I’m madder than a Mel Brook’s devotee who realizes that there in fact wasn’t a “The History of the World Part II” — Hitler on ice be damned — over the fact that I’m getting so old I can’t for the life of me remember the names of all the people I’ve met during the many years that this planet, and, in particular, the borough of Brooklyn, has been blessed with my presence.
Look, you all know the ol’Screecher gots a little black book that is the size of Ma Bell’s Yellow Pages, and as time has marched on, his steal trap of a mind has gone the way of my once washboard abs — and that is to say they’ve sprung some pretty big, disgusting leaks.
So you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there were a few faces that I couldn’t put a name to when I showed up at the trip back to yesteryear that was Marcia Robins retirement party at the Screecher’s favorite restaurant (in Coney Island, besides Nathan’s), the incomparable Gargiulo’s.
Not only was it a feast of never-ending goodies, but a parade of smiling old Community School District 21 friends.
You know the old saying “Out of sight, out of mind?” Want me to explain it to you? No? Well, then put this newspaper in a place where you can’t see it, because I’m going to write about it anyway.
It is when you suddenly recognize a hundred friends you haven’t seen in decades and you happily embrace the reunions, trying to update your separate lives in high-speed mode. But up until that point when you saw them, it is like you totally forgot who they were.
Lucky for me that is not the case with Marcia as we go way back, even before I was elected to the board by (you guessed it!) unanimous vote.
And of course I recognized former Principal John Mancini, a former vice-president of my very owne BWECC!, who came in from Long Island to wish Marcia a happy retirement. Other principals joining the celebration were PS 209’s Fran Lo Curcio; PS 101’s Greg Korral,; PS 253 Lisa Speroni; PS 90’s ; Madaline Chan; Mark Twain’s Carol Moore; PS 226’s Sherry Tannenbaum; and other people such as Wendy Karp, Iris Baum, and United Federation of Teachers District 21 Rep. Judy Gerowitz.
I’m sure all my readers know that those folks were easy enough to remember. The hard part came next, when this big, hansome guy with muscles on top of muscles comes over to me and starts talking like he’s may best friend — and I don’t know him from Adam.
So I made nice with him for a while, me being me, until I couldn’t take it anymore, excused myself, and zipped Tornado over to the other side of the room to have a word with my pal Alma to ask her who the heck was talking my ear off.
“Who’s the guy in the pink shirt that looks like a Sicilian Arnold Scwartzneggar without the German accent?” I asked her.
“Carmine,” she said. “That’s Manny, he used to cover the front desk with you on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Federation of Italian American Organizations of Brooklyn.”
Well, I guess all that healthy food he brought for dinner worked beautifully, because his face looked younger and his muscles got bigger
My next brain cramp came when a young girl came over to me and says “Hey, Carmine!” Her face was familiar, but I couldn’t place it. So I says to her, “I’m sorry, do I know you?” and she says, “Carmine, it’s me, Maria. I’m Andrea’s daughter.”
That’s when things got really ugly, cause now I had to find out who both Maria and Andrea were!
I asked the lady next to me that came from PS 128 and found out that her father Andre had the Grotto Azzura Pizzaria and Restaurant that caused me to gained 62 pounds. So I scooted over to her table and apologized explaining that I remembered her face but didn’t make the connection with her father’s Pizzeria. I then sent regards to Andre, her mother, and her baby brother — the guy who taught me the famous tango “pizza step” that is still part of my curriculum.
And how many times has this happened to youse? A young woman comes up to you and she looks like she might have put on a few pounds, so you happily say to her “so when is the baby due,” and she slaps you in the face because she is not pregnant.
Thankfully, PS 128’S teachers union representative Regina actually is pregnant, so I narrowly escaped that faux pause that has gotten me in trouble many times in the past.
The federation’s executive director Nancy Sottile gave the champagne toast to Marcia with priases and thanks to Marcia for being so involved with her as well as all the groups they had workwd together. Any minute I thought she was going to present Marcia with Sicilian citizenship. Well Nancy she’s got my vote! Faci fata du!
Screech at you next week!