I was born on tenth street between eight and ninth avenues, down the block from Prospect Park.
Our address was 665 – we lived in a really cool brownstone. I recall mom taking us up the street to the 11th street playground almost every day. When she wasn’t paying attention I’d run around to the bandshell, jump on stage and make-believe I was Mick Jagger. If you go to a playground today parents are all over their kids; Never taking their eyes off them. Can you blame them?
Things must have turned for the worse in 1969, because that’s when my father left our family. It sucked because we had to move. I was going to leave all my friends behind. Down the block towards 8th avenue there was a family, The Basile’s; they were and still are to this day “good people.”
Mom had a great relationship with a very nice couple from across the street. Antoinette and Dick were very nice to us, especially at Christmas time. Instead of a gift they would give us a Christmas card with ten bucks inside. When it got close to Christmas I always asked mom when they were coming over. Antoinette and Dick had a huge pool table on the middle floor of their brownstone. You guessed it, we played a lot of pool. I think that’s why I became such a good pool player at the age of ten. I can’t leave out all the Saturday’s I spent down at Timboo’s playing on their pool table in the back of the bar.
One day we were out on our stoop. Some of us were running around out on the street, Mom was sitting on the stoop. It was a pretty busy time of day, people were walking up and down the block. Antoinette was walking out of her house.
“ANTONIETTE, HOW’S YOUR DICK?” mom screamed.
Everyone stopped dead in their tracks.
People were staring at my mother.
Antoinette looked embarrassed as I was too.
It was an awkward moment for sure.