What we’re gonna do here is go back, way back, back into time.
Brooklyn, New York in the late 70’s and early 80’s to be exact. It was a different Brooklyn back then.
The Barclay’s on Flatbush and Atlantic? S.M.H.
My friends and I played outside in the streets from early morning to late into the night. Some nights we didn’t go home. We called it, “Breakin’ Night.”
Holy Name schoolyard was our favorite spot. The priests would kick us out at 10:00 PM. We played all sports. No such thing as specialization. Basketball was my favorite.
We rode the F-train to Coney Island and back (never paying our fare).
We hitched on the back of the 68 or 75 bus and rode our bikes all over New York City.
We broke balls.
We broke windows playing stickball (accidentally of course).
We didn’t have cell phones.
No one owned a gun. Not that I knew of anyway.
Our parents were not watching our every move.
We learned to be tough. You failed at something, you got back up.
We learned to fight our own battles. Sometimes.
We didn’t run home, tell mommy or daddy what happened.
Wait a minute, daddy? My dad left for good when I was six.
Mom didn’t blame the teacher when I failed a test nor did she complain to the coach if I came off the bench for the basketball team.
Best of all the friendships formed and nurtured were unbreakable. I loved the people I grew up with. They were loyal and cared about me.
Sure we argued with each other, we even had a fistfight or two. But the next day in the schoolyard we were teammates playing two-on-two.
Those were the days my friend.