The Move

I was 7 years old at the time, you know the age where you’re going along for the ride and trusting that dad and mom have everything under control. All I know is that we were leaving New York City and moving to, I don’t know, somewhere else. I was told Stamford, Connecticut. I’m like, ok… Dad says, “its only about 30 minutes away, so we’ll still be able to visit grandma and grandpa”. I’m thinking cool, but deep down I’m just glad that were getting out of Dodge. You see I just graduated from the 1st grade and PS 80 was insane! And, I was not looking forward to the 2nd grade. So yes, it was time to go…

PS 80, Public School 80, Manhattan, Harlem, New York City, USA. No problem with the kids, in fact they were great. Recess was the best, playing tag in the playground and taking turns on the one and only tricycle to be had. Tracy, Nigel, man we had great fun… I sometimes wonder where they are today and how they fared in the New York City school system.

It was the teachers and the institution! From my youthful perspective, it was never about teaching, but about control. Mouth shut, eyes forward, and don’t speak unless spoken too. I’ll never forget when Mrs. Gordon told little Bobby, “now Bobby, if you don’t stop talking back to me, I will call Mr. Johnson and he will come down here and wash your mouth out with soap” Well little Bobby didn’t stop talking… My desk was right by the door with an eyeshot to the janitor’s room. I could see Mr. Johnson dragging little Bobby’s ass down to the janitor’s room, and he was screaming all the way.  Mr. Johnson must have used half a bar of soap, over what seemed to be a lifetime. That was my introduction to discipline New York City PS 80 style. Yes, it was time to go…

So, July 1962 we are on our way to a new land called River Haven…

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