It began as the GODFATHER OF MATH, evolved into the GOODFATHER OF MATH. Now this. Go figure...

The kind of humor I like is the thing that makes me laugh for five seconds and think for ten minutes = G. CARLIN...Stain glass, engraved glass, frosted glass
–give me plain glass = JOHN FOWLES ... Music is the mathematics of the gods=PYTHAGORAS ... Nothing is more fluid than language = R. L. SWIHART
I cannot live without the oxygen of laughter = DAWN POWELL ... But laughter cannot survive without the hydrogen of gravitas = PAUL OLIVERIO

Thursday, January 21, 2016

1973: Aunt Betty's Bronx Tale About His Three Graces


Sam was 
the first man
she kissed.

Sam was
the last man
she kissed.

The first boy she kissed
was her second cousin.

On the neck called Throgs
where they built a bridge

in 1961.

It was Rogers Place
and her "kid sister"
told the story

in 1973.

Your grandmothers
were sisters

He was so young
so dashing
so exciting

We all wanted
to kiss Anthony
but my sister Jean
would never admit it

I called us “Kissing Cousins”

He called us his Three Graces
but he only enjoyed kissing Grace
in our home on Rogers Place

Jean and I were so jealous
when he played Chopin
with his eyes riveted
on your mother

On her 16th birthday,
your mother got a job at Macy’s

Ten-year-old Anthony bussed tables
at his grandparents’ midtown restaurant

On a blind date, she met Sam
and her eyes opened wider 

than Wyoming

We all wanted to kiss Sam
but my sister Jean
would never
admit it

Your mother met Sam
and Anthony met success
playing Chopin and
serving scallopini
to Manhattan’s

Jack Dempsey's Restaurant
Your mother married Sam...
four years later,

you were named
after Anthony’s

That would be my “Grand” Uncle Paul
but I also had a paternal Uncle Paul
plus a “Grand” Aunt Pauline.


In 1958,
I was in grade school
when my parents spent
a week at a ski lodge.

Uncle Paul and Aunt Pauline–
then retired from their restaurant–
were our baby sitters.

The only time in my entire life

I questioned the belief that
my two grandmothers
were the best Italian cooks
on planet earth was that week.

Linda told me
you wanted her
to tell your parents
to stay another week
in the Catskills.

I had no memory of that
but my sister Linda
confirmed it the
following week.

She also said I bragged about
being named after
a New York chef:
my Aunt Pauline.

I do not remember when
Anthony’s grandparents died
but I do remember a pallbearer
at his mother’s funeral.

We called Anthony "Babe"

but Rodney called him 

Vinnie Goombatz

Not to his face
but to his audience.

It was maybe 7PM

on a balmy February evening
in the Bronx when Betty mentioned
Vinnie Goombatz and then

she fell asleep but not 
before repeating:

He called us his Three Graces
but he only enjoyed kissing Grace
in our home on Rogers Place

In Parkchester Circle,
there was a 7:45 screening
of a new movie.

The Palace Theater

was premiering The Godfather.

I was only three blocks away
on White Plains Road
but more than 3003
memories were made
that night.

The following week
I made the first of three
laugh-free appearances
on the stage of

But Anthony did introduce me
to Rodney riveted his eyes on 

my mother's second cousin.

Contrary to Rodney's 
famous tag line,
I have nothing 
but respect for him
and Anthony.

For everyone else
in Aunt Betty's Bronx Tale,
I have nothing but 
the purest love. 

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