Archive for November 2013

Michael   3 comments

Here is another little story. Remember these are fiction, at least to a point.

academy     It was the summer of 1968; Sean hurried from the subway station to the big building on East 20th Street. It was Sean’s first day in the Police Academy and he wanted to be there early.

As he rushed through the streets he thought back to the day he took the test for the Police Department. He almost left without taking the test when he saw how many people were there. The line for the walk in test stretched for two blocks. Bill, a friend he went to take the test with talked him into staying. Bill did not make the cut. Few of the hundreds of thousands who had taken the test would be hired. If your mark on the test wasn’t at least in the nineties you could forget ever getting appointed. Sean had written a 98 and was one of the first Police Trainees appointed from the test.

A sergeant at the security desk checked him in.

“Name?”

“Sean Peterson.”

He shuffled through some papers for a few seconds then pointed down the muster area.

“You are in Company N. Go straight back and look for the sign. If you can’t find it go home, this is the wrong job for you.”

“Yes sir.”

At the end of the muster deck he saw a group of six guys with one holding a sign that marked them as Company N. The man with the sign approached him.

“Are you in Company N?”

“Yes, where do I go?”

“I’m Derringer, Your Company Sergeant. Fall in with the others.”

Sean introduced himself to the other five. He was told that there would be thirty in the company. The group made nervous small talk as they waited for the rest to arrive.

Sean asked, “How much time does Derringer have with the Police Department? He looks as young as we do.”

Herbert Johnson laughed, “He was in front of me on the check in line. He was made company sergeant because he was the first guy from the company here.”

The first day was spent getting sworn in and then taking tours of the academy. You were expected to know the function and location of every office by the end of the day. We all took notes.

After the first day it was right to classes. We soon fell into a groove. There were hundreds trainees assigned to sixteen companies, hundreds more Police Recruits assigned to over twenty companies. Add to that Police Cadets, Administrative Aides, all the people assigned there permanently and the tours constantly going through and the place was really crowded.

It was only a few days later that Sean saw Michael for the first time. Michael worked as a cleaner. He had a mental disability and was hired under a work program for the disabled. He was always going around looking for anything that needed to be cleaned. He loved working despite only making minimum wage, $1.25 an hour at the time. We trainees made $2 an hour and felt under paid. The recruits made $6.

The company was in the cafeteria for lunch when Michael passed Sean’s table. Herb Johnson watched him work and started to laugh.

“Do you want to see something funny? Watch this.”

Herb had some change in his hand and tossed it onto the floor. When he heard the change hit the floor Michael started running towards the sound.

“Ooh, ooh money I heard money. It’s mine I found it. If it falls on the floor it’s the cleana’s and I am the cleana.”

Herb started laughing, “One of the guys from the previous class told me about it. He said they would have him running all over the place. He gets all excited and runs to pick up a penny.”

Everyone at table laughed and word spread to the other companies. Soon whenever Sean saw Michael he would be chasing after dropped coins.

Sean started feeling sorry for Michael. It wasn’t right to tease him like that. He wanted to talk to him and tell him not to let them treat him like that but there were always too many people around. Until one day he was assigned to bring some reports to the Ballistics Section. He ran into Michael alone in the hall.

“Hi Michael.”

“Hello, I’m sweepin.”

“Yeah, I know you do a good job.”

“Tanks, I work hard.”

“Michael, I see you chasing after change all the time. You shouldn’t do that, they are making fun of you. I am going to go to the Lieutenant and he’ll make them stop.”

Michael’s whole expression changed, “Don’t do that. I live with my Mother and we need the money.”

“But Michael do you really need it. I mean what is it two dollars a week? Is that worth them laughing at you?”

“I pick up over two hundred dollars most weeks and when new classes like yours come in sometime three hundred. They may laugh at me here but I laugh at them when I’m home.”

Sean suddenly realized that Michael’s speech had cleared up. Michael’s disability was not as severe as he pretended. With his pay and what he picked up from the students he was clearing more than a sergeant.

For the rest of his time at the academy Sean was laughing the loudest when Michael chased change but he wasn’t laughing at Michael.

 

Posted November 13, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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Softball GloveToday we have something different. We have a guest blogger. I got this from Phil Anastasia. He asked if I would put it out so here it is. If anyone else has a story they would like to tell send it to me I’ll put it out. If you don’t want to write it out as a story just send what you remember and I will do something with it. Let’s not forget the times we had. Phil’s story is about the fast pitch team. If anyone wants to say something about the high arc team send it in. About the games or the Harp and The Mandolin after the games, Kamikaze shots all around.

A Glove For Patty

Back in the mid 70s the Eight Three had one softball team, the high arc team, which played in AlleyPondPark. One Sunday morning I worked a day tour with Carmine Napolitano affectionately known to all as “Nappy.” I was fairly new to the command, assigned there from the Academy in July of 1973 along with about 23 other guys. It didn’t take long on that Sunday for me to bond with Nappy. Because, if we were not working that tour we would both be playing softball with our respective teams. Moreover, I finally met a bigger Dodger fan than myself.  During that tour, Nappy indicated his desire to start a team to play in the Bklyn North fast pitch league. The main ingredient needed for a fast pitch team was a good pitcher, and that was Nappy’s milieu. He was a control pitcher who consistently kept the ball around the knees with some giddy-up. Another constant was, he always puffed on that pipe between innings. The plan was that he would get some of the older guys to play, and I was to “scout” the guys from my class for the “ballplayers.” The following spring we were off and running. Nappy (the manager) went to all the necessary meetings and we collected the funds for the entry fee and equipment. We were set for our debut. We put together a pretty good team. But, the most admirable aspect was the competitive nature of the guys; every player on the team couldn’t stand the thought of losing a game of checkers, let alone a softball game.

Right up there at the top of the list in intensity and the win at any cost mentality was none other than the author of this Blog, Kevin. He was our firebrand left fielder who had a curious technique. Instead of trying to scale a fence to make a catch, Kevin tried to run through the fence and catch the ball on the other side. The fence always won those battles! But I’ll tell you this, Kevin used to bounce pretty good in those days. After a few practices, Nappy told me that we had a new guy coming to try out for the team, a big husky guy named Patty DeGregorio. Patty told us he had not played in many years, but would like to try out nonetheless. In fact, he mentioned that he borrowed a glove for the workout. Patty worked his heart out that day, and one glance told you how much he wanted to make the team. At the end of practice, Nappy told Pat he made the team. He was elated; it surely would take days to get the smile off his face. He told Nappy and me that since he made the team he was going to go out and buy a brand new glove, the best he could find. Nappy said, “Good, we have a couple of exhibition games before the season starts, so you can break it in. But don’t forget to oil the glove after you buy it.” We both told Patty to get some neat’s-foot oil for his new glove. The following week was an exhibition game and while I was taking some grounders before the game Nappy started yelling to me “Philly, get over here. You won’t believe this” So I jogged over to Nappy and Patty standing by the dugout.

:What’s Up? Nappy said “look what this Mama-Luke did” and threw a glove to me. Well it was just like throwing an eel at me. I mean it was just as slippery and slid right out of my hands. It was when I bent over and picked up this moist mess of a glove that Nappy said, “tell him.”

I looked at Patty who resembled a recalcitrant adolescent whose teacher caught him doing what kids do. Looking downward he said “I couldn’t find that oil you told me about, so “I used OLIVE OIL.” The three of us had to sit down on the bench for a few minutes to laugh it off. Patty took a lot of ribbing that year. In fact every time he bobbled a ball, Nappy would look over at me and grumble “too much olive oil”

By the way, it didn’t have any effect on the exhibition game. We prevailed in a hard fought game. You know, some of those folks from the Menorah Nursing Home were pretty spry. Some even walked upright.

Seriously folks, we all had the pleasure of working with some of the best cops in the world. These teams provided the opportunity to escape the turbulence of a “Burning Bushwick” for a few hours, and play a game with some of the nicest guys in the world. While we all miss Nappy and Patty I know they are up there playing for the Blue Angels. I just know it!

God Bless and Stay Safe

Phil Anastasia

Posted November 8, 2013 by kevingcox in Random Thoughts

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