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Curler

I recently uploaded a bunch of my Rearview series images at Leica Fotopark, It’s like an image server run by Leica Camera, and two things happened. Firstly, I won 3rd place in a Valentine’s Day photo contest they were running and secondly, I was contacted by Leica Blog about doing an interview with me. Just like Lana Turner, sometimes you do get discovered.

http://blog.leica-camera.com/photographers/interviews/mark-steigelman-shooting-out-the-back-window-of-a-fiat-500/

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PEACE, 2013

I’m not a spiritual person and except for my brief dalliance with divinity. I consider myself an atheist. So how did something that happened last year lead me to question some of my preconceptions?

My mother died a year ago today. While that in and of itself is a significant occurrence in a person’s life, it pales to a day that happened two weeks before this. My mom had been diagnosed with bladder cancer in January of 2011. Bladder cancer is typically curable, except my mother’s cancer was in a much more advanced stage. Knowing her cancer was stage 4 and not wanting to deal with chemotherapy she chose to go the natural route and went to Mexico. After a week of intensive vitamin supplement therapies she made it home in a weakened state. In pain and not able to keep any food down, she went into the hospital at home where they put a nasogastric tube through her nose down to her stomach to relief pressure. My mother for years had suffered with colitis and the doctors were thinking that the colitis was flaring up because of the stress she was undergoing and this was causing a blockage in her intestines. The idea was to get the inflammation down and the blockage will go away. After 2 weeks of this and no relief, the decision was made to send her to The Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia where they specialized in intestinal surgery.

I decided to take the day off from work, drive to Philly and visit my mother in the hospital. It was a Thursday. She didn’t want me to take the day off to come and visit her. “Wait until the weekend, come down on Saturday” she said. I reassured her that It was fine for me to take the day off and I would see her the next day. I called my friend Tim and told him I would be down and I would have breakfast with him in the morning before going up to the hospital, visiting hours started at noon.

I got down to Philadelphia around 9:30 am and called Tim from outside his house. No answer. Strange, his car was parked on the street. I walked up to his front door and rang the bell, waited, nothing. I went back to my car and tried to call again, again no response. I waited in front of his house for about half an hour and tried to call one more time, still no answer. This time I left a message. “I’m going to the hospital to see if I can get in early, call you later”

When I arrived at the hospital and parked, for some reason I decided to check my email. There was a message from my mother which said it was good that I was coming because she had to go in for emergency surgery immediately and she could see me when she woke up. She had very bad phone reception from her hospital room and took to emailing everyone. I immediately made my way up to her floor. They were prepping my mom when I got to her room. I was able to spend a few minutes with her and walk with her gurney holding her hand to the elevator. The nurse told me to go up to a family waiting area and “check in”. When I did and they said it would take about two hours I decided to go get something to eat.

Tim called me when I got down to the street. “I don’t know what happened, I couldn’t wake up” he said. “I turned my phone off for some reason which I never do and I didn’t hear the doorbell”. “I’m glad you didn’t wake up” I said.

Forty five minutes later my cell phone rang and it was her surgeon. “Can you come to the family waiting area now”? It was way too soon for the surgery to be over, I was about 3 blocks away and I ran full-out to get back to the hospital. I had a bad feeling and knew something was wrong. When I arrived upstairs the surgeon greeted me with a sorrowful look on his face. “When we opened your mom up her insides were so diseased with cancer we closed her back up. We took the NG tube out and put in a Gastrostomy so she should be more comfortable. “How long does she have”? I asked. “she wont be able to eat anymore and won’t be able to absorb any nutrition so only a few days to a week, I’m sorry” he said. “I want to tell her when she wakes up” I said. “OK, I can certainly be there and tell her if you want” The surgeon said. “No” I said “I want to do this”.

I waited the longest hour of my life for my mom to come out of the anesthesia. As I sat at the foot of her bed and she stated to stir, I finally understood what dread feels like. Her hand first went to her nose, as she felt nothing there a smile came to her face. Then she began pulling the covers back and touching her stapled together pelvis and with a dry raspy voice said “what happened”? “Mom, it’s not good” I said. Her hand immediately went up in the air and turned palm up, a gesture that I immediately recognized from my grandfather, her father, which meant oh well what are you gonna do? She immediately fell back to sleep with what seemed like relief from finally knowing what she already knew.

I don’t know if it was coincidence or some divine intervention but I felt compelled to go down that day. Something caused me to be in the right place at the right time during every event that unfolded. I was there for a reason that day, I’m sure of this. And even though it was one of the worst days imaginable, I can’t think of any place I would have rather been.

I stealthily maneuvered around in the pouring rain taking pictures waiting for Ron Paul to address thousands on Independence Mall yesterday. The same event I photographed 4 years earlier. I wasn’t there to hear the message, I know the message. I was there to be in the moment. I was there because I like to go back and see the same things and take comfort when they remain the same. For me, yesterday was all about that.

I first went to Little Pete’s on 17th and Chancellor about 30 years ago. It was one of the few places to eat which was open 24 hours in Center City Philadelphia. On any given day in the wee hours of the morning it wasn’t uncommon to see a celebrity sprinkled amongst the drunks at the large kidney-shaped counter. If you were unfortunate enough to need to use the bathroom you got a glimpse of the kitchen which was somehow connected to the bathroom in some weird way. From the cigarette machine that’s built into the vestibule when you walk in with the back of the machine sticking out into the restaurant to the hanging plastic planters to the tiny booths that flank the right side of the place each with a sign stating 2 or more only! Little Pete’s remains an oasis of unchanged nostalgia. We don’t go there for the ambience though it has immeasurable amounts of that. We go for the Little Pete’s Reuben.


If you’ve ever read a history of the Reuben sandwich you’ll see all sorts of conflicting stories as to who invented it or how it’s supposed to be crafted. None of this matters after you taste a Little Pete’s Reuben. They use corned beef, Swiss, Russian dressing and a small amount of sauerkraut on rye. Then they put the whole sandwich on the griddle like a grilled cheese sandwich. It’s easily one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat and nothing like the pile of meat over kraut, completely covered with Swiss cheese that everyone else seems to pass off as a Reuben here in the northeast.

As I sat with my friend of 30 years in one of the 2 or more booths eating my favorite sandwich in my favorite familiar city I felt content knowing that some things remain unchanged for the better.

Of all the topics I’ve ever brought up in my life the existence of Extra Terrestrials elicits the strongest responses. Religion, Politics, Gay Marriage, all no matches for E.T.s. The responses vary from “Oh, I saw mine when I was 16” to “Don’t ever bring this up again!!”. I have learned to keep my mouth shut about my encounter. But now through the magic of the internet and the blogosphere I will recount my story.

It was a spring night in 1988, my wife at the time and I were leaving our 3rd floor walk-up apartment in the heart of Closter New Jersey on our way to have dinner at her parents house. As soon as we stepped out the door we were aware of a sound, a low pulsating rumble coming from the south-west. As we crossed the street we stopped. Something caught our attention, lights, off in the distance coming toward us. The lights, which were in a distinct pattern, appeared to be very far away yet as we watched them approach seemed to take no time at all to reach us. All the while the sound grew louder. It was spring and still fairly light out but I couldn’t make out the overall shape of what the lights were attached to. We bantered back and forth, “What do you think it is?”, “Maybe its lots of helicopters flying in formation”. Whatever it was it was extremely large, large enough to make you turn your head from side to side to see the lights on opposing ends. When it was directly overhead you could feel the presence of the thing, like when you can feel mass even if you aren’t touching it. Then as soon as it moved over us we watched it disappear as quickly as it had approached. We looked at each other realizing that we both knew we had gone through something neither of us had ever experienced. At that moment I realized we were literally standing in the middle of the street, normally a very busy street at about 7pm on a week night, yet there wasn’t a car to be found and the sidewalks were deserted as well.

When we got to my in-laws house we recanted the story to my father in-law. He was a scientist and pragmatic guy in general. After laughing and rolled his eyes, he dismissed our story and hypothesized that it was a military operation, that is until the next day. He called us to say that he had read an article in The Bergen Record which stated that other people had witnessed the same thing. The article then went on to say that it had followed up with all the area military bases and all denied having anything up in the air the night before.

What I saw was real. I don’t know what it was but I know it was not a B-52 or a blimp which were the biggest things I had ever seen up in the sky. I have met other people who have had similar experiences and I have read accounts by people who are “way out there” I have also spoken with people who are very religious and become very angry when the whole subject is mentioned. In my mind one thing is certain, whether through fear or fascination most of us share a common bond in thinking that we may not be the only beings in the universe.

I’ve always had a fascination with guns and I think this stems from all the toy pistols my grandfather bought for me as a little kid. Water guns, cap guns, you name it, if it was carried by Valley Fair or Two Guys discount department stores he’d get it for me . Growing up in Elizabeth, it seems like my friends and I were always playing cops and robbers in and around the garden apartments where we lived. All of us had cap guns that is except for one kid who had a real gun. “Don’t worry my dad took the firing pin out” he said over our ooos and ahhhs. His dad was a criminal/superintendent and was probably responsible for the burglary of our apartment. This however wasn’t my first experience seeing a real gun.

My grandfather had real guns. He owned a dry cleaning store in Newark from the thirties through the Newark riots in the late sixties. I guess he needed the guns for protection although he had his own criminal past.
I would stay with my grandparents often and when he would get home from the store he would take off a small holster and put his gun away. I would watch this ritual with interest always asking lots of questions. It was one gun in particular that caught my fancy. I would always ask him to see it and he showed it to me but never let me touch it. It looked like a cowboy gun and in my mind I had built this gun up to be the most prized possession of all time.

The High Standard Double Nine Revolver as I recently learned its name lived at the top of my grandfathers closet well past his death. When my grandmother started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease my mother removed the gun and put it at the top of her own closet where it remained until her death. I finally was able to touch it after 40 years and although it wasn’t as impressive as I had built it up during those four decades it still held some of that special power that comes from an heirloom.

I needed to fire this 22 caliber rim-fire revolver but I knew I didn’t want it in my house because of my young son. In hindsight because of my curiosity I’m happy my dad didn’t have guns. I needed to get this thing out of New Jersey, a very gun unfriendly state. I wrapped it in a brown paper bag and put it under my seat and drove very cautiously across state lines to an undisclosed location.

My friend’s son taught me to handle a pistol at a small firing range in south Philadelphia. I shot a 45 caliber Glock, a 9mm and a 38 caliber. I learned the rules of the range, the etiquette of fire arms and I was actually a very good shot. To the disbelief of my shooting mates I hit this bulls-eye hand-holding a pistol at 30 yards. Of course I attribute this new-found natural shooting ability to my years of hand-holding a camera very steady at slow shutter speeds. They attributed it to luck. All I know is I had a blast and I got to fire my grandfather’s gun.

Well, I have been building my website. Check it out.

marksteigelman.com

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 52 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Rockefeller Center, 1994

Its time for our annual fall camping trip. Last year it was brutally cold. We went to Stokes State Forest and Jake decided that this was the best place he’d ever been camping and wanted to go back. I reserved a campsite and got our permit in the mail yesterday along with too many brochures and warnings about bears. As I reviewed the “Bear Facts” I realized I needed to tell the story I promised a while back about an encounter with New Jersey’s largest land mammal.

The card published by NJ Fish and Wildlife which Jake looked at and said “why does it have boxes, are you supposed to check them off when you encounter a bear?”

Tim was always looking for an excuse to use this smelly rubber boat that he had acquired and during one of our seasonal camping trips he got the chance. The idea, Ala Deliverance was to park the car down river and hitchhike up to where we dumped the boat. We timed it so that we would have to spend the night along the river and finish up at the car sometime the next day. It wasn’t long before we got our ride. The driver, a young guy along with his mother in the passenger seat seemed a little off as we reached the back door handles but we needed to get up to that unattended boat so you make concessions. The guy drove incredibly fast along the winding road all the while arguing with his mother about smoking each others cigarettes. Tim and I were struggling to steady ourselves in the immense 1960s American car backseat. It was like an amusement park ride that you weren’t enjoying just wishing it would end. At least it was quick and soon enough we were saying our thank you’s and good byes in the parking lot of the boat ramp at the start of our trip, Hancock, New York.

We always get a late start and I blame this on Tim who has absolutely no sense of time. I had reserved a campsite at some campground on the Delaware that we needed to reach by nightfall and it was becoming increasingly unlikely that we would make that. If you know anything about the Upper Delaware you know that the New York/New Jersey side is pretty heavily populated and camping along the river other than at a campground is almost impossible. The Pennsylvania side however has miles of woods along the river from the bank on up the hill to the Delaware-Lackwanna train tracks. As darkness fell on the river we pulled the boat out of the water on the Pennsylvania side at a fairly hidden spot to camp for the night.

I think I was making spaghetti when I heard the first sticks breaking up the hill. I focused my flashlight and moved the beam back and forth but didn’t see anything. Back to draining the spaghetti when I heard more rustling up on the hill above us. This time as I panned my flashlight beyond the campsite I caught a very brief glimpse of a large animal shape. When I told Tim what I had seen he was very dismissive. “It’s probably just a raccoon” he said. I knew it wasn’t a raccoon, this was much bigger. Many minutes had gone by without hearing any noise so we decided to eat. As we eat, the unmistakable sounds of a body moving in the woods came back. This time I made Tim look up into the darkness as I turned on my light. As soon as the light went on we were confronted with an extremely scary sight. Thirty yards or so up the hill was a large hairy ass, apparently belonging to a black bear. I immediately switched off the flashlight and we began to panic. Lets make the fire really big I think was our course of action. We began burning up all our wood. We moved any food and the used plates and pots away from the campsite and waited. As we stood next to the fire the bear continued to move closer to our site. This was increasingly evident by the sounds of its breathing and low growl. Back and forth in a crescent shape methodically inching closer towards us. With our backs to the pitch black river, staring at the fire so bright we were blind to the steady sounds of the animal moving in the darkness. It was at this point that we decided we needed to leave. Grabbing our packs we rushed to the boat but as we trained the flashlight on the boat we screamed at a startled opossum within the boat! It hissed and we ran back to the fire. Aside from the hissing opossum we thought more about taking the boat out into the darkness and realized that wasn’t a good idea.

I don’t think I’ve ever been that scared in my life waiting for that bear to come down to my campsite. Hours had gone by and still we didn’t see the bear. We heard it, but it never did confront us. At some point I said I’m going to sleep and I crawled into my sleeping bag and fell asleep by the fire. You know how you just get to that point when sleep pretty much wins out over any looming catastrophe? Morning came and there was no sign that the bear had even touched the uneaten spaghetti sauce. As we packed up the boat and dragged it into the water we caught sight of the campground we were supposed to have stopped at just 100 yards away on the other side of the river.

This time I’m ready. I read the “Bear Facts”. I’ll have the food in the car at all times and at the first sighting of a bear, I’m going to sleep.

I went down to check out Occupy Wall Street. My initial observation was that there were more gawkers, photographers and news people than protesters.

As I walked amongst the old hippies, crazy homeless and young idealists which make up the occupiers I tried to understand their message and motives for camping out in this little urban concrete quasi park. I rather quickly found out that there were at least half a dozen messages.

The most common message being stop Wall Street greed. Huh? How do you do that. The whole system is set up to make as much money as possible. The market is about greed. Some of the other messages were good. Stop Fracking, Stop polluting the water, the US government is owned by the corporations, etc, etc, etc.

It’s certainly proven that protests work when there is a clear message but when you write your message on a pizza box and the only clear message is Delicious Pizza, you have a failure to communicate.

Ten years ago between working at MoMA and going to the Whitney I had a brief stint at a horrible little museum near Battery Park. On that typical normal morning of September 11th I had gotten a coffee and sat down at my desk on the 20th floor of One Battery Park Plaza when one of the secretaries appeared in my doorway. “My husband just called and said a plane crashed into the north tower of the Trade Center.” It wasn’t yet 9 am and people were still filtering into the offices. Some of us went into a break room with a large view of the World Trade Center and watched the smoldering spot on the North Tower, everyone speculating as to what kind of plane and what could have possibly happened. When the crowed began wandering back to their offices I remained in conversation with one of the curators. All of a sudden we felt a rumbling and heard the distinct sound of a jet which simultaneously appeared in the frame of our window. It tipped to one side before leveling off and directly approached the South Tower.

I watched with my mouth open as the airliner disappeared into the building with a shimmer of glass particles like confetti. The whole scene reminding me of those science films of a sperm going into an egg. I remember the person I was with saying Oh My God and I heard others shouting as a fireball blew out the perpendicular wall on the east side. Immediately we were called into a conference room and told we are obviously under attack you can stay here or you can go. I was already on my way. Whenever I see trouble I hear a voice in my head that says GO! It’s always the people who stand around watching that die.

Riding my motorcycle to work that day was a fluke. I usually took the train and got off under the World Trade Center. Before running back to my office and grabbing my helmet I tried to call my girlfriend but couldn’t get through. I rode down the elevator with a bunch of crying women and ran to my bike. The streets were chaos. Pedestrians were directing traffic and gridlock was everywhere. I rode between cars, up on the sidewalk going through holes in the congestion like an NFL running back. I even rode up Fulton Street which was normally closed to traffic, sliding around on the fish slimed cobblestones as my rear tire searched for a contact patch. In my rear view mirror I could see the smoke spewing out of the towers. My inclination was to get away. Making it up to Canal Street, a cop stationed at The Holland Tunnel entrance blocked my way yelling “Its closed, the Lincoln too, try the GWB.” When I made it up to 175th Street, The George Washington Bridge was so backed up I saw no way of approaching it. I would go north until I could cross. The Tappan Zee was also impossible to get close to. Stopping a few times to try calling my mom and my girlfriend on the cell phone proved useless. Continuing north all that passed were emergency vehicles from upstate towns headed back to where I was coming from. I finally crossed the Hudson at the Bear Mountain Bridge. Stopping at a motorcycle dealer that I knew of in the area to use the bathroom, all the employees were huddled around a TV in the showroom. I saw video footage of a tower collapsing. “Shit” I yelled “one of the towers collapsed?” They looked at me like I was from another planet, “Both towers collapsed, where have you been?” said an old mechanic. “I just came from there” was my barely audible reply. It was at this time that I found out that the Pentagon was also hit and was starting to realize that this was far more serious than I had imagined. It was now my mission to get home. My Triumph was so hot at this time from creeping in traffic that I let it out doing 90 mph on the Seven Lakes Drive through Harriman State Park. When I reached Suffern I was able to get a coffee and my call through. I told Micki to call my mom and that I would come by her work as soon I could. When I got to her work place I collapsed into a chair in a conference room with TV coverage of the events. I felt as if I had made it out alive. It seemed as though the world was coming to an end and that night I’m pretty sure was when our son Jake was conceived.

My house was on Raritan Bay across from the city. I could smell the burnt bones and building materials smell which I refered to as “that smell” for weeks afterward. I also heard, saw and felt the F-16s which were patrolling the airspace, turning around directly over my house. All this constant reminders of that day. They made us come back to work the next week. Personal vehicles and buses weren’t allowed in the area at that time and you had to take a ferry to lower Manhattan. Still the smell and the constant spraying of the dust by water trucks, all the while Christie Todd Whitman telling everyone the air was fine to breathe. Be patriotic, get back to normalcy and go shopping were the cries of the day. Little did we know that things would never be normal again.

Last week I received my 2011/2012 World Trade Center Health Registry Survey. They want to keep track of my health since I breathed some of that air that was declared fine to breathe. Yesterday I deposited a large check in the bank that was going to be held for 10 days, “The Patriot Act” said the Teller. Two months before she died my mother went to Mexico for cancer treatment and the TSA strip searched her because she didn’t want to go through the naked body scan machine. She had a nephrostomy bag and they didn’t understand it. So enjoy the 9/11 ten-year anniversary programming and coverage of that stupid wet hole in the ground memorial but remember to be afraid, not of the next terrorist attack but of the next hoop you’re gonna have to jump through to protect your “safety” and the constant erosion of your freedom.

I was raised completely without religion. My father was a Lutheran and my mother Jewish. My father likes to tell the story that when I was little I would tell people I was Lutherish. I wasn’t Baptized or Bar Mitzvahed and aside from really wanting a nativity scene when I was about 5, I never felt like I missed anything. Well, imagine my surprise when one day my mother came home with a sleeping bag and told me I was going away to Christian sleep away camp.

It was a beautiful July day driving up to Camp Koinonia. We passed all the famous resorts of the “Jewish Alps”, the quaint towns along the Delaware river and scores of fancy camps for well to do kids. However my daydreams of sitting around a campfire toasting marshmallows, listening to someone play guitar came to an abrupt halt when my father pulled into the dusty patch of land with a small building and a sign that read Koinonia. It wasn’t much to look at, really! I was introduced to the camp director and assigned a group. I waved goodbye to my family and wandered around the communal area waiting for my group to show up.

The way the camp worked was every evening all the groups show up at the base camp for dinner. The base camp consisted of some showers and a ramshackle plastic tarp roofed open air pavilion where all the campers ate dinner. After dinner the group would collect supplies (breakfast, lunch and water) for the next day and hike 3 miles at dusk along a rocky trail, across a rickety pontoon bridge spanning the lake and up a steep hill to their campsite. If you were lucky you didn’t have to carry the 5 gallons of water on your back. We were pathfinders and of course stayed in a tepee.

I was one of 5 kids in my group of 12 year olds. It was like culture shock for me being one of the only kids from the suburbs. The other 4 kids, two white and two black were from Queens, The Bronx and Jersey City. Three of them smoked and they all talked about the sex they had had. Some of these tough inner city kids were there for the entire summer. I was just there for two weeks. Every few weeks one of the kids would get a care package sent from home. The care packages would always include candy and a carton of cigarettes which the recipient kindly shared with his fellow pathfinders.

There was a lot of routine involved. Wake up and go to First Words (like a morning prayer service), remember this was a religious camp. I would sit on a stump and watch the mosquitoes biting my legs while listening, half asleep to someone read a prayer. We would then come back and make breakfast. Go on a hike. Go swimming in the lake. The first time swimming I dove into the lake and touched the vegetation on the lake bottom. When I reached the surface of the water and looked back towards the dock I saw my group putting on life preservers. One kid was actually shivering he was so scared of the water. I remember feeling very powerful at that moment.

Our counselor was a twenty-something guy named Dave. He was heavily into the whole Christian thing and constantly talking about the power of God. I didn’t realize how much all the Christianity was rubbing off on me at the time but my Mom told me that I was walking around saying “Jesus loves me” for months afterward. I liked Dave and we developed a bond. I think it was easier to talk to me than some of the other kids. I still have this letter and this piece of wood Dave carved for me 36 years ago today.

At the end of the session we went on an overnight rafting trip on the Delaware. It was an amazing experience that I would repeat 15 years later with my friend Tim, that time having a run in with a bear, but that’s for another post. When my parents came to pick me up I couldn’t believe how old they looked, they were 37 at the time. They couldn’t believe how dirty and skinny I was. Koinonia was one of those childhood experiences that you carry with you forever. It was the first time away from my family. I learned to start a fire, cook my own meals and live with juvenile delinquents, all whom I liked very much. I learned about religion, sex and smoking. But mostly I learned about camaraderie.


Phyllis Steigelman 1938-2011

While being lulled into a trance by the undulations of the Lincoln Tunnel toll ramp I was jerked into consciousness by a familiar long-lost name emblazoned on the side of a van. Bosco, the long forgotten chocolate syrup of my youth except the name in a different typeface and in a plastic squeeze bottle. I can still see the glass laboratory flask shaped bottle that in came in sitting on our white Formica dining room table.

I remember reading once that they used Bosco syrup in the shower scene in Psycho because it translated more like blood in black and white. The other popular culture reference that comes to mind is that it was George Costanza’s ATM password in Seinfeld. I have a personal Bosco experience that far outweighs these bits of trivia.

It was the Summer of Love, 1967. a lot going on in the world, but all meaningless to a little kid whose world extended to the boundaries of the garden apartment complex where he lived. I hung around with a bunch of kids and we played and got into trouble while our mothers sat in folding webbed aluminum lawn chairs smoking cigarettes oblivious to our adventures. One particular day while chasing each other around the perimeter of Tudor Court, which was flanked by two very busy city streets, one of the gang spotted a dark puddle in the gutter. As we all gathered around and stared into the glistening brown ooze that took up two parking spaces and enveloped two other parked cars the kid questions started. “What is it”?, “How did it get here”?, “What should we do”? Being the unofficial leader of the gang I proclaimed that it was Bosco. One of the kids ran to tell the mothers. Soon the mothers all got up from their lawn chairs and came out to the street. “Stay away from that stuff you don’t know what it is” “That’s backed up sewage” were some of the things being spouted by the mothers. Soon all the kids were led by their moms back to the safe confines of the court. After a little while when the moms got back into their conversation, I and a few of the braver kids were once again summoned by the allure of the street syrup.

Till this day I don’t know why I did what I’m about to tell you but I proceeded to roll up my pants and wade out into the chocolate syrup. As I swayed back and forth, foot to foot, to the cheers and chanting of the other kids it wasn’t long before the moms got up to investigate. The next thing I knew I was yanked out of the chocolate by my arm, my mother screaming at me that she told me not to go into the sewage and at this, with all the other kids watching, I defiantly said “It’s not sewage its Bosco!” This was answered with a slap. With tears in my eyes, humiliated in front of everyone, I called my mother a bitch. I can still see the open mouths of my friend’s mothers as I was dragged backwards to our apartment like a rag doll. I was then given my first and only taste of Ivory soap.

Looking back I can’t say that what was in the street in front of 6 Tudor Court was indeed Bosco. It was just my chocolate syrup of preference at the time. I can say that it definitely was chocolate syrup. It was not backed up sewage. and every time I see the word Bosco I will always think of that day and this story which I refer to as the Bosco Incident.