A few months ago, on a Binghamton listserv I follow, I was a tad startled to read, seemingly out of the blue, in response to someone else’s comment:
Q: Do you know who Leslie Greene is/was? he was born in 1927 became very close friends with my parents, he was black, his wife was white…I believe he was elected commissioner in the 70’s.
John (who’s about a decade older than I, and went to my church): Sadly the LESLIE GREEN that I knew passed away some years ago. His son Roger Green is a member of the I AM FROM BINGHAMTON NY site. Knew LES & his Wife as the GREEN Family was a major part of our TRINITY AME ZION CHURCH and active in the general African American Community and the General Binghamton NY area… Continue reading Les & Trudy
Uthaclena, who I know in terrestrial life, asks:
Okay: at what point does Political Correctness become absurd? Do public facilities need to be sanitized of all things religious to insure separation of church and state? On Halloween can you only wear costumes of your own race/ethnicity/religion?
Okay. Here’s the thing; I don’t know what different people’s boiling points are, because I’m not them. For instance, it is the groups of Native Americans who have complained about the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team that makes me believe in the rightness of the complaint.
Too often, people wear the badge of political incorrectness, to show how much cooler they are than the “hung up” other people, and it ends up being a way for them to justify their racist and/or sexist and or/homophobic behavior.
Continue reading PC, LGBT, 8-tracks, malls and dystopia
I had reason recently to reflect on the bullies in my life. Growing up in the First Ward of Binghamton, NY, it was what I suppose one would call a lower middle class life, with some doing well enough to get by, but others living a more hardscrabble existence.
My school, Daniel S. Dickinson, which I loved – and which I wrote about in 2012 – was a K-9 school that, I learned much later, didn’t always get the most current resources. For instance, we had an ancient music book that still had Continue reading Bullies
It was like a tsunami of memories of my hometown, Binghamton, NY in a 48-hour period, and it took me quite by surprise, since I usually don’t think that much about the place.
ITEM: There’s this guy named John who remembered my parents and grandmothers. He’s been following me on Facebook the last few months. He attended the church I attended, Trinity A.M.E. Zion in the hometown, and was in the junior choir about a decade before I was, under the direction of Fred Goodall, who was there for decades.
John had a good friend Continue reading Binghamton: Butch Skeene, and Spaulding Krullers
My sister MARCIA found this and put it on Facebook:
It’s a promo sheet my father created for himself as a “singer of folk songs,” never as a “folk singer,” which was too limiting a term for him.
I’m particularly interested in the set list, I’m guessing from late 1950s. Some of the songs he was still singing a decade later, when my father, sister Leslie and I sang together, while there are others (Twenty Souls) I don’t even recognize. I’m always fascinated to hear other people sing the songs he, or we, performed Continue reading L is for Les, Leslie and Roger, the Green Family Singers
Lacking any INSPIRATION for topic, I defaulted to writing about me this week. It is I, during my significant birthday week. But what to write about that I haven’t addressed before?
I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house, at 5 Gaines Street in Binghamton, NY. Gaines was a very short street between Oak Street and Front Street, with only 16 possible addresses, and actually fewer buildings than that.
At the corner of Gaines and Front was O’Leary’s convenience store. I went there and bought packs of baseball cards, but I also had to buy my father’s Winston cigarettes, which irritated me greatly.
In the yard at 1 Gaines Street was a huge gnarled tree which terrified me. Continue reading I is for I
Karen I’ve known since kindergarten, and we went from K through 12th grade together in Binghamton, NY. Back in seventh grade or so, she really got into astrology. I don’t mean just looking at the daily newspaper column, but doing a serious investigation. While I wasn’t a true believer, I found it eerie how accurate they could be. She was born only 46 hours after I was, so there was some overlap between hers and mine.
When we were in high school, there was this silly rule that, when you were running for student government, you could not give your own nominating speech. I gave Karen’s when she ran for secretary, a speech that everyone said was one of the best ever. She won. The following year, they changed the rules so that the candidate gave the speech; my address for myself, running for president, was not nearly as good, by my own reckoning (I won anyway).
In 1977, when I was adrift, she gave me a real (verbal) kick in the butt. In the early 1980s Continue reading Friend Karen is 60
I grew up in Binghamton, NY, and when it was time for me to go to kindergarten, I was supposed to go to Oak Street Elementary School, based on where I lived. But both of my parents worked outside the home, and there would be no one home at lunchtime.
It was determined that we would instead go to Daniel S. Dickinson School, so that we could go to my maternal grandmother’s house at lunchtime. She was only a half dozen blocks from my home. Incidentally, I don’t think Oak Street was any closer to MY house than Dickinson. The school was named for a 19th Century US Senator, as well as the first president of the city of Binghamton in 1834.
One of the peculiar things about schools in Binghamton at the time Continue reading T is for the Trip Through Time, and Teachers
I always go to Free Comic Book Day, sometimes with my daughter, sometimes alone. This year , it will be on Saturday, May 5 at a comic book store near you (I hope). I go because I like seeing a busy comic book store, and I’m always treated like visiting royalty at local proprietor’s shop. For those of you who don’t know, I worked a FantaCo, Albany’s first direct market comic book shop; the store was open from 1978-1998, and I worked there from 1980-1988. And I like getting something for free, although I ALWAYS buy something as well.
But it’s also a little sad. While there are good books out there Continue reading Free Comic Book Day is like visiting my hometown
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, it was NORMAL for the mom to be home with the kids. My family wasn’t normal. My mother worked outside the home as long as long as I can remember until she retired a decade and a half ago.
Continue reading N is for Normal