CHAPTER ONE - The Brooklyn Kid



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...

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 long 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, back seat in some neat planes 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 as it is… I script, write, scribble, notate, alter, in my own patois which is a mixture of obnoxious statements embedded in extended run-on-sentences.  

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.

My one real strength is that I am an avid reader and researcher because I never found another or better word for curiosity seeker.  “ Maybe curiosity seeker of truth”.  Since kindergarten, reading to me was my outlet to a new bigger world, and escape from the boring dreary neighborhood I lived in.  Dreams of foreign, intriguing, mysterious places, and meeting special persons different from me.  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 High School, poor teaching, community relation problems, and could be dangerous.  The city eventually gave up and closed it.   

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.  

😇 I was fortunate to have a coach and learned the business end of food working in a restaurant starting at under two dollars an hour.  ($1.60)  I went from soda jerk to sous-chef in a year.  Both paid for college tuition school which was a paltry eight dollars a credit.  My boss there was tough but a good teacher.

😇 Family -  I humbly thank my grandfather who pushed me.  A wonderful man who spoke little English but communicated  from a great humble and loving mind.   At seven I was repairing toasters with Grandpa and a gasoline blow torch powered soldering tool about as big as me.

😇  My uncles, Jesse and Hy taught me tough wins; they were tough, fighters and survivors of WWII in the Philippines.

😇  Uncle Morris my favorite taught me Lithography, doing the color separations of printing thru graphic arts and lots of Album covers for RCA, together with kindness, very forgiving, and photography; 
I was after school at 13 capable of working in a union print shop, except for my age.  I had to be 16 for a journeyman’s card but I passed the exam.

😇  My 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. 

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…  you ask the questions to get answers, which 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. 

And aviation was a big interest, playing hooky got me to airports and the Naval Air Station at FloyD Bennett Field with its Corsair fighters, Dakotas (DC-3’s) and Catalina Seaplanes. I drew a love of aviation and it grew. Even managed a few free rides, I was hooked. No one knew I was playing hooky, a friends Dad had a small concession at the base. I served Coke and burgers, made friends, had a ball and managed a few rides.  A love of the military came from that exposure and when the NAVY turned me down for Nuclear sub work, ( I was too tall and didn’t have a degree in mathematics) I aced the entrance exam for the Air Force and I was whisked away…

Later in my thirties, books I read about aviation came to fruition.  I decided that …a simple action, I bought and paid for my first real airplane, a Piper Lycoming powered 140.  Photo above…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, (it was the law) I soloed in five hours, aced the exams at the same time and had my first license at 40 hours, the legal minimum needed in under 90 days.

I have devoted and spent a good part, about 35 years 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 fellow friends in Vietnam and a few more in our latest excursions of stupidity, I was lucky,  these wars that never end in the name of Religion and faith, and I will never forget them.