Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Writer's Life 9/25 - This Is Now

Thousands of people pass through our lives. We get to know hundreds, only a few intimately. I've always been reflective. I'm sure most writers are. In this my 66th year on planet Earth, I appreciate my blessings more than ever, at least when I'm thinking right. Everyone I remember, whether my relationship with him/her was good or bad, is an appreciated part of my life precisely because they comprise what is mine, the experience unique to humans. Last night was special. I attended the reunion celebrating the 50th anniversary of our high school football team. Several of us have gotten together before in the past ten years or so, since the wonder of the internet has made contact easy. The web also made it possible to track down those who seemed fallen from the face of the earth. I was reacquainted with men I hadn't seen since circa 1970. Although I used full names in my high school football opus - in my my mind to honor my teammates - and communicate with many on Facebook, I'll use only first names here to protect them from evil web trolls. Stan, aka Muzzy, was unearthed. I vividly remember looking over my shoulder after the whistle on a kickoff and seeing him injured, limping, his knee torn up - in only the second game of the season. I have no idea how he got his nickname and I'm kicking myself for having forgotten to ask. Dwight flew in from California. He was a gentleman even as a teen, so gentle off the field. It's no wonder he's been such a success. Nicky, with whom I walked home from practice every day, lives in Florida. He was so nervous before games that he broke out in hives. Ira, retired and playing a lot of golf, came up from Maryland. He still has a full head of wavy hair, most it dark. Otto, a retired teacher, now concentrates on his art, must recently the casting of indian arrowheads. Moochie frequently travels to China and Turkey on business. Barry is also living in Florida. I was tempted to ask about the rumor that he'd lived in exile in Cuba for a while, but my nerve failed me. Stuie, whom I used to spot working maintenance in the concourse of the pre-9/11 World Trade Center, is retired and posts pictures of the cruising he and his wife, Carol, who was in our graduating class, do in their boat around New York. Branch, who moved to Manhattan right after college, expects to keep working in the insurance business until the day he dies. He must have done very well to be able to afford living there. Joe, who was All-City in 1966, lives in California and has become a world traveler. His accent is now decidedly west coast. Pasc, our co-Captain, who hit as hard as anyone I ever lined up against, is a retired educator living in Connecticut. Tony, who joined the team senior year, has been an employee of Bristol Myers Squibb for decades. Gus, whom I run into now and then in our end of Brooklyn, is retired from the food distribution business and tending to his grandkids, who live upstairs. Carmine is another retired educator living upstate. He occasionally posts videos of his guitar playing, accompanied by his sons, on Facebook. The other Nicky, a fleet RB, was unable to make it. His wife has been ill. Ernie passed away about ten years ago. Herm is serving a life sentence in prison. Ex-Crazy Joe is dictating a memoir to a neighbor about his experiences with wise guys. His first job for them involved putting up a fence in Coney Island. When he returned he was puzzled by the praise lavished on him. Turns out the property had yet to be acquired. He'd risked being jailed. He was appeased when the boss laid out, one by one in the palm of his hand, 30 one hundred bills. Ralph, our Captain, is the owner of discount stores. He organized the event and tracked everyone down. Three female members of the class of '67 graced us with their presence. Chris, who was a divorced mom of two when she opened a travel agency that she eventually sold for a large sum, is working as a flight attendant not because she needs to but because she loves it. Dee is a drug counselor. Michelle could almost pass for a high-schooler. That covers the seniors. The biggest surprise of the night was hearing of the enormity of Henry's success. He was living on his own by the age of 16. He has bought and sold hundreds of properties. He made $17 million on the sale of buildings that were razed to make way for the Barclay's Center in downtown Brooklyn, and is owed another another $70 million! Howie is in real estate in Kansas, where he went to college. He is in better shape now than during his playing days, the result of martial arts training. When asked by family members where he'd been so many years, he said: "Witness protection," and they believed him. He still has not let them in on the joke. I apologized to Frank, whom one day I belted in the stomach in frustration at the length of practice and his continued vigilance. I did it so cleverly during the running of a play that he didn't even realize he'd been done dirty. Despite this he was nice enough to buy both Rising Star and Adjustments, the latter of which chronicles that foul deed. There's no truth to the rumor that Big Al is legally changing his name to his beloved moniker. It refers to his business identity, not size, not even his current girth. Alfred brought a football his teammates gave him when he was laid up in the hospital from a brutal hit in '68. All had signed it, and he asked those of us who had already graduated by then to add our names. The Captains of the '67 squad were absent. Frank, a gentle giant, lost his battle to cancer in March. Dr. Lenny, an ophthalmologist, sent a letter, regretting being unable to attend. Joe, whose IQ was off the charts, worked for a pharmaceutical company. Kenny, whose family for years had a jewelry store on 86th, is now working the counter of a Meat Supreme on that stretch, which was a battleground for us and our hated rival, New Utrecht H. S.. He has passed the floating book shop many times during transactions at the Chase bank, and was unable to place my face. Mark was the QB that year, as his older brother Barry had been at Brooklyn Tech. I used to see Barry playing touch football at P.S. 101. I pronounced the word on his jacket as teach, not Tech. Lombo helped organize the event. Steve spent his career in coaching, rising to the small college level. Mike Rakoff was a 120 pound sophomore in '66. He was racking up a lot of yardage in '68 when a shoulder injury sidelined him for the second half of that strike shortened season. Lenny was a scrawny freshman in '66 who turned into one of the greatest players in school history. Everyone was surprised and thrilled to learn Coach Ace was going to attend. He is pushing 90 and has to use a walker these days. We were his first team as a head coach. We know what Lafayette H. S. football was just before he arrived, and how successful it was until his retirement in the late '80's, and we will never cease to be grateful. Coach Marty was his assistant for five years before becoming the head guy at the then new South Shore H.S., where he won a city championship. He's fought off two bouts with cancer, the tough ex-Marine that he is. I love these people. Having known them, I feel as rich as Henry. My apologies to anyone I may have forgotten.

Everyone received a goodie bag, which included a T-shirt commemorating the event. I wore mine proudly today. My thanks to the kind folks who bought books, and to the woman who made a one for three swap of thrillers in Russian.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

No comments:

Post a Comment