Late Night Time Traveling

I had my IVIG treatment today. One of the pre-meds administered is a steroid. It often keeps me up on the night of my treatment. So instead of going to bed at 10PM and after taking two Advil PMs, here I am writing an entry five minutes before the day after today.

I didn’t have any show that I was interested in on regular TV so I turned to Youtube as I usually do at least once or twice a day.

Tonight’s focus was on music. I started off with listening to one of my all-time Doo Wop songs, Darling Can’t You Tell, by the Clusters. I used to listen to this song when I was a kid back on Leland Avenue. It was my Mike’s record but he always let me listen to anything I wanted. The song always makes me think of him.

I then saw a recommended video with Joannie Mitchel, Both Sides Now. That, in turn, reminded me of Judy Collins and I YouTubed her as well. Both Sides as sung by Judy Collins was one of my favorites in December of 1968. The Beatles had the White Album but I asked my brother to get me a Judy Collins album preferably with Both Sides Now on it.

When listening to Both Sides Now this evening it brought back many powerful memories, none of them good.

1968 was not a particularly good year for me and I am guessing I was not alone.

I had graduated from high school having slept through that experience and in September of that year, I began to sleep at St. John’s University. I wasn’t tired but I slept nonetheless.

To say that 1968 wasn’t a particularly good year for me ignores the New York Jets winning the AFL championship game which I attended with my dear friend Mike. It was the only thing that kept me awake. Fortunately, the Jets went on to win the Super Bowl in the second week of 1969 so at least I had that.

But 1969 was as miserable a time for me as 1968 had been. The new decade just around the corner would prove to be my turning point, I woke up. I was glad to do so.

A couple of my family members who read Married With Cancer told me they never knew all that Eileen and I endured. I am guessing no one knew what I was going through during those terrible years starting in high school and ending in the spring of 1970.

I laugh a lot. I try to make others laugh a lot. So, on appearances, I guess people thought I was doing ok. Another dear friend, PJ, didn’t let my jokes get in the way of him telling me about this diet. He knew that I was a skinny guy trying to bust out but just didn’t know how. It would be more accurate to say I was afraid of doing what needed to be done.

It’s the same reason I was such a terrible student until my junior year at St.Johns. When I lost the weight, having followed PJ’s guidance, I began to read. What an enlightenment for a college student. I began to go to class, I was ready for Mensa after figuring out the connection between going to class and getting good grades.

I know I was not unique and I hope I was able to help someone else out along the way. It’s just so hard to recognize when someone is struggling, especially if that someone is a good actor.

This teenage depression affected my writing of A Bronx Boy’s Tale. I got through the eighth-grade portion of the book in a matter of days. However, the point in the book that I started high school provided such a writer’s block that no explosive could destroy. I couldn’t write the truth. I really didn’t even want to review my truth. I couldn’t wait until I got to the day I met Eileen. But first, I had to create an alternate reality for the six years of high school and college.

It’s funny how music brings such lucid memories to me. I used to listen to music when I wrote A Bronx Boy’s Tale. Just hearing the music of that time, especially the Beatles, brought me right back to Leland and Thieriot Avenues and Blessed Sacrament. I could taste the french fries at Orchard Beach.

Tonight those same memories created such powerful images for me. Images I didn’t want to see.

The good news is that unlike the positive memories of my life, these dark illusions do not stay with me that long.

Thank God, because the Jets haven’t won a Super Bowl since 1969 and there doesn’t seem to be one looming in their immediate future.

Be well and happy.





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