CHAPTER ONE - The Brooklyn Kid

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AL JACOBS LADDER

In the beginning there was light, somewhat...finding the switch helped

and making sure the bill from Con Edison Electrical Co. of  NY was paid...


JUST A  KID FROM BROOKLYN
Three quarters of a century ago, 1943 to be exact, I opened my eyes at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital born to a middle income family, semi-schooled and raised in Brooklyn NY, (photo) on Montgomery Street in Crown Heights.  We were six blocks from Ebbets field and the origional Brooklyn Dodgers.  My life travels included spending a few years in Montego Bay, Jamaica and last class travel accommodations extensively over the globe courtesy of the military, rearranging landscape with explosives in foreign soil.   SEE LAO - THE SILENT WAR

I was a typical Brooklyn wise guy!  I occasionally speak the Kings English, preferring Brooklyn based meta-phonetic syllabication (aka Street English, Brooklynise, Slang) and that explains my poor writing skills.  I’m really not a writer…

I am a story teller from Brooklyn who tells it in Brooklyn-wise Linguistics.  I script, write, scribble, notate, alter, in my own patois which is a mixture of obnoxious statements embedded in extended run-on-sentences.  

I make no excuses, my point is getting a point across. Like the fellow walking into the ER with a knife stuck in his chest, one can ascertain he was not shot.  No punches pulled here.


READING WAS MY SALVATION
My one real strength is I am an avid reader and researcher… hmmm researcher… because I never found another word for curiosity seeker.  Since kindergarten, reading to me was my outlet to a new world, and escape from the neighborhood.  Dreams of foreign, intriguing, mysterious places, and meeting a special person.  Much was done under a blanket with flashlight when my mother thought I was asleep.  My world was based on a good supply of batteries.

I was helped by a great librarian,  a lady, proper, much older, and a friend at the Brooklyn library at Eastern Parkway and Schenectady Ave.   It was my home away from home and accelerated my reading and comprehending skills.  She was my coach and taught me reading was a tool to take you wherever you wanted to go or to whom you wished to be.  

The payoff, reading and self educating, allowed me to skip several grades, I never attended the second, nor the eighth grade and graduated high school two years early at just sixteen and three months.  I was glad to get out, it was a troubled school, poor teaching, community relation problems, and could be dangerous.  The city eventually gave up and closed it.   If you read on, you will see the whole story.

Off to schools of higher learning, for a couple years, then the Military again as a way to get out of the neighborhood.  I developed two other passions cooking and eating at this time.  

My mother was a wonderful creative chef who never used a cook book.  I learned by watching.  And taking serious,  her threats with that ten or twelve inch cast-iron frying pan.  It gave me enough confidence and I learned the business end of food working in a restaurant starting at under two dollars an hour.  Both paid for college tuition school which was a paltry eight dollars a credit.  

Please visit   http://www.aljacobskitchen.com.  and on weekends I shot Weddings and eventually got into photography.  www.aljacobs.com to pay for school, but I found a greater education on the street.  School taught me how the world does things, the street taught me how I had to do things, to survive.  

THE SEMI-HUMOROUS SIDE OF BEING JEWISH   ( AND A SERIOUS SIDE OF MEASLES) 
I am Jewish, my nephew is a Rabbi, and was raised in East New York and Crown Heights south of, but near Williamsburg where my Dad worked for forty years at Havemeyer and Broadway under the EL.  I will stay clear till Measles now declared an epidemic  has been eliminated before I visit my old friends.  Williamsburg is the epicenter of this epidemic which could have been avoided.  

The Hassidem ( The Ultra Orthodox) can be tough to deal with.  Many of them are so far extremist they look down on fellow Jews.   I remember my Rabbi Hassidic Rabbi Gutstein who taught me my Haftorah for my Bar Mitzvah.  With my miserable luck, I had the one of the longest and most difficult Haftorah’s from the Torah which is March.  Other kids did luck out with shorties.  I remember memorizing six pages in Hebrew.

He had a nasty disposition:  If while I was chanting the prayers and recital, according to the chanting or musical script, if I made a mistake, or mispronounced a word he smacked me on the head.  Here I am twelve years old, reading in Hebrew for the first time and getting smacked on the head.  Couple weeks of that crap and I had enough.

Next day in Hebrew school class, ( after regular school, it was held in a small store fitted as a classroom) I walked in with my books for the Bar Mitzvah and a baseball bat.  He got the message, when the next mistake came. He raised his hand, I moved my hand toward my bat.  He got the message, I was not quite thirteen yet.   I loved my heritage, but I had no love for the messenger.

On a great bluff, I told my mother to call off the Bar Mitzvah and I was going with my friend Larry who was Catholic to his church next Sunday.  It was a declaration of war!   When I told her what he was doing to the kids, she went back to being MOM.  Victory, he never raised his hand again to me or any of the other kids.   I know the next question.  Would I have taken a swing, probably,  just a motion, but the threat worked and thats what mattered.  Powered by Louisville Slugger.


GOOD GENE POOL, DO IT YOURSELF
I humbly thank a couple of strong very smart uncles, who pushed me.  I learned more on my own in the library, later in life on the web, in inquisitiveness and on the street and from a wonderful grandfather who spoke little English but communicated  from a great humble and loving mind.  At seven I was using a gasoline powered blow-torch, not electric repairing toasters with Grandpa who like “ Fiddler On The Roof”  was a Tailor who rose to shop foreman in the garment industry and never learned english well. 

• Grandpa kept it simple… “ Do good, gets good”.  

• My uncles, Jesse and Hy taught me tough wins; Both were ARMY supply sergeants during WWII in the Pacific.  (Tough Businessmen) 

•  Uncle Morris my favorite taught me Lithography, doing the color separations of printing thru graphic arts and lots of Album covers for RCA, kindness, forgiving, and photography;   I was after school at 13 capable of working in a union print shop, except for my age. He showed me a device he invented that created print from photography, the predecessor of modern lithographic arts.  He got me started…  I use his thinking to this day…

•  Uncle Eddie, like Morris was an inventor who taught me electronics and creativeness.  He has the original patent for inventing the Home Humidifier by KAZ, used to treat dry coughing like Whooping Cough. Ed was a friend to all and very kind as a person, he used to call me boychick…

•  I had a good team since both my parents had to work. I made my time payoff, though MOM wanted to know what all those books were.   

•  The most important thing I picked up because I am inquisitive, was learning to use the five points of light in journalism.  Who, When, What, Where, and Why, they open doors…Answers were the most important thing in my world, I researched everything, still do,  and made my own decisions.  I just call it being independently nosy. 


AVIATION TOOK HOLD

Later in my thirties, books I read about aviation came to fruition.  I decided that when I bought and paid for my first real airplane, a Piper Lycoming powered 140.  I owned Cessna’s and Pipers as a Pilot In Command for 32 years... self taught, in the books,  then they told me to get an instructor, I soloed in five hours, aced the exams at the same time and had my first license at 40 hours, the legal minimum under 90 days.

I NEVER FORGOT MY BROTHERS IN ARM
I have devoted and spent a good part, most of my life, working with charities and groups, building Military Memorials, to this day I served and I salute those who served and those who paid the ultimate price of Freedom and I have been lucky enough to live, mingle with some very patriotic good people I have had the pleasure of meeting, working with, teaching, training and survived.  I lost five friends in those wars, and will never forget them.


CHAPTER TWO

————*06-07-2019 aljacobsladder.com