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Over 60…And Getting Younger: December 11, 2009

I Remember…

As each year ends, there is a compulsion in the media to recount the important events of that particular year. Who won the World Series, the National Football League championship, celebrities who passed on, etc.

I, Stanley Greenberg, who just turned 75 years of age thought that I should put on paper the outstanding memories of my life. These are things I vividly remember that can still evoke clear pictures in the screen of my brain and intellect. Truly, some are fuzzier than others. This is an exercise that can give one a serious headache.

Dec. 7, 1941 is the first recall of consequence. I was 7 years old and my parents had just taken me to Second Avenue, Manhattan to see a Jewish-speaking play. It starred Menasha Skolnick who was a very funny guy.

The three of us proceeded across the Williamsburg Bridge to see my mother’s parents in the store on Havemeyer Street. Under the elevated train, as we descended, the atmosphere was charged with electricity. The radios blared from the huge Davega Store with the terrible news. “The Japanese had bombed the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor.” War with Japan was imminent. Confusion and patriotism prevailed.

April 12, 1945 was a sunny day and Shimmy Aaronson and I were playing under the 174th St. bridge. It was over the polluted Bronx River and as we climbed the hill to go back home there was a hushed, serious manner to our neighborhood. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had died at Warm Springs, GA. He was the only president of our lifetime. He was elected four times. I remember the weeping of all the towns along the way as his body was brought by funeral train to Washington, DC.

V-Jay Day, Aug. 8, 1945, also strikes me very hard. The end of WWII brought happiness to the streets of the Bronx. Block parties sprung up everywhere. Somehow I remember someone shooting Roman candles fireworks up to the sky.

Oct. 3, 1951 – Bobby Thomson’s pop fly ball into the overhang at the polo grounds sunk my Brooklyn Dodgers. The Dodgers had led the National League by 13 ½ games on July 4. To misquote FDR, “This was a day that in my life would live in infamy.”

Aug. 13, 1961 was the day I was released from the U.S. Army. I had served two years, 13 months in Korea and 11 months in Ft. Meade, MD. Coincidentally, it was the day that the U.S.S.R. built the Berlin Wall.

July 1, 1962 is the day I married my “sweet Lorraine.”

Nov. 22, 1963, I was a practicing dentist on Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica when President Kennedy was killed. The entire nation was in shock as this vital young man was taken from us.

Aug. 4, 1964 – The Gulf of Tonkin Incident – The start of the Vietnam war in all its ferociousness. I was at a Mets game and the entire crowd went crazy with patriotism.

I will continue these historical moments next week.