HAPPY EASTER

IMG_1908As I look back my memory of Easter was two-fold; Church and candy.

Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. As a student at Holy Name during the 1970′s, I could not forget that.

To be honest, this young, red-headed boy was a slow learner.

What did it mean that Jesus is risen? I had no clue. What did Easter mean? Again, no idea…

Our family wasn’t very religious. Sure I attended a catholic grammar school, made our communion and confirmation, were required to attend mass every Sunday but I don’t recall mom instilling scripture into us. (Remember what would happen the next day at school if you missed mass?)

Lent, sacrifice, (what are you giving up?), Good Friday, no meat allowed so we usually had pizza or fishcakes and beans.  Resurrection, New Life, Faith, St. Peter, and of course, candy.

Have to admit, I was scared in church. To be honest, I never wanted to go.

Dressing up for church was not something I enjoyed.  The black dress shoes, wrinkled trousers and of course buttoned down white, dress shirt. (I actually wore white tube socks once)

The girls with their pretty dresses and shoes, plus a cute bow/ribbon laced through their hair.

Leaving my apartment and making a right I often walked up the avenue alone. The climb up the stairway to heaven was slower than most. I sat alone in the back row. I was tempted to stand in the back but I was once told to take a seat by a very mean man.

We sat through the extra long mass listening to the priest. I enjoyed the hymns during mass. I skipped communion. Too afraid to walk up and let everyone see me.

When they came around to collect money in the basket, I just sat there and looked straight ahead. I was broke. Nothing to contribute. Sorry…

To be honest, I was always thinking about the end; when I could get out. I had my mind on getting home and changing out of my clothes.

“The Mass is ended, go in peace…”

That was my cue where I would get up, exit the pew and race down the church stairs. Running down ninth avenue soon as I got home I changed into my jeans and sneakers and went to the schoolyard to play basketball. Or at least I tried. I usually got thrown out of the yard. We had to wait until the last mass was over before we could ball.

I’m sure many families spent time together eating a nice breakfast after mass at home or over at the Park House. If I was on the avenue today, I’d head to Terrace Bagel for a ham and egg on a toasted bagel and wash it down with a coffee, light and sweet.

Mom used to hide eggs around our apartment on Easter morning.   My sister and I would search the five-room railroad flat clutching our empty straw baskets with one hand and moving things around with the other.

The night before I would watch mom in the kitchen boil the eggs and then we colored them. As we slept through the night she hid them.

Easter Sunday was a lot of fun. Not only would we color eggs at night and then hunt for them the following morning but in addition you’d get an Easter basket filled with delicious chocolate treats, (I loved malted milk balls), jelly beans and of course the sweet tasting chocolate marshmallow. I loved the “peeps” give me yellow or pink, didn’t matter.

At a young age I didn’t know much about chocolate except that it tasted good and it gave you a belly ache if you ate too much in one sitting.  Something that was always a concern of mine when I was given an Easter basket; the chocolate bunny.

Was it hollow or solid? That was huge!

When you received the hollow one, you may have been a bit disappointed; I sure was.  As soon as you bit into it, half the thing collapsed and all the pieces fell down to the bottom. With the solid bunny you dug your teeth into it and shaved off the chocolate.

On the other hand, with the solid bunny, usually that structure lasted a day or two – the hollow one, it was gone rather quickly.

Happy Easter to all!

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN…

When I stepped out of my apartment on Windsor and ninth all one had to do was turn right and walk four short blocks to Bishop Ford High School.

Despite not being a student at Ford I spent a lot of time at 500 Nineteenth Street.

On Monday, Ford announced they are shutting it down for good in June.

I received the news via text message on Monday afternoon.

“FORD IS CLOSING IN JUNE!”

I had to look twice at my i-phone.

Bishop Ford is closing? 

Back in 1977 when I was in the seventh grade at Holy Name it was time to take the co-op.  They had you select four high schools that you had an interest in attending. Did I ever tell you I was petrified when it was time to take a test? My palms were moist, I had butterflies in my stomach and I would gag. In the sixth grade I once faked sick at home just to avoid a test.

1-Power Memorial

2-LaSalle

3-Christ the King

4-Bishop Ford

The year before, after watching the Panthers play in the King tournament at St. Thomas my mind was made up where I wanted to attend high school (my tenure at Kareem’s alma mater lasted two days).

I’m not sure why I wrote LaSalle down and I think I filled in Christ the King because I had watched their basketball team play in the summer league at Holy Name. Little did I realize how far away the school was and what kind of commute awaited me. F-train to Delancey and switch for the M?

Sitting there I thought to myself, “I’ll complete the list with Ford.”

How stupid was I?

At that time my good friend Glen Thomas was a freshman at Ford. Two classmates at Holy Name, John Godfrey and Mary Kawas put down Ford and would soon be enrolled. It would have been cool meeting up with Mary and Johnny G on the corner of Windsor and ninth and walking to school with them every morning.

How stupid was I?

Why not attend high school with my friends?

As a young boy I would go up to Ford to watch the Falcons basketball team play as much as possible.  Neighborhood guys like Danny Piselli, Jimmy Rauthier, Charlie Alberti, Willie Lanzisera, Edgar Dela-Rosa, Joe Santos, Artie Lee, the Ferro’s, Brian Lang and Andy Purdy all wore the red and black.

There was nothing like a Friday night game against Xaverian; the gym would be packed.  I would sit way up at the top of the bleachers against the wall on the Ford side of course and watch all the action. Besides the great games between two very good teams was the passion and spirit felt throughout the gym.  The student sections from both schools were always hyped up.

“SINK THE SHIP, SINK THE SHIP, SINK THE SHIP!”

“EAT THE BIRD, EAT THE BIRD, EAT THE BIRD!”

I know, I know, different chants back in the 70′s compared to what we hear today.

(Container Diaries shout out to Brian Keating of sixteenth street who ran the point for the Clippers.)

Back in the early 70′s the Los Angeles Lakers held a practice at Ford between championship games with the Knicks and Jo-Jo White filmed a commercial for Pro-Keds.

It’s hard not to think of basketball when I hear about Bishop Ford. If I had to do it all over again, I would have put Ford at the top of my list. I probably would have played for their basketball team and came out all right.

It’s a sad feeling knowing that after June, Bishop Ford will be gone forever.

Like Alice Cooper said in his song, “School’s out forever, school’s out for summer, school’s out completely. No more pencils, no more books…

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

 

END OF THE ROAD…

DSCN0434Bishop Ford High School has announced they are closing it’s doors in June.

One of the first mistakes I made in life was not attending Ford after spending eight years at Holy Name.

But I did get the chance to coach basketball for the Falcons in my early 20′s. I started as an assistant under Danny Piselli and was able to coach the Freshmen team.

Through the sport of basketball I was able to meet so many good people from Ford.

Three years ago I blogged about my all-time favorite Falcon basketball players.

http://holyname.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/all-time-fav-ford-falcon-hoopers/

The one thing I worry about is the faculty at Ford. I wish them all the luck in the world.

BREAK A LEG

Front of Farrell's (Pat Feenton)No, no, no,  I’m not telling you to go out and break someone’s leg because they said something about you behind your back or maybe they owe you money.  There’s a universal phrase “Break a leg” in theatre used to wish a performer “good luck.”

Journalist, playwright, good friend and writing mentor Pat Fenton will be at Farrell’s this coming Sunday along with actors Jack O’Connell and Honor Molloy. The trio will take us back to Pat’s old Windsor Terrace neighborhood performing a dramatic reading of three scenes from his play “STOOPDREAMER.”

Pat intimates the dreams, trials and travails of just ordinary people trying to find the American dream in post WWII.

Irish-American stories about a lost part of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, that existed around 17th Street and 9th Avenue before Robert Moses drove the Prospect Expressway through the very heart of it in 1953, and divided it forever.

FARRELL’S BAR
215 Prospect Park West
Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. 11215

Sunday, April 13th. 2 P.M. to 2:45.

Admission is free.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry, like Pat told me, “just pour a pint and pretend you are back in Farrell’s for the reading.”

Yo Pat, Break a Leg brother!