I think I may have told this story from my childhood before. If so, forgive me for telling it again. I’ve got some new data.
When I was a boy living outside New York City in (or as we said, on) suburban Long Island, I remember riding in my father’s car as we headed to Arcadian Gardens, The City of Glass, a large greenhouse nursery where my mother would get her regular green-thumb gardening fixes.
Or maybe we were driving to Walt Whitman Mall, a shopping center on Route 110 in the town of Huntington Station. We would pass what I remember as a low brick savings bank — although that was probably simply my interpretation of the building given its rooftop billboard.
In huge, white, block letters on a red background, the billboard read…
I thought it was a bank advertisement, like:
Jesus Saves. So Should You.
Open A Savings Account Today!
It wasn’t until years (and years) later that I realized the error of my ways.
But yesterday, as I walked along the paseo in the beautiful Mediterranean sunshine, I discovered I was right in the first place.
FROM EAST NEW YORK TO NORTH MASSAPEQUA. (CLICK ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)
In 1956, housing developments were popping up all over Long Island’s rural landscape. So, my parents decided to move the four of us from East New York to North Massapequa on suburban Long Island. The Kid Brother was born a few years after we moved. Thanks to him, my father traded in the 1950-something Chrysler DeSoto (a really cool car) for a brand new 1960 Rambler Station Wagon (not very cool but plenty of fun), which Dale immediately christened Old Betsy.
My Mother The Dowager Duchess signed Dale up for the Brownies and The Duchess herself became a Girl Scout leader. I was young enough at the time to be taken along to meetings.
When I was of age, I joined the Cub Scouts. In Brooklyn years later, my father decided to be the first scout master of a new Boy Scout troop. So I had to join up.
I definitely preferred the Girl Scouts…
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO CHILD LABOR LAWS?
I LOOK PRETTY DAPPER FOR A FOUR-YEAR-OLD. (DALE LOOKS PRETTY FRUMPY FOR SEVEN.)
WITH OSCAR DINGLEHOFFER, OUR PET PARAKEET NAMED BY OUR FATHER. (FOLLOWED MUCH TOO CLOSELY BY OSCAR DINGLEHOFFER THE SECOND.)
A FEW YEARS LATER… AND BABY MAKES FIVE. IN BACKGROUND IS ONE OF A HANDFUL OF THE “PRE-SUBURB” HOMES.
THE KID BROTHER BEING TOSSED TO THE CURB
BY THE DOWAGER DUCHESS. (I’M GOING TO GET IT FOR THAT.)
AS THEY SAY IN NORWAY… UFF DA!
CUTE KID … BROTHER.
DON’T ASK ME; MY FATHER POSED US. (AND THE DOWAGER DUCHESS DRESSED US!)
RIGHT AFTER THE PHOTO WAS SNAPPED, THE KID BROTHER
THREW MY METAL CAP GUN AT ME AND GAVE ME A FAT LIP.
A MORE RECENT SHOT FROM GOOGLE MAPS.
The year we moved, Elvis sang about the hotel San Geraldo and I would open more than 40 years later…