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Category: NYC Memories and Moments

Million Dollar Movie: Gorgo, Warhol, Rocky, and Me

The final episode The Night Of, HBO’s engrossing eight-part series co-created by Richard Price, airs this Sunday and if you have not been watching, have a little binge and catch up—you’ll dig it. Price is a distinguished novelist and screenwriter—I love the talk in movies like The Color of Money and Sea of Love—and one of my favorite Scorsese flicks, Life Lessons. Like many of us—thank you, P. Kael—he lost it at the movies. Back in December 1982, American Film magazine published Price’s charming essay about some of his favorite movie theater memories, and, with the author’s permission, we’re happy to now share it with you. Dive in, this will make you happy.—Alex Belth  

“Gorgo, Warhol, Rocky, and Me”

By Richard Price

Over the marquee of a beat-up two-dollar movie house in Times Square, there’s an ancient faded sign: “Get More Out of Life—See a Movie.” The visual contrast between that sentiment and the desperate seediness surrounding it would yield, in its bitter irony, a photograph worthy of Walker Evans.

Nonetheless, the sign gives solid advice. Movies have always been a source of self-realization in my life; from Jerry Lewis to James Dean to Woody Allen, the shock of recognition has always signaled the Big Change for me.

But there’s another source of epiphany in a movie house, one much more profound and subtle than the screen—and that’s the audience. And I’ve always felt that the action in the seats was the greater teacher.

Rebel Without a Cause was pure bush-league in the life-lessons department compared with the ever popular torture of trying to worm a finger inside a steel-trap bra while keeping a two-hour, eyes-ahead poker face, or compared with the frantic in-crowd scrambling for who-sits-next-to-whom seating among a group of thirteen-year-old boys. Deep Throat was a rambling, flatulent dirty joke compared with the awesome sexuality of first tongue kiss while watching Topkapi. Psycho was so much “Mister Rogers” compared with the torture of sitting in front of six greaser cretins, who, after ordering you not to turn around, amused themselves through Viva La Vegas by treating your skull to sporadic slaps and buttered popcorn.

Everything—sex, power, kindness, cruelty, love lost and found—was acted out in the dark, no “The End,” and nothing could be exorcised by chanting, “It’s only a movie.”

The following memories are selected from my personal Book of Revelations.


1961—Growing Pains


From the age of five to eleven, the highlight of my week was spending Saturdays with my grandmother, who lived in what is now known as the South Bronx. Our itinerary never varied: a double monster-movie matinee at one of the local theaters, dinner at a deli, and then back to her place for an evening of pro wrestling, roller derby, and “Zackerly’s Shock Theater” on the ole Emerson. But the crème de Ia crème was the monster-movie outing. She’d load up a shopping bag with sandwiches, fruit, and a few thermoses, and we’d head on out—nothing could be finer.

But it all began to fall apart two weeks before my twelfth birthday, when we went to see Gorgo.

Seated in the theater, surrounded by kids howling and yowling for the picture to start, my grandmother muttered her usual, “Animals,” a few times, jerking her head in annoyance to all points of the compass. One kid ten rows down from us got dragged out even before the lights dimmed. An eleven-year-old with a cigarette, dragged up the aisle by the tall, bony, gray-haired, tomahawk-faced matron in a white uniform like that of a school nurse, her eyes razors of determination, the kid trying desperately to be cool, trying to drag on his cigarette as he was hustled by his neck and armpit out of the theater, his friends laughing and whooing in a wolf chorus: “Efram, man, she too bad for you.” “Bite her, man.”

My grandmother squinted in admiration at the matron. “She’s a tough one.”

The kids were my age, but in every way it seemed like no contest; they were bigger, badder, louder, definitely not College Bound. As the matron came back down the aisle slightly huffing, my grandmother nodded to her. The matron smiled back a “How are you, dear,” then continued down to Efram’s friends brandishing her flashlight like a nightstick: “An’ if I see anybody else light up a cigarette, ya’s gonna get the same treatment.” That got a chorus of “whoos” as she tromped up the aisle, her face in an “I ain’t kiddin’” expression.

“Watch ’em,” my grandmother murmured. “I see two packs… these little bastards… just let ’em light up… they don’t think anybody’s watchin’.”

Halfway through Gorgo, while a mother dinosaur destroyed London in a search for her baby, one kid bent over the crotch of his friend for a light and both of us caught the brief orange flare reflected off the seat back in front of him.

She grabbed my arm. “We got him!”

The kid sat back in a low slouch, casually checking out his sides, the cigarette cupped inside his palm, lit end between his legs.

“Go get the matron!” my grandmother said, her eyes widening. I hesitated, not wanting to rat on another kid and not wanting to get beaten up. “Go, go! He’s almost finished!”

The matron was lounging against an archway, arms folded across her waist, eyes scanning the crowd. “Excuse me, miss? My grandmother wants to talk to you.”

She tromped down to our seats and bent over my grandmother, who didn’t say a word, just raised her eyebrows, made a slight motion with her head in the direction of that row of kids, and pressed two fingers against her lips as if she were dragging on a butt.

I saw all this from where the matron had been standing. I knew there was a chance that she would hustle this kid past me, that the kid would get a good look at me, and that maybe my ass was grass, but I didn’t really feel that worried. What I felt, more than fear was deep sorrow. For the first time in six years of movie outings with my grandmother, I found myself wishing I was one of her “animals,” wishing that I was sitting right in the middle of those kids, cupping a passed butt, taking a drag, and passing it on.

Much to my relief, the matron decided to lay off. When I sat back down, my grandmother was sitting hand to mouth, eyes wide, staring down at those kids. “Oh, honey, what a world,” she whisper-moaned, shaking her head behind her fist. “What a world…”

For the next several hours, I ate, she drank black coffee, too aggravated to eat, and we watched the kids. Every time one would come up the aisle to go to the john or get candy we would stare at him until our heads were almost completely turned around. We would do the same when he came back down. And we watched the movie. It struck me that my grandmother was a very lonely person and that in the very near future she would get a lot more lonely.

When we got out, it was twilight. The kids streamed around us, my grandmother’s tottering, arthritic bulk like a rock splitting rapids. One kid locked eyes with her, caught her death-ray sneer, and nudged his friend. My heart stopped. I envisioned my grandmother and me back to back fighting them off, but nothing happened, and I wound up watching them bop down the street, counting how many of them wore Keds and how many Converse.



the day mars invaded the earth

When we were all thirteen years old, my friends and I would go see any film anywhere at any time. We didn’t go to watch, we went to hunt. We knew that in every movie crowd there was at least one eighth-grade girl just sitting there waiting to put out. We’d go in, take a row, hiss, elbow each other, and snigger for two hours, then head on home calling each other faggots.

Everybody was pretty happy with the arrangement, but during Christmas break, early 1963, things were thrown into chaos at a neighborhood kiddie matinee of The Day Mars Invaded Earth.

Surrounded by seven-year-olds, we scoured the darkness, muttered variations on “I was up for it, too, man” and settled in for a few hours of wisecracks. At some point during the first hour of the movie, I was lurching down the aisle on my way back from a popcorn run when I heard someone hissing out my name. It was my main man, Howie, who, obviously out of his mind, was sitting in between two teenage girls. Giving me a look like he was sinking in quicksand, he said, “Hey, yo’, this is Jackie; she thinks you’re cute.”

Too freaked to think up an out for myself, I took the offered seat and concentrated on the movie. I had never wanted to be sitting next to a guy so badly as I did at that moment. The other girl was Jackie’s sister, Carol. Like the sluts they obviously were, they both had plucked eyebrows and more eye makeup than Cleopatra.

After a debonair half-hour pause to show her I was no beggar, I draped my hand along the back of Jackie’s seat and caressed Howie’s similarly outstretched arm. Howie responded by diddling the hollow of my elbow. I was in stud heaven for fifteen minutes before I glanced down and saw that both of Jackie’s hands were in her lap. Whipping my arm away from Howie’s like it was touching something with teeth, I sat reeling in retroactive revulsion, then made my move. I scored waist right off the bat. After what seemed like days later I made it up to the edge of her bra. Suddenly she hunched over and drawled out, “Hey Carol! I got another rib counter here.”

Carol had a look on her face as though she was at the end of a line at the Motor Vehicles Bureau; Howie was sitting there with his hands tucked in his armpits.

Turning back to me, Jackie grabbed my hand and planted it on her small left breast. My forehead tingled like a tuning fork. Now what? My hand lay on top of her sweater inert and splayed like a starfish until Jackie got up, gave her sister the high sign, announced a trip to the bathroom, took her umbrella and shoulder bag, and vanished forever.

When we all got outside, Howie bolted for a cab and rode alone the three blocks back to his house.

I walked home like Moses returning from a conversation with the Burning Bush. Oblivious to the frantic six-man press conference that circled me from the theater to my building, I was obsessed with trying to keep my wrist curled and my fingers spread in “the exact shape of Jackie’s breast. It had taken thirteen years for me to score, and, fearing that it would be another thirteen before I saw some action again, I felt that I had to preserve the mold of my conquest to tide me over the years.

But by the time I got inside my apartment, my hand was killing me. I began to panic. My first thought was to trace it on paper. Photograph it. Plaster of Paris. Luckily it was too late by the time I noticed the baby shoes on top of the family television. Before I realized that I could have bronzed it, my cramped hand had become unbearable and I had shaken it out.


1964—Career Counseling


The T.A.M.I. Show was a rock concert filmed in 1964, at the dawn of the British invasion and the California sound. It was also the epitome of the racially integrated rock show, an amazing mix of three worlds—White America, Black America, and Liverpool—your hosts, Jan and Dean.

I saw The T.A.M.I. Show with three friends and our girls, all of us fifteen years old. My girl friend didn’t really love me, but in our crowd, if you weren’t part of a match, you might as well have a bell around your neck, and I was the only guy available. Unfortunately for me, I loved her madly.

All through Lesley Gore, the Supremes, Gerry and the Pacemakers, I sat there in the Saturday-matinee darkness totally focused on Mary’s hand, which lay in mine like it was carved from wax. Everybody around me was screaming and bouncing, and it pissed me off. I hated surfing music. I hated the British sound. And although I loved Motown, not even the synchronized svelteness of the Miracles could pull me away from agonizing over the implications of Mannequin Hand.

But suddenly, without warning, James Brown came flying across the screen, shrieking like he was on fire, and, without thinking, I found myself standing in a half crouch, pulling Mary’s hand over her head. Backed up by the Famous Flames, he seemed like the Devil in a doo, screeching and doing splits in celebration of his own bad-ass status. I’d never seen such a ferocious refusal to compromise, to “make nice,” and for twenty minutes he turned the world into something best seen from the portal of a Sherman tank.

The crowd was enjoying his set, but with a slight pall of wariness and detachment. There were no teen screams for “Please, Please, Please” or “Night Train” as there had been for “It’s My Party” or “Ferry Cross the Mersey.” James Brown was definitely not cute; no fantasy escort for a sweet sixteen. I felt as if all through the movie I had been at odds with the crowd and now we had just passed each other again. My girl friend stared at the screen like she was being forced to watch a massacre. She pulled her hand out of mine and crossed her arms in front of her chest. To hell with her.

At fifteen I had already established myself around school as a poet, but I was more into the wrapping than the gift. I wrote poems because it made my run-of-the-mill adolescent mooniness seem romantic and intriguing, elevated me from loner to lone wolf. Persona was everything because, allegedly, girls are suckers for uniforms.

But James Brown was a true outlaw artist, and sitting there watching him crooning and yowling, tearing up the boards with the smoking intensity of a flamenco dancer, face twisting and writhing into a catalog of passions, I found myself exhilarated by the making of art rather than the posing of the artist.

Walking out of the theater at two-thirty in the afternoon, I was astonished that it was still daylight.

I still wanted “poet” to shelter me from Mary’s coolness, still wanted “artiste” to rationalize my lovesickness as part of the forging process, but as I walked home, filled with the sights and sounds of James Brown, for the first time in my life I found myself wondering if I had any talent.


1970—Being in Love Means Never Having to Sit Through Andy Warhol


Trash Andy warhol

During the late sixties and early seventies, my college years, movies were divided into two categories: “Amerikan propaganda” and “surreal.” Any movie where the cowboys, the cavalry, or the GIs won the battle was Fascist and sinister. Same for anything heartwarming or corny—all “part of the problem.” Surreal became synonymous with Good: Fantasia,Betty Boop cartoons, Medium Cool, Easy Rider, Zabriskie Point, the Marx Brothers, W.C. Fields, Bergman, Putney Swope, Mickey One,anything low-budget or starring mainly unknowns or shot in black and white—all surreal, all good.

I saw all the required movies, in part because I was enjoying my new role as a hippie aesthete, but also because I was a devout believer in “no pain, no gain”—Sugar Pops tasted better, but oatmeal made you strong. Outside of the hip comedies, most of what I found myself buying tickets for seemed to me boring, pompous, or just plain incoherent. In my heart of hearts I was still a Sands of Iwo Jima junkie, but I restrained myself for the good of the Movement.

When I was a junior, I had a first date with a coed whom I didn’t know if I really liked or not. Date meant movie. Our choices were The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Nazi Sex Crimes in Third Reich Love Camp Number Seven, Slaves,and Andy Warhol’s Trash.

Five minutes into Trash I felt myself going into a coma. In the first forty-five minutes I left to go to the bathroom three times. I would have died before admitting I was stupefied with boredom. I wouldn’t even turn to my date for fear that she would see my eyes rolling up into my head. An hour into the flick she touched my arm and asked me what time The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly started. I was embarrassed to know, but when I told her she looked at her watch and said, “That’s in five minutes; if we run we can make it.”

I said, “This is starting to mesh,” nodding toward the screen, amazed at my own cowardice.

She sighed and whispered in my ear. “Last year I was handing out flyers for a student-worker alliance rally at some construction site in New York. Some Puerto Rican guy in a hard hat—we’re talking prime-target minority labor here—he took the flyer, read it, and gave it back to me. He said, ‘If you don’t like it here, go back to Great Neck.’ Now we have only three minutes to make it.”

Two blocks into our dead run for the Strand I was in love.

1976—Just One of the Boys


rocky movie still

In 1976 I had my own apartment. Being a self-supporting writer and having just finished a novel, I found myself with too much free time on my hands. It was a restless, boring time for me, and I filled in a number of empty afternoons by going alone to the movies. These solo excursions didn’t bother me, because I didn’t really consider myself a lonely person. I rarely had dinner alone.

But I always hated seeing other people sitting in the dark by themselves. Anybody, young or old, three-piece suits or babushkas. I could account for my own circumstances, but I always saw the others as tragic loners, destitute hearts doomed to a life of Chock Full O’Nuts counters.

On one Tuesday morning a few months into my “fallow” period, I woke up with a bad case of the Gregor Samsas. I felt lethargic and aimless; the refrigerator was stocked, the rugs vacuumed, the roaches in temporary retreat. I had nothing to do and the day yawned open ahead of me like a stretch of Kansas highway. A movie day if there ever was one.

I went downtown to see what all the hoopla was about with Rocky. I was supposed to go to the movies that evening with a girl friend, but I knew she’d rather see Scenes From a Marriage minus the subtitles than submit to two hours of Meatball Ascending.

From the moment I sat down in the half-empty theater I knew I was in trouble. I found myself surrounded by lone men, and from the screen credits on, my attention kept shifting from Rocky to the 3-D sad sacks in the seats, all of whom seemed to be perfectly self-contained and enjoying the show. Nonetheless my heart went out to them.

Whenever I concentrated on the movie, I found myself getting hot eyes and golf-ball throat at the most embarrassingly inane moments: Rocky not having the heart to break a longshoreman’s thumbs, Rocky doing push-ups, Adrian slaving over kitty litter in the pet store. It wasn’t Rocky,it was all those guys around me, kicking my ass with their painful solitude.

And then the whole thing blew up in my face.

During the final round of the climactic fight, when Rocky and Apollo Creed were pounding each other to pizza, the Bill Conti score pulsing with Rocky’s superhuman efforts, the audience lost control and people started yelling and cheering for the Italian Stallion, egging him on; a few were on their feet ducking and weaving and throwing punches at the screen. Suddenly, the guy to my left, an enormously fat black man nursing a tub of popcorn, belted out, “For God’s sake, Rocky, you can do it,” his cheeks slick with tears. My first reaction was shock that he wasn’t rooting for the black fighter.

Embarrassed by his outburst, the fat man looked around to see if anybody was laughing at him. When he turned in my direction, I was waiting for him with a commiserating basset-hound face, but when our eyes met, the contact was more than I had bargained for. Neither of us could turn away. We sat there, entranced with each other’s grief, pop-eyed, our mouths working wordlessly like beached fish; then we simultaneously burst out crying. Afraid that he would offer me some popcorn, I bolted from the theater.

Two weeks later, I moved into a huge apartment, splitting the rent with three roommates.

1979—What Ralph Ellison Meant by “Invisible Man”


james woods the onion field

AII my life I’ve gone to movies in the Times Square area. The crowds are ethnic mix ’n’ match, the fare usually critical crap, but the action is nonstop. If the movie is going over, the house is pure empathic Sensurround; if it’s a dud, everybody just turns to each other for their five dollars’ worth. People bring in grass, radios, babies, and portable televisions. There are always a half-dozen flakes arguing with the screen and another bunch who have no idea where they are. For years I saw that scene as a major goof; I was proud of my ability to feel at ease in any movie crowd in New York, from the Gold Coast theaters near Bloomingdale’s to the two-dollar roach sanctuaries on Forty-second Street. Mister Manhattan..

One evening I went down to Times Square to see The Onion Field. It was a Friday night and the house was packed. I could have caught the movie in the Village or on the Upper West Side, but I wasn’t in the mood to sit there with people who might applaud cinematography credits. I wanted audience juice.

At first the crowd started out with the usual woofing and cackling, goofing on everything from John Savage’s glasses to Ted Danson’s bagpipes, but as the focus shifted to the relationship between the two cop killers, white James Woods and black Franklyn Seales, the party mood began to fade. Woods played a cool and domineering psychopathic con man, Seales a quivering, spineless petty thief, and every scene between them hammered home their master-slave relationship.

At first, the mainly black and Puerto Rican crowd responded with sullen silence, but after a particularly degrading exchange, someone lost control and yelled out, “Stand up for yourself, chump!” and the audience erupted, cursing out Seales. A spray of popcorn landed on the screen, but nobody laughed. No one cursed out Woods, like I expected. No one cared about the dead cop or John Savage’s slow breakdown. I was amazed at the fury around me, but I didn’t feel it in myself. I felt like a social scientist, an outsider. I realized I was surrounded by people who had no addresses, no childhoods, and no names for me. I was slumming. Always had been.

When the two killers came to trial, Seales finally rebelled. He started cursing out Woods—even tried to physically assault him, and the crowd cheered with humorless encouragement.

But the rebellion was short-lived. Once Seales got to jail, his lawyer informed him that unless he and Woods cooperated in court, they’d both end up in the gas chamber. Blubbering and shaking, Seales confronted Woods in the prison shower room to beg forgiveness, but Woods had his price, and as the black man slowly slid to his knees, the white man’s hand on the back of his neck, the crowd was on its feet shouting, “No!”—pleading and threatening.

A young black guy standing in front of me wearing a knit skullcap bellowed, “Be a man, you punk!” At the end of the scene he remained standing, heaving with outrage, staring’ wildly around the theater. He saw me sitting behind him, slouched down, my face partially obscured by my hand, and before sinking back into his seat, he glared at me and drawled, “You enjoying the show?”

* * * * *

And there are any number of Honorable Mentions:

mean streets location

◻︎ I was taken to see The Ten Commandments for my eighth birthday and experienced my first religious crisis when my father told me that not only was Charlton Heston just an actor playing Moses, but that the guy wasn’t even Jewish.

︎ Experienced another religious crisis years later when I found myself sitting through The Bible a second time just to see the Sodom and Gomorrah part again.

︎ Sat through three consecutive showings of Mean Streets one afternoon, then went home, rifled through a box of family photos, and started the first chapter of Bloodbrothers that same night.

︎ Realized that I was no longer part of the youth vanguard the day I found myself in a revival theater surrounded by a roomful of punky-looking kids cackling at the horrifically dated slang of Easy Rider and Woodstock.

︎ Saw a sneak preview of Bloodbrothers booed by a full house because everybody was expecting the sneak to be Superman.

But the strangest of all my movie house experiences had to be the night I sat in a huge theater and watched myself up on the screen in The Wanderers. I was on for two minutes, playing a lounge lizard in a bowling alley. I talked, I sneered, and I got strangled with my own tie.

Sitting there, I felt absolutely no connection between myself on the screen and myself in the audience; no excitement, embarrassment, anger, or giddiness. I became so unnerved by the numbness of it all that I had to turn my head away from the screen, and in an effort to come back into myself, I put all my energy into watching the crowd watching me.

When Godzilla Stomped on My Family Vacation

My wife argues that what I did was tantamount to deliberate sabotage of the family vacation. I disagree, but it’s a matter of degree, not substance. It’s about sorting my priorities, and I definitely put the making the finals ahead of anything else, including embarking on an important trip. For that, I deserved some heat.

The finals in question were for the 2015 Nippon Club Baseball Tournament. Mostly populated by teams representing the New York offices of Japanese corporations, we play throughout the summer, early on weekend mornings, on the nicely refurbished fields of Randall’s Island. My company’s team is decent and has made the semifinals three times in ten years, but we’ve never advanced to the final.

And what I did, or what was done to me, or whatever, was pain. It’s hard to writhe in pain on the infield dirt while also remaining still, but that was the advice raining down on me from members of both teams. Agony inspires an escape plan. Rolling around the dirt trying to crawl out of my skin was all I could come up with. That and screaming “fuck” a bunch of times. So while the not-moving advice was sound, I’m sure, all I heard was the little angel/devil voice inside my own head “Get up. Matsui is on the line. Get up.”

This was the semifinals and our chances of making the finals were in trouble. The finals of anything is usually a good place to be, so maybe that’s motivation in and of itself to get up off the ground and play. I don’t think my angel/devil’s advice would have been much different under normal circumstances, and hence my wife’s interpretation of the events gains even more traction, but this year was far from normal. Instead of facing one of the usual tournament powerhouses for the crown, we’d be facing Hideki Matsui.

“Wait, come again?” I asked.

“Hideki. Matsui.” elaborated my teammate.


He pointed to the outfield, where two centerfielders stood back-to-back, the way they do on overlapping fields without fences. This was the quarterfinals, a few weeks earlier, and our 12-run lead allowed ample time for the observation of the other games. There was no mistaking the tank standing in centerfield, wearing number 55. Two of me together might match the width between his shoulders. There stood the MVP of the 2009 World Series playing the sun field at too-damn-early o’clock on a Saturday and trying to get his team into the same semi-finals we were all but assured of reaching.

I went scrambling through the paperwork on the bench, looking for the draw and the future schedule. “Crap,” I said. “We’re on the wrong side.”

That Hideki Matsui was playing in the tournament probably should have been something I was aware of before the quarterfinals. However, I’m in a state of, if not semi-retirement, then of other-shit-to-do-ment. I coached the Little Leaguers on Saturday mornings and the Pee Wee Soccerers on Sunday mornings. Even if there were not direct conflicts, which there were, adding another sports-related commitment to the weekends would have been the last thing I did before being served with divorce papers.

The teams in the tournament occupy an athletic limbo. The overriding qualification for being on the roster is not any baseball skill, but simply a desire to play – beginning with the awareness that team even exists and culminating with the ability to drag yourself to the field for first pitches at 8:30 AM. This brings an assortment of ex-ballplayers and guys who haven’t played since the bases were 60 feet apart. I played into college, but blew my knee out in the winter of my freshman year and re-habbed on a bar stool for the other three-and-a-half years. I picked up playing in adult leagues for several years after that, but for the last decade or so, this tournament has been my only baseball. Our starting lineup features a couple of other guys who at least played in high school and a couple of guys who can most likely catch a ball thrown directly at them.

I don’t know that I can describe exactly why it was so important to play against Matsui, but as soon as I found out it was a possibility, I wanted it badly. I’ve told this story to many friends (and their friends, and their parents, and co-workers, and their dogs) and right away I can tell if they get it. Some cannot embrace the calculus that makes this awesome. The ones that do get a glimmer in their eyes.

I’m aware that you can pay to attend a fantasy camp and play against baseball legends. That is of no interest to me (well, I’d do it if you paid my freight, but I’m not writing that check). This isn’t star-fucking, well maybe, but different. This guy is coming to us. He’s coming to our tournament to compete for the same trophy we’re trying to win. He’s just having fun and trying to kick our asses. I mean, he’s a great Yankee too, and I’ve followed his career closely and all, but if it was Mike Piazza, I don’t think I’d feel much differently.

The dream scenario for how it would play out is vague in my mind. Is it hitting a long blast over his head and earning a tip-of-the-cap when he spots you standing on third? Is it robbing him of extra bases with a sliding grab? Is it watching him tattoo our pitcher with missile after missile? Is it just the thrill of competition to test yourself against the limits of your ability and shake hands when the dust settles? I guess that’s why I needed to play that game. Something’s going to happen, and whatever it is, I’m going to tell the story of that something for as long as I can summon the spit. And really any way it goes is going to be epic in the re-telling.

But, OK, I concede, give me the tip-of-the-cap.

There was some good news on the schedule, the semi-finals were on July 11th and our family vacation didn’t start until the 12th. We’d be going to visit my wife’s family until the 19th and given they don’t live next door, the kids getting to spend extended time with them is the whole point. The finals were also on the 19th so that would be a problem. And in between us and the finals was Mizuho Bank, a team we’d never beaten, and their star pitcher, ex-minor leaguer Rich Hartmann.

We had only four guys in the lineup that stood any chance against Hartmann. I was swinging the bat well in the tournament, and I’d had some success against him in the past, but that was long enough ago not to matter. I hadn’t seen a pitch at his speed in three or four years – the pitcher in the quarterfinals might not have registered on a JUGS gun.

First pitch of the semis was on a Saturday at 8:30am. This was too bad for us, as we learned Hartmann was suffering from a very painful case of gout and was unable to put any weight on his foot right up until midday Friday. His medication kicked in just in time.

There was not a cloud in damn sky. I cuss because I was leading off and the sun was right in my face. The ball came out of his hand, low-80s, just below the life-giver. I didn’t see any white, just a dark grey oval humming at the plate. I got one pitch to hit, couldn’t catch up to it. Fouled off one of his out pitches on the outer edge and geared up for another when he came back over the inside corner and caught me cheating. I don’t like striking out, and take great pains to avoid it, but this one… I had no chance.

The good thing about that sun though, it was just as much a bastard for them. Through two-and-a-half innings, the pitchers allowed two base runners, a bloop single and a walk, against double-digit strikeouts and zero well-struck balls. Before striking out yet another hitter in the third, our pitcher smiled at me and pointed to the other field where the other semi-final was taking place. Matsui was pitching. The whole infield just turned and stared. It reminded me of the scene in Eight Men Out when the plane flies over head and drops the dummy on the infield. We had to win this game.



The next time I got up with two outs in the bottom of the third, the sun was mercifully higher, still no help from the clouds though. I laid off a couple of loose breaking balls and found myself sitting fastball when he had no good reason to throw anything else. He obliged with a get-me-over-fastball, not his hardest by a long shot, belt high and inner third. I smoked a one-hopper to the right of the first baseman. He dove but couldn’t reach it. The ball skidded off the dirt and off the tip of his glove and caromed toward an empty second base. Given the pitcher was gout-ridden, even if the first baseman made a miracle stab, I was winning that foot race. I was relieved to notch the hit, but there was also a nagging feeling that I needed to do more damage with that one if we wanted to get some runs on the board.

I got ready to try to steal, but this guy had a pick-off move and the catcher could reach second. I could steal at will off the lesser teams. Before I could get on my horse, we were out of the inning. And two batters into the top of the fourth, we were losing. Double and single, both smacked and we were down a run. It looked like a massive run, even then.

But the inning wasn’t over there. Mizuho was finding the soft spots in the outfield – and there were many. Luckily, we were able to force the pitcher at second base from right field (the gout, again) to give us a shot at getting out of the jam.

With first and second and two outs, they tried for the double steal. Let’s review the situation as this daring play went into effect: I’m left-handed, I was playing well in front of the bag at third-base to compensate for the torn labrum in my throwing arm and the catcher can’t throw either. I hightailed it back to the bag, got in decent straddling position and looked up to see the catcher uncork a spectacularly awful throw, more in the general direction of shortstop than the third base bag. I instinctively lunged out towards the ball. The glove on my right hand came nowhere near the ball hurtling into space, but the action dragged my right leg directly into the baseline where a not-small, not-agile, 40 plusser was bearing down. He never really intended on sliding, I guess, but when he saw me block the bag, he went into a duck-and-cover pseudo-roll which planted his helmet just below my right knee.

One of my (many) flaws is that I don’t suffer injury quietly. I can play hurt, I can endure pain over long stretches, but at the moment of injury, I’m prone to dramatic reactions. So there was a lot of concern due to this particular reaction which was one of my most dramatic. The Nippon Club Tournament director didn’t even get mad at me for yelling “fuck” so many times. My reaction may have also caused everyone else on the field to ignore the fact that I had obstructed the runner, and as in the 2013 World Series, if he had made any attempt at home plate, he would have granted free passage there, scoring a run we could not afford to give up.

And then we had the yelling, the writhing and ultimately only these facts remained: it wasn’t broken and if you come out of the game, you can’t go back in.

There was nothing noble about staying in the game, as the guys on the bench didn’t wake up at 6:30am on their Saturday to watch me gimp around the field. This was a selfish thing and a deluded, though possibly accurate, back-of-the-napkin calculation that even with one leg, I was going to be better than any potential replacement. I’ll give you three guesses where the next ball was hit and the first two don’t count.

Low running grounder to my left, a play of moderate difficulty, but of course, everybody was holding their breath to see if my leg was going to come flying off. I leaned over, snagged it, took an impaired shuffle and slung some side-arm slop over to first and that was the inning.

Adrenaline is a hell of a thing, but apart from being fairly certain my leg was not broken, I had no idea about the extent of the injury. It was bad – the worst I’ve ever been hurt in a baseball game by far. Sitting through our at-bats getting stiff didn’t help. And we didn’t score.

They, however, tacked on another in the 5th when our left fielder turned a can-of-corn into a double. That’s not fair. There are no easy plays in this league. He was playing a little too shallow, got the wrong read on the ball, and then instead of turning and running back to where the ball was lazily drifting, opted for the back-pedal of death. He fell down over ten feet from where the ball landed.

I fielded one more grounder to end the sixth and came up to bat with one out and nobody on in the bottom of the inning. By now, the sun and clouds were far from my thinking as all I wanted to do was crush a fly ball so I could limp to first. He figured out his breaking ball, unfortunately, and dropped the first two into the zone, low and away. I swung at the second one, and it was not a swing for the archives. I tapped it straight into the ground and it hopped up over the pitcher’s head and settled on course to the charging shortstop.

I guess I could have just accepted this as an out but…no, let’s sprint-limp to first and try to beat this out. Somehow, there wasn’t even a throw. The shortstop didn’t handle it cleanly, but I’m pretty sure that was not required to throw me out. Anyway, that was the end of me. I well overdrew the account with that maneuver and couldn’t even get a first step toward second when the next pitch went to the back stop. Two outs later I took myself out of the game.

The tournament director brought me some ice. That was nice. I needed bacta. Back on the field, we continued to play well, but not well enough. Our pitcher went all nine frigging innings and held them at two runs. My replacement fielded two balls cleanly and when my spot in the order came up in the eighth, he got a hit. Damn, I would have given a lot to stay in, but he did more than I probably could have done.

We couldn’t score though. We put one more base runner on in the ninth, but yeah, this isn’t a happy ending. We lost 2-0, both pitchers throwing complete game gems.

Our game was over so quickly, that even after the ceremonial bows and team photos, we had time to catch the end of the other semifinal. I set myself up on the ground behind third base with the ice bag and watched Hideki Matsui in the on-deck circle. This was as close as I was going to get, so medical attention for my knee would just have to wait.

It was the top of the eighth, and the game was tied 1-1 and Team Matsui (that was literally their name, which is awful, but at least transparent) had two runners on base. The pitcher on the hill was struggling and fell behind, but no, this couldn’t be happening. He walked the hitter. In. Front. Of. Hideki. Matsui. So bases loaded, 1-1 tie, and the owner of 507 professional home runs stepped up to the plate.

Matsui batted right-handed. I mean, it makes sense and all, but sheeit. He felt it would not be fair and honorable to bat lefty in the tournament, but I can tell you not one player on any team wanted him to bat right-handed. So shove the honor and hit a bomb, please.


No matter though, because their pitcher beaned him on the first pitch. The go-ahead run crossed the plate. Beaned Godzilla. Team Matsui weathered a rally in the ninth and won. I watched Matsui jump four feet in the air celebrating during the 2003 ALCS Game 7 rally, so I can tell you that, apart from a minus-three feet off the jump in intervening 12 years, he celebrated pretty damn hard for that final out.

You can read about the final here. It was a doozy.

The end of my story is that I could not really walk or do anything that required any more than the crudest, slowest limping for the next three days. So packing the bags? Packing the car full of those bags? Driving four hours? Doing anything with the children in a haze of painkillers? Nope. I received as much sympathy from my wife as if I was badly hungover from a night at the strip club. Your call on whether or not this was sabotage, but it certainly screwed up her life for reasons that aren’t readily apparent to her.


At first I tried to argue with her. But it’s a loser. Injury is not the freak accident I pretend it to be, but rather the logical conclusion of continuing to play baseball, basketball and soccer at an advancing age. I’ve had three knee operations, the torn labrum, a broken nose and all of them put together were a picnic compared to the herniated disc and nerve impingement that screwed up our 2014. If I continue to play, I will continue to get hurt.

My father plays tennis often, and he’s in his mid-60s. He recently carried his doubles team, and his tennis club, to their league championship with a particularly awesome match. It’s probably the happiest I’ve seen him, maybe ever. A few years ago, his doubles partner died on the court next to him. And last week, another partner passed away the day after they played together.

We play the games of our youth to halt the passage of time and experience the thrills and joys only found on those fields. Yet playing, especially as we age, also contributes to the rapid deterioration of our physical selves. I guess some would look at our fragile mortality and say stay the hell away from those fields and crashing bodies. But if you do decide to play, it would be best for everybody if you’re able to get in the car and drive for four hours the next morning.

Where & When: Game 35

Hello again! What, are you up for another adventure with Where & When? If not, come back in a few minutes for the answer, because our regulars would actually give Joseph Tacopina an ounce of shame (it is possible).  Today’s gambit is sponsored by my nephew Isaiah, who slept over last night as I wrote this post. He may or may not appear in future posts as I bring more areas to bear for your scrutiny (in the present, of course).  Meanwhile:

Where & When Game 35

click on pic to enlarge

Ah, another break from the classics; and I bet this one has Fearless Leader very interested.  But I’m not going to make this one too easy. You can probably tell where this is, especially if you were around town in this era, but how many of you know about any of the other features in this picture? There’s quite a bit of interesting history contained here, so I’m looking for at least three features in this pic that have either a back story or something interesting going on today. The bonus question is what you know of regarding one of the features here that’s also become an institution in it’s own right.  You have thirty seconds, no, you have all morning and afternoon to figure it out and post your answer in the comments. I am curious to see how long it takes to find the Easter eggs in this one.

Again, full credit and a full mug of contraband to the first one who finds the proper names and history or current aspect of significant features in this picture (hint: there are three that I’m most concerned with).  The rest of us get a bowl of chicken noodle soup.  The bonus will get you a shot of contraband in your chicken noodle soup >;)

So, I’ll try to be back in the evening to sort out the mess here.  Good luck, and if you have any personal stories about this area, please feel free to share! And don’t peek at the photo credit or you’re fired (that’s nephew’s two cents).  Enjoy!

[Photo credit: wavz13

Where & When: Game 28

Hi folks, and welcome back to another rousing version of Where & When.  The year is coming to a close soon, which means I have some calculating to do; in the meantime I must warn you that the games may be slowing down soon for the holidays and for the fact that I need to find more places to cull challenges from; harder to find challenging pictures than you would think.  I also did promise some expansion of territory and insight on certain places; don’t think I forgot about that, but it does require time to do and this might be the best time to do such a thing.

With that in mind, let us glance thusly at this edifice:

Where & When Game 28

Imposing. Scary looking, in fact. Maybe not so much now; this is not the original version of the edifice, nor is it the current version (some modifications in the 60′s were made to conform to the contemporary standard policies on appearances), but interesting for two reasons: it is the first of its kind in this particular borough, and it’s located a half a block away from my first residence in the city; in fact my little strip of a street was an anomaly of sorts in that it had no true origin; at the least it was probably wiped out by urban planning and development in some years prior.

So there is a name and address for this building since it still exists, however since this pic is undated, I will ask that you give dates to when the original structure was actually built as well as the year of this redux and subsequent renovations.  I would offer a bonus, but it would be a dead giveaway, so I’ll just tell you that there is a bit of trivia connected to this place that might interest certain people; I in fact have at least one thing in common with the subject of this info.  That, or name the other street I referred to in my description above. Have I got some stories about that…

So, that’s rather vague, but this one is not really hard.  A tanker of Duffy’s Rowdy for the first with the answers, and a Foxon Park for the peanut gallery. Enjoy the game, I’ll get back to you soon and don’t click on that photo credit!

[Photo credit: Patheos.com]

Where & When: Game 20

Welcome Back to Where & When.  This will be a special edition to highlight the recent loss of a cultural icon.  For several generations and cultures who inhabit the city, this was their Penn Station. I present this without further comment, but feel free to post thoughts.

Where & When 20-1

New York Graffiti Landmark 5 Pointz Continues To Appeal Demolition

Tuesday, November 19, 2013:

Where & When 20-3 111913

Where & When 20-4

 Here is a Google Gallery of what was 5 Pointz. 

Here is a little history.

Where & When: Game 15

Welcome back to another challenge with Where & When, where you follow sketchy trails to get finer details when you have the time to do so.  I have to admit, the last game was pretty interesting and generated a bit of feedback, so I’m inclined to keep that same format for the time being and hope that it will attract new players and get more people talking.  We’ve got a long, long winter ahead of us, so why not at least make it interesting?  Natch.

Oh, and speaking of sketchy, here’s an interesting sketch:

Where & When 15

As I’ve mentioned before, this could be pictures of any type; this is probably the first time that I’ve had a drawing to use for a challenge, but the good news is the structure is still standing and in fact was landmarked within the last decade.  It is within city limits, so you don’t have to scramble too far for clues.  One last clue: there’s been a sort-of battle of wits with the community and a well-known business intent on setting up shop in the area that would likely prefer not having to deal with this structure, but is obligated to restore it under their present agreement with the owner.  They’ve done some work on it already, which is not half-bad, considering.

So as with last time, I am allowing answers to be posted in the comments so that we can generate a hearty conversation about the general area.  What I’m looking for is the name of this building (original or according to the landmark commission, which are fairly the same) and the date it was built, which I’m sure you will find if you know what the name of the building is.  An Appalachian for the first person with both answers and a Goose Island for the followers. Enjoy the game, I’ll try to hit everyone up this afternoon.  Oh, and by the way…

I’m introducing a new feature to the game that’s not necessarily part of the game, but an additional topic of discussion.  I hinted at it from the last game, but I’ve realized that time constraints have forced me to table this feature until later. However, that does not mean that you can contribute or anticipate it’s coming (the nature of my field predicts that I’ll have time in the winter season to fully introduce this part), but as a teaser, I will give you a sampling of what is in store. Again in the last game, the town that was spotlighted was Sleepy Hollow, NY, a place I am intimately familiar with.  I intend to feature places up and down the Hudson Valley (on both sides of the river, of course) to relate some interesting tidbits, history and points of interest.  Sleepy Hollow, in fact, has quite a lot of each; so much so that it would be impossible to do a quick post in just one game.  But I could highlight a particular feature and come back at another time…

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow includes references to quite a few real places and people from Washington Irving’s time; the church, the bridge, Van Tassel and so on.  The route that Ichabod Crane traveled on during his ride with the Great Pumpkin, er, the Headless Horseman, is highlighted as a walking tour through the Tarrytowns (Tarrytown and North Tarrytown as it were) along present-day Broadway, which also includes a few other historic markers and locations related to the American Revolution and Hollywood royalty.  Then there’s also the waterfront, which also features interesting stories of it’s own.  I’ll get to all of these stories over time, but if you have any particular stories relating to those points of interest, feel free to share them below.  There will be more of these types of stories in the future. Talk with you all soon!

[Photo Credit: Pardon Me For Asking]

New York Minute

Seen. Sticker on a muni-meter on Bleecker Street, two nights ago.

That’ll Be the Day

Dig this New Yorker “Talk of the Town” item (May 1, 1943) by Joseph Mitchell.

It’s a perfect miniature of his work–a poem, really–his book of revelations:

An air-raid warden we know, a young woman who holds down the desk in her sector headquarters in Greenwich Village twice a week from nine to midnight, is occasionally visited by the policeman on the beat. This policeman, who is elderly and talkative, dropped in the other night, sat down, grunted, placed his cap and nightstick on the desk, and said, “I’m a man that believes in looking ahead, and I been walking around tonight thinking over the biggest police problem this great city will ever have; namely, the day the war ends. I got it all figured out. I know exactly what’ll happen. Half an hour after the news gets out there won’t be a thing left in the saloons but the bare walls. Then the people will tear down the doors on the liquor stores and take what they want, a bottle of this, a bottle of that. Then they’ll go to work on the breweries; they’ll be swimming in the vats. Old ladies will be howling drunk that day. Preachers won’t even bother to drink in secret; they’ll be climbing lampposts and quoting the Bible on the way up. And some young fellow will trot up to the Central Park Zoo and break the locks. The elephants will be marching down Fifth Avenue, and the lions and the tigers, two by two; we’ll be six weeks getting the monkeys out of the trees. And they’ll ring all the church bells until they crack; they’ll jerk the bells right out of the steeples. And you know that big sireen in Rockefeller Center; somebody will get hold of that, and he won’t be torn loose until they shoot him loose. And they’ll unscrew the hydrants all over town; the water will be knee-deep. And people will be running around with their shoes off, wading in the water and singing songs. I can see the whole scene. And the ferryboat captains will give one toot on their whistles and run the ferryboats right up on dry land, and the bus drivers will run the buses right into the water. And the passengers will take charge of the subway trains, and they’ll run them right up into the open air. You’ll hear a racket and a roar, and you’ll look around, and here’ll come a subway train shooting right through the pavement. And husbands will be so happy they’ll beat their wives, and wives will beat their husbands, and the tellers in banks will gang up and beat the bank presidents, and and the ordinary citizens will tear down big buildings just so they’ll have some bricks to throw.” The policeman laughed and slapped his knee. “What a day of rejoicing!” he said. “What a police problem! I hope to God I live to see it!”

New York Minute


I’m on the train the other day on my way to work. A woman I worked with almost twenty years ago gets on and stands in front of me. She doesn’t see me and I look down at my book because I don’t want to make conversation.

We weren’t friends but worked in the same restaurant for about a year.  Well enough to remember, long enough ago to forget. I read my book and then looked up, her crotch a foot-and-half away from my face.

We got off at the same stop. She didn’t look at me and I didn’t get the satisfaction of her seeing me but not being able to place the face.

[Drawing by Adrian Tomine]


New York Minute

Last night I was waiting on the uptown platform at 103rd Street. There was a kid playing the guitar across the tracks and at first I didn’t notice him but then I couldn’t help but listen. He wasn’t playing a song just jamming. I waited for him to finish so that I could applaud. He was good. But he didn’t stop. So I saw that my train wasn’t coming yet and ran up the stairs, crossed over to the other side, ran down the stairs and threw a dollar in the kid’s guitar case.

“You are doing work,” I said.

When I got back to the uptown platform I was able to capture this just before my train rolled into the station.

Soul Surfer

Listening to that dude play made my day.

[Photo Credit: Frederick JG]

New York Minute

My grandparents lived across the street from the Museum of Natural History and my brother, sister, and I visited them almost every weekend. They weren’t the kind of grandparents to get down on the floor and play with children so when they wanted to get us out of the apartment they took us across the street. It got so the museum was like an extension of their place–over-heated and boring. That’s what I remember of it, anyhow. We had to be well-behaved. Man, it was tedious.

I stayed away from the museum for years and it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I went back. And I realized it was a great, mysterious place. I especially loved the scenes like the one pictured above  and recognized then how big an impression they’d made on me as a kid.

[Photo Credit:  Joel Zimmer]

New York Minute

Waiting to cross the street last night in my neighborhood, guy walks up next to me, late forties, early fifties. We see a car nearby looking to park. Guy says to me, “He’s not going to find a spot. I just came around the block, nothing, drove around again and found one. I always have luck since I came here.”

I ask where he’s from and he says California.

“I always find a spot and after the hurricane people would be waiting hours for gas, I went, twenty minutes I was done.”

He was bragging. The light turns and we cross the street.

“Well, it’ll come around and even out,” I say. “Karma does that.” I don’t mean to use to word Karma but that’s how it comes out.

“No, I’m a good person so I’ve got nothing but good Karma. That can never touch me in a bad way. Just remember if you are a good person you’ll always have Karma on your side”

I thought of saying something else but let it and him go.

[Photo Via: Eye Heart New York]

New York Minute

When I was growing up my father told me that the best hot dogs in New York were from Nathan’s. The real Nathan’s he said was out in Coney Island and he even took my brother, sister and me out there a few times. Mostly, though, when he was inspired to treat us, he brought us to the Nathan’s in Times Square.

Remember the spot?

[Photo Credit: Retro New York]

New York Minute

I’ve talked a lot about The Ginger Man, my old man’s bar of cherce when I was a kid. Well, one of the coolest things about that block, 64th Street just off of Broadway, was this:

I found this picture at The Time Machine, a cool, though defunct site by Neil J. Murphy. Worth poking around.

Thanks to the consistently stellar Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York for the tip.

New York Minute

There used to be a cop that stood on the corner of 103rd Street and West End Avenue when I was a kid. Early 1970s. His name was Wallace. He had a nightstick. We stopped and said hello to him every time we saw him. He always had a smile and it never dawned on me that cops were just cops, men without names, because of Wallace.

[Photo Credit: Dick Leonhardt]

New York Minute

Sunset in Manhattan. I remember walking up Broadway during the summer as a teenager. As I crossed each block, I’d look down past West End Avenue and chart the sun lowering in the sky until it had disappeared beyond the Hudson River and the sky was pink and orange. It was like a walking flip book. Then the lights from the stores and traffic signs and cars popped on the city street. Magic hour, that surreal moment between night and day when everything seemed like it was out of a movie.

[Photo Credit: Atenacius via This Isn’t Happiness ]

New York Minute

From Charles Simic:

No city displays its mixture of beauty and ugliness as brazenly as New York does. It’s one thing to see a city with cathedrals and other church towers from an approaching train as one does in Europe and another to see Manhattan with buildings of every size thrown together more or less haphazardly and its streets packed with humanity all coming into view simultaneously. I still can’t believe my eyes every time I see it.

[Photo Credit: A crowd watching the news line on the Times building at Times Square, NYC, on D-day, June 6, 1944. Large-format nitrate negative by Howard Hollem or Edward Meyer, Office of War Information…via New York History]

New York Minute

Nothing says New York, or at least Manhattan, like a water tower. I remember looking out of the window at my grandparent’s apartment as a kid. They lived on 82nd street between Columbus and Central Park West. On the ninth floor. I’d look north at the cityscape and I knew why I liked Edward Hopper’s paintings. I’d see the brownstones and on the top of them the water towers. I never understood what they were for, how the water got in or out of them.

Today, I just know that I feel comforted when I see them.

[Photo Credit: The Great Retro New York]

New York Minute


Man, just another great shot from the New York Times‘ tumblr site. I remember this Times Square ad well. Actually gave me the chills seeing it again.

I had the King Kong lunch box and thermos when I was in first grade. Dag.

New York Minute

A friend of mine sent me this New York Times piece by Corey Kilgannon the other day:

Thirty-three years ago, an office worker named Ludwika Mickevicius left her native Poland and became Lucy the bartender in the East Village.

Her proletarian toughness and heavy Polish accent played well with the punks and rebels at Blanche’s bar on Avenue A, near Seventh Street. Ms. Mickevicius became so synonymous with the place, the owner renamed it Lucy’s and then sold her the business 15 years ago.

As the East Village cleaned up around it, Lucy’s remained the prototypical dive bar: a comfortable cave bathed in low red light, with a dingy dropped ceiling and worn linoleum on the floor. One arcade game, one jukebox, two pool tables, two small drinking tables, a dozen stools and a heavy oak bar. All are steeped in the character of Ms. Mickevicius: straightforward and practical. No frills, no nonsense, no whining.

“Many people hear about me and they come in and say, ‘Lucy, don’t change anything; we like it like this,’ ” she said. “Plus, change costs a lot of money.”

The story would have made Joseph Mitchell smile.

My friend used to go to Lucy’s years ago. He told me:

A past relationship of mine, we were a pair of heavy users, and recognized that we were in love. We hung out  at Lucy’s, never called it more than that, in the bag, leaning on the bar making sure we continued the “feeling better” part. We squeezed each other and made out. We loved to scream at each other.  Lucy had to break us up or shut us up. Her advice: “Why don’t you both get married”! Stoned and drunk we looked and said “why not?”

From that point forward we were going to get married. Started speaking to each other about living together. But within two weeks, I could not find her. I spoke to a friend of hers who had told me that she couldn’t handle it and just got in her car and drove west, ending up in San Francisco. She cleaned up and I finally heard from her, apologetic. She ended up marrying another artist/grease monkey out there and seemed happy.

Within a year I got a call, Her husband dryly stated that she died of an overdose, in a corner of a room with the needle stuck in her arm. He sent me her driver’s license and her death certificate along with one photo I always loved of her.

I still miss her, or maybe I really miss what could have been.

[Photo Credit: Robert Simonson]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver