Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Looking for some old hockey players-a comment

Wow! This is the announcement that I've been dreading would come one day and now here it is! My worst nightmare come true! You see, I'm a bit older than Ronnie and I've already been through my mid-life crisis...even that seems ages ago! It was that third "old" in old, old, old timers that has me roped in. I'm already into that next stage in life. The one where you start to put on weight, get less active and really don't care anymore if that twenty-something hot babe that works in your office notices that your biceps aren't exactly like Popeye the sailor man's guns.

I've reached that stage where telling my kids stories about my super jock past is satisfactory enough for me to get a bit excited. My kids are even old enough to just listen whenever I go off about how I used to do this or that in some hockey game 35 years ago or how much I used to bench press and how I roofed one over some goalie's shoulder. You see they are old enough and smart enough to know that if they just shut up and act mildly interested in some story they've heard 3 dozen times before, dad will finish the story faster and they can be on their way and they also fulfilled that good deed for the day!

Yes Ronnie, thank you soooo much! So now I have to get off my fat out of shape butt, go downstairs and search for enough equipment that has not deteriorated too badly, find one of my kids hockey bags since I don't think my old duffle bag has enjoyed the same longevity as me, try to find/buy a stick with something close to a straight blade (That's the kind of stick I used so well when I was a super jock), probably have to buy roller skates and re-learn how to skate and then haul it all down to Avenue F and worse...have to put it all on!

Let's see...errrr...is it shin guards first and then pants or pants first and then shin guards? Is it possible for skates to tie themselves? Yes Ronnie, thank you soooo much! Then again, maybe if I go through the trouble of doing what it takes to get down there...yes, just maybe, if I can circumnavigate the old court...it will be like playing "kick the can" in the old Twilight Zone episode and at least for a little while, we'll fell like kids again! Yeah baby! It's worth the effort. Don't want to end up like that old guy in the episode that didn't try it! As I recall, he was a pretty unhappy fellow!

Charlie Gili

Thanks Charlie, a guess that means "Yes"

Ron Lopez


Josh said...

Which one is you in the photo?

Anonymous said...

Part I

Mike The Mailman: Inspired by Morris The Ice Cream Guy
I remember Morris and his Camels and his hat, just like it was yesterday!
I also remember the sound of those bells and my mom and dad “running for cover,”
to avoid the advancing army of kids, both my brothers and me and whatever buddies
where tagging along with us. Stickball game was put on hold, all of us with our hands out,
open-palmed, begging for that spare change that we would eagerly hand over to
Morris and if we were really lucky, Morris would let you sit in that front seat and ring
the bells yourself! Wow! Where has the time gone?

I guess the Morris story jogged my memory and combined with a ride by the old
neighborhood today and the sight of a green mailbox that is still in the same place it was 45 years
ago, well, it brought me to another recollection of our Mailman, Mike…or as we called
him back then; Mike the Mailman. I guess today we’d have to call him Mike the Mail Carrier.

The green mailbox, wasn’t really a mailbox at all. It was/is really one of those green boxes that
are here and there, part of some extensive postal system that most of us not involved in the mail
delivery service are oblivious to......this box is used as some type of a transfer station for
those mail carriers in the know and not by us civilians. The big difference between it
and a functional mailbox is that it doesn’t have a slot. It just has a door and it’s a bit
bigger than the boxes where we mail letters.
This particular green box stands on the corner of East 2nd Street and Caton Avenue,
diagonally across the street from IHM (the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, my Alma Mater)
and down the block, about half a block from where I grew up at 204 East 2nd.
So Mike the Mailman (I'll stick with the old vernacular) was our mail guy. What was it about
Mike that made him do what he did? I'll have to just chalk up to him being a darn nice guy, who
liked kids in the healthy sense of liking kids. My guess is that Mike was just a "big" kid himself.

Anonymous said...

Part II

We'd spot Mike making his way up one side of the street and then crossing over and working his
way back down the block. Just to be a bit more specific; I had this debate a few times over the
years, but to me "up the block" meant moving in the direction of the addresses getting higher
and "down the block" meant the opposite. Some who disagree with me say that up and down
the block has to do with which way the car traffic moves. What do you think? Before you
answer, let me blow that car traffic argument right out of the water. What if you lived on a two-
way street? The traffic flow goes both ways and your left to depend on the address numbers. So
there! I guess we could all agree on the definition of "around the block."

Anyhow, back to Mike the Mailman. So Mike would eventually make his way down the block,
moving from Albermarle Road towards Caton Avenue. That's when our kid radar would begin
to watch his moves very closely. Once he finished the last house on our side of the block (200
E 2nd), he'd make a bee line for the green mailbox on the corner and like his pied-piper
followers, every kid under the age of 10, would swarm after him. You see, at some point Mike
had made up this game with all of the kids and we all wanted to play. Once we all arrived at the
green box, he'd pick a number from one to ten or more, depending on how many kids there were
around on a given day. We'd all get to try to guess the number. Whoever got the number or was
closest without going over his number, won the game!

Big deal right? You bet it was a big deal. You see whoever won Mike's game got the grand
prize. You guessed it! The winner got to get locked up in that green box on the corner and all
the other kids would pound away on the great, green, metal thing! You had to be inside that box
to appreciate that pure, kid glee of sitting in that small dark space and knowing that all your
buddies were outside doing their best to provide enough noise and echoes to drive the "lucky"
person inside to beg for Mike to open the door. Of course, in all the episodes of Mike's game, I
can't recall one single time that any of the winners begged for Mike to let 'em out! Eventually,
probably a few minutes or so in the box, you'd get let out and Mike would have to get back to
his civil service responsibilities or knock off for the day or do whatever he did after the green
box game on East 2nd Street was concluded. We never knew or cared where Mike was headed,
as long as we knew he'd be back on the following day to do it all over again. Sunday's were
always a bummer (no mail delivery, no Mike) and when we'd hear that Mike was on vacation,
well, that was a major disappointment too. Can you imagine some modern day Mail "Carrier"
doing that today? I don't think so! I wonder how many calls would go in to 311? or even 911?
Mike the Mailman. What a wonderful guy! I hope that Mike is still around and gets to read this.
I wonder what he'd think if he knew that the kid from E 2nd St, that always guessed #7, was
writing about "his" game from 40 something years ago!
Charlie Gili
(PS: I always guessed #7...because that was Mickey Mantle's number of course!)

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