especially nice poster of Beatle Ringo Starr. Alas there was no softball game but I don’t play anyway. One night several of the cousins went to Friendly’s but I didn’t go. I was too tired. Unfortunately we didn’t go to Jitty Joe’s.  Michael and I made sure we got our traditional cigars though.    Music, religion and politics, and current events provided much conversation. I spent lots of time in the pool so I made sure I pot on lots of sun screen. The lay Carmelite meetings have been going well lately in Wilkes Barre, at the Little Flower Manor. So have Fr. McKernan’s men’s group meetings at Our Lady of Sorrows. Recently Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at St. Joseph Marello Parish, on William Street in Pittston had their annual bizarre. I made sure I spent around an hour there each night. It was a very nice time. My mother still needs a lot of medical attention but we’re keeping track of it well.   Aunt Lauren,  Uncle Frankie and Fran come over fairly frequently and Mary Anne and family come in whenever they can.


Mother’s Day went really well this year. Although my mother has been going so frequently to chemotherapy and getting physical therapy for the past few months we all had such a good time. Mary Anne came in on the bus for a few days. Neither Steve nor any of the kids was available. Recently Steve, Mary Anne, Bridget & Sam, along with other members of his family went on a trip to Europe with his mother Barbara. They will be there for a while. I gave blood a while ago at St. John the Evangelist Church in Pittston. It was my first donation since I gave blood there last December. Last Saturday morning there was another men’s meeting for the Guardian of the Redeemer Group at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, St. Monica’s Parish, in West Wyoming. Over the course of the past week Larry, Rose, Krissy Krissy Krissy, and Krissy Krissy Krissy’s daughter Natalie came to visit us from Massapequa. A few days after that Gary and Maria came in for a visit from Massapequa too. I’m always so very happy to see my Massapequa cousins. Memorial Day went really well too. I went to the annual parade on Wyoming Avenue and Eighth Street. Gino and Eric marched in it with the Cub Scouts. Yesterday I had such an interesting time. On Sunday I read in the Dispatch that Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, and his wife Rosalynn, were coming to the Wyoming Monument on Susquehanna Avenue to make a speech and to accept some awards. Yesterday I went to see them. It was so interesting. I heard their voices and saw them from a distance. Unfortunately it was so very crowded and it was raining but I couldn’t have had a more enjoyable experience. I parked in the Midway parking lot among lots of buses. I was forced to walk quite a distance but it was worth it.