On June 7, 1977, the day I turned 13 years old my father let me down. It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last.
That day I was officially a teenager but I really had no clue what that was all about.
Despite it being 34 years ago, that day still sticks in my mind.
You don’t erase shit like that. It scars you.
Say what you want about forgiving and forgetting or even, “let it go.”
As a kid you should never, ever, be disappointed by the ones who brought you into this world; mother or father.
The booze drinking, gambling fool, skirt chasing bastard promised to take me to Shea Stadium in Queens to see the New York Mets play the Cincinnati Reds.
You don’t know how excited I was when he told me.
The Big Red Machine was in town. Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Dave Conception…
The season before Sparky Anderson’s crew swept the New York Yankees in the World Series, 4-0.
Tom Seaver was on the mound that night for the Mets. I had seen Carmine the day before on the avenue and he told me he was pitching against the Reds. You remember Carmine?
I sat on the edge of my bed staring out the window, hoping the Gooch would show. ‘Gooch’ was his nickname; to this day I have no clue why and who gave it to him.
Every few minutes I would peek out the window; then at the clock on the wall; Out the window, then at the clock…
Jesus Christ, is he ever going to show up?
My mother kept calling me from the kitchen, “DINNER’S READY!”
I didn’t respond.
I wanted to see the Gooch with my own eyes walking up the street towards our apartment.
When a group of people emerged, I would stick my head out the window for a closer look.
Men and women dressed in their work clothes coming up Windsor Place towards the avenue meant an a ‘F’ train pulled in from Manhattan with all the hard-working people, hustling home, looking forward to dinner with their families.
By 7 o’clock, I knew the bastard wasn’t showing up.
Years later, hoping for an explanation, he took the easy way out; he never told me why. Probably thought it didn’t mean anything to me. I was a kid, right? What did I know?
Obviously the spineless creep had no idea what child-development was all about. This was a chance to show just how much he cared about me (he had left us 8 years earlier).
Clearly this was not a positive memory.
On the other hand, a moment that I will never forget is when a friend of my mother’s took me to the Parkhill for a hamburger, coke and fries. After the meal it was off to the Sanders theatre to see the film Papillion.
Thanks mom, you knew I was bummed, you came to my rescue.
What’s one of life’s special moment as a kid that you will treasure forever? Maybe it was something your mother, father or even family friend did for you?
These moments are what life’s all about, the important things that we can never forget.
By the way, the Mets beat the Reds that night 8-0. How did I know? I watched it on channel 9.