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Old Friends

I’ve posted my most recent piece. It’s a short memoir thang that dropped in my lap. Dave Kreuter and I were hangin’ out after a night at the Vision Festival, the annual avant jazz gathering in NYC. The piece is my memory of our conversation.

Dave, who sits on the Board of the festival, and I go way back. That night, he was introducing me as his oldest friend in the world: “He knew me when I was born.” True that! Our parents were friends and political comrades. We have history.

You can get some other glimpses of that history in a couple of other Memoir Pieces on this site. He’s the clarinetist in Junior Croce. And the scene that we both come out of is the back drop for Coming of Age in America. I invite you to take a look at those as well.

Enjoy…

 

Red Diaper Hang, 2017

“What would our folks be saying about Trump?”

“Three words. Oy, oy, oy.”

“You think they’d be out protesting?”

“My father would’ve called him a typical Republican with some 21st century trappings and stayed home. But he died right after Obama got elected. Nice time to go.”

“My mom hated Trump for decades. She would have been apoplectic.”

“Yeah. And unfortunately, your dad didn’t even make it to Reagan.”

“Reagan. Fake news, before they coined the phrase. How’s your health? Hate to ask, but…”

“Two old Jews talkin’ heart disease? I’m fine with it.” Continue reading “Red Diaper Hang, 2017”

Subway Encounters

1982

He is feeling jaunty as he bounds down the steps to the subway platform. He’s coming off four back-to back-sessions, followed by an intense supervision with his trainees. Having an hour to kill before heading to his dinner appointment downtown, he gets in a few games of table tennis at Marty Reisman’s club on West 96th Street. 

He sees her as soon as he enters the subway car. Medium length curly black hair, dangling turquoise earrings framing pert features. No need for makeup on this gal. Wearing a pink sleeveless t-shirt with a black athletic bra visible underneath, baggy gray sweat pants. Black and white Adidas high top running shoes. Several black rubber bracelets on each wrist and a faux pearl necklace with a faith cross pendant hanging from her neck. She’s in her mid twenties, thirty on the outside.

She is busy writing in a spiral notebook, a sloppy light blue nylon gym bag occupying the seat next to her. She looks up and he realizes he is staring at her. They make eye contact for a few seconds longer than is the social norm. She smiles, shakes her head slightly, and in one graceful motion, picks up her bag and places it on the floor between her legs. With her petite left hand, she motions for him to sit next to her. Continue reading “Subway Encounters”

Dance the Night Away

July 1978

You had to see their place to believe it. The urban mansion on Clinton Avenue was a combination of two neighboring four-story brownstones. Local legend has it that they were required to hire a team of architects to guarantee the structural integrity of the building when they were knocking down weight-bearing walls to create the large dancing area on the parlor floor. The ceiling rose twenty feet above the surface, as a narrow mezzanine rimmed the cavernous space where the second floor used to be. Speakers originally designed for Studio 54 were strategically placed to create a total body surround sound effect. At full blast, the throbbing beat got your molecules moving even if all you were doing was standing around sipping on the drink you’d just picked up at the open bar. Conversation on the dance floor was out of the question, unless you could shout like a carnival barker with a six-foot megaphone.

Maxine and Kiyoshi had built the perfect shrine to the disco era. Their parties were legendary. The embossed invitations typically called for a 9:00 pm start time, but the festivities didn’t really get going until after midnight. The last of the boogie crew were typically hitting the streets at 11:00 the following morning. The term “heavy sweater” was coined for such a place. Continue reading “Dance the Night Away”