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Things that make me sad or cry

I don’t know if it’s that I’m getting older, softer, mushier, or what but there are so many things that make me sad now and I find myself crying. WTF–Boys Don’t Cry as the old Cure song goes right? AND to boot it’s the dumbest things that I cry about. I grew up in The Bronx in the mid seventies to early nineties, NYC was quite the place then–very GRITTY! We travelled the city with IMPUNITY, I was never afraid to go anywhere. I’m just going to list them:

  • I get teary eyed when I am watching a show where people have trained and they show those stupid vignettes that show me thier home lives. I was watching the Titan Games a couple nights ago, the two lady competitors, one was an OBGYN, who gets up everyday at 4:30AM to train/workout. She has 3 daughters and she wants to show them that girls are strong! The other girl she went to the Olympics, came in 4th and just trains, she looks at being a Titan her redemption. I start tearing up when I see the dumb vignette that they do for each athlete–UGH!
  • Bud Greenspan I HATE you. I have watched those Olympics short stories you produce. The one that sticks with me is when they profile the US Rowing Team in 2000 Olympics in Beijing. Watching the story about their coxswain Mary Whipple (who is 4′ tall?), she wanted to be a rower but was too short–these ladies were TALL and all very pleasing to the eye I might add. Mary spoke about choosing theam, how sad it is to watch those ladies get cut–they worked as hard as the ladies that made the team, but there were only a certain number that could go. When those girls are cut it is very sad, there’s crying, andit just makes me respect what they do. They push their bodies to the max, which they have been doing since they were started rowing, that is extremely moving to me.
  • When I see these movies about the struggle of single mom’s and what they had to do to keep their kid on the straight and narrow or how they had to fight to get by. It makes me think of my mother, she was a great woman, gave me everything, she made sure EVERYDAY that I didn’t want for anything. There was nothing that I ever wanted or needed that she wouldn’t go to end of the world to make sure I had it. Don’t get me wrong, she also taught me the value of a dollar I had a paper route from age 8-18!What really makes me cry is that these struggles were real, it is as if they are in my life. Personally when I see these shows/movies it always make me lament that I didn’t thank my mother or say ‘I love you,’ to her. We just weren’t that ‘touchy feely.’
  • It makes me sad when I think about all the things I never said to my mother, we were never the ‘touchy feely’ family, I learned about expressing my emotions when I was with Jenn. I think about all the thigs unsaid to her. Now I find it easier to say these things to her, since she’s not in front of me. Honestly she would have thought I wanted something from her–usually money as terrible as I feel about saying that.
  • I am also saddened when I think about my marriage and divorce. Pat was a nice lady when I met her but something changed after we were married. She like me never expressed herself, so I never knew what was going on. I in turn never expressed myself, I internalized everything and never spoke about the things bothering me. Indiandian people aren’t supposed to get divorced, we stay together and are miserable. I am glad/sad we never had kids because I’d be stuck in a loveless marriage up to now. When my mother passed away, it was a sort of relief. I didn’t worry about what she would think if we divorced. As much as I miss her and her death saddens me, it gave me a whole new life. I met the greates woman in the world–Kathy. I totally hit the jackpot when I met her. We have the greates kid in the world and I SPOIL HIM ROTTEN as much as I can–THAT MAKES ME HAPPY amongst my sad feelings when I don’t think about him.
  • When I see how minorities are diminished now a days it saddens me. What going on now in the Twin Cities, what happened in Atlanta to the kid running, to what happened to Trayvon Martin, and I can go on and on and on and on. Why can’t we break this cycle of police being violent to minorities. I just don’t understand it, it’s very sad.
  • On the other side to when I see what black people and other minorities went through pre civil rights amendment. It just sucks, segregated counters, bathrooms, water fountains? Sitting at the back of the bus; not being able to marry a person that wasn’t black. Conversely, it saddens me when I see young black youth acting like idiots, robbing someone, the shootings wherever they occure–just plain old acting like a fool. I’m not trying to point out minorities in general, but just people doing so many DUMB things, it is sad. My mother taught me better than that. I never once feared the police or anything I thought they might do to me, which in my few interaction with them was to help me. This saddens me greatly.

These are just some of the things that affect me, I’m not making a social commentary but I am saying that there are things that shouldn’t effect me this way but unfortunately living in the world we live in just makes me shake my head.

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So we’re going camping, ugh…

Today we are off to Virginia Beach, to go camping. The first time I went to Virginia Beach, I went with my friends for our senior trip, a lot of people took the bus that wenrt down, we drove down in my trusty 1978 Toyota Corona, which I believe is still running strong. That car was great, I only had it for about a year, but it was so reliable, I didn’t know jack about maintenance. I don’t think I ever changed the oil, transmission fluid or anything else that would be considered ‘preventive maintenance.’ That car started up like a champ everyday, that’s why I am sure it is going strong somewhere even today.

So we drove down, met everyone else and had a great time. Afterwards we drove back home. Now I don’t like anyone driving my car, but I was so tired I let Dave drive. I remember waking up and we were right up a truck ass; Dave was explaining the aerodynamics of being that close–we’d get better gas mileage and go faster. My consternation was what if the truck stops suddenly–WE ARE FU..ED! I mean later on I would learn he was absolutely correct but I would rather have tested his theory at the time in HIS car–LOL.

I remember we got lost coming back. Imagine that. we got lost and we only had to follow one road all the the down and we managed to get lost in Washington, DC. Now that I live in the DMV, it’s easy to understand why, the roads are very confusing even though I live here, but as a 17 yrl old you can only imagine. I remember, asking a person who we thought was a woman but answered us back in one of the deepest voices I ever heard, LOL. Oh man we were so young and naiive, even though we grew up in NYC and thought we were all that.

Fast forward 40+ years latert, the last time we were down there, I’d say about 4 years ago, Kathy rented one of these bungalows right on the beach, it was a pimped out place, and the price was ridiculous. These were brand new homes–BTW they were on a Navy base hence the discount for the unit. I more prefer glamping than camping. I have no problem camping at the four seasons, but when you tell me to sleep outside, I’m a little iffy on that. Luckily we have an Airstream, so I am halfway there as far as camping/glamping.

I go because I want Kathy to go to RAGBRAI next year, well actually THIS year but since COVID 19 it’s been cancelled. If I don’t go cmping now then there’s definitely no shot of her going then. Ahhh, the things we do for love. I hate camping even at RAGBRAI, but the bike rifing is awesome so there’s a little give and take in everything. It’s Memorial Day weekend, time to relax a little. I really shouldn’t complain, but I am admittedly a prima dona!

Phyllis George and NFL today

I was very sad to hear about the passing of Phyllis George today. For those who don’t know who she is, she was one of the first women on the NFL pre-game shows when I was younger. I had just gotten into football and was loosely paying attention to what was going on. There was Brent Musberger, Irv Cross, Phyllis George and Jimmy the Greek. This was in the time before NFL Red Zone, and the Internet, hence you got your news from them on Sundays. These guys were BIG TIME back then. You think the NFL is big now, this was when there were only over the air braodcast channels, there was no cable and 500 channels.

My big brother Karamjeet got me into football. He was a Cleveland Browns fan, I don’t know if its because he went to Case Western Reserve or he actually liked the Cleveland Browns. They weren’t the mess that they are now, they had Bernie Kosar as their quarterback, Ernest Byner, and a couple other of really great players. I remember watching games at his home, at least the beginning half of the game because usually hafl way thru I’d have to hop on the train to get back to The Bronx. I remember rooting for the Steelers a lot–they were really good back then and it seemed like they were always on TV. As I mentioned, football wasn’t on demand back then. We had to wait until half time to get the scores, and you really did wait. It wasn’t like now when a team scores a touchdown, they do a cut away and you see the score or go to NFL Redzone, lol.

I remember her because quite frankly she was pretty–she was a former Miss America, hence you know she was a stunner, later on when she left she was replaced by Jayne Kennedy–another who was even prettier than her! The NFL knew what guys wanted to see even then. She did pave the way for a lot of women in football, she wasn’t asking tough questions–she mainly did ‘puff pieces,’ nothing hard hitting like now. Back then she was there to have a pretty face among, Musberger, Cross and The Greek.

I have to admit, I hadn’t thought of her in years, quite frankly I thought she was already dead. Alas, she was alive and kicking up until a few days ago. She was the first lady of Kentucky–being married to the Governor, I was reading their statement, and I’ll para phrase. They said they didn’t know her as Phyllis George from The NFL Today, she was just Mom, which was really refreshing to hear.

It’s just another piece of my childhood going away. I am getting older. I have less tomorrows than I have yesterdays. I hate knowing that I am in the twilight (seemingly) of my life. I am just trying to enjoy it the best that I can and raise a great human being. Phyllis George Rest In Peace, know that you paved the way for many women that we see on TV now and will be missed by many fans.

How Airports Will Change After COVID-19

As avid travelers I thought this was definitely an interesting article about how going to the airport will be different. You thought the changes after 9-11 were tough, woo-hoo wait until you see what is probably going to happen.

Two airline employees walk through an airport with face masks.

by Jessica Puckett

You may need an appointment to get through TSA.

As certain countries begin to slowly reopen in the wake of the coronavirus, airports are looking at what it will take to make fliers feel comfortable in their facilities again. That is sure to be no small feat. “In total, over 70 different areas in the passenger journey are expected to either change or to be introduced from scratch to restore confidence in flying after COVID-19,” a report by airline strategy firm SimpliFlying predicts.

In addition to requiring travelers and employees wear face masks, airports are examining how to adapt their every aspect to a post-COVID-19 world. Here’s how experts say each part of the journey through airports may change once air travel begins to open up again.

Entering the airport

The first major change that travelers will notice in airports is that non-fliers will likely not be allowed inside. “We’re likely to see a restriction to passengers only,” says Regine Weston, the Americas airport planning leader for engineering firm Arup, which has worked on hubs like Beijing, London Heathrow, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson. “That’s to really ensure that the only people we’ll have to be dealing with are people that are going to be flying.” This rule—already in place at airports like Los Angeles International—will make exceptions for unaccompanied minors or others who need assistance, Weston notes.

Down the line, passengers could also pass through a disinfection tunnel and thermal scanners when entering the airport, SimpliFlying predicts. “Only those ‘fit to fly’ will be allowed to enter,” the firm’s report says. Thermal cameras, which are able to scan a crowd for a feverish temperature, are already in use at several facilities, including Heathrow, Puerto Rico’s San Juan airport, and Paine Field—a secondary airport in Seattle.

Once in the airport, travelers will see touchless options for checking in, a service that was previously available in a handful of terminals, like the Delta terminal in Atlanta, which operates an all-biometric check-in system. But the technology is sure to become more widespread. “You can go to a kiosk to check in using your face as [identification], and you can get your bag tag,” Weston says. “You can then go to a self-bag drop machine and drop your bag. For the check-in process, the technology already exists to do that without having to interact with any airline or airport personnel,” she says. After it’s dropped off by the passenger, luggage may also be put through a fogging tunnel to be disinfected, according to SimpliFlying.

Another long-term option is to make parking garages into check-in area and screening centers, according to airport design firm Gensler. “The garages that are directly connected to terminals present the ideal place to house processes such as check-in, security screening, and crowd control, providing new distance controls and passenger flow metering, while also freeing the existing terminal to house more passenger amenities in a less densified arrangement,” writes Ty Osbaugh, a principal aviation architect at Gensler.

The next problem to solve? Security lines. Anyone who has flown during summer or the holiday season knows that TSA lines can be one of the most crowded places in the airport. That will have to change in a post-COVID-19 world.

“One interesting alternative is to have passengers book essentially an appointment to go through security screening,” Weston says, noting Montreal airport has been using one such system for several years, in which passengers signup online for a specific time slot to pass through the security checkpoint. “I can see that and even more sophisticated versions becoming more widespread so that the actual area that’s dedicated for security screening is able to exist without crowding.”

Additional health screening

Thermal cameras are currently being utilized in multiple airports for temperature checks, as they’re “the most efficient way of doing it because there isn’t any interruption of passenger flow and there’s no negative impact on capacity,” Weston says. But although they’re effective, they’re not visible to the public. “So I don’t think it will work to restore passenger confidence,” Weston says. Instead, she thinks passengers are more likely be screened with handheld, no-contact infrared thermometers once large-scale air travel starts up in a major way.

In addition to temperature screening, other medical tests to scan for the coronavirus are possible. SimpliFlying’s report goes as far to predict a lung CT scan could be implemented prior to security screening. Elsewhere XpresSpa—the gate-side shop where fliers can get a manicure or shoulder massage—recently hired its first chief medical officer to start a new arm of the company: XpresTest, which aims to administer COVID-19 blood tests to airport employees.

There are no federal requirements yet from the TSA or Federal Aviation Administration mandating such health screenings for travelers or employees. But U.S. airlines are pushing for there to be uniform federal regulations. “We’ll need to work with the federal government in terms of screening customers to make sure, for example, that you don’t have someone getting on the airplane that has a fever,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said in a recent CNBC interview. “I think that that’s going to be very important.”

But a point of contention is who will be responsible for checking travelers’ for high temperatures and other COVID-19 symptoms. The TSA is still considering whether it will have its officers take temperatures as part of the security screening process. But some, like SimpliFlying, predict that a new federal health agency will be formed in order to coordinate such health screenings inside airports.

Major changes at gates

Once through security, passengers can expect to see more Plexiglas and other types of barriers in places like customer service counters. These additional barriers have been recommended for most passenger-facing employees by the U.S. Travel Association.

Travelers will also notice increased cleaning measures throughout concourses. Airport employees will be cleaning and disinfecting more often, but airports like Pittsburgh and Hong Kong have also deployed sanitizing robots to constantly rid floors of the virus. Such visible disinfecting measures are also part of creating confidence in travelers, according to Weston. “Things as simple as [having] a lot of hand sanitizing stations and no drinking fountains are visible things that the airport can do” to restore passenger trust, she says. In fact, Weston predicts that instead of operating 24 hours a day, airports will start closing overnight for additional deep cleans.

In busy terminal corridors, passengers can also expect to arrows that designate where foot traffic can flow, much like on a road Weston says, in order to maintain proper social distancing when on the move.

When it comes time to get on the plane, boarding processes will use touchless options like facial recognition, too. The technology has already been used widely in the U.S. for international routes, but Weston predicts it will shift to domestic flights as well. “The primary reason [facial recognition] wasn’t widely used before is because there were a lot of concerns about personal privacy and data storage,” she says. “I think at least in the short term, privacy concerns are going to be considered less important than health concerns.”

After touchdown

Upon arrival, international passengers will likely need to show some form of immunity passport to border control agents, SimpliFlying predicts. An immunity document is something the International Air Transport Association has advocated for as well. Weston says it’s more likely that passengers will need to present a proof of vaccine—once there is one for COVID-19—to enter other countries.

Arriving passengers will also undergo another temperature screening at their final destination and potentially even blood tests for COVID-19. Some airports like, Hong Kong and Vienna, are testing passengers for the coronavirus with a blood test before they are allowed to enter the country. Those types of tests, however, might be short lived.

“I don’t personally think we will see blood testing” in the long term, Weston says. “While passengers might be comfortable right now giving up their face [for scans], I don’t know if we’re yet ready to give up our blood to some unknown agency to store somewhere.”

But whether it’s a blood test or a temperature scan that’s required, airports must be ready to deal with passengers who do have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms. “Most large airports have one isolation room,” Weston notes, but many more will be needed as travel opens up again. Weston is working with major hubs like Dubai Airport to determine how many isolation rooms are needed and how to strategically place them throughout the airport. The goal is to get a symptomatic person out of the main flow of passengers as quickly as possible and minimize their contact with other passengers, she says.

While all the changes that airports will undergo are not completely clear, one thing is for sure: the facilities are about to undergo a seismic shift.

“Although we’re still in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, we’re anticipating it will bring about the same kind of paradigm shift in air travel that we experienced after 9/11,” Osbaugh, the Gensler architect, says. “We may never look at flying or airports the same way again.”

Is it over?

So the economy is starting to re-open. Is it the right time to do this? I will be honest, I habe been careful but I didn’t truly quarantine except for about two weeks at the beginning, even then I would go to my office. My office was open, but there was no one there or really just minimal people there. My office is situated ina way that you wouldn’t even know I was in there. The other thing is that even is you knew I was there the door is closed and locked, we really don’t hang out with each other while in the office.

Let’s be real, we can’t live like this for the rest of time. There will be a vaccine sometime soon, and thing will return to some what the new normal? I don’t think we’ll be hugging on the street and giving high 5’s anytime soon, but the economy can’t be stalled forever. I can’t help but blame Trump for not taking this more seriously at the beginning. I heard about some important public health doctor in NYC at the beginning didn’t take this seriously. Why would he/she when the word from the top was that this was nothing to worry about.

I think we will indeed have to lrn to live like this, some sort of face protection, some type of being socially distant, etc. I can’t believe that they’re going to try and pass another stimulus bill. How are we going to pay for this ultimately? For whatever issues Clinton had in his personal life, he left us WITHOUT A DEFICIT, now how will this effect Sean, and Sean’s kids, and his kids kids. This will put us in the whole for a very long time, aside from the mess that the country’s finances were in before. It does sadden me.

It’s ashame that Trump governs by public opinion, he does whatever public opinion says to do, he doesn’t seem to do his thing except for anything to do with repealing anything Obama did, or anything to do with immigration he is quick to act on that! OK, i apologize for my political ranting. I am not a political person, but when I see what’s going on it’s just scary.

Gary Marshall Special

I’m watching this special on Gary Marshall, which just got me to think about when I was younger living in The Bronx watching TV every night. I have said many times before that I LOVE TV–it practically raised me–in all defference to my Mom, I loved watching TV,\. She always made sure I had one, we had this 12″ black and whit TV we kept on one of these stools in the kitchen. It was set up there relatively permanently. The stool and TV could be moved with ease in case we were bringing groceries into the kitchen or something like that.

I remember watching all these Gary Marshall TV shows, Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy, later on he would go onto feature films, including Beaches and Pretty Woman. The special is a great look behind the scenes of how the man ticked. It’s amazing some of the stories you heard about certain scenes in shows. For instance Mork came about because Gary’s son got into Star Wars and was no longer that into Happy Days, Michael Eisner called Gary Marshall and asked him to build an entire show around Mork, which became Mork and Mindy. Robin Williams’ first big break, we all knew what a great actor he was, but this is were he started. Just think I started watching him there, then found his stand up comedy cassettes, then watched his movies, etc. But then it all ended when Robin Williams took his own life…very sad.

It’s amazing how TV brings back these memories, I can remember specific episodes, where I was, who I was with, what I was doing. Then I’m flooded with memoriws of the day or the week or the time. Life definitely was simpler then, go out and play, come home when my mother said to come home, eat, watch tv, go to sleep, and rinse and repeat, lol.

What’s even more amazing is that we are in the golden age of TV, I believe many people thought that was back in the 1960’s yes that was the Golden Age of TV part one, but now we are going thru a renaissance on TV. I love all the choices we have right now, there is constantly something to watch. I subscribe to Hule, Netflix, Disney), I had Sling TV but cancelled it–thought it was redundant with everything else. The crazy thing is even after spending all this money with all these platform the thing I watch the most is network TV, just amazing as segmented as TV has become network TV still makes the biggest impression on me.

What does any of this have to do with Real Estate–ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! LOL. These aresupposed to be my musing from the area, not just Real Estate!

Bernard Goetz

I saw this article and thought itwas interesting. Ironically over 30 years later we’re still dealing with the same situations seemingly. I can attest the NYC Subway system was a nightmare in the 70’s and 80’s. I got mugged one morning coming back from Manhattan, but never had a problem otherwise. My mom once got attacked by some kids who hit her in the head with a paddle ball paddle, and sundry other stories that we haven’t heard. When I saw what Bernie Goetz dd I was was like YEAH! It was about time someone started fighting back. I totally believe those kids were going to do something to him and HE WAS RIGHT to defend himself!

Where Is Bernhard Goetz Now? The ‘Trial By Media’ Subject Still Lives In NYC

By Gretchen SmailMay 11, 2020

Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images

Netflix’s Trial by Media chronicles the case of Bernhard Goetz, who shot and wounded four young black men he claimed were about to rob him on the subway in 1984. He was ultimately cleared of attempted murder and served less than a year in jail for illegal firearms possession; today, Goetz is still living in New York City. But over 30 years later, Goetz’s case remains sadly resonant: it led to a nationwide debate about race, crime, and the limits of self-defense.

Goetz, who was labeled an “average loner” by his attorney, was once mugged in 1981 while transporting electrical equipment. This prompted him to buy the firearm that he later used in the subway shooting. When Darrell Cabey, James Ramseur, Troy Canty, and Barry Allen boarded the same train Goetz was on in 1984, Goetz claimed they boxed him in and demanded $5. (In court, Canty said they did ask for $5, but they did not threaten Goetz.) Goetz immediately rose from his seat and shot all four teens, paralyzing Cabey from the waist down. Goetz initially ran from the scene of the crime, but turned himself in eight days later.

During the criminal trial, Goetz famously admitted that he wanted to kill the teens. “I wanted to maim those guys. I wanted to make them suffer in every way I could…. If I had more bullets, I would have shot them all again and again. My problem was I ran out of bullets,” he said. Despite this damning confession, the predominantly white jury found that Goetz had acted in self defense and was not guilty of attempted murder. Goetz served 250 days in prison. (Cabey’s family successfully sued Goetz in 1996 and won $43 million, but per Newsweek, it’s unclear how much of that he was actually paid.)

Rick Maiman/Sygma/Getty Images

Goetz’s trial was a lightning rod for numerous issues plaguing the city, both social and political. According to Time magazine, 1980s New York was characterized by crime paranoia. Between 1965 and 1984, the city’s violent crime rate had nearly tripled due to the ongoing economic crisis and the cocaine epidemic. When Goetz’s trial began, many people saw him as a hero fed up with the ever-increasing crime wave. “Ride with Bernie — he Goetz ’em!” bumper stickers were sold all around NYC. According to a 1985 New York Times poll, 52% of residents were “generally supportive of Mr. Goetz’s actions.” Even Joan Rivers reportedly sent Goetz a telegram of “love and kisses” after the incident.

Since then, Goetz has capitalized on his contentious celebrity status. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2001, and has appeared on VH1’s Where Are They Now, Aftermath with William Shatner, and The Howard Stern Radio Show. According to Newsweek, he’s also become a vegetarian activist and spends his time nursing injured squirrels in New York. In 2008, he was spotted at an animal rights parade called Veggie Pride. In 2013, Goetz was arrested for attempting to sell $30 worth of marijuana to an officer, but was released shortly afterward.

Lately, however, Goetz seems to be keeping a low profile. In response to a 2019 Insider Edition story, he simply emailed back that he is “not doing any interviews at this time.”

SO, it’s Mother’s Day…

Well, it’s Mother’s Day, it never was a big deal. My mother always hated when I gave her anything, she was a very simple woman who didn’t want or need much. She didn’t care about getting a gift, she just wanted to be around me. I didn’t understand this till I was about 400, ugh. I am so slow with the uptake. Every year I gave her slippers, it seemed that THAT was the thing she wouldn’ complain about me spending money on. My Mom was the best, as we all think about our Mom, but what you don’t understand MY Mom was truly the World’s Greatest, I would go into detail but I want you to keep reading…LOL! Seriously though Happt Mother’s Day to all the great Mom’s out there!

Ironically my lady Kathy is turning out to be a GREAT Mom. She is the best for all of us and goes the extra mile to make sure Sean and I are taken care of. She is a hard worker and she loves us both so much. I see parallels in how great she is as compared to my Mom. I know it’s not fair to cmpare the two, but when I say my Mom was so great she has a high standard to live up to–AND SHE IS! We had a simple evening today. I barbecued this evening to give Kathy a break, we ate and are watching Forrest Gump right now.

I first saw Forrest Gump when I went to Seatlle one week just before I moved there, I had gone to find a place to rent. I was bored and wanted to go to a movie. Little did I know it would be one of the greates movies I have ever seen in my short life. There are points in the movie where I laugh and cry, but overall it was such a great movie. I remember speaking to Jenn that weekend, I was all the way on the other side of the country and I was already missing her–BUT that is a story for another time. HAPPY MOTHER’s DAY!

My friend Tony

So my best friend while I was growing up was this guy named Anthony, I believe we crossed paths in the 3rd or 4th grade, He was a big guy, noth in stature and in girth. He was heavy set, and extremely obnoxious. I really hated him back then, he would walk up to me and make a sneezing sound (Ashoooook!) That’s how I was made fun of in the 70’s and 80’s, there weren’t that many Ashok’s in The Bronx (even though there are a billion Indians in the world), my name was unusual then. Now it seems like everyone knows someone named Ashok.

In the 9th grade we were in the same class, I was banished from the accelerated class due to my lack of motivation, I was put one step down with ‘better than general population.’ Anthony was in my class. Along with my friend Richard and Mark, we were thick as thieves. Richard hung out with Tony, and I never liked him, but seeing that he hung out with Richard, we did become friends. He wasn’t such a menace at this point, he was actually kind of cool. Tony introduced a whole new world to me, he was fearless, we would take the bus from The Bronx to go up to the White Plains Galleria to go to the mall, we would take the PATH train into Jersey City to go shopping for clothes because there was no sales tax on clothing in NJ(it wasn’t until later we realized we spent more money to get to NJ than the amount we saved in sales tax), we would jump on the subway and go into the city, but Tony knew how to LOCK all the doors in the car we were in, so e’d be the only ones in the front car, while the people on the platform were looking at us trying to get in, then the had to run quickly to the 2nd car.

He opened up a whole new world to me. He gave me advice, there was a girl Dayana, she was the ‘love of my life, at the time, but I was a shy awkward kid and I didn’t know what to say to her, but he was very supportive and always tried to push me to saying something to her. It never did work, while we were in Junior High School, I eventually did end up dating Dayana when I went to college–that’s how obsessed I was, UGH! But he was always supportive and wanted me to be with her, but I was a chicken then.

He actually freed me, my mother was very controlling (as we all thought our Mom was at 15 years old), I had to be in by a certain time. I had to let her know everything I was doing, there was no hanging out; I became braver after hanging out with him, I would do things I normally wouldn’t, I definitely think it was from his influence. It wasn’t a bad thing, he just made me braver to some extent. I would give my Mom lip, and I was more of an ‘angsty’ teen, LOL!

When I went away to SUNY Stony Brook, he came out to me. Everyone always said that Tony was gay but I didn’t care, he was my friend. When he came out to me his Mom threw him out of the house. He stayed for a couple of days in my dorm room and then went home I think. It was by this time we had already started to drift apart, realy senior year in HS, I had my clicl of friends and he had his crew and we were polar opposites. We neevr realy hung out after that, but spoke sporadically.

Since I graduated college we have largely just spoken occasionally. We speak on Facebook and he keeps saying when I’m back in NYC we have to get together but that never seems to come together. I consider him one of my oldest and dearest friends We have known each other for over 40 years–since 3rd grade!

He lives in The Bronx, in the heart of COVID-19–NYC. I reached out to a lot of people when this whole thing started, people I hadn’t spoken to in years or even only speak to sporadically just to check in and see how they are doing, Tony was one of them, evidently he tested positive for the Corona Virus and has been in a bad way. He feels better one day and then not so well the next day. He sent me a note last night and told me he loves me, and knows that we grew apart, but he just thinks about all the good times we had. This made me very sad, this is one of my oldest and dearest friends, even though or friendship is such a long way from where it was all those years ago the sadness I would feel from his loss would be IMMENSE. I don’t know if I’m lucky of unlucky but I have only lost 2 people in my life whom I loved so much. My mom and my friend Meg.

I was never close to many people in my family as most of them live in Trinidad. As I said my Mom had a HUGE family but since they were all down there and we were the only ones up here many of my aunts and uncles have passed away; without any acknowledgement from me because the long and short of it is I didn’t know them. I am closer to my friends here than my family, as sad as that is, it is what it is. There are only a few people in this world that I truly care about, and he is one of them. Please keep him in your thoughts and I wish him a speedy recovery.

My Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day being this Sunday, I thought I’d share some stories about my mom. My mother was quite the lady, she raised me as a single mom; I was a ‘latch key kid’ before they had the term. My mom didn’t go past 6th grade or ‘6th standard’ as they called it in Trinidad. She was the fourth child of 9 children, don’t ask me what my aunt’s and uncle’s names were as I don’t even remember it at this one, except the ones that I really dislike and the ones I really liked! I met a few of them only a handful of times. During the summer of my youth I was ‘banished’ to Trinidad for the summer because it would keep me from getting in trouble in The Boogie Down.

She had to take care of her brothers and sisters which is the reason for her not going further in school. I can’t tell you more than that because quite frankly I don’t know more than that. My mom and myself were not ‘touchy feely;’ we never expressed ‘I love you’ to each other. I knew she loved me and I hope she knew that I loved her. It was all those damn TV shows where the family was ‘touchy feely’ that I yearned to be like one of those families, alas that was TV. I really wouldn’t see that until later in life when I met my girlfriend (Jennifer) in college. She had an extremely close relationship with her family, all the bells and whistles ‘I love you’ and all the gushy stuff that I wanted. But, we weren’t that type of family.

Ironically she’s been gone 8 years now and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t talk to her. I now tell her how much I miss her and how much I love her, but she can’t hear me any longer. I would get upset at times because I wanted to hear her acknowledge my love for her…I mean NOW. I wanted some type of sign. My friend Camille sent me this message when I was telling her about this one day:

‘Your mother is always with you. She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she’s the smell of certain foods you remember, flowers you pick, the fragrance of life itself. She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not feeling well, she’s your breath in the air on a cold winters day. She is the sound of the rain that lulls you to sleep, the colors of the rainbow, she is Christmas morning. Your mother lives inside your laughter. She’s the place you came from, your first home, and she’s the map you follow with every step you take. She’s your first love, your first friend, even your first enemy, but nothing on earth can separate you. Not time, not space…not even death.’

I get a lot of solace when I read this, even typing it out right now made me feel a little less melancholy. I LOVE YOU MA!

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