From My Schoolyard “mit” Love!
You almost had to be there to fully understand my community of East Flatbush in Brooklyn, New York, and what it was like for any of us kids in our World War II era—still not yet having reached the aristocracy of teenage—what we thought to be “manhood”.
“What you don’t know, don’t hurt.
So don’t let anybody tell you, what you don’t know!”
(Cause dat can kill ya)
The above paragraph probably would have begun with a special kind of Brooklynite lead-in: “listen to me”, “ready to learn”, “get a life”, “I’m your friend”, and “would I lie”. Then, one of my favorites: “That’s (dats) a crock.”
And if you’re interested, it’s an important thing for you to understand about Brooklyn kids—almost all of us used hand gestures when we talked to one another. I.e., With hands palms up, a strange look at the kid who’s trying to explain something to me or us, and my lead-in… Continuing in such conversations there were words along with facial expressions to match like in the TV series decades later such as “Welcome Back Kotter”, the role of Vinnie Barbarino played by John Travolta. Some of the intelligentsia might use referring to our hand movements as gestures.
Like many of the depictions appearing first and foremost as the driving force for the then sitcoms of the day, what they accomplished was far more than merely mental nourishment—there for no other reason but to make us laugh. Much has been written about the lessons we learned from “Kotter” and his crowd.
The fact of the matter is really nothing new. Stand-up comedy almost always stems from the hearts and minds of comics stepping back in time with stories about families, friends, neighborhoods, and a vast wealth of nostalgia they’ve all seemed to have accumulated from their lived-in past.
Stories have always been my personal glory to recall. Thinking about good things never fails to make me feel better. So, without any real effort, please let me share another of my fondest memories. This one is short, sweet, and directly to the point. The words may bend a little as I recall them, but the body of this nostalgia of mine is recalled with my great intent of avoiding exaggeration.
The year was 1968. My two daughters were eight and ten years old. We lived in a house we had purchased in 1961 (for a grand total of $23,000) in a place called Encino Village in Southern California. It still belongs to our family. Rumor has it that the place has grown in value during the course of the last sixty-one years. Hopefully, so have I.
If you happen to have a kid or two
Make sure to get to them quickly
With a kiss from you
Hopefully, they’ll remember
As have I
There’s beauty in yesterday
Smiles to always recall
Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home
They’d always shout
As if it was just yesterday
When the two of them were home!