Hashtag Throwback Thursday. I was leafing through photographs last night, you know just going through moments in my mind like I do on any given evening and was struck by this photograph of my brother Michael and myself circa 1979. It is significant for many reasons. One reason is that this is the only known photograph of the famed banana whiffle ball bat that is central to many early Gianadda boyhood stories, culminating in its destruction by gasoline and a match from a box stolen from my Aunt Laura, who, you might remember from earlier recollections, smoked several packs of non-filtered Lucky Strikes a day. I hit a record 362 home runs pretending I was the great New York Yankee, Thurman Munson, with that bat. This photograph is also significant in that this is the only known photograph of my brother Michael between the years 1972 and 1989 where he is not wearing a black leather jacket. This was in the time of tube socks and showing your love by beating someone up with your fists. For instance, some many years before this photograph was taken a bully poked me and poked me and poked me in the chest with his big dirty finger and said "wah, wah, did I break your lil’ chicken bone chest lil’ chicken baby," and then poked me again with his grubby finger and pretended to cry like a baby hoping it would solicit in me a rush of tears like the great cataract that is Niagara, “wah wah.” We had been standing alone by the funeral home on the corner. I was 3. I was given the task to go buy cigarettes for my mother who was cooking gnocchi, but had been waylaid by the brutalness of language that was transmitted from the stench of the mouth of the bully. Out of the blue, my brothers, who had been setting small things on fire on the train tracks came over and waved their fists at the bully. They said, "you got something to say?" and then they waved their fists again and demanded the bully say it. They said: "say it!, say it!," but the bully cried and ran away. This was known as love. In any case, this photograph is also significant because it shows the first car my brother owned. Many girls liked my brother because he was well known around the neighborhood for the enormous amount of love that poured out of him and into the faces of bullies. He took up for the underdog and was also polite to the elderly which earned him the moniker "suchagoodboy" by many of the mothers of the girls that followed him around doe-eyed. I believe he kissed many of these girls behind our garage. But on this day, in 1979, which I remember with a clarity reserved for photographs, Karen Brzenczyszczykiewicz and Donna Kleszczynska (names have been changed to protect the innocent) were hanging around as he fiddled with his car. They were whispering about his hair, and buttocks, and making signs of the crosses on themselves as if that would help. It would not. He would kiss both of them before the end of the summer. One of them he would kiss directly inside that holiest of places in our neighborhood, the church. But this day, he talked to them softly, The love pouring out of him in a different way. It was so different in fact that it left an indelible mark on me. Karen had had her Kodak Brownie camera strapped around her neck that day, and he said "why dont you take a picture of me and my little brother?" She lifted the camera, focused, and snapped, and that is really why this photograph is significant. It is significant because instead of fists he used words to tell me he thought I mattered and was proud that I was his brother.

 

Hashtag Throwback Thursday. I was leafing through photographs last night, you know just going through moments in my mind like I do on any given evening and was struck by this photograph of my brother Michael and myself circa 1979. It is significant for many reasons. One reason is that this is the only known photograph of the famed banana whiffle ball bat that is central to many early Gianadda boyhood stories, culminating in its destruction by gasoline and a match from a box stolen from my Aunt Laura, who, you might remember from earlier recollections, smoked several packs of non-filtered Lucky Strikes a day. I hit a record 362 home runs pretending I was the great New York Yankee, Thurman Munson, with that bat. This photograph is also significant in that this is the only known photograph of my brother Michael between the years 1972 and 1989 where he is not wearing a black leather jacket. This was in the time of tube socks and showing your love by beating someone up with your fists. For instance, some many years before this photograph was taken a bully poked me and poked me and poked me in the chest with his big dirty finger and said "wah, wah, did I break your lil’ chicken bone chest lil’ chicken baby," and then poked me again with his grubby finger and pretended to cry like a baby hoping it would solicit in me a rush of tears like the great cataract that is Niagara, “wah wah.” We had been standing alone by the funeral home on the corner. I was 3. I was given the task to go buy cigarettes for my mother who was cooking gnocchi, but had been waylaid by the brutalness of language that was transmitted from the stench of the mouth of the bully. Out of the blue, my brothers, who had been setting small things on fire on the train tracks came over and waved their fists at the bully. They said, "you got something to say?" and then they waved their fists again and demanded the bully say it. They said: "say it!, say it!," but the bully cried and ran away. This was known as love. In any case, this photograph is also significant because it shows the first car my brother owned. Many girls liked my brother because he was well known around the neighborhood for the enormous amount of love that poured out of him and into the faces of bullies. He took up for the underdog and was also polite to the elderly which earned him the moniker "suchagoodboy" by many of the mothers of the girls that followed him around doe-eyed. I believe he kissed many of these girls behind our garage. But on this day, in 1979, which I remember with a clarity reserved for photographs, Karen Brzenczyszczykiewicz and Donna Kleszczynska (names have been changed to protect the innocent) were hanging around as he fiddled with his car. They were whispering about his hair, and buttocks, and making signs of the crosses on themselves as if that would help. It would not. He would kiss both of them before the end of the summer. One of them he would kiss directly inside that holiest of places in our neighborhood, the church. But this day, he talked to them softly, The love pouring out of him in a different way. It was so different in fact that it left an indelible mark on me. Karen had had her Kodak Brownie camera strapped around her neck that day, and he said "why dont you take a picture of me and my little brother?" She lifted the camera, focused, and snapped, and that is really why this photograph is significant. It is significant because instead of fists he used words to tell me he thought I mattered and was proud that I was his brother.