Macho Man

Moving to East New York from Williamsburg was like moving to the country. Tree lined streets, no tenements, most people either sweeping or hosing in front of their houses. Waking up and hearing birds chirping, and what it was windy hearing the rustle of trees made it seem like paradise. Of course just four blocks away the sound of trucks and factories in production took away from this paradise effect. Life was still good. What could be bad for a nine year old?

Summertime was two months of Saturdays for kids. Open fire hydrants (Johnny pumps), short rests under the cooling shade of store front awnings, lemon ice, unending energy for everything except errands. They were way too far; it was way too hot, etcetera. Skelsy was a game played with bottle caps on the sidewalk on a make shift chalk board of numbered boxes. Almost every kid had his own personalized cap in his pocket just in case. Games were endless. You could do or be anything you wanted because the mind of a kid was a computer game way before computer games.

The summer nights, everyone was out. Mothers, fathers, grandparents, all the kids doing everything they did only the cover of a magical Brooklyn summer night sky. People sharing lemonade, stories, recipes, gossip, sports arguments; who was better Mantle, Snider, or Mays (Mantle of course), and sharing plans for the future in the neighborhood. The dreaded exodus to the suburbs had not begun so the neighborhoods remained intact. Grandpa would be sitting on a kitchen chair on the stoop, not some chaise lounge on the patio. I would remain a kid with more Brooklyn summers ahead.

Remember playing in front of an imaginary grandstand
When the whole crowd rose and gave you a hand,
Or your third grade sweet heart, a damsel in distress
When you swooped in and saved her with daring finesse
A bandana around your neck, six shooter at your side
Fixing your cowboy hat, the banister your ride
The open hydrant becomes a wild rapids stream
Watching the game on T.V., being everyone on the team
Walking through the corner lot, like discovering the giant redwoods
Coming to the rescue, catching the bad guys with the goods
Looking down from your porch, as if in a plane ready to land
Walking on the beach, as if on uncharted exotic sand
Imaginary and youth becomes a memory if you give in to age
You should enjoy the book, but be slow to turn the page
In spite of being that grown up, slightly graying macho man
With every year that passes, open your heart let out a little more Peter Pan

– niz

Comments are closed.