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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Writer's Life 3/14 - Remembrance

Here are interesting stats I did not find surprising, as I've witnessed the fallout. From the NY Post, in my own words: Divorce among those 50 and older has risen 109% to ten for every 1000. In those over 65, it has tripled, six in 1000. I'd bet the two most likely factors are the stigma that has been removed from it, and longevity. People are living so long these days that it is not surprising some would opt to break from someone who has become irksome. With so many years left, why be miserable?

Since I've decided to not do a memoir, it has released many incidents from my personal life, which I'm now able to incorporate in novels. Here's an excerpt I added today to my next, Present and Past. The characters have begun the first leg of their cross-country auto trip:
“Oh, wake up,” said Tony.
Freddie shook his head, trying to clear it. “Sorry. I haven’t gotten much sleep the past few days.”
“Who’s Grace? You were mumblin’ the name.”
Freddie reflected a moment. “The only one I’ve ever known is Sister Grace Alfreda.”
“A nun? Get-at.”
“She was our seventh grade teacher, old school, hard of hearing.” He chuckled. “The first day of class she was showing us proper locker procedure. Bucky Bucalo…”
“Never heard of ‘im.”
“He wasn’t from the immediate neighborhood. Anyway, the poor bastard put something in the wrong spot – I don’t remember what – and she slapped him silly along the length of the lockers. You could hear a pin drop. I’m sure everybody was thinking ‘Uh-oh.’ I was.”
Tony smirked. “I’da punched ‘er in the face.”
“I wouldn’t’ve put it past you.” Freddie laughed and shook his head. “One time she isolated my desk, as if I wasn’t fit to be part of the class. It was horizontal, up against the wall, near the door. After we finished this test, I started giving Donna Geritano silly hound dog looks.”
“I don’t remember her.”
“Her family moved to Long Island after that school year. Anyway, Sister Grace might’ve been deaf, but she had an eagle eye. She was in the last seat in the last row. She spotted my act. I saw her spring up, make a beeline to the opposite corner and then right toward me. I knew what was coming. She took a hold of my hair, pulled my head back, and battered me.” He pantomimed the action.
“What’s so funny?”
 “The insanity of it. Strange, but I respect and remember her more than any of my other teachers. Her methods were deplorable, but she was completely dedicated.”
“You shoulda slapped ‘er back.”
“Yeah, right. Not everybody’s like you.”
“Damn straight.”
“One time Johnny Califano was at the blackboard. He had to spell ‘equipment,’ which Brooklyn guys like us pronounced ‘aquipment.’ She yelled 'E! E! E!' and rammed his face into the slate. He was bleeding from the mouth.”
“Whatever happened to that nut?”
“Last time I saw him I was a sophomore in high school, sitting in the stands at Midwood Field with our J.V. team, watching our varsity get slaughtered. His older sister put him in a boarding school after their mom died. The father disappeared into the bottle a long time ago. He was on a class trip.”
“To a high school football game? That’s musta been the cheapest school goin.”
“Midwood was hot stuff back then, undefeated two years in a row. Brent Kaufman was a great running back, Larry Getto All-City quarterback. I wonder where they are now.”
“Probably cooped up in some office, kissin’ ass.”
“I remember Johnny exposing himself in class a couple of times.”
Both of them laughed.
“He had balls, not like you,” said Tony. “What’d the girls do?”
“I was too busy trying not to laugh out loud to notice. Check this out – in eighth grade one day they held us after school for ‘The Talk.’” Freddie described quotation marks with his fingers.
 Freddie nodded. “Johnny was in the first seat in the first row. Poor Father De Santis – when he said: ‘Rub your penis’ – Johnny slapped at his desk top, looked back at the rest of us and said: ‘Rub your penis!’ And we all lost it.”
“I love it! What’d the priest do?”
“He turned red with anger and, after a few more outbursts, told us to report to him the next day at the rectory. Sweet-natured soul that he was, he was over the embarrassment we caused him, and dismissed us immediately. He knew we were just goofy kids.”
“I don’t remember him. Then again, I stopped going to church right after Confirmation.”
Freddie glowed in the warmth of the remembrances. “God, I’ve been so lucky to’ve seen the things I have.”
Tony made a face. Freddie ignored the negativism.

The floating book shop was snowed-out today. I ventured forth twice. The wind was tough but the snowfall was a lot less than predicted, as the storm shifted ten miles west. I'm hoping my exam won't be canceled tomorrow. If the doctor's coming from Long Island, he shouldn't have a problem. If he's in Jersey, depending on which part, I doubt he'll make it.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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