Page 6 - Boca ViewPointe - May '22
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Page 6, Viewpointe                                                    May 2022

      Those Were The Days, My Friends…

      By William A. Gralnick                             another empty bench, squeaking away. “THERE”S ONE   were still one car families, and because we left from
                                                         HERE TOO!” It was not much of a stretch to believe   school, we had to carry our guns to school along with our
         I grew up on the NYC                            that there could be mice around us. Thankful everyone   books, leave them in our lockers, walk them to the subway
      subways.  They took me                             was that he didn’t say rat. The subway stations were   station. Then we exited the station, onto the street, and
      on  dates, to work  from                           dirty; sometimes you could see the rats and mice feeding   walked to “Tech.” From Midwood to Tech, on the subway,
      Flatbush, Brooklyn to                              sumptuously on the manna dropped on the tracks by those   sat between five and seven teenagers holding rifles. True
      East New York Brooklyn,                            waiting for their train. They had enough of what they were   they were in carry cases, but they were unmistakable. You
      and to the Long Island Railroad to see my steady   eating and just tossed it into the home of the third rail.   could not hide a long gun in a violin case like you saw
      girlfriend. There were always odd things going on. I   Emboldened by this and people beginning to react, Bob   Tommy guns hidden in the gangster movies.
      remember well the blind man and his red accordion,   ratcheted up the search by choosing a bench upon which      True it was the Cold War. True we had “Take Cover!”
      donation cup attached, managing to  walk. play, and   was seated an elderly woman. “Excuse me ma’am. I think   drills and dove under our classroom seats. But there had
      negotiate the doors and platforms that connected the cars.   there’s a mouse under your seat.” She screamed, bolted   been no 911. There was no such thing as a Homeland
      There were the occasional drunks panhandling. Women   from her seat, and fled to the next car. G-d takes care of   Security Department and international terrorism until the
      got felt up, children threw up, old people fell down when   drunks and children, it is said. No one alerted the Transit   Munich Olympics and certainly no such thing as domestic
      they didn’t have a good grip on the pole and the train went   Police. We pulled this stunt several times with resulting   terrorism except maybe in the twisted mind of “commie-
      screeching around a curve. People were pick-pocketed.   glee and success.                            hunting” Senator Joe McCarthy from Wisconsin. And
      An occasional gang fight happened under the sidewalks.      The city did have its panics. There was the Son of   there  were  no  shooters  with  smoke  bombs  and  9mm
      Every-so-often there would be a signal malfunction that   Sam, He didn’t kill anyone on subways, but who knew he   Glocks with extended magazines. The only extended
      caused one train to run into another.              wouldn’t until he was caught. There was George Metesky,   magazines we had were special issues of Life, Look, or
         When  a  car  was  empty  enough, kids  would  fool   the Mad Bomber, who planted pipe bombs, instead of   the Saturday Evening Post.
      around, kids like me. My friend had discovered in a   mice, under subway car benches and blew people’s legs      Yes, friends, those were the days.
      Cracker Jacks box, a delicacy to which I am still addicted,   off. But life was stable enough so the following could
      what was described as a bird whistle. It was a little half-  happen and cause pretty much no reaction, something      Columnist  and  author  Bill  Gralnick  was  born  and
      moon piece of something with frilled edges. You put it in   that today would be unthinkable.         raised in Brooklyn, NY. He is writing a three-part
      the front of your mouth, fringe-forward, and according to      I was captain of the Midwood HS riflery team. I don’t   humorous memoir. The first is “The War of the Itchy
      the instructions could imitate birds by blowing air over   remember if we practiced weekly or bi-weekly. Whatever   Balls and Other Tales from Brooklyn.” Just published
      it. A likely story. The sound it did make was much more   it was, it required taking the subway to a school, Brooklyn   is the sequel, “George Washington Didn’t Sleep Here.”
      mouse-like than bird-like. Therein lay the kennel of an   Tech, which for some reason had a riflery range. Because   Both are available on Amazon. You can find his writing
      idea. We boarded the subway going somewhere, and the   one couldn’t drive until age 18, because many families   at 
      kernel popped into a full-blown idea. Bob would start
      making noises with it and say loudly, very loudly, to me,
      UNDER ONE OF THOSE SEATS.                                       Boca Pointe Community Association, Inc.
         Now, playing his best Inspector Jacques Clouseau
      imitation, he searched under our bench. Then he chose      6909 SW 18th St., Suite A120  A special Thank You to our monthly volunteer contributing writers
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