Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 25 November 2011 00:00
While traveling, I have been surprised at the variety of experiences that have opened for Lorraine and me.
Last Saturday evening, after a babysitting job, we arrived at Penn Station at 9:48 p.m. We scooted to take the 9:51 p.m. to Hicksville on the LIRR. We caught the only seats available, a foursome – two seats facing forward, and two seats riding backwards. Not my favorite seats, but when you just make the train, you do not have your pick of seating.
Across from us was a pleasant looking Asian couple. They were both reading a Playbill from a show they had just seen. Lorraine started the conversation with “What show did you see?” They both broke out in wide grins and said it was a Japanese singing show. We found out they lived in Westbury and were de-training in Hicksville. Their English was halting, but we found out that he was in the tuna business.
“What is the best way to eat tuna?” I asked. Lorraine likes it well done, no pink showing. I, on the other hand, love it rare and just barely touched by flame. The tuna expert said “color in tuna is everything.”
We talked about Japan and agreed it was expensive. The exchange rate has declined greatly for Americans. We said “Sayonara” and waved goodbye to our new-found Westbury friends. Meeting new acquaintances triggers our own personal memories and experiences; it recalled my days in Japan.
About three weeks ago, we were on a bus line in Bethesda, Maryland about to board a Vamoose Bus back to NYC. A guy said his name was Stanley, and that started a conversation.
I said, “You’re Stanley, I’m Stanley, where were you raised?” “The Bronx,” he replied. “Me too,” I said.
“P.S. 50,” he said. “P.S. 50,” I repeated.
“Herman Ridder Junior High School, P.S. 98.”
“James Monroe High School.”
“CCNY,” was next. “Uptown!”
Me too, I said. It was starting to sound like a bad comedy routine.
“History was my major.”
“Not mine,” I said.
He lived on Hoe Avenue. I lived on Bryant Avenue, two blocks apart in the East Bronx. We rattled off names and we had a few in common. He was best pals with a guy named Saul, who was my busboy in the Catskills.
“What year did you graduate CCNY?” I asked.
“1954,” he replied. I got out in 1955.
In the old neighborhoods in the Bronx, the “Big Guys” were one year older than the “Young Guys.” The Big Guys never associated at the corner lamppost with the Young Guys: it was just not done.
We departed friends – more personal memories!