I’M JUST A BROOKLYN KID AT HEART
With a sense of humor. I was born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY, 990 Montgomery St. apartment 4D, just off Utica Avenue.
Brooklyn was and probably still is mostly middle class melting pot of Jewish, Italian, Irish, Eastern European, Black, and Latino neighborhoods.
Constantly re-inventing itself, like Williamsburg where my Dad had a store, which was a diminished neighborhood at one time and is now reborn as the place to be of ‘Whats happening’.
I had a plain insignificant lower middle class life growing up with friends who were all of different ethnicities, and culturally different. It grew my love of “Difference and Exploration“ in food, music, the arts of culture with a world wide taste and world wide tolerance.
I graduated G.W. Wingate High School just 3 months after my 15th birthday after being in the RA or rapid advance, skipping grades 2 and 8. I don’t know if they just wanted to get rid of me or maybe I was learning faster on my own because I’m self taught yearning and learning to read at a very early age.
It was my release, reading taught me more, a quest to understand things more than the parameters of the foot driven mile range I lived in. The library on Eastern Parkway was my star ship to other places and times. I learned more on my own than I did in school. There was a librarian at that branch, and she helped me with what I didn’t understand, when she could, more so than some of my teachers.
In school, the main subject I excelled in was truancy, my favorite hangouts while cutting class were Museums, Zoos, Ebbets Field, Home of the Dodgers, National Parks like the Statue of Liberty, and the library. I guess I am a touch, see, feel, person, with an average education from the couple years I spent at College. The library at Eastern parkway and the city Museums and Zoos were my real schools as I picked my own curriculum.
They tell me thats how I write, like a Brooklyn kid. Of the almost 6000 languages and dialects on the earth, “Brooklyn” is surprisingly doing well. And I mastered it at GEORGE W. WINGATE HS which Is responsible for the skills I have today which I credit to my English teacher.
Her favorite paraphrase was “Jacobs to Detention”. My favorite was questioning “Why we had to read Snakes-spear”. Her hero was Shakespeare, and it did not amplify my reading skills. For book reports I chose Julius Caesar and got in trouble reading a certain passage out loud. Like Caesars carnal offering relationship with Brutus on one occasion. OOOps, off to detention.
Thus, I always carried my kind of good book in my schoolbag and met several nice girls in detention, I received more education, more ways than one reading in detention. Besides my science classes and shops, I learned more reading in detention than in class.
My reading incorporated the works of JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Popular Mechanics, Thor Heyerdahl’s epic adventure Kon-Tiki, Fahrenheit 451, Popular Science, the “Eight Wonders of the World” travel series on the famous places in the world, anything about Aviation, the Military, Photography and I loved shop classes.
Michener was one of my favorite authors as he wrote episodic books, which translates through generations in one locale, sort of like Star Trek in differing temporal convergences in the spacetime continuum. At twelve I had secured a book on medicine from our pediatrician, and a copy of Greggs Anatomy, weighing more than me. Being in detention allowed me to read and learn at my pace.
I probably read more books than the entire class but could not in any way shape or form digest Shakespeare. Fortunately the Dean of Boys was pretty much on my side. He wasn’t a fan of Shakespeare either but he was the law.
BEGINNING TO END
George W. Wingate High School as a High School is now defunct. It is now a conglomeration of comprehensive learning in the Prospect - Leffert’s Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. It opened in 1956 and was closed down in June 2004 due to poor academic performance.
It was the first racially correct (that was the term) 50/50 black-white school in the United States. I was in the first classes to graduate though my marks in English were passing but not of merit. Math, the sciences, shop, government and history studies, I did well. I am still a history nut but embarrassed by todays standards of education as history is not as relevant. Passing SAT tests by any means possible and turning out idiots is not my idea of education. A country less than two decades ago was first in the world in math and science and now we are 28th in the world. I will always believe studying the past is relevant and the keys to the future.
Today, I have seven website/blogs, participate in two small business’s even in retirement, and have learned to write computer code, I carried a camera and notepad for better than 50 years. I owned my own airplanes and I managed to fly 28 years, saved two planes while on fire, the passengers, and my buttocks on mechanical failures, and bouts with mother nature and learned one thing, self reliance. And have always said, “Have the right shoes for the path you choose, sometimes moccasins don’t cut it and you need boots, life can get very thick”.
I have my own dictionary THE JACOBS DICTIONARY
MASTER MACHINIST IN HIGH SCHOOL
I remember the first tools I made at Wingate in the metal shop on my own and even today they still talk of the Jacobs Hubcap Remover, not sold in stores, available in Midnight Black and silver powder coat only.
You too can have a career in hubcap "restoration" for only $39.95. Make it back on your first job even if you only got the front ones!
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It comes complete with instructions for both domestic and foreign jobs. BUT WAIT! Order now and we’ll send you my new book “ Guide to the Great Bail Bondsmen of America” with a signed autograph by Joey Fonzini (who graduated early from San Quentin). Joey still holds the record for HubCap retrieval. Fourteen sets in under 2 hours.
2016 LATE BREAKING NOTE: Joey made a killing till he snagged the caps from MM (Made Man) Joe “Broken Bones” Bonamachino’s Cadillac. That was the last time we heard from or saw Joey but his MOM did receive a case of fine imported sardines with a card from Mr. Bonamachino expressing his condolences at her loss.