61, Convent Avenue, part one, life changing

At the High School of Music and Art in the mid 70’s I was a student teacher in the field of English. ( which we call ELA today)

Normally, Music and Art only took one English student teacher a year. I needed that placement desperately as I was taking 20 credits a semester and working nights and was married and disowned by my family. ( they hadn’t spoken to me for three years and that time would continue for another five)

I needed to graduate fast; and continue working in order to live. Music and Art was in the midst/middle of City College at that time. Getting that student teaching placement would enable me to walk from my own study classroom to my student teaching classroom in ten minutes max.

I needed that placement badly.

So I applied a semester ahead of time and volunteered to work at M & A sorting their book room, which had no hands on it to count books for many years.

I thought this work and other bits would put me fast track for the one ELA teaching sport. Sadly, it didn’t.


The Supervising Teacher choose the applicant. Dr Paul Reich was a brilliant teacher, a master in and without the classroom. Watching him in action for six months only pushed my desire for the placement in a fever. He would make me a master teacher.

At the end of the interview process Dt Reich sat down with me and spoke bluntly,

“I can not consider you as my student teacher as I would find it unable to listen to you speak 5 hours a day.”

My Heavy New York accent had finished me. Crushed I left dejected knowing I had to return in the coming two weld to finish categorising the books, I briefly, momentarily consider quitting my volunteer work, but didn’t.

I would return….

To be continued as 60, part two

62, Star Wars, Elf and this day

why, who, did the same creative mind direct and create an Elf and a Baby Yoda? As Joseph Campbell wrote in ‘A Hero with a Thousand Faces’- as George Lucas heard, a Hero wears many multiple masks, a thousand faces.

Perhaps the desire to understand and then to form and reform masks can be traced to the need to protect and hid; create and destroy. This desire to be an Elf and a Mando at the same time is part of the answer; and this is what’s Joesph Campbell wrote of in ‘A Hero with 1,000 faces.’ His writing generates a golem.

And Jon Favreau is this creative golem. He directed both https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mandalorian and Elf.

His creative company, formed in 2018, is ‘Golem Creations Ltd. LLC is a television production company created by Jon Favreau on August 30, 2018.[78][79] In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Favreau cited his fascination with the overlap of technology and storytelling and that he gave the company its name because a golemwas like technology; it could be used to protect or destroy if control was lost of it.’ (Wikipedia)

A golem can used to ‘protect or destroy…’ Elf protects and destroy his father; his store and Christmas itself. And Mando and Baby Yoda both protect and destroy in Jon’s Star Wars spin off ‘Mandalorian.’ They destroy a mother creature for its egg and bounty hunters who search tracers for them. And these golems also have the power to heal.

Golem, I have also always been. As Yesterday, when I taught my granddaughter Liv, created with her, as golems, this Christmas song,

Reindeers with red noses can and will protect, if we allow them, as children and Baby Yoda, to sing and heal as they crea

63 donald barthleme

the year the dead father was published Donald was my MFA teacher in Writing. (the NYT gave it a front Book Sunday Review thy was a real pan. the editors called and apologised ..they loved it and I believe made the dead father a top editor choice off the year) Donald invited me to a select writing group at Grace Paley’s village hone. I went once but Barbara wanted me home that those nights…and I only went to Grace once…

64 ‘burnt toast’

with Priscilla, food has always been a part of our story. the first days of marriage, she loved making toast with tea for breakfest in the mornings.

our only issue was that every day she burnt the toast-some days dark; others just browned.

over the years I have grown to only eat toast if it has been burnt: the darker the better

burnt toast, my acquired taste


Grace Baptist Church in the Bronx had a flowered arch over the small outside walkway to the pastor’s housing. It, the flowered arch, isno longer there. The church still stands but the outside arch will live in my memories as the place where Barbara and I were photographed, leaving as teens, married in 1972.



after church, teams of two in the small church we met at, served a meal. Newly dating, Priscilla and I decided to leave our former teammates and from a new cooking unit .

In her former unit, Priscilla, and her partner Laurie, always served franks and beans for their monthly service.


After eating a special meal four months past Priscilla had prepared in September for my birthday (chicken cordon blue), I believed she was a chef.

But I was troubled…

Why would a chef order the most bland of foods in restaurants we ate out in dates?

And why would they only serve franks and beans after a church service?

I thought: cook together and find out.

So, we planned the first week’s foods. I asked, Honey what should we prepare? She paused, thought and said,

What about franks and beans?

I responded, How about something a little different?

A slightly longer pause,

Charlie, how about we put cheese in with the beans?

Reader, I married her.


* her foot, gently, on my chest … a strawberry dark blue sweater … Central Park West living room of the Richardson’s; with Richard Biondello; … on …and eating a grilled American cheese sandwich; fingers –