One of the good guys from the neighborhood passed away on Tuesday.
James Cacaci died of a heart attack. He was 53.
By Pat Fenton
The following piece was posted on Pat’s Facebook Page…
The obituary in the upstate New York newspaper called him John “Jack” Malone.
It had a few facts about his life underneath his picture. Nothing much though, really.
It didn’t say that for 40 or more years he walked in the back door entrance to Farrell’s bar on the corner of 9th Avenue and 16th Street and sat where he always did at the very end of the bar. Always at the same spot.
It didn’t call him Jacky Malone. That’s what I always called him. We hung out together. He lived next door to me at 481 17th Street. I lived, and grew up at 483 17th Street. I knew more about him than probably some of his family. And he knew more about me than probably some of my family. He was like an older brother to me. Always giving me good advice. And all my life that street, that Irish working-class street filled with tough guys and lovers where we grew up kept coming back into my life. It always pulled me back.
It still does.
It was like the writer Peggy Noonan once said about Catholicism: “at some point, if you are lucky, being Catholic lands like a harpoon in your heart. You can swim away with that harpoon in your heart forever, but you will be pulled back.” Windsor Terrace is like that. Probably one of the last neighborhoods like that.
Recently, I was pulled back to 17th Street and Windsor Terrace for what turned out to be an Irish wake for Jacky Malone. It took place in Farrell’s Bar on the corner of 16th Street and 9th Avenue. Jacky Malone missed out on what the writer Denis Hamill once called a “marvelous three –cushion shot in the same zip code, Smith’s Funeral Home, Holy Name Church, and Greenwood Cemetery.”
Smith’s Funeral home, which was in Windsor Terrace for almost a hundred years, is closed now. From what I hear they turned part of it into a Dunkin Dounuts. But he got part of it. He got an Irish wake, something that never happens anymore in Windsor Terrace. “Hipsters”, the new people, don’t know much about Irish wakes. And I don’t imagine they really care about them.
Jacky’s sister, Snooki Malone, and her family brought his ashes down from Lake Luzerne in upstate, New York where he retired to a few years ago, and they had a funeral mass for him in Holy Name Church. After mass they all walked down 9th Avenue to Farrell’s Bar, like we used to do years ago after wakes and funerals from Smith’s. And they brought Jacky’s ashes with them.
After moving through the crowd of the bar with my wife Patricia and Gladys Mastrion , who also grew up on 17th Street, I didn’t notice until later that his ashes were placed in the very same spot he drank in for so many years. I ordered some drinks, stared into the long row of mirrors behind Farrell’s Bar that me and Jacky once stared into when we were so young, and then Gladys picked up her glass and the three of us walked down and tapped our glasses against Jacky’s ashes at the end of the bar.
For a very long time I have been trying my hand at the “Self-Help” movement.
I’ve read books, listened to motivational speakers, etc.
Tried everything. Spent so much money. Ouch!
I finally realized the most important thing in my life is to figure out what screwed me up?
All the bullshit about passion, hard work, etc. well, that is all bullshit.
Life is all about the journey. Don’t get me wrong, you need to work hard and all and have passion but…
Getting to the root of the problem and working to eliminate those undesirables, that is the key. Control the controllables. Oops, that sounds like “self-help” talk doesn’t it?
Growing up in the neighborhood I learned awful traits. All my fault. Traits that paralyzed me for many years. No direction. Going with the flow. The daily grind. Never stopping to smell the roses.
Knocked me off the road. My path. You know the deal.
Let me stop though, because I have been beating myself up too long. No more beating…
I’ve found something new, it’s my own program and I am proud of it. Sorta collected different things.
I call it, “On the Right Path.” Doing the right thing. Playing the right way.
LOL, funny right?
Perspective, self-evaluation and honesty are the keys. Doesn’t matter where you been or how old you are. It’s never too late…
Make no mistake, it’s not self-help. It’s more. It’s better. It’s easier. If you are honest. And guess what, I’m not selling anything.
Gregg Popovich, head coach of the San Antonio Spurs once said, “You’re responsible for your own recovery.” Well you are responsible for the road you travel. The path. The journey. Stay on…if you get knocked off, get back on.
I found 30 areas in my life that needs to be eliminated or improved. So much better than “get up and go work hard…” Grind, grind, grind…work, work, work.
Not feeling that.
I work hard. I have passion. That shit gets redundant.
It’s a band-aid. That’s it. Bandages that keep falling off.
What I’m talking about is “undesirable emotional responses” to life’s daily dealings.
The challenges we face soon as we wake up. Why? Why? Why? Where did it originate?
Here we go, number one is fear. Oh boy did I enter into a dark space. I went back and tried to find the original time and place when I started to fear.
Dale Carnegie once said, “If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit home and think about it, go out and get busy.”
Yo Red, sounds like self-help talk to me…
Have a solid day…
Still in shock.
Or as Mick Jagger would say, “State of Shock.”
John Cain was a huge Rolling Stones fan…
Here’s an awesome tribute from Robert Fields on J.C.
What a heartbreak for the Cain and Davis Families! My sympathies to all, especially Mr Cain, John’s son, Kathy Ferris, Pat and Tim, and all the nieces, nephews and cousins from WT/Holy Name and NJ.
John was my oldest friend, who spent many happy days with his grandfather and grandmother on 16th Street (the late, great Bridie Davis, also grandmother to Noreen and the Windsor Place Davis families), two doors up from our old place on 16th (John’s sister Kathy and her family have lived there for years, and still do).
John and I palled around since we were born (joined a year later by Sean Keating from across the street), attending kindergarten at PS 154 together, and then–on one of the rainiest days I ever remember–we marched up to Holy Name together to start our academic careers, full of excitement and hope, he in his blue rain slicker, me in my yellow one. When we got through the huge school doors, we were quickly disappointed, as they literally had to separate us to join two different homerooms, me to Miss Schiotis (sp?) and John elsewhere down the hall. We never again had the same class in our 8 years at Holy Name, and John later went to Loughlin and I to Xaverian, but we always hung out anyway as before, either on 16th or Seeley, or in the park/subway/wherever the fun/girls/excitement was to be found.
It was a pleasure knowing John, who truly could be said to have had a twinkle in his eyes (a gift from his mother, Irene, who had the same); nonetheless, a tougher/gentler guy you couldn’t find, and I was happy many a time to have had him in my corner when the going got tough! He worked too, and was a hard grafter. He had sense of right and wrong, and while mostly quiet, when he did speak, he spoke from the heart and wasted few words. Anyone our age (HNS Class of ’78 or thereabouts) would know the fun times we all had at the Prospect Park Corral, a secluded place just off the Circle/9th Ave., with the boombox as a musical backdrop to socializing in the park, a place to meet and date pretty girls, get up-to-date on the latest news and gossip, and figure out our way in the world as teenagers always do.
As times go by we lose track of friends, and focus on careers and family, while the years pass more quickly than ever. I regret not keeping up with John since I moved to London (22+ years!), but only a few years ago, John’s older brother Tim moved over here and married an English girl like I did, and we would go out whenever our schedules would permit and talk and laugh about the good old times in Brooklyn. How I regret now not calling John, who I think about often. My sympathies on the loss of a great guy and good friend.
We’ll meet again, pal, I’m sure.
Sad to report my childhood friend, John Cain has passed away. Cain died of a heart attack Monday night. He was 52.
John is in the back row, second from the left, next to Sean Reilly. John’s holding a case of beer on his right shoulder.
We had been e-mailing each other the past few months. We were just exchanging e-mails this past week. Yesterday he wished me a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
As teenagers we spent a lot of time together. In the 8th grade we played on the same intramural football team. (Only people who attended Holy Name get this). I was the QB. John was the best player in the league. Wherever I threw the ball John was there to make me look good. Dude was fast.
This message was posted on his brother’s Facebook page:
It deeply saddens me to inform you that my brother John passed away last night from a heart attack. We are all deeply shocked and can’t believe this has happened. Funeral arrangements:
Joseph G. Duffy funeral home
255 9th street
Brooklyn, NY 11215
2pm to 5pm
7pm to 9pm
Funeral Mass at Holy Name Church
245 prospect Park west
Brooklyn, NY 11215
John was a great dude…
CONDOLENCES TO THE ENTIRE CAIN FAMILY…
Wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Hope the readers of Container Diaries have a great day.
Here’s one of my many Christmas memories from back in the day.
I was 6 years-old. It was a little after 7:00 AM. Everyone in my family was sleeping.
Santa Claus brought me a Voit basketball. I reached down and pulled it from under our tree. Ripping the ball out of the box, I started dribbling in our apartment and mom woke up screaming at me.
“GO TO THE F-ING SCHOOLYARD!”
I did as I was told.
Got dressed, walked across 9th avenue, down Windsor Place, hanging a right on Howard Place.
Straight to the yard.
I had the yard to myself. It was empty. People walking to church were looking at me like I was crazy.
Been in love with the sport ever since.