Being a teacher in the New York City public school system must be one of the roughest jobs around, especially in middle school, or as we knew it “junior high school”.
Mister Spodeck had a rough and ruddy complexion, red hair, and was somewhat stocky.
He also had a very short temper.
He was my seventh grade math teacher who's face would always turn the brightest red whenever the class “did it” to him. And the class “did it” to him practically every day, and especially when he turned his back to us.
“Ok, I’m going to draw an obtuse triangle on the blackboard, who can tell me the reason why we call it an obtuse triangle”.
As soon as Mister Spodeck turned his back to us, and the white chalk started “clacking” on the green blackboard, it started.
This morning I had to laugh when I read the story about these two guys that climbed the new Times building across form the Port Authority. They basically climbed a metal ladder that wraps around that building, because that’s how it was designed. They say it’s to save on air conditioning, but let me tell you I’d rather pay Con Ed a few more bucks a month. Because the whole design is quite hiddious, and looks like someone got the blueprints backwards. But that’s just my opinion you know.
Yeah, two guys scaling the outside of a building that basically has a permanent ladder attached to it. No big deal is all I say.
Because you see, back in about 1975 there was little Shawn Gorman and the PS 130 chimney. And the story about what Shawn did that morning never made the headlines, because no one really saw what he did except us. And we knew better than to call the police.
The PS 130 school yard used to be a heck of a lot bigger than it is now. Before the board of education decided to ruin our roller hockey court with more classrooms. Oh, did I say board of education, pardon me, it must be my age. Because "DOE" just sounds like something my grandfather used to hunt for in the Catskills during November. But then again that’s just my opinion you know.
It was just another Sunday morning in Windsor Terrace and there we were as usual using the PS 130 schoolyard as our practice court for roller hockey. I know we used to annoy the poor people that owned the house right behind the schoolyard too. Many a hockey puck deflected off my goalie stick and hit the side of their house, including their windows. I guess the couple that lived there weren’t big hockey fans, they always kept our pucks and cursed at us too. And on a Sunday morning no less, what nerve!
The Gorman’s were a big bunch and usually joined in on our Sunday morning games at the school yard on East 5th and Fort Hamilton. I think they lived somewhere off Church Avenue on the other side of Coney Island Avenue going towards Flatbush. They may have lived above a store too, but I really can’t recall.
Now with all due respect, the Gorman boys were great hockey players. But I think things may have not been perfect once they got home, if you know what I'm saying.
And Shawn, one of the youngest Gorman boys, was a sweet looking kid with red hair and freckles who looked like he just walked right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Except he cursed like a sailor and was always doing these crazy dangerous things to impress his older brothers, and today would be no different.
So there I am in all my goalie equipment waiting for the next puck to be shot. Out of the corner of my eye I see Shawn climbing the side of the school, with his skates on no less. I think it may have been where the auditorium was, it was only one story high and used to stick out from the back of the school facing East 5th.
He somehow climbs up to the top of that structure and then makes a beeline straight to the brick chimney on the side of the school. Now if you ever noticed the chimney of PS 130 it has these insets that almost look like steps. They are about one or two feet away from each other and go all the way up to the top. So Shawn gently places the toe stop of his skates on each step, and wraps his arms around the side of the bricks and starts to slowly scale his way up.
We all start screaming for him to get down including his older brothers who were skating with us.
Well, before you know it Shawn is almost to the top of the brick chimney, with nothing holding him except his nerve. He finally makes it to the summit and then just sits on the top. Like a red headed bird on a flagpole, there was little Shawn Gorman way up in the sky, just giving his brothers the finger, and still wearing his roller skates.
After about fifteen minutes Shawn decided to come down, scaling the side of the chimney in the same manor that he scaled it up in. One skate after the other with both arms wrapped around the bricks until he got to the ground.
Once he was on the pavement his older brothers gave him hell. And Shawn being Shawn just laughed as they were punching him. Just another day in the life of little Shawn Gorman trying to impress the world.
The other day we were walking home from Prospect Park and passed by PS 130. I told my wife and son about how little Shawn Gorman scaled up the side of the school with roller skates and nothing holding him except his nerve. I think they may have chalked it up to another “tall tale” of my childhood in Brooklyn.
But let me tell you, somewhere there’s a forty five year old man named Shawn Gorman. And I’m sure he remembers what the view looked like from the sky, high above Windsor Terrace on a warm Sunday morning back in 1975, while still wearing his roller skates.
Number 1. My brother-in-law Martin finally landed a job after being out of work for well over a year. I mean here’s a kid who came to New York from Texas a while back. A real wiz with numbers and finance who worked for a while doing the “Wall Street” thing.
Oh, you name them, Lehman Brothers, UBS, HSBC, etc., etc. The kid was really doing well until the ceiling collapsed in April of 2008.
And finally, after well over a year, Martin has landed a job. So that’s one reason why the recession is over.
Number 2. Arturo, one of my tenants who does construction, has been working almost every day this month after it being real slow for a while.
“It’s good Mister Ronnie” “It’s very busy, and more work is good”
Yes, Arturo and his father have been working, so it looks like the rent will be landing sometime around June first in the palm of my cold sweaty hand.
Muy bien Arturo, muy bien!
Number 3. Francine, my top floor tenant also found a job in advertising after being out of work for a good nine months or so. So once again I say the recession is over in my little world. And thank God my tenants are working.
Number 4. Whenever we go upstate, the parking lot of the Lowes in Oneonta New York is packed. There’s no one ever in the store, but the parking lot is packed. Who knows?
Number 5. I have been able to pay my mortgage since 1990, and have never missed one payment. Even though I always pay it after the 16th, and then have to contend with a phone call from Chase from some Spanish speaking person, who then has to speak English because I don’t speak Spanish. That always fucks them up.
Number 6. We still go out to eat, because saving money by cooking at home is very depressing. In fact anything you do to save money is depressing.
A brown bag lunch? Counting change? Gardening? A Prius?
Number 7. The recession is over because I will NEVER pay off my charge cards. Do you want to know how many times I paid them off and then just ran them up again? How about at least 12-15 times? That method never works, no, I’d rather carry a big balance and not use them. I know it’s warped, but it works for me.
Number 8. Because the price of gas is going up again, and the big oil companies will be using all those extra billions to help pay for health care. Ah, you know I’m just bull shitting you, right?
Number 9. I still see everyone going to work in the morning. And the F-train is still packed.
Number 10. My kids think a recession is some form of “recess” in school. And that makes me laugh, and whenever you can laugh, nothing matters how bad it is.
You know whenever I hear some "news" that the economy is doing better, I always look at myself as a direct link. Yesterday the stock market had a rally because of some "good news" from Lowes. The nations second biggest home improvement store after "Pergament".
Pergament? Ah, you know I'm only bullshitting you right?
No, actually Home Depot.
And that's because last month I dropped about four grand at Lowes on Third Avenue in Brooklyn. Yeah, thats right, during the darkest days of our "recession" I dropped some big bucks to keep the economy going. Renovated a kitchen, an apartment, and also changed the front door of my wife's house because the old one was rotting away.
Like a ship in a storm with giant waves smashing over the bow, there I was lowering the sails with the "Visa" logo on them. Fuck you recession, I'm Ron Lopez and I never "cut back".
And besides, the cabinets in the kitchen were falling apart and who wants to be called a "slum lord"?
Ok, so today I’m riding my bike to work and navigating through one of these little streets in downtown Brooklyn right near City Tech. And then right in front of me, wandering through the bright morning sun, a gigantic rat appears out of nowhere and starts to casually stroll on the sidewalk. Just walking along, enjoying the early morning Brooklyn air. With it’s grey fur blowing in the wind, and dragging its long brown tail on the concrete.
But then suddenly without warning, it scurries into the street, heading right towards a construction site on the other side.
By this time people are pointing at it, and two young girls start to scream at the top of their lungs.
“A rat, a rat, ahhhhhhhhh” "Look out, a rat, look out!!!"
Well, with their backs to the rat, two tough looking construction workers with yellow hard hats are trying to pull a heavy metal gate closed after letting a dump truck leave. So with the two girls screaming, the rat starts to frantically run faster looking for an opening under the gate where the two hardhats are standing.
Ok, so this is one of these moments you never forget and will always remember until they shovel dirt on you.
The rat with nowhere to go dodges right between the construction workers feet. The two girls start screaming again and are now pointing at the rat thats between the guys boots, rubbing right against his ankles. The guy doesn’t know what the hell is going on, but then suddenly decides to look down at his feet where the girls are pointing.
Well, the guy starts screaming too and proceeds to jump in the air with the rat right under his boots. A real tough guy with a hard hat screaming like my five-year-old daughter after I take her Barbie away.
"Ahhhhh, Ahhhhh, get the fuck out of here you little bastard!!!!"
And I’m on my bike watching the whole thing cracking up. God forgive me, but it was the funniest thing I have ever seen. Oh, and yes, I probably would have screamed louder than him.
Sure, the General Carton Company at 360 Furman Street near Atlantic Avenue and the East River wasn’t exactly a dream job for my grandfather Paco. But it sure beat the dark and deadly coal mines of West Virginia and Pennsylvania where he worked years before. And Miami, well, Paco’s specialty was plaster arches, and I am sure they still exist there in many of the Art Deco hotels he worked on while he labored there too. But as they say, only hard work fuels desire, and my grandfather Paco was an example for all of us to follow. And landing a job at General Carton was his dream come true. Now my Grandfather always had these wonderful stories to tell me when I was a kid. There was the one about the two crooked young trees and how a man tied a small piece of wood to one of them so it grew up straight. The other tree grew up crooked because no one used astick on it. I usually heard this story when I did something wrong…I guess I was one of the trees.
Then there was the story about the man who saved a penny a day and one day had enough money to buy a house for his family. Well, when it came to saving money my grandfather truly harvested the seeds that he sewed. The story goes that friends of my grandfather on East2nd knew a man that had to sell his house on East 4th. Apparently the man was a gambler who owed a lot of money to some local loan sharks. If he didn’t come up with some serious money very quickly, he would soon beat the bottom of the ocean getting to know the clams at Coney Island real well. As I said, “the story goes.”
In 1948, Kensington was a wonderful area where diversity lived. The diversity of Kensington protected those who were different, even back then. Including an immigrant from Spain who may have been the first Spaniard in the area to own a house. Well, my grandfather’s dream of buying a house for his family came true and before you knew it the entire clan was living in the house. Marriages were made and babies were born. Aunts and uncles became moms and dads and cousins became brothers and sisters. I don’t think we even knew what a babysitter was. All I knew was that there was always someone around to watch me if my mom had to go to the store. So what would my Grandfathers Brooklyn be today? Well, the parks sure are pretty. The people of Kensington and Windsor Terrace are as wonderful as before and those new kiddie playgrounds won’t find you picking a splinter out of your child’s leg at night—they’re made of plastic now. And The General Carton Company? Well, it closed its doors years ago and the building was recently sold to a developer. They are calling it “One Brooklyn Bridge Park” and I heard it's going Condo.
Just imagine a time in Brooklyn when an immigrant from Spain who passed through Ellis Island as a mere teenager and worked as a laborer his entire life would be able to save enough money to someday buy a house in Kensington to call his own. Imagine the dream of homeownership in Brooklyn being within reach of both a bank president and the man who painted the walls there at night. This was the Brooklyn that my grandfather knew so many years ago.
I remember him like it was yesterday. He was tall and thin with a bald head and gray beard. On any given Saturday morning he could be seen in the driveway of 395 East 4th next door to my house with his gold 1965 Mustang convertible. With all the doors open and the mats laid neatly on the concrete, there he was just polishing away. He kept all his wax, rags and compound all neatly organized too; they were all inside an old wooden milk crate in front of his car. I clearly remember that the interior of the car was white with the emblem of a mustang running that could be seen in-between the pillar of the two back seats. The paint job shined like glass, along with the chrome plated hubcaps and bumpers.
We were always in awe when we saw his car; it had to be the cleanest, shiniest car I have ever seen in my seven years of Kensington life. The smell of chrome polish and carnauba wax just filled the air like a fragrant flower on Saturday mornings.
And there we would stand on the other side of the fence just watching him rub the tops of the fenders for what seemed like hours.
“Hey mister, your car is really nice” He just kept waxing away not looking at us.
“Excuse me mister, your car is really nice” Still no response from the man with the bald head and gray beard.
“Excuse me mister”…
”And if you ever touch it, I’ll break your little hand”
In shock my brother Joseph, cousin Pete and I just walked away to the front stoop of our house. We just sat there in silence; we could not believe that the man with the bald head and gray beard said that to us. Especially after we told him how nice his car was. It was just so wrong and bad. After a few minutes of being scared and upset waves of anger started to take control of our little minds. And my brother looked at a box of smoked trout that my Mom had thrown out the night before. It was just sticking out from the top of the dull silver garbage can.
He just stared at it and then slowly began to smile.
“Ronnie, I have a great idea”.
The trout must have gotten run over at least fifty times on East 4th before it was ready. I ran into the street with a thin piece of cardboard and gently scooped it up. Making sure not to break it in two, I placed our culinary masterpiece in my front yard and watched it bake in the hot Kensington sun.
And then like he did every Saturday, the man with the bald head and beard backed his shiny Mustang convertible out of the driveway and parked it in front of my house, 399 East 4th. As he walked back to the driveway he gave us a mean look. He then turned around and walked back to his car and raised the white convertible top, got inside and rolled up the windows.
There we sat on our stoop, devastated, looking at our squashed trout sitting in the front yard. Well, we could throw it on his hood or roof, but what kind of lesson is that? Just smear it on his door? no. It had to be better than that.
Then we saw it, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. We started stomping our little feet together on the red brick steps of my house. Just the opening we needed. The man with the bald head and beard forgot to fully close the driver’s side window; it was opened about an inch.
The glory would be ours today!
Under the direct orders of my older brother Joseph and cousin Pete, I gingerly picked up the trout in it’s stained cardboard serving tray and walked over to the car. They made sure to keep an eye out or the man with the bald head and beard, and he was nowhere in sight.
I slid the squashed trout through the one-inch crack that he left open. The bloody flat fish landed directly on his clean white driver’s seat.
With that we ran.
We never saw the man with the bald head and beard that day; he must have walked home to one of the apartment buildings on Ocean Parkway. And I couldn’t imagine what that car must have smelled like when he opened it up the next day either, because we were at mass in IHM Church on Ft. Hamilton Parkway when he moved it. Just the good little Catholic angels we were.
So the next time you’re waxing your car and some little kid says “nice car”. Instead of getting angry and telling him “he better not touch it”. Just look at him and say “thanks”.
Back in the 80’s there was a building on the south side of Church Avenue between East 5th and East 4th street. It was just called “SUPERMARKET”
As far as I remember it only opened up when it was dark outside, and the hours of operation were very sporadic.
Most of the food inside was usually covered with dust, and most everything was past it’s expiration date. The floors were pretty dirty and I didn’t think they were ever cleaned. It was a fairly big place, about the size of “Rite Aid”, yet there was only one employee. And he was only known to us as “Mike the Greaser”.
Now Mike was about 40 years old at the time and stood about 5 foot 9. He had thinning black hair that he slicked back most of the time, and of course his favorite shirt was a “greaser style” t-shirt. Mike was also very hairy, thick black curly hair covered most of his body that normally would have just been reserved for flesh for you and me. He also spoke with some type of accent that we could never figure out. It could have been anything, Italian, Russian, Greek, Turkish, Arab. We had no clue.
And to this day, I still don’t know how he did it, but he used to park his 1978 Buick inside the store. Between the beer and the chips. There was probably a back gate to get it into the store with, but we never saw it and never asked. We would only buy food at Mikes when everything else was closed, and for us it usually meant buying beer and chips for a late night card game over at Glenn Gruder’s house.
Mike never asked anyone for ID either, but then again my cousin Pete had a full beard when he was 15. So he was usually our “mule”, sort of speak. Mike’s prices varied depending on what day it was or what kind of mood he was in. And he usually charged us 5, 10, 15, or 20 dollars. His numbers were always in even dollar amounts, "no tax" he always said. I don’t think he even had a cash register in the store either.
One night while we were hanging out on my porch at 399. There was a lot of commotion up on Church Avenue. Tons of cop cars, flashing lights and a few ambulances. The next morning when I woke up, word on the block was that Mike was shot something like 5 times the evening before. Some kind of an armed robbery. So all the cop cars the night before made sense. Thinking the worst, we all started reminiscing about Mike, figuring he was dead. Thinking about him in that dirty shirt, the stale chips, the expired milk and the Buick Skylark parked in aisle 5. And not to mention the rare occasions when he lost it, and threw us out of the store. But through it all we loved Mike and were surely going to miss him.
So that same night we decided to take a walk to the avenue, and visit the scene of this horrorific crime. “Hey remember the time Mike threw that tuna fish can at you” “What about the time we rolled Mike’s car into the Ice Cream freezer” As we made the right onto Church Avenue from East 4th, we could see the store. Yet, there was no crime scene tape, and in fact the gate was up and the store was open. So we decided to go inside and see what was happening.
As we walked into Mikes I noticed a few holes in the front window. They looked like bullet holes too, very round with tiny jagged edges on the inside of the hole. There was someone behind the counter, he was bending over and was fiddling with something on the ground. He had what looked like a white rag wrapped around his head too. And then, he stood up, and our jaws dropped. We couldn’t believe our eyes, it was like we were looking at a ghost. There he stood in all his “Greaser Glory”. With his head bandaged up, his arm in a cast, and a large stained gauze pad on his side, taped to his skin with silver duct tape. It was no one other than “Mike the Greaser”
“Hey, you thought I was dead, huh?” “You think five bullets can kill me?” “Bullshit, that’s what I say” “I shot the guys eight times” “You see that blood?”,
Mike was pointing to where he usually parked the Skylark, so it was hard to see the blood because of the oil on the floor. “That Fuck died right there”. At that point Mike motioned us around the counter to take a look at something. There inside a small pigeon hole shelf right under the cash box was the handle of a black pistol.
“Dont’ta fuck with me, huh?”
We all looked at Mike and smiled and then celebrated his survival by buying some expired chips and beer.
"20 dollars, no tax".
I gave him an awkward hug before I left, trying to stay clear of his blood stained gauze pad at the same time. And then just said our good nights and went on our way back home to East 4th.
I think Mike eventually sold the property and today in its place are a nice row of clean stores.
But along time ago there were stale chips, old beer and a Buick in aisle 5. And a man we once knew, a legend by no other name. And he was simply known to us as “Mike The Greaser”
Having the O’Callaghan’s across the street from me was kind of like having a small school right on the block. There were always kids to play with, and there was always something going on. The constant sound of their old wooden front door slamming was the norm when I was growing up. Just children in and out of their house all day, along with smiles and endless laughter.
Worn steps and a worn door knob, and never a need to change either.
Now they were also a very big Irish family you know, which was quite normal for Kensington back then. Good old IHM God fearing Catholics, yeah, they don't make them like that anymore.
Now, I always get confused when I have to count how many there were, because math was never one of my strongest subjects up at PS 179. But let me do my best here to go through the list.
Ok, there was Peggy, Susan, Patty, Eileen, Nancy and MaryAnn in the girl column. There was Mark, Neil, Andrew and Eddie in the boy’s column. And of course there was Mister and Mrs. O'Callaghan. So I guess that makes it ten kids plus two wonderful parents. An even dozen that all used to fit into a Plymouth “airport” special station wagon that was probably as long as the Intrepid on the West Side.
And let me tell you, there were no two people in the world like Mister and Mrs. O'Callaghan. They were just the friendliest and kindest people you have ever met, and always treated me, or any one of the other guys just like family whenever we came over to visit or sat on their stoop.
And if there was ever an example for others to follow, it was certainly the O’Callaghan’s. That’s because I never saw a family where all the kids seemed to truly love their parents like they did.
Whenever Mister “O” used to come home from work in the late afternoon, they’d all run up to him and give him hugs like he was gone for years overseas. I’d just watch from my front porch sometimes as “little” Eddie would run up to his dad, and with one full swoop Mister O would lift him as high as the tree in front of their house.
A lesson in love on the streets of East Fourth Street, Oh yes, how lucky we were.
And sure, the same can be said for Mrs. O'Callaghan too. Except like my Mom she was home all the time, just keeping the house clean, cooking, and making sure everyone brushed his or her teeth. Oh, and of course giving all her kids their daily dose of love and affection. Which they all got for sure. I can guarantee you that.
Ten kids, a stay at home mom, and a father who was a butcher at Keyfood on Cropsey Avenue, all living in one big house with more love than you could ever imagine. A family that I’m closer with than some of my own relatives, and friends that I still call friends after fifty years.
Yes, this was the “small school” right across from my house. And they were called the O’Callaghan’s.
And to Mister O and Andrew, we sure miss you both.
Anthony Incarbone was one of my friends I played hockey with down at Avenue F. He was a goaltender like me, and also a native from the neighborhood. I think “Inky” as we used to call him grew up somewhere on East Fourth near IHM. So actually he was a Windsor Terrace guy.
Now many of the guys I played hockey with became New York City firemen, including Inky. He used to work at ladder 113 in Brooklyn, and also worked for months down at the WTC after 9/11.
Inky passed away this past January of 2009, and left behind family and friends that miss him dearly.
Now some of the boys are holding a fund raiser and mass for our old friend and here are the details:
May 16, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church at 11 am (memorial service)
Fund Raiser for Anthony’s family following the mass on May 16 from 2-7 pm at:
Bishop Ford High School 500 Nineteenth Street at PPW Brooklyn, NY 718 360 2510
A 20 dollar donation at the door. Music, sandwiches, salads, beer, soda. There's also a raffle too if you are interested.
So please help support the family of a great guy and a true hero of Brooklyn. Because Inky died of lung cancer after helping out down at the WTC site, and we are all proud to have known him and call him our friend.
Some old pictures of Inky down at Avenue F playing goalie. (thanks Mark and Neil)
The media likes to scare you because that’s what helps them make money. If the Daily News or the New York Post ran headlines that read “Swine Flu is just Bullshit”, I’m sure neither you nor I would be buying the paper.
Wow, look at all these people that died from it here in the United States. Dropping like flies in the subway, falling off tractors in Kansas, dead before they hit the crops too. Just piles and piles of rotting corpses strewn all over the countryside.
Oh, that’s right, ONE little child died of the Swine Flu here in Texas. And actually the kid was from Mexico and not even a US citizen, just went to Texas for treatment and unfortunately died.
So how many people died here…um, ah, dah…NONE. But if you’re a schmuck reading the paper it sure seems like millions doesn’t it.
You see “FEAR” sells because happiness is just so fucking boring. What would the world be like if everything was just so fucking happy?
That’s right, it would be BORING.
So let's all be scared the next time it snows and hope the whole city freezes over. Just hundred foot snow banks with the bodies of old ladies frozen to their shopping carts buried deep inside. And those white trash guys standing outside of Denny's? Frozen solid in blocks of ice!, lookin like some freaking cavemen in Kensington. Oh, but wait a second, I think that really is true or at least they looked like frozen cavemen today when I was going to work. What the hell? I think I went to school with all those guys?
Yeah, Yeah, and the next time it rains, let’s hope that a fucking 1000-foot tidal wave destroys Brooklyn and carries the Wonder wheel into Prospect Park. With all the people still inside those little square cages screaming their heads off. Climb to the highest point in Brooklyn and hold on for dear life, because here comes the wave right up McDonald Avenue with all the guys from Denny's swimming in it and holding on to their bottles of Miller.
Destruction! Death! We're all going to Die!!!!!
Yeah and the Daily News and New York Post want you to buy their papers and “read all about it”.
Because that's what sells!
And you know what I say: Fuck them! Read my blog instead. Because I never bullshit you, I don’t make a dime doing this.
I remember the sound that came from the square loudspeaker above my kindergarten classroom at PS 179. It always made a strange sound, something like a cow mooing, except much longer and higher pitched.
“Ok children, get under your desks and put your hands over your heads, and keep your eyes closed”.
Mrs. Steining was my kindergarten teacher at PS 179 on Avenue C in the Kensington section of Brooklyn. She wore eyeglasses and always seemed to have the same black dress on all the time. She had the loveliest of smiles and was quite kind to us all.
But whenever the loudspeaker made that sound and she told us to get under our desks and close our eyes, her smile would quickly disappear from her face. Replaced instead by a look of futile depression.
"Quickly now, quickly".
We would all scramble to get under our desks, at the same time our teacher would pull down the shades and turn off the lights.
The classroom always seemed extremely dark at this point, almost like the Beverly before the movie started.
I would just sit there frozen with my eyes closed, waiting for something to happen. But just like every other time, nothing did. Only silence, followed by more silence.
Again the loudspeaker on the wall above the classroom made it’s strange “mooing” sound.
At that point I would open my eyes, usually greeted by the old dried gum stuck to the bottom of my desk.
“Ok, children, everyone get up now, the drill is over".
Mrs. Steining would then walk over to the windows and pull up the large dark green shades. The light of the morning sun once again filled the classroom. The parachute jump and Coney Island suddenly appeared for me to see along with the Ditmas Avenue stop of the elevated F-train.
“flick, flick, flick” went the light switches, as our classroom suddenly came back to life.
Yes, these were the early 60’s and the Cold War was in full swing. Welcome to school children, and have a nice day.