Monday, May 26, 2008

More at Kimberly Ave School and onto Saint Peter's School

Here is where I met two of my lifetime friends. George Chambrelli and Bobby Caliendo. I guess we just had a whole lot of things in common and it was easy to become friends. First of all we all shared a common Italian heritage and the same kind of family closeness. Not to say that others did not have a history of family closeness. But when you talked about having pasta three times a week, and visiting Nana twice a week, George and Bobby did not look at you as if you were from Mars. Our friendship continued when we transferred to Saint Peter's school. These two guys were tremendous athletes and won many trophies and alkalies. I, a skinny kid who could not hit the ball very far, did manage to make the Saint Peter's baseball team in the eight grade and was privileged to play on a team that hosted these great athletes and many others. These great guys, both on the field and off, allowed us to win the catholic district championship in 1954. Saint Peter's school provided us with a first class education. The Nuns insisted that we learn to read, write, and master math. I still, as many others of my era, can recite my multiplication tables. Mother Matilda was our favorite Nun and we hers. Our class had the privilege of having her both in the seventh & eight grade. Her choice and most of us were trilled. The Catholic church played a very important role in our lives. The church was the center of our activities. We learned at an early age to be God Fearing children and that later transpired into God Fearing adults. To say we were angels would not be true. We did get into trouble and did have to be reprimanded both by our parents and our teachers and, even sometimes, by the police. But we never got into the kind of trouble that required us to be put away. There were kids of our generation that fell in that category, but not us. We never did anything seriously wrong and always make a good confession to a tolerant Priest. We saved the really bad stuff to confess to the Priest at Saint Anthony's that did not have English as his first language. Bad stuff was maybe rated PG in today's society. Our class size at Saint Peter's was 37 all taught by one Nun and we all learned. We did have dumb kids in our class and they were told so. Unlike today you were required to keep up with the class, not just try. I can't say enough about the quality education I got at Saint Peter's. It helped me and I'm sure my other classmates, to prepare to enter into our society as a young adult ready and willing to be a contributor.
More to come on growing up in a tough neighborhood.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

And On to School

I first attended Kimberly Ave school. It was a little difficult since I was the new kid in first grade. I did have an advantage because my father Al, was the school janitor. I knew some of the teachers especially Miss Nickols (ck spelling), the Kindergarten teacher. My father did work for her at her summer home in Old Lyme and my brother and I would go with him to help. She was a very nice person. She never married but that was not unusual for women teachers of that era.
I also remember going to Yankee baseball games with Mr. Fisher and his son. Mr. Fisher was principal of Kimberly Ave school and my father's boss. We would take the train into NYC. I think we got off at 125th street. I don't remember how we got to Yankee Stadium. I do remember most of the players. The ones I do remember are as follows; Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Doctor Bobby Brown, Billy Martin, Moose Scaroin, Phil Rizzuto. Of course my spelling of some of these guy's names needs to be checked. Anyway I continued at Kimberly ave School finishing the forth grade.
I do remember my brother Ron & I helping my father shoveling snow off the sidewalks of the school. And back then it really snowed. I remember especially when it snowed on a Saturday. We had to get up early to shovel so people could walk to Saint Peter's Church which was across the street from Kimberly Ave School. The sidewalk was on a corner and we did a lot of snow shoveling. A big job for a nine and a twelve year old. Eventually the city bought my father a snow plow but before that we did all the snow removal ourselves. Try doing that in today's society. More to come.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Saga Continues

Just a clarification on my move to the hill as I said I was 7 years old when I moved to the hill. The year was 1947. My first friend was my next door neighbor Linda Baccioci. She had a little shed her father built for her sort of a doll house. We played in there and I was the father and she was the mother and her siblings, Frances & Eddy were our children. I think back at those times with fondness. There was such an innocence in our games. We imitated adults. Adults that were worthy of imitation. I also had a friend name Joe McGee. Check spelling. He lived further down Kimberly Ave. toward Haddads. Joe was a great kid. Don't know where he is today. I remember my brother's friends, Paul Murphy, Charlie Larson, Jackie Hubert, Camille Esposito, Billy Ford, Billy Lafferty, Johnny Cuisak, Eddie ( Zeke) Zankowski, and more. We had one of the first TV sets in the neighborhood and all the kids came over to watch it. I think it was a 9 inch oval TV. Can you imagine watching such a small screen? We got a dog name Taffy. She was a jumper. We first named her Lassie because she was suppose to be a Collie. That didn't happen she looked more like a greyhound. So we changed her name to Taffy. As I said she could jump. We had a gate in our back yard and the kids would get on their hands & knees one after another on one side of the gate. We would have at least 5 kids there. Someone would call Taffy and she would come jumping over the gate and the 5 plus kids behind it. She was a great dog and lived to be 16 years old.