S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale

Before And After..In Person And Online

Wordle 213.png

Unfortunately it’s been quite a long time since I was regularly in a Classroom.  Over the course of my adult lifetime, though, I’ve been in touch with a significant number of my former teachers and classmates, especially now that the internet makes it so easy to find them.  In a way the online world is kind of like a Kit, with which someone can put together a parallel universe of his choosing.



One of the best things about associating with people online is that there’s no Pressure to follow a specific code of conduct, unlike when we were still together physically.   Even if someone gets Angry, and reacts to a classmate’s, or teacher’s,  behavior in a Harsh manner, wanting to Sneer at him, the Facebook world makes it possible to keep the nasty excesses hidden.  This, of course, is also one of its bigger drawbacks, exactly because it allows people to Withdraw from legitimate relationships.



When I was a freshman at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale, my literature professor, George W. McLain, daily started each class by asking, “What Transpired when last we were in class?”  Social networks make it possible to answer that question in only a distorted manner.  It involves, inevitably, a Disruption of the natural order of social intercourse.



Although I thoroughly enjoy the availability of  social networks, they tend to allow each of us to Withdraw from a legitimate understanding of things, and for this, they are worthy of Reproach.  On the bright side, however, there’s no need to be Lugubrious about it.  Each individual is quite free to exercise a bit of prudence, and to avoid any unnecessary trouble.



It’s Monday so I wanted to try to write something for Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie.  Each week, we’re asked to take a full dozen words~though this week there are only eleven, because ‘Sneer’ is listed twice~and to use them in a post.




false nostalgia

“All was not perfect before World War I, you know,” Charles told Harold.

Professor Blanc, at Farmingdale, just started a chapter on The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire yesterday.”

“It was March 25, 1911. One hundred forty six people, mostly young Italian and Jewish immigrant women, were killed.”

“Yes, I get your point”, his friend sighed.

Everybody remembers Princip’s assassination of Franz Ferdinand and Sophia, that set off World War I. We all know about World War II, the Sixties’ sexual revolution, and all the other recent poison. Sometimes man needs a bit of a nudge nudge about the before picture though.

Friday Fictioneers is our weekly attempt to write a hundred word story based upon a photograph. Rochelle Wisoff~Fields is in charge. This week’s photograph has been supplied by Sandra Crook.

i stunk at math and science

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”

Over the course of my school days I had always been quite a reasonably good student. Math and science were the two very definite exceptions to that rule, however. As a high school freshman at St. John the Baptist in West Islip, I somehow got put into a biology class, in spite of the fact that freshman biology was intended for students who were good in science. Mr. Richard Morabito, my teacher, frequently called my mother and complained to her that I could never keep up with the work. He wondered if maybe I should start wearing eyeglasses again.  When I was a  senior I took Mrs. Joan McGrath’s probability and statistics class. She, like Mr. Morabito, knew that I was a conscientious student but that I just couldn’t handle the subject matter.  One of the very last things she ever said to me officially as a teacher of mine was that it would be a bad mistake for me to study math from then on. The next year, as a freshman at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale, I was a liberal arts major. During my first semester I was forced to take another statistics course. During my first week there the professor insisted upon my dropping out of the course because he knew I’d never be able to pass it.  Those are only a few representative examples of the horror story that was my life in math and science classrooms. My late cousin Karen, who was a math teacher, once told me that she could never understand how anyone could possibly be a poor math student, considering that it was so logical. Perhaps that’s my entire problem. I must not be capable of handling courses that are too logically consistent. I appear to require  the twists and turns that go with the humanities and social sciences.







psychology major


Having fallen in love with psychology, Muriel insisted upon taking a class at nearby Farmingdale College. She eventually cajoled her lifelong best friend, Gloria, into agreeing to be her subject for a class project. Knowing Gloria was afraid of both heights and mushrooms, she took her to the top of a building on nearby Melville Road and made her stay there at least once every three days.

“It’s called systematic desensitization,” she exclaimed. “Dr. Wendy Doret says it’s guaranteed to cure you.”

The dizzier and more nauseous she got, the more disgusted Gloria was.

“I don’t think I like Doret,” she gasped.

the ballad of mark and andy

Ann (Andy) Klose was an exceptionally lovely young lady, about five feet, six inches tall, with very dark long hair and blue eyes, in her early thirties.    Originally from Lindenhurst, New York, she had recently taken a job in the payroll and personnel department of the Susquehanna Hat Company in Manhattan.     Early one Monday morning she finished her daily breakfast and coffee, and left her apartment at around eight o’clock so she could take her predictable walk over to the local bus stop on Mott Street.   She fully expected nothing more eventful than the typical brief trip to work with its inevitable annoyances.    That, however, was not to be.    As she prepared to board the bus, she was frozen in her tracks when she recognized the man getting off it with a copy of the New York Times under his right arm.   He was Mark Otter, her former fiance.   After a very brief, polite hello, he explained to her the he was now a policeman, working for the New York Police Department.    Although there wasn’t, she thought, any real love between them anymore, at least the former couple were quite willing tactfully to humor each other, briefly engaging in respectful small talk.    Flashbacks and anxiety attacks haunted Andy.    She knew he had always been such  a good person and a perfect gentleman, ever since their days as undergraduates at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale.    They simply weren’t right for each other unfortunately.     As long as he wasn’t around, she was quite happily getting along with her new life.    Now that he was living and working nearby, though, all sorts of problems plagued her.   Would she have to face him regularly?   Did they travel in the same social circles?       On her lunch break she explained her problem to her best friends, Linda Brown and Margret Simo Narcy.    Even if they couldn’t help her, she thought, at least by listening to her troubles, they could try to lessen the emotional strain.      They worked so hard in order to try to convince each other that Andy’s and Mark’s dealings with each other were in another time and place entirely.    Immediately after work they all went out to a local bar and grill to have some drinks and to talk it over much more seriously.     




learn a new language

I don’t know whether there’s any one thing I should desperately like to do which I have never done before.   It would be really nice, though, if I could either learn to speak another foreign language or learn to speak Italian and Spanish better than I already can.    I took three years of Spanish at St. John the Baptist high school and two years of Italian at Farmingdale college.   That’s not counting the two weeks of German I took in junior high school, at the beginning of the seventh grade.    It would be quite an exceptionally interesting experience for me to be able to be as fluent as possible in Italian and Spanish, or even to start another language entirely.    As far as I know there most probably isn’t any insurmountable obstacle that’s preventing me from studying at least one language intensely, except for the fact that I haven’t made a definitive decision to do so.    Because of the internet I now have lots of connections in several foreign countries.    I’m constantly being confronted with phrases, sentences and even entirely passages in books and periodicals, that are in foreign languages.    I have quite an interesting time looking up the translation of each passage in order to see what it means but it would be especially good for me if I could understand things like that really well without having to bother to cheat.     In the city I live in, Long Beach, New York,   there is an intense Hispanic population.     Sometimes I have to talk to someone who spontaneously rambles on in Spanish and it gets me crazy.   I still have no idea why so many Hispanics never bother to learn English in an English-speaking country.     If there’s anything that would make things easier for me these days, it’s to become proficient in a few languages.    At least I can be reasonably certain that I’d be able to handle it.







aunt mabel and uncle chester

I just got a telegram this morning announcing the recent death of Uncle Chester’s wife Aunt Mabel.    The bad news is that I honestly had no idea I even had an Aunt Mabel or Uncle Chester.    The good news is that according to the terms of her will she’s left me a million dollar inheritance.    There’s quite a lot I shall be able to do from now on with that kind of money.     Before anything else, of course, I shall have to do the responsible thing and invest a significant enough amount of it in order to ensure that all my bills will be paid in full from now on without any trouble. mabelleeAfter that’s allchester_cinklinbeen taken care of I shall then be able to concentrate on all the really interesting things I’ve always really wanted to do.     I could start out by traveling all throughout Europe.   So far the only foreign country I’ve ever seen is Canada.    That’s only because it’s so close to the western New York borderline.    I shall have to make sure I get a passport.      There are a few dozen countries in Europe so it will take me quite a while to see all of them.    The only foreign languages I ever took in school, unfortunately, were three years of Spanish in high school and two years of Italian in college.    That will present quite a significant problem but I shall be quite happy to attempt to figure something out.     I shall have to take my camera with me in order to be able to take a lot of pictures.

After I’ve finished with all that I should really like to go back to school and to get an advanced degree.    That’s always been quite a major concern of mine too.    The only colleges I’ve ever attended have been S.U.N.Y. in Farmingdale, and Adelphi in Huntington, New York.    Perhaps it would be entirely too much of a strain on my old professors there if I were ever again to try to sit through any of their classes.    I think I should go someplace else where I don’t already have a reputation to have to live down.

Of course I shall most certainly have to make sure I get some especially nice clothes too.   It’s very important for a man to make a truly natty appearance at all times if he intends to have that interesting a lifestyle.    I shall most certainly have quite a lot of interesting stories to tell once I really get involved with all this activity.











sittin in a classroom thinkin it’s a drag

Over the course of my educational lifetime two subjectshousman_paperchase2 I could never even handle the least bit well were math and science.  That’s not even counting college.   College is the time in an individual’s life when he’s introduced to an even wider variety of subjects that are entirely too difficult for him.    My two most significant reminders of how difficult math and science always were for me were the time in the ninth grade at St. John the Baptist when Mr. Richard Morabito, my biology teacher, kept calling my mother and reminding her that I was such an intelligent kid, and such a perfect gentleman in the classroom, that he could never understand why I couldn’t do well in his class;  and Mrs. Joan McGrath, my twelfth grade probability and statistics teacher, who  asked me, on my last day of school, to give her my solemn promise never even to think of majoring in math.    In my freshman year at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale, I was enrolled during my first semester in a probability and statistics class.   After a very short time my professor forced me to leave because he knew I couldn’t handle it.  My late cousin Karen, from western New York, was a math teacher.   She once told me that she had no idea how anyone could possibly have a hard time with math.  She said it struck her as so logical.  Maybe that’s my entire problem with math and the hard sciences.  The reason they are so difficult for me may be the fact that I’ve never been the king of the logically consistent.    With the exception of a cultural anthropology class I once presumed to take at Adelphi University, where Dr. Ludomir Lozny was inevitably forced  to resign himself to my incompetence, I’ve always done quite well at the social sciences.   I’ve always been quite interested in, and done quite well at anything in the humanities department too.    During my fairly early adult years I got smitten with an insatiable interest in both Catholicism and the culture war from a specifically intellectual point of view.   I then took a few more classes at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale and some classes at Adelphi.  Conveniently I avoided the dreaded math and science departments.    When I first went back to Farmingdale, the first two classes I took were micro-economics with Professor Robert Reganse and philosophy, specifically ethics, with Dr. Marlene San Miguel Groner.   I had already taken philosophy and economics classes there immediately after high school, and  I only got average grades.   This time, though, because of my having gotten so entirely enthused about all of life’s big questions, I was quite notorious for my class participation and my grades were exceptional.     The reason I’ve always found the soft sciences and humanities so much more interesting and easier than math and the hard sciences may lie entirely in the fact that math and the hard sciences have always struck me as overly laden with dry, boring facts, figures and symbols.   In the social sciences and humanities, though, there are all sorts of references to the entire history, and the very point, of man’s existence.   For a very long time, people have said that I give the distinct impression that I’m a theology and philosophy major.   I majored in literature though.   As far as I’m concerned the social sciences and humanities provide the most interesting explanations of the way the world is put together, and the manner in which people have always interacted with each other.  Like the very best songs of the 1960’s they provide a lot of especially good story telling.    By my standards, it’s a perfect combination of the didactic and narrative sides of life.   My imagination has always been quite notoriously hyperactive and a lot can happen in humanities and social sciences classrooms that appeal to my  creative side.     Although math and science are most certainly quite exceptionally important, I’ve always found them so unbearably boring and difficult.   All I’ve ever seen in those disciplines has been a succession of unbearably painful burdens to be borne with a sense of resignation.   Unlike Penny’s friends on “The Big Bang Theory”, I should consider life in a world of math and science to be a prison sentence.








that was yesterday and yesterday’s gone

peabodyThere were several episodes of the television show “The Twilight Zone” that dealt with a character’s  traveling to a bygone era, whether before he was born-the most famous was the one about Willoughby-or to his much younger days.   Those episodes always depicted drooling over the past as a nightmarishly dysfunctional thing, characteristic of a dissatisfied overwhelmed adult who couldn’t cope with his real life.   If I could go back to an earlier part of my life, I should like to revisit any part of my school days.    Although I most certainly recognize quite well that the time I spent in school wasn’t all one long halcyon era, looking back upon it has always been quite an enjoyable experience for me.    By conventional standards I was never the least bit popular in school.    In a way I was the kind of kid who could be classified as a square.    Then, as now, I neither liked, nor was good at sports.   My sense of humor was, and still is, entirely offbeat.  When I was at St. Gabriel’s, in East Elmhurst, Queens, I was an altar boy and a member of the glee club and bowling league.   The Sisters of Charity, De La Salle Christian Brothers, and lay teachers on the faculty were quite exceptional and the kids I knew were really good too.   Then came two weeks at Copiague Junior High School, immediately followed by two years at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst.   I’ve always remembered that part of my life as my especially uncomfortable transitional time, though I enjoyed it quite a bit.   In high school, at St. John the Baptist, in West Islip, I had such a good time bluffing my way past the Dominican and Franciscan Sisters and laity on the faculty, and the kids I knew were really good too.  I was involved with the chess club and student council.   The time I spent at S.U.N.Y. Farmingdale was also quite exceptional.   The professors and students were very good people and the campus was one of the nicest looking places I’ve ever seen.    I lived in Lindenhurst all throughout my adolescence, as well as for most of my adulthood.     From the point of view of negative constructive criticism, I should like to go back as a somewhat less shy, more confident kind of character.    The neighborhoods I grew up in were quite fine too.  Jackson Heights was populated by quite a cast of colorful characters, and approximately two thirds of the people in my neighborhood were Italians who spoke only Italian, and Hispanics who spoke only Spanish.    Everybody was forced to get to know everyone there.   Lindenhurst has always been noted for its emphasis on peace and quiet.   My neighborhood there, known as the American Venice, was on a very small island that was perfect for someone like me who enjoys a relaxed environment.   In each neighborhood the business district was very close and there were very many activities available.   Everybody knows about the grandfather paradox.   It’s a condition on time travel.   Nobody can undo the very significant events of  his past, or of the past in general.   If I could go back to my past, I’d tell young Larry to loosen up a bit about all the hard parts, and that ultimately everything works out.   I’m now back in touch, on Facebook, with many people from my youthful days.   I’ve seen a lot of them in person over the course of my adult years too.    I can’t literally go back to the days of my youth but there’s no harm in sneaking a peek or two at my younger persona every once in a while.


dear sir or madame would you read my book?

Ever since I was still only a little kid, I’ve always been quite the compulsive bookworm.    When my parents, Mary Anne and I used to go back and forth to northeastern Pennsylvania regularly to visit relatives, I spent each entire trip reading billboards and other signs along the way.   I can still remember being quite mesmerized over what Cutty Sark could possibly have meant.    Whenever I ate or drank something I paid quite an inordinate amount of attention to abbreviations like oz. and lb. on the labels.    In school I developed quite a reputation for having won virtually every spelling bee in Queens and Suffolk County.    I was the kind of kid whom my teachers, on standardized tests, always gave credit for having been around five years above the average reading level for my age range.    I can remember having read, at St. Gabriel’s and the local East Elmhurst Public Library, books and stories like “The Five Chinese Brothers”, “Skeeter Chariot High In the Sky” and the collected works of Dr. Seuss.   I first heard of Edward Lear at St. Gabriel’s, when I read his “There Was an Old Man With a Beard..” poem.    In the sixth grade, Brother Thomas made my classmates and me read, among other literary works, Steven Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage”, and Edward Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Corey” and “Miniver Cheevey”.     Throughout my days at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School and Farmingdale College, I was exposed to F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Shakespeare, Keats, Yeats, Blake, Joyce and countless other writers.    The Beatles, and other singers and bands from their era,  have always been my musical favorites.    The songs of the 1960’s reflect quite a lot of classic literary influence.   Joan Baez’ “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” is based on Byron’s poem.    Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind” is based on Christina Rossetti’s poem.   The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” come right out of Lewis Carroll.   I’ve heard that  Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”  was derived from an old medieval or Elizabethan poem.    As with my taste in show business and pop culture, I tend to be a bit of a literary snob.    The majority of the writers who really interest me are from the distant past.  Because of my pathological aversion to change-I’m ever the stick in the mud-my reaction to someone’s “We need another Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost” would be quite a resounding “Whatever good would that do? We already have the real Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost”.   When someone else has nothing to do he may eat, read the sports page. or watch television.   When I have nothing to do I read the collected works of the Brownings, Brontes or Shelleys, or some other classic author.    Right now I’m reading Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”.    I have to be careful though.   Once I tried to read  seventy five pages James Joyce’s  “Ulysses” over the course of a day.   I got an unbearable migraine that lasted for three days.     I always have to laugh when I’m in a book store and see books by and about everyone from Tim Conway to Suzanne Somers.    I enjoy all kinds of reading material, ranging from biography to poems, novels, philosophy and theology.   Because of my having always been smitten with the humanities, people often take it for granted that I majored in theology and philosophy in school.    As a lay Carmelite I really have to keep up with developments in Sanjuanist and Teresian theology.     Sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in very well with a lot of the people I’m expected to associate with but you never know when my interest in classic literature can come in quite handy.    On New Year’s Eve Steve an I went to a party in the neighborhood.    Although everyone else there, unlike me, was married with children and enjoyed sports,  I ended up getting into a really interesting conversation, with a guy named Kirk, about the collected works of Flannery O’Connor.    Not many people could have kept up with someone who wanted to talk about her.