Holiday Memories   9 comments

Happy HolidaysI haven’t blogged in quite awhile but I am back now. Before I start let me just say that I have finally completed my book. For those who want to the title is “A YEAR IN BUSHWICK.” It is a fictional memoir of a fictional cop in Bushwick in the seventies. All I have left to do is to format it for publication and for Kindle. When formatted it should run between 330 and 375 pages. I had one person ask if it was like Brooklyn 99. No, it is to “Brooklyn 99” as “Stalag 17” was to “Hogan’s Heroes.” Not that it is anywhere near as good a “Stalag 17” a great movie. Speaking of Bklyn 99 when I first saw the previews I thought this is going to be bad. I was wrong it is much worse than that. The show sucks baboon ass. Anyway that’s done, now onto the blog.

Now that New Year’s is over I just wanted to comment on the holidays as I remember them as a kid and a bit older. Not quite as old as I am now which I believe to be about a week older than dirt. At least it feels like that sometimes. I’ll start with Thanksgiving watching the “March of the Wooden Soldiers” on Channel 9. I was amazed years later when I found out that the old frail Mr. Barnabas was the same actor who years later would play the young powerful Indian Chief Scar in “The Searchers.” I remember Thanksgiving in Red Hook as a large family gathering in a small apartment with a big kitchen. Most of us had large families. Few had large dining rooms but we didn’t need them the kitchen was the heart and soul of our homes. It was where we lived and entertained. There were eight of us in my family and usually a cousin or two around. On Thanksgiving there would often be over a dozen for dinner. It was a fun time. I remember Father Maroney going around from store to store and bar to bar collecting for food baskets for the poor for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family was never anywhere near rich but we never needed the baskets and would be able to donate for those with less.

I can recall one year a few days before Thanksgiving Father Maroney walking into a bar and seeing the a food basket on the bar. When he asked the bartender how it got there he was told that a patron had traded it for a few drinks. Maroney went berserk. He started yelling that the food in that basket was to feed the children of that family. The bartender gave the basket back to Father Maroney. He stalked to the building where the recipient. Climbed up to the fourth floor apartment and banged on the door. When the father who had traded the basket opened the door Maroney pushed him into the kitchen. He put the basket on the table and dragged the man to the window. He had him half out the window when he told him he would be back on Thanksgiving and if that basket wasn’t being used to feed those kids he would throw the father out the same window. The children ate. Christmas was another large family gathering. Midnight mass, listening to the choir, “A Christmas Carol” being played over and over again. The Yule Log on Channel 11. A time of simple joy. Now New Year’s when I was young was a wild time. There were no fancy parties, no Tux’s, No one in Red Hook would have stood for that bullshit. Instead everyone’s door was open with food and drink set out on the kitchen table. People would go from house to house carrying only a glass. No one needed to be invited or to feel left out just get up and visit. Years later I would come to feel that New Year’s Eve was my least favorite holiday. It became an amateur drinker’s hour. That view was further strengthened when I became a cop and spent my first New Year at Times Square. The mob pressed should to shoulder. If one died he couldn’t fall until after the bell dropped. The roar of a million babbling drunks, the smell of the crowd and the vomit. Pretty much a good time to be had by all. Anyway that is it for today. Feel free to add any holiday memories you have and now that it is the 3rd I feel I can say Happy New Year.

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9 responses to “Holiday Memories

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  1. Pingback: Holiday Memories | bushwick83

  2. As always you never fail to impress. Thinking of New Years. When I was a teenager, I when with this girl to her aunts house (I don’t remember why),one night and her aunt was showing “Home Movies” the 8mm kind. Sure enough a New Years eve party at the post when it was between Van Dyke St and Coffey St. My Mother and Father in a Congo Line with like 50 people on Van Brunt St. I yelled Hey that’s my parents, well a 1 hour trip turned into a three hour trip. What a neighborhood.
    Let be know when I can buy the book.

  3. KEVIN: I don’t know how to respond on the blog. When is the book going to be available – how much – how do we get an “autographed copy”? lol lol Speaking of “March of the Wooden Soldiers” I was laid up in a rehab facility this Xmas and I was going through the TV guide every day hoping to see it on some channel. NO SUCH LUCKI. I remember when channel 11 use to play the same movie twice a day for a week. They always chose “March….” at Xmas time and I use to sit there and watch it over and over and over until I knew the complete dialogue by heart. Will – “Wildeyes”

    • Will, You do know how to respond on the blog. You just did. I miss seeing the March of the wooden soldiers on Christmas too. It had become a tradition. I will post as soon as I know when the book is available.

  4. Great job Kevin. I think of Father Moroney all the time. He was one of the first to help me out with my music. He hired my band to play at those Sunday night dances he organized in the late 50’s. By the way it was WPIX that ran Laurel & Hardy ,WOR ran the KING KONG marathon on Thanksgiving!!! Looking forward to reading the new book!

    • Hi Harry, Fr. Moroney was a good man. He was always out in his tee shirt working with his hands. A different kind of priest. By the way Harry I am going to a Doo-Wop show next month. Iy is with a group called Knights to remember. Maybe they will do a couple of your old songs. I hope so. Kevin

  5. Kev, The Actor who played both Chief Cicatriz – Scar in “The Searchers” and Barnaby in “The March of the Wooden Soldiers” you was named Henry Brandon. About 5 years ago I was so disappointed that they weren’t showing with March ot the Ape Trilogy “King Kong”, “Son of Kong”, and “Mighty Joe Young” anymore, that I bought them all on DVD. Now I can relive those day anytime I want.

    • Mike, Henry Brandon was only 22 when he played the old mean Barnaby. The old King Kong movies were great. They along with the original Frankenstein movies made you feel sorry for the poor monsters.

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