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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Writer's Life 5/2 - Memory Lane

Memories pop into the brain all day long. Some are pleasant. a few painful. I chuckled recently as I remembered Richard Finn, a classmate at both St. Mary's elementary and Lafayette H.S.. I vividly recall two instances from our mutual past. I frequently went to the Benson Theater on Saturday afternoon. A double feature attractive to children would be playing, monster flicks, adventures or comedies. Seated alone, as I usually was, waiting for the first movie to start on this particular day, I was startled by someone singing aloud. Richie, who was tall, was strolling down the aisle, swinging his arms, crooning: "He's the Son of Robin Hood 'cause he's the Son of Robin Hood." That forgotten 1959 film was the first feature. I don't remember my immediate reaction to Richie's antics. Given my conservative nature, I was probably astonished at his boldness. That was topped four years later. We were high school seniors taking the English Regents exam, which, I believe, students were allotted at least a two-hour block, if not three, to complete. Richie handed his in after what seemed 15 minutes. I wondered if he'd received a pilfered copy, which enabled him to complete it at lightning speed, or if he'd simply run out of patience with schooling. I haven't seen him since and don't know what became of him. I doubt he went into acting, character though he was, as I would have spotted him on screen. I ran searches to see if anyone had written books under that name. Sure enough, someone has. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any personal information about the author. I have, however, run into someone else I hadn't seen  in ages - since 8th grade, 1963. I recently attended a wake. There was another going on simultaneously at the hall. I noted the name and that the funeral mass would be at St. Mary's. I asked the funeral director if the party included Paul Affuso, age 67, the class valedictorian who earned a scholarship to Xaverian H.S.. It did. The director later brought us together. I would have never recognized Paul. Gone was the the full head of black hair. I was surprised he wasn't wearing glasses and, apparently, that he was a smoker, which a non-smoker will usually detect. His mom, 97, who had passed away, had lived in the same house on Highlawn Avenue all these years. As I expected, he'd been very successful. He graduated from NYU, did post-graduate work in England, and returned to NYU as a professor and eventually became a dean. He retired a few years ago. I remember the announcement of his scholarship as if it were yesterday, and how the class applauded. Although he was way smarter than the rest of us, he wasn't stuck up, to use the phrase popular back in that day. I just sent him a friend request at Facebook and passed the info to our ex-class president, Joey Leoncavallo.

Here's a picture from the early '50's of my godmother, Maria-Teresa, and sister, Carmela:

And here's one, circa 1960, of my godmother's eldest, Carmelo, and my two eldest nieces, Isabella and Tanya:

My thanks to the kind folks who donated, swapped and bought books, CD's and DVD's today. A retired couple I hadn't seen in a while revealed they'd been on a four-month jaunt through Asia. The gentleman said there was a sidewalk stand on a street in Beijing where a man sold an unusual delicacy - fried scorpion. The creepy creatures went into the oil alive. He passed, although he confessed to having eaten a lot of crazy things in his life.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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