Lilibeth Gore…and me

May 3rd, 2016

May 3, 2016

Seven years younger than I,  a girl ,  and having been plucked from a garbage pail,  my new  sister, Lilibeth ( March 12, 1944 ),   didn’t make me feel threatened in the slightest.

But,  truthfully , I didn’t see the need for her and my vote would have been…thumbs down..

Nor was I lonely or looking for a playmate.  I was quite happy playing my own games, listening to my radio and expressing to my parents and anyone else who would listen my opinion on any subject I thought I knew anything about.  And,  , her arrival notwithstanding, I was still the one and only Prince Richard, with all rights and privileges pertaining thereto.

And then, things started to change.  The first hint that my world was changing was the day Beth  came home, and  I  saw my parents dis-assembling my youth bed which had occupied space parallel to their bed along the hall-side  bedroom wall.  Then, a crib was erected in the  spot my bed had occupied.  I was told that as a big boy,   seven ,  I could now be trusted to occupy a ” grown up ” ( no side rails ) pullout bed on wheels which could be rolled into the living room for me  each night. They made it sound like a job  promotion, and I ” bought ” it , even  though I felt something was strangely amiss.

From the start , people commented  on Beth’s good  looks….far more enthusiastically than one would consider politically  polite..

And,  I didn’t mind that either,  because looks,  including mine,  meant so little to me . My life revolved around my interests which included listening to  afternoon radio  programs such as Captain Midnight,  Jack Armstrong,  the all American Boy,  and the Lone Ranger or, after school, riding my bike all over Throgs Neck ( I can’t believe my mother would have  allowed that in today’s world ) .

And,  my feel good relationship with my mother and father continued. EXCEPT, I was starting to notice they weren’t being as protective of me as they had been,  and were beginning to have higher expectations about my performance at school, and how I went about doing  things in general. They were beginning to stress the benefits of self reliance.  So, while  my sister went through a  stage where she had no impact whatsoever on how I led my life, my relationship with my parents began to change..Sometimes my father looked at me with bad intentions, especially if I talked back.

I plainly remember my mother having afternoon  coffee and crumb buns with her sisters  Rose and Lilly ( with me  under the table, all ears but  playing with my plastic cowboys ), saying  how lucky we were that the government had changed selective service classifications soon after my sister was born.  Before the change,  my father would have been  “1A “, draft bait,  even with two children. Now the army was no longer drafting men with two children..providing the wife didn’t have a job.   My father never wanted my mother to work. And, neither did I.  Her job was at home and that wasn’t questioned …ever…especially now that my sister required attention and care far in excess of what I needed. (  or wanted.) ..And, my mother never worked,  the entire 35 years they were married. And, it was always made clear to me that a father’s role was to  work and provide  and the mother’s role was  at home…if at all possible.

Then, I was told that my sister would become a Walter Thornton model because of her 2-3  year old good looks. And,  my Aunt Rose swung her focus from me to Beth.  But, I knew my Aunt Rose would be there if I needed her,  and I was just as happy that she wasn’t totally focused on me because she could be a loving ” obstacle “..

Looking back, I can now  see that my sister was far more likely to be dependent on family and school relationships than I.  She smiled and never complained, made friends easily  and was a  pleasure to be around.  I, on the other hand  was more likely to question everything ,  especially  in terms of the  “fairness and  justice “.of rules and how they were applied. I was far more assertive than Beth and accepted all the admonishments and penalties that went with being a ” trailblazer”

I was more likely to find my friends  in the neighborhood, because with neighborhood friends you had ongoing daily contact via sports, pretend games and mischief such as stealing  peaches by infiltrating an orchard on a moonless  summer night, or, smoking cigarettes ( age nine- ) hidden among the reeds that General  William Howe found so unsuitable for military operations, or hollowing out these marsh reeds to construct  blow guns suitable for use with dried split peas.. We also found wood dowel sticks and rubber bycycle handlebar grips excellent for dueling. And, surprise….no one lost an eye.  My friends went to PS14 or Saint Benedict.

And then, there were the chestnuts falling from trees to be drilled and threaded with a shoelace and hung from an outstretched arm awaiting the overhand pendulum  slam from another boy’s chestnut. If he missed, it was your turn again until one of the chestnuts was destroyed.  You would continue to use your chestnut against others until it  suffered a similar fate.  A win was recorded as a ” year “, so a chestnut with 40 wins ( years ) was probably as hard as a rock  and had been soaked in mysterious solutions to make it even harder.

While Beth was becoming an angel in an ” alice blue gown “,  I was sliding down the slippery slope of negative incidents  which upset my parents to the point where I no longer could consider myself  Good Prince Richard… Left to my own devices and the influence of older Throgs Neck boys, who could be merciless if you didn’t go along to get along,   I slowly became Richard the Perpetrator.

I was hit by a laundry hook thrown at my head by a neighborhood  kid and needed to get 5  stitches in my forehead.  I took a yellow towel from our bathroom and headed toward the trolley tracks determined to show my friends,  to their delight ,  that, like Billy Batson,  I could become Captain Marvel and stop a trolley with a good stiff arm.

I jumped from our bathroom window  because I was convinced the ” Invisable Man ” had somehow  entered the room and ,  I helped my friends liberate an unwanted ( we thought )   boat hull from the Marine Supply store which backed onto the Green and in doing so  sliced my wrist while climbing over a fence . My mother drove me to the doctor’s office for seven stitches in my wrist, driving with one hand  while reaching across to the passenger seat so that she could backhand me and drive at the same time. That is when she told me that if I  kept on my present path, I would wind up in the electric chair at Sing Sing prison. Not  exactly positive reinforcement.

I was sent to the A&P for groceries with our ration book.  I lost it.  When my mother found out, she informed me that I better dress warmly because she was putting me out of the house.  I was to go to the trolley  stop and wait for my father to arrive from work and tell him that, through carelessness I had lost our entire book of food ration stamps for the month.  There I stood, in the cold November dark, waiting for my trolley of doom to arrive carrying my father, my  executioner.  But just then, a little girl came up to me and said..”.did you lose this ? ”  I replied ” you were  sent from heaven to rescue me !!!”  ( I literally believed that, giving no credit whatsoever to anything of  worthwhile purpose in the rest of her life ).

My sister gave no one any trouble whatsoever.  She was a ” pleasure ” and I was a ” pain “. And, I had to listen to my Aunt Lilly fill in everyone on the latest accomplishments of   “My Matt”.  I wasn’t jealous of Beth or Matt.  I just wasn’t happy with the total absence of  optimistic predictions for me..

Beth really entered my consciousness in 1948 when we spent the summer renting on the ocean,  at Long Beach, Long Island.. I can remember her sitting there watching “Howdy Doody,”  eating from  a dish of dry Cheerios,   playing Solitaire and carrying on a conversation…..simultaneously.  That’s when I had my first preview of how smart she was. She never caused a problem or had a tantrum.  The only thing she didn’t do was stick out her tongue at me from behind  Aunt Rose’s skirt. She didn’t need to…the praise she received was unending but well deserved..  Its a good thing she was a girl and seven years younger, otherwise our relationship would have taken a more confrontational turn because I  would have felt compelled use my older brother status to demonstrate my seniority in all sorts of ways.  And, whenever  I wished I had a protective older brother instead of her , I quickly dispelled that notion realizing that I valued my higher place in the pecking order far more than being protected.

Once in a while my sister was a pain.  After we moved to an apartment ( 234th Street, Woodlawn, the Bronx ) , she is the one who alerted my mother to Mary Biggins and her red pigtails and me carrying her books from school ( Saint Barnabas ).  It wasn’t too long after that that our neighbor Mrs. Slevin alerted her actual biological sister, my 7th grade teacher, Sister Delores that I couldn’t think straight because of the influence of that girl ( who sat two desks in front of me ). The relationship with Mary was terminated by Sister Delores forthwith.

And, there was the time my sister noticed that some of the 16 and 17  year old tough guys of the neighborhood ( furniture movers )  had decided to punish me, a thirteen year old,  for being impudent.  The punishment decided upon was to take  me to the 238th Street Bridge over the Bronx River Parkway and dangle me by my ankles  above ( far  above )  the oncoming traffic.  My sister caught wind of their plans just as they were getting ready to move me to the bridge.  She raced home and alerted my parents who were just about to have  dinner.  My father raced out of the house, ran two blocks  and confronted this gang and forced my release, which , in the eyes of the Council , was merely  a stay of  execution.

Then, my dad had a house built on  McCollum Place, just next to the Hillview Resevoir in Yonkers,  about 2 miles  away.. We were no longer residents of the Bronx and never would be again.  My sister was attending Saint Paul’s Grammar School ,Mc Lean Avenue,  Yonkers  and after school was playing running bases at Coyne Park and had her front ( second ) tooth knocked out.  Aside from that she never gave my parents an ounce of worry.

I was a different story because I still had pals in Woodlawn.  Fourth of July was coming and I and a big fellow named Ray were assigned the redemptive  task of travelling to the Gun Hill Road section of the Bronx to buy $35 worth of fire crackers from a curbside Vegetable Truck which was parked  next to an unimproved,  barren field.  We  made our purchase and were walking back toward Gun Hill Road when we realized we had company. Several guys our age  started to walk along side us and tell us about the intense police  activity focused on confiscating fire works. They said it would be best if we just dropped our shopping bag and ran if we encountered any  police.  Well, before long someone shouted ” police “, but I didn’t drop my bag and I didn’t start running until I saw the  switchblades come out.  And then, I did run as fast as I ever ran in my life.  So fast that I reached the car  traffic of Gun Hill Road faster than Ray.

I raced out to the middle of Gun Hill Road and got a car to slow down enough for me to throw myself on its hood.  This brought the car to a complete halt.  The  driver later said the look on my face made him decide to open the door for me.  Both Ray and I hopped aboard with our shopping bag and we made it back to Woodlawn with our  haul.  It would not have been a  good outcome  if we had come back minus the $35 and minus the fire crackers.  My punishment for being impudent was satisfied by successfully accomplishing this task.

My sister and I were at home for dinner just about every night and I had as little to do with her as possible because seven years apart,  we had different lives. She thought I was a tease. a  ” torturer ” and I suppose I used to tease her by threatening to twist the heads off her dolls if she bothered me when I was with my friends….although my feeling for her were a lot more protective than I wanted her to know.

We each had our own bedroom.  Mine was set up like a sitting room with wood panelled walls, a big desk and a couch which opened into a double bed.  Beth had a girls room that could have been decorated for Olivia Newton John, with a girls double dresser,   mirrored tray upon which sat a hand mirror and a brush….ugh!.  In fact, now that I visualize it, that’s who Beth was…Sandy  in ” Grease ” the movie. and believe me, we had a few John Travolta types  at the intersection of McLean and Kimball Avenues which was Woodlawn’s outer boundry with Yonkers.   But Beth had nothing to do with any of them .

To show  whose genes she carried, Beth formed a company ” The Offsetter Flower Company ” and traveled the neighborhood selling her flowers ( colored toilet paper folded into various shapes ).  She always could sell and  she always had a gunslinger mentality when it came to risk….just like my father.  She just had trouble dealing with the unpredictable consequences of unpredictable events which  couldn’t be handicapped in  advance. But, I did too, except I always expected the worst and always planned for it, so I had fewer nasty surprises..

Time flew by , she attended Saint Barnabas High School and won a full four year New York State Scholarship to College.

I told you she was smart!

She later proved it again when she appeared on” Match Game ”  and won with her partner,  Roddy McDowell.   She had what I would describe as a memory that would allow her to spread out  cards, turn them over,  and them re-locate them from memory, on demand. Another a gift from my father. And, she and my mother loved to gamble because they both had luck.

The turning point for me came when I overheard my parents discussing me and Beth after discovering  I had cut the afternoon session of the College Entrance Boards.  I heard my parents saying lets put whatever money we have behind her because he has the attitude of a loser.  That infuriated me and I said to myself, ” I’ll show them “.  That very night I decided that when I started college I would turn over a new leaf and totally re-educate myself. .and, .to a much higher standard.  And, I did, graduating college Magna Cum Laude .four years later.and then, aiming still higher.

Beth then graduated from Saint Barnabas High School and decided with my parents to attend Manhattanville College of  the Sacret Heart, Purchase, NY . as a border, even though the campus was less than a half hour from our house. Those were the days when the school was famous for the Kennedys and Ethel who had graduated just a bit before Beth. My parents made no bones about her meeting someone  who could support her in the style they wanted for her.  My marching orders were to prepare myself to support a family the way a man should…as my father had.

My parents moved to Bronxville just as Beth was hitting her stride with the boys.  Take a look at her photo below and you will know why she was absolutely pursued  by the boys.  She was like my mother in that she loved to dance, only it wasn’t the Charleston. it was the Watussi.

I’m struggling to rotate this photo…..sorry.

 

 

 

 

beth0002

 

I won’t get into her marriages or mine because I don’t think its good to bring up the past when you have been married more than once.

I’ll close by saying that it wasn’t until Beth could be comfortable without being hostage to the limitations of  a marriage partner,  that she really came into her own as an independent and self assured person…and , today she is indeed a happy lady ,deservedly enjoying her sons, their wives and her grandchildren

 

.

 

 

Am I All Wet or What ?

May 3rd, 2016

May 3, 2016

I have been told,  according to a recent  Charles Schwab communication…..For the past 50 years…..nearly ALL of S&P 500 gains came between October and April.

May through October……+ 1.3%…..average

November through April + 7.2%…. average

That reinforces the idea of Play till  May….But Play till May etc doesn’t work all the time.

No one knows which way the market ( SPY ) will go between now and November 1.

Would you buy SPY (basket of stocks representing S&P 500 ) but trades as one stock. Present price = / –  $206 ( 2.2% dividend yield )

Or would it be more prudent to sell someone the option of assigning SPY to you if it fell below $180 between now and July 15.  You  would receive ( ( 2.7% premium ) for taking this risk ( that SPY will fall more than 12.6% BEFORE July 15.)

What can happen ?

That SPY falls more than 12.6% before July 15 and you are forced to accept SPY at 12.6% discount on today’s price.  So, you would be buying SPY at $180 per share instead of $206 per share… and this would increase yield because dividend will be a greater percentage of SPY price.

OR…The price of .SPY stays exactly where it is today and the option expires worthless, except that you keep the premium paid to you while you have been waiting fore SPY to drop to $180 per share.

OR..That the price of SPY increases to $225 by July 15 and the  option expires worthless and you miss out on all that profit.  It would normally expected that the price of SPY would rise to this level gradually…giving you an opportunity to buy back the option at a lower premium you were paid..thereby increasing your return from 2.7% to say maybe 5% based on the length of time your money was tied up by the brokerage as  insurance you  would have sufficient funds to purchase the option.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that the worse case is to be able to close out the option for a higher return because SPY has risen beyond 206 or is being perceived as not falling to $180 by July 15…and that isn’t so bad..if you have doubts about the direction of the market.

Am I all wet or what ?

Richard Maurice Gore

 

” SPY ” buy signal remains in force

April 29th, 2016

April 29, 2016

SPY closed April at $206.43 per share which is above its 200 day price  moving  average of $ 199.76.

That means the SPY model Buy Signal remains in the GREEN…I’m to.be long the ETF…. SPY. ( a basket of 500 shares which trade as one share ).

If you had followed the dictates of the month end  SPY model, you would have sold your SPY position on January 4, the first trading day of 2016 in response to the Sell signal generated December 31 as the price of SPY violated its 200 day moving average on a closing basis that day.

We are tracking to see how much of your theoretical investment of $1,000,000 you would have now by ignoring or following the dictates of the model.  The model has been wrong only once since the year 2000…..and right 5 times…..and far more profitable than Buy and Hold.

Following the model, you would have sold all 4,905 SPY shares and received $983,500 leaving you with a realized loss of $16,500.

You would have stayed on the sidelines until March 31, 2016 when a Buy signal was generated ( still in effect ).  You would have used your $983,500 to purchase 4,786 shares of SPY… the number of shares you have today.

As of the close today, your 4,786 shares of SPY would be worth $987,973.  Versus the $1,000,000 you started with on January 1,2016.

On the other hand

If you had ignored the December 31, sell signal because you preferred to Buy and Hold,  your 4,905 shares held since January 1, would now be worth $1,009, 664. resulting in an unrealized profit of $9,664 , ….instead of a realized  loss of  $12,027,  a net difference of  $21,691.

This doesn’t mean this is how the year will end , with Buy and Hold , on top as a strategy, because the next sell signal, if ignored might trigger a disaster where better than 50% of your investment could  vanish ( at least temporarily ). I believe my stomach isn’t strong enough to deal with being under water to that degree.

I follow the model specifically because it results in fewer trades, smaller losses  and has been right 5 times and wrong only once over a period of 16 years.

When you factor in fundamentals such as historically low interest rates and consider Professor Martin Zwieg’ s theory that stocks tend to go up when interest rates are low and go down when rates begin to trend higher, then, I’ve reached my comfort level to invest. Zweig is famous for calling the 511 point one day crash in 1987 which he predicted on the previous Friday’s Wall Street Week and for owning the top floor of the Hotel Pierre, Fifth Avenue….which was acquired by following his own advice.

On the other hand ” Play till May, then Go Away” is only a day or two away and I am already respecting it and moving to the sidelines on some volatile stock positions I have been holding

 

Richard Maurice Gore.

To The New Babies……Here is Maurice Gore, Previously Posted on Facebook

April 23rd, 2016

 

 

From Richard Maurice Gore

TO:

Sammy Waters, August 21, 2015, Delray Beach, Florida,…meet your Great Grandfather……

Cooper Morgan, February 29, 2016, Victoria BC, Meet your Great, Great Grandfather

 

MAURICE GORE, August 4, 1908, New York City- October 14, 1966….yes, almost 50 years since he passed.

 

First child born to newly arrived Russian Jewish immigrants, a melting pot American original, his playground was among the tenements and push carts of New York’s lower East Side.- Delancey,  Hester, Rivington,  Canal, Lafayette and Grand Streets.

Though he strongly preferred to speak only “American “, as a small boy he was pressed into service as a street guide, helping newly arrived relatives and family friends acclimate. But, he was happiest playing Stick Ball , Punch Ball, Stoop Ball and other games developed in the neighborhood such as Ringalevio ( sic ), a people hunting / collecting game played on the run with his melting pot friends.

His formal education was not extensive, but he could do math in his head while carrying on a conversation and his Relationship / Sales  IQ was off the charts.

He was Head Payroll Teller at The Merchants Bank, 434 Broadway, NYC  and he,  personally,  knew just about every owner of every factory in the Canal Street area..His favorite discussion expression was ” get what I am trying to bring out ?”.

He married his Ruth….an Irish Catholic girl from the Bronx ( Throggs Neck ) he met on subway on their way to work. They had a long and happy marriage in which it was difficult for me and my sister Beth to tell who was Jewish and who was Catholic.

He was a grass roots capitalist and founder of Majestic Bolting Cloth Corp., 450 Broadway, New York City…which eventually evolved into a fifty million dollar sales and manufacturing Division of the SAATI Group, of Como, Italy.

I have a great many stories to tell you both about him and his Ruthie and I intend to hang around long enough to pass them on to you !

Richard Maurice Gore

To Sammy, tomorrow is your name day and I congratulate your parents Chris and Dana on selecting MAURICE, a name you can carry wiith pride

# 5 A – Maurice Gore of The Merchants Bank – Previously Posted on Facebook

April 23rd, 2016

 

As Head Payroll Teller at The Merchants Bank, my father had several phone lines running into his ” cage ” and a team of young clerks to assist him,….because in those days, in Manhattan’s factory district,  workers received their weekly pay in cash, in an envelope.

He had a great many relationships with factory owners, because these were fashion factories and many of these owners were trying to get a handhold on an upward trajectory of sales and earnings.  And, they paid very close attention to their expenses, especially their payrolls. And, they appreciated the way he answered their payroll related questions and the express, dependable service he would give them on paydays.

The Bank had no restrictions on key personnel receiving gifts as long as they were declared and documented. I can remember, age nine, my father arriving home Christmas week evenings with gifts and a blizzard of envelopes which were dumped on the kitchen table. And all that money was saved against the day when he could start his own business.

Since my father had ongoing personal contact with these factory owners, they often used him as an information clearing house to find out if other bank customers could provide this or that for their factories. For sure they came to the right place….and lots of inter-factory connections were created..In fact, that’s how Majestic was started…doing such  a favor for a bank customer who added….Why don’t you just locate it,  sell it to me and make a little something for yourself ?

And, there were rare occasions when these businessmen contacted my father if they used up their  credit line  at the bank and were afraid  of not being able to meet a payroll. I know of more than one occasion of my father making a deposit of his own money into a customers  account so that a payroll could be met. And, I know of more than one instance where my fathers deposit wasn’t sufficient to head off the inevitable failure and Gore money went down with the ship. But, not a total loss,  because the Canal Street factory district was like a small village and these types of favors were not soon forgotten by the Dayton Dairy Cafeteria breakfast and luncheon crowd who referred to my father simply as ” Goro “..

And at the Bank, my fathers performance was equally appreciated.  He turned down promotion after promotion.  He wanted that phone in his cage so that he could maintain direct contact with the local entrepreneurs.  They knew his sights were set to be in his own business, and they knew he thought and saw things as an owner would,  ( a quality I refer to as owner’s eyes ),   and wanted to be able to reach him directly…including, to place an order for screen printing mesh after Majestic was founded.

Many years later, after I had joined Majestic and my father had died,  and Merchants Bank was still our number one Bank, I can remember the President of the Merchants Bank telling me that the day my grandfather had died my father had to rush home. It was normal procedure for the replacement teller ( who just happened to be the future President of Merchants Bank ),  to have a cash count before taking over the cash to protect himself against a shortage at closing. There were hundreds of thousands of dollars in my fathers cage. The future President told me he knew of my father’s reputation for accuracy, so he took over the cash… without a count…..and proved out to the penny at the close of business.

Take another bow Dad !

dad bank

 

Tale of Two Banks .. Previously Posted on Facebook

April 23rd, 2016

Richard Gore – Tale of Two Banks ( Previously on Facebook )

Tale of Two Banks

My dad ,Maurice Gore, worked for The Merchants Bank of New York, a Jewish bank located near Canal Street which was focused on helping factory entrepreneurs finance their accounts receivable and inventory via working capital loans as cash flow could be difficult to gauge.

Thanks go to my dad for having paid for my college education and to my mother in law , Lorraine Puckett,for  having paid for my graduate school, The American Graduate School of International Management, ( Thunderbird ). With schooling behind me, ( I thought ),  I was fortunate to be hired by Citibank and be accepted into their Overseas Division training program.

The Citibank Overseas Division training program was ultra WASP and cuts above Citi’s New York Branch Division and Citi’s National Division as a career launching pad. The Bank’s recent Presidents had been Executive Vice Presidents in the Overseas Division.

And, I could tell the status of the Overseas Division by its most recent trainee hirees which included George Champion Jr whose father was Head of the Chase Overseas Division,and David Oliphant whose father was President of Hanover Bank . Later,  in South Africa, Citibank made it possible for me to have a friend, David Andersen, whose father was Head of JP Morgan’s Overseas Division..

The Citibank  program only accepted Ivy league graduates ( almost only )  and I was later to learn they hired far more graduates than they needed and expected the training process to thin the herd. That’s because trainees still needed to be accepted by a Desk such as the UK Desk, the Africa Desk, the Middle East Desk, the Far East Desk, etc.

So, here I was expecting to be cut from this herd almost any day based on my Iona College credentials not to mention that I was a half Jew,  in hiding. But, as luck would have it, perhaps my hidden half Jewishness was a subliminal magnate that they couldn’t resist, because you can be sure I wasn’t intentionally transmitting a Jewish beacon.  I was invited to a screening  lunch by a Princetonian and a Yalie ( affirmative action ? ) and then was asked to work with them on the Middle East Desk which covered the entire Middle East from Turkey to Aden with branches in Beirut, Cairo and Jiddah.,

You may find it interesting to know that Israel was not served by the Middle East Desk, but by the UK Desk and God forbid a KuwaitI Sheik and an Israeli official should enter the same elevator at the same time.

The boss of my boss was Ed Thorne, Senior VP, a guy you would never expect to have a family which had  owned ( in his youth ) the whole of Hilton Head Island…the whole of the second largest island on the East Coast,  after Long Island !  It was said, the family had been  fond of taking weekend safaris into the interior of  Hilton Head  with domestic help carrying a silver tea service and everything that went with it.  Lots of Monday’s I heard my fellow trainees discussing their  weekend trips to the Bahamas, Vail,   or wherever,  and yet they were very open to me joining them for lunch. ((With   me remaining silent about my weekend in Yonkers ).

My job was to learn how to express myself in writing in a conversational way and write letters for Vice Presidents to Kuwaiti and Saudi Sheiks relating to their business with the Bank. which included large time deposits. And , to immerse  myself into customs and procedures of  the  middle east relating to lending, collateral , interest etc   mainly by reading branch manager’s ongoing memos such as how to negotiate loans with Saudi  merchants who were brilliant traders , but paid no mind to traditional accounting practices including the preparation of financial statements.  Part of my day was to take a language lesson and to have  one on one instruction in writing from a professional writer ( Rudolph Flesch ) .

I ghosted a letter for James Stillman Rockefeller , President to Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt informing him that the Bank was freezing Egypt’s deposits at our Bank in reaction to Egypt seizing our Cairo Branch.

Mr Rockefeller’s secretary informed me in advance, that when reading my draft, Mr Rockefeller would be expecting to hear violins in the background. I responded by supplying what I believed sounded like a full string quartet. The letter was duly signed, on my third try, and returned to me with a pink transmittal slip on which Mr Rockefeller’s secretary inscribed ” WOW” !

And, it was out of correspondence with the Kuwaitis and exchanges with Greek oil magnates such as Onassis that Larry Heath, VP sitting just         four desks away from me, invented the first Time Certificate of Deposit . Yes,  the CD  we all know today, which instantly caught on as being far more negotiable than a letter from a Vice President to a wealthy depositor.

The sensory impression created by  the fifth floor  “Overseas Officers Platform ”  at 55 Wall Street was instant and of  Charles Dickens. … tall  and wide mahogany roll top desks which hid a VP or higher and allowed him to keep his back to a window on the street ( five floors below )  and remain hidden from other occupants of the platform, including me.

I prided myself on believing I could converse with Mr Rockefeller if called to do so ( without my heart pounding ), and just as easily fit in with construction workers pouring concrete in the street below ..

So, when my father showed up unexpectedly one afternoon, in a custom silk suit hand tailored by one of his Canal Street contacts, to offer me a ride home, I wasn’t thrown for a loop. I introduced him around the platform including to Hans von Fleugge , a self deprecating, always joking, German trainee, and everything went off without a hitch.  I once shared an Officers elevator with von Fleugge and we were confronted by an officious, matronly, territorial , senior secretary from somewhere who wanted to know our titles.  Without missing a beat,  von Fleugge replied ” Madam, I am Baron Hans von Fleugge. Is that title enough ?  I don’t want to say we left her with her mouth open…but it was close.

And, now when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see a Bronx Irish Catholic anymore, I didn’t see a Jew.  I saw a WASP banker in a three piece J.Press suit and did I enjoy the role.!

This was confirmed  when Dave White, Princeton and I were asked to pose with Walter Wriston, Head of the Overseas Division for an article the NY Times was doing on careers in Commercial Banking.

And then,  I was told I was being assigned to Johannesburg, not Jiddah…..Thank God…more hours of sun each year than the French Riviera, 5,600 feet elevation and lots of sports to play including rugby, cricket, and tennis !, A free country club, first class steamer accommodations to and from, kids educated for free in Switzerland, nearby  game reserves for photo safaris, a two months home leave every two years…..Lucky us. Me, Rosie, and Kris…..with Lisa on the way.

I had learned how to navigate in different types of worlds, as a man ,  just by observing my dad and using his way of relating to all types of people as my behavior model. I didn’t realize it then but my experience as a 15 year old sorting checks at Merchants Bank and my experience as an Overseas Officer at Citibank, would synthesize into the greatest experience of my life, working side by side with my dad.

I didn’t realize it , but all the perks of a career at Citibank, wearing J Press suits, eating in the Officers Dining Room and Clocks of the World decorating couldn’t hold a candle to working with my dad and being his best friend.

Within three years I would be trading Wall Street for Canal Street , for a junk yard desk and for  lunch at the Dayton Dairy Cafeteria. And, I would consider it the best trade I ever made.!,

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# 6 ” MY MATT ” with new photos

April 21st, 2016

After visiting her sister Lilly, my aunt Rose would stop by our bungalow to visit my mother.  She would express how worried she was about  Lilly beating the hell out of her son Matty, ( born 1924 ) . ”  She won’t leave that boy alone. She’s after him all the time and smacks him for everything .”

As it turned out, my aunt Rose was underestimating my aunt Lilly’s talent as a motivator.  If you followed Aunt Lilly’s suggested regimen, and bought into her pep talks  you could begin to think of yourself as special to the point where there is no way you could conceive of not measuring up to her opinion of you.  That’s how she got me to stop sucking my thumb and wetting the bed. It took her only one week to get results.  The week my parents were away and busy finding my sister Beth in that  hospital  garbage can.  My parents had been working on me for a year without  results. Now,  imagine the attention you would get as Lilly’s  son , 24 / 7, fifty two weeks a year! For sure you would see both the carrot and the stick.

Anyway, Aunt Lilly succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations with Matty.  Matt became an exceptional student and an enthusiastic  athlete who totally loved and doted on his parents.  He was accepted at Fordham Prep, a Jesuit Prep school,  on the Fordham University campus which was where Vince Lombardi acquired his work ethic as one of the  ” Seven Blocks of Granite ” for the  nationally  ranked Fordham University football team.

Matty was at the Prep while Vince Lombardi  was at the College.  Same kind of discipline required because Fordham Prep was no country club, with two hours of Latin daily in addition to either Greek or German. Miss two days of vocabulary and watch the train pull away with you standing on the ” dunce” platform. In addition, Matty was a starting  infielder for  the varsity baseball team.

When Matt graduated the Prep  in 1942,  he was primed to be swallowed up by the USA draft, the World War II  being only six months old.

Aunt Lilly approached her brother Vince seeking a draft exemption for Matt as a welder on the ” Liberty “Ships”   he built as General Superintendent of  the East Coast Shipyards,  at Bayonne, NJ.   The problem  was my Uncle Vince had enlisted in Navy at fourteen ( ! )  and didn’t think an exemption would be good for Matt as a man.  So, he turned my Aunt Lilly down. Nothing was ever said to me, but to the mother of an only child I can see how  the turn down could easily have seemed like her brother had handed down a potential  death sentence to her son.

That didn’t faze Matty.  He applied and was accepted for an accelerated 15 month course in Marine Engineering taught at Fort Schuyler..  At that point, Fort Schuyler  was the  Officers Candidate School for  the US Merchant Marine,  and if Matt could complete the course he would become an Ensign in the US Merchant Marine, and then a Lieutenant JG in command of an engine room on one of my uncle Vince’s Liberty Ships….at age nineteen!

I have all of Matt’s letters home to his mom and dad throughout his three year  service  including how the course was so accelerated he had no choice but to study nights under the covers with a flashlight,  after lights out..

At around this time, my Aunt Lilly began referring to Matty as ” My Matt “.  To me, that is the ultimate acceptance by a mom or a girlfriend or a wife. (  I know when my daughter Kris refers to me as ” my dad ” it makes me feel good ! )  I was too young to appreciate it at 7 years old but I was already being  compared to Matt .  Maybe my mother had some  ” My Richard ” thoughts  incubating .  But,   my little sister was taken from that hospital garbage pail just in time  ( 1944 ) to take that type of pressure off me.

As time went on, Matt graduated and was assigned duty on ships running  Hitler’ submarine s gauntlet in the North Atlantic,  sometimes on convoys all the way to Russia.  He sailed to Murmansk, Rio de Janiero,  Scotland,  England etc.  and once invited me,  at age 8, on board his ship, anchored at Fulton Street,  for a stem to stern solo  tour just hours before weighing anchor and  sailing through the Narrows, outward bound for God knows where,  at what risk.  But, a smile never seemed to leave Matty’s face and, as a young Officer he seemed to be just as  popular with his  shipmates as he was at the Prep and on the baseball field …..and with the girls..

 

matt

 

The summer the war ended , Matt  began working  under a union permit as a wire  lather on apartment houses , reinforcing floors with steel rods tied at intersections to accept  wet poured concrete .  His parents were waiting for a time slot  for him to start at Fordham University.  And, because they didn’t want him to waste time his parents enrolled him at Delahanty Institute in a course for reading building plans and estimating costs.  It was thought he could possibly join my Uncle Harry in his construction business at some point down the line.

For me to tell you that my cousin Matt was my inspirational  and aspirational role model  is a gross understatement.  And, he was some tough act to follow !

He really loved to  play baseball ( we both were Giant fans ),  and every Sunday most of the family, including my mother and father and I,  would go to watch him play short stop for the Throggs Neck Mohawks .  These guys were age 22 or so,   but mature beyond their years because of the war,  They played teams from different parts of the Bronx, and the games were hard fought with lots of betting. And, you could sit right there, up close, and really see and hear a pitched ball disappear into a catcher’s mitt almost as if you were at the plate,  batting.  Sunny, dusty, grimy, sweaty , the way the game was meant to be played and the way ice cream was meant to be eaten.

Matt had dated a girl, Virginia Green all during the war . I had to march in line with my classmates  past her house on the way from daily Mass ( ugh ) to my schoolyard ( Saint Benedict ) and often  she and her mother would come to their upstairs  window and smile and wave to me as I walked past.  I really liked her and I thought she was beautiful and I was looking forward to the day when she and Matt would get married and we three could be friends..

But something was going on. Aunt Lilly wanted ” My Matt”  to finish college ( 4 years )  before he got married.  And, Ginny wanted to get married ASAP because she had patiently waited for him all during the war and, though engaged,  all her girlfriends were getting married.

The next thing I knew my parents were waking me up on Sunday night August 23, 1946 to explain to me that Matty and Ginny had been in a terrible accident and that a babysitter for my little sister Beth would be arriving momentarily.  My parents weren’t home the next morning when I got up, so I got dressed and walked up to the candy and grocery  stores at the intersection of Bruckner Blvd. and Tremont Avenue  to pick up a newspaper  bring home  some breakfast rolls.

As I approached the corner,  a little girl pointed me out to a man saying ” that’s his cousin “.  The man came up to me and asked me for the latest news on my cousin and I said all I know is that he was in an accident last night.  Then he said… ” your cousin wasn’t in an accident He was shot by his girlfriend and he’s in critical condition at Fordham Hospital.”  What???!!!.  I didn’t believe it ! Then he introduced himself as a reporter for the New York Daily News.  Very tough news for a just turned  ten year old to comprehend.  I was confused. I ran home hoping to learn what had really happened. My mother was home  and she  told me she didn’t want me up all night worrying,  so she had to tell me  a white lie.  And, that we were all going to the hospital.

What actually happened was that the day before,  Sunday,  my Aunt Lilly wanted Matt to play in the scheduled double header and then go out to dinner with his parents….I assume Ginny was invited but these details are fuzzy.  All Aunt Rose kept saying for years after was …” Why did Lilly need to control him so.?  Why did she need to interfere ? . Why couldn’t she just let the boy have his own life ? ”

At about 10:00pm  Sunday night , Ginny walked the three blocks from her house to Matt’s house, threw a pebble at his 2nd floor  bedroom window and told him she had his bathing suit.( we all had been at Compo Beach, Westport, Ct. Saturday afternoon ). My Uncle Harry was having a beer  at  the Pub just around the corner , on  Tremont Avenue..   My Aunt Lilly was already in bed.

Matty told Ginny he would meet her at the side door which was on a landing which either led down to the basement or up to the kitchen.  Matt opened the door for Ginny and then turned to head up to the kitchen assuming she would follow him.  Instead, she pulled her fathers duty revolver ( he was a policemen ) and shot Matty once through the back and then turned the gun on herself, shooting herself in the head.  It was later speculated that she had enough bullets to have one ready for my Aunt Lilly if she had been present.  But, that’s pure conjecture.

The 45th Precinct was just across the street from my aunts house and it wasn’t long before police were on  the scene.  An ambulance arrived from Fordham Hospital and it had only one bed.  Matt insisted that Ginny be given the bed and he rode the half hour to the hospital sitting up on a metal ambulance  bench.

He was taken to emergency surgery and stabilized.  He kept asking about Ginnys’s condition, but she was already dead and nobody wanted to break the news to him in his condition. For sure,  I know they loved each other .  Then why ???    Nobody had any answers except that Ginny was probably despondent, had probably given Matt a marriage ultimatum at some point during the weekend , and somehow they broke off the engagement.

We were at the hospital almost non stop for three days.  Then,  we were told Matt had caught pneumonia.  These were the days before antibiotics. When I,  my Aunt Rose and my mother took a lunch break at a nearby restaurant,  and were walking  back to the hospital.  Suddenly  we could see my Aunt Lilly staggering down the hospitals steps and sink to her knees.  Her Matt was gone.

Think Romeo and Juliette was sad ?  Welcome to another Tenety tragedy.  The Tenetys had  the 1940s version of Kennedy hard luck.

Whenever I listen to  the song  Bye Bye Miss American Pie and the music stopping,  I think of my cousin Matt and Ginny and the  the sudden end to their lives.

That’s when the music stopped for me.

Richard Gore

 

Matthew Kingston,  August 13, 1924…..August 26, 1946

With his mother Lillian Tenety Kingston at Fort Schuyler, Merchant Marine Academy, Throggs Neck, NY

 

 

 

 

#5 …A Few More Words About ” Ruthie “

April 20th, 2016

Don’t think I did my mom  justice in terms of explaining who she was in her family.

My mother was the baby and she could get away with a lot more at home, especially with her father, than her siblings.  She was an” ear ” witness, from her older sisters, of all the deprivations they had lived through as a result of his binge drinking.  Aunt Lilly had nothing but contempt for her father but my mother saw herself as his defender.

When it came to protecting her family or people she loved, my mother had no limits.  You were going  into the hospital overnight  ?  OK where is the cot ?  because she wouldn’t be going home..no way !.  Not getting attention from the nurses ?  Think of Shirley McLean in “Terms of Endearment”.

When I think of who else in the Gore – Tenety  family is that protective, especially with animals, my daughter Maurine comes to mind as carrying that gene.  There is simply no length of sacrifice or spending  to which she won’t go to balance  the scales.  And, that includes adopting orphan, ugly Christmas trees !

And, my mom was afraid of no man. There is a story that my mom and dad were at a beer garden with my aunt Lilly and Uncle Harry. My uncle Joe was there,  separately , at the bar when he was confronted and punched by another man.  My mother didn’t wait for my father and Uncle Harry to act .  She was up, across the room and on the assailants back in a flash.

My mother was spirited in a spirited age.  She was a flapper who could do the Charleston or Black Bottom all night, every night without drinking or compromising her standards.  She had a slew of girlfriends who loved to go out dancing.  My father, with his two left feet,  was her wet blanket. But she went along with his behavior of being ” a stay at  home” because   she respected his idealistic behavior and his dreams for the family.  It wasn’t till after he died in 1966, forty years later ,that she gradually  got the ‘ go out ” bug again…only this time it was BINGO.  She would drive to Delray, Florida BINGO almost every night for the next thirty years  often accompanied by my sister Beth.  Yes, she was still driving ALONE at age 95 and had no intention of stopping.

.flaper and mom and dad0002mom bridsmaid

But,  the two things I remember most about my mother,  is how much she loved her mother …and my mother’s unorthodox way of thinking and feeling about things.

My father was easy to understand, …age 1-14.. ” do as I say “, after age 14 ” just ask yourself what a man would do and do it .”
Even today, when confronted by a tough choice, I ask myself what would my father do. It almost never fails to clarify the situation.

My mother’s reactions were  a lot more difficult to predict.  But,  you were on the right path if you understood the relationship between Jesus and Mary. .

My mother believed that Jesus would do anything for his mother and my mother prayed to Mary, often, to intercede on her behalf with her son , Jesus.  At age 96, she phoned me before she died to reassure me that the Giants would beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.. She died the next day, but upstairs, the fix was in. Now, just imagine my reaction when David Tyree caught that ball on his helmet. I knew what it was, just Jesus complying with his mother’s wishes. And I knew where my mother was and what she was up to..

It took me a long time to realize it, but my mother expected me to interact with her the way Jesus interacted with Mary. This had nothing to do with being Catholic. My mother was not a big fan of the Roman Catholic  Church Organization , but absolutely she  had faith in Jesus as her go to guy  and absolutely revered his mother.

As a half Jew, my interaction with my parents was not clear cut Catholic or Jewish. My father would make a point to wake me on Sunday mornings to tell me to get out of bed and go to Mass. Just as my mother would light Jewish candles for someone in his family who had died. My father donated a whole row of pews to our local church.  And, even after my father had died, my mother insisted on helping support his mother with a monthly check.

My maternal grandmother loved real estate and , luckily, she  inherited some money  and used it to purchase a two family house, and she used the money she was accumulating from the rental apartment to build a three room bungalow . She wanted me to have a yard to play in, so when I was three, 1939, she moved out and I and my parents moved in.

It was about that time that I remember my mother would allow me to leave my ” youth bed ”  to join her in bed after my father left for work. I was always an early riser and couldn’t wait for the day to begin. I had no intention of sleeping and my mother would often open one eye to remind me ” little boy – be careful .” laugh before seven and cry before eleven “. One time , she offered me a dollar if I could just lie still for five minutes.

That morning visit to my mom was my schooling in moralistic behavior. She told me stories and these stories were designed to elicit an immediate  reaction from me which she could test against her Jesus benchmark. Sometimes she fabricated stories about people and animals. She told me about the time she refused entry to her birthday party to a poor little girl who had no gift. She got a reaction from me alright……pure anger. But, you better believe from that time on everyone was welcome to my parties gift or no gift.

My mother was always for the disadvantaged and the under dog. It was she who told me Jesus had said…what you do to the least of mine  ( she included all animals ),  you do to me. Result, till this very day I would never harm a living creature as small as an ant. And, if truth be told I  consider all animals my equal.  I have no time or respect for anyone who turns his back on an animal suffering , and I see naive, defenseless pigs as part of my spiritual constituency.  Have a party while a pig’s head roasts on a spit…Get me out of here !  And, don’t give me any crap about conservation or domain over animals as a license to do what you want to them..

On the other hand my mother taught me to be careful of people who calculate rather than ” feel ” ….including some women. When I laughingly reminded her she was a woman…she would say ” that’s different…I’m your mother “.

It wasn’t till much later on ( college ) that they began to make me feel special. One time I went  to my mother and wondered  why my life needed to be complicated by  being half Jewish and half Irish.  She said,  You get down on your knees and thank God. You have a Jewish brain, an Irish heart, and you look like your parents. Isn’t that advantage enough ?

And, the one time I was really up against it  legally ( being unjustly sued for trademark infringement ), I  went to my mother expressing regret that I hadn’t gone to law school. Her reply, ” Richard you are not a lawyer, you are a lawyer’s lawyer. Now stop this nonsense and start using your brain ! ” Hows that for a confidence booster !

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#4 – My Mothers Family

April 18th, 2016

While I am the oldest cousin of eleven cousins  in my father’s family , I’m third from the bottom of seven cousins  in my mother’s family. Even though my father’s family was half the size of the Tenetys, there were far fewer Tenety  children.. There are tragic reasons for this…as you will see.

I’ll give you a brief run down of my mother’s ten  brothers and sisters, she being the baby.

ROSE CORDES.. Aunty Rose- The oldest and helper to her mother  and,   no doubt,  didn’t want the responsibility of her own children when the children of brothers and sisters can be enjoyed without responsibility. Self appointed surrogate mother / nurse to me and all my cousins, each of us having the loving focus of her undivided attention until the next baby arrived.  She focused on the youngest.  And, this process would continue for 5o years to grand nieces and nephews each of us feeling special in her care.

JOSEPH TENETY- Uncle Joe  was a binge drinker like my grandfather…convenient for a construction worker loosely connected to a hiring hall. He was married with two children, my older cousins Booshie ( died at seventeen – kidneys ) and Dot,  but in reality he preferred the pub life of a confirmed Irish batchelor and lived that way. His wife, Margey, died at 27 and she could best be described as Mia Farrow in ” Purple Rose of Cairo ” except Joe wasn’t a bully. He was just irresponsible.

But,  as he got into his sixties, and moved to Ft Lauderdale to be close to his sisters, . he gave up drink altogether and became very family focused. My children loved him for his warmth and I can remember well his insistence and persistence in accompanying me on my quarterly sales calls to textile screen printers in Little Havana. I’d rent a convertible, pick him up at 7 am and he’d spend the day waiting outside factories for me and having lunch with me . These sales trips would last three days and would go on non-stop, except for lunch, factory after factory.

LILLIAN KINGSTON , Aunty Lilly,  life long  companion to Aunt Rose ( into their eighties ). Very industrious…, a spitfire,  As a child worked in a ” Hells Hundred Acres ” sweatshop  factory with Aunt Rose . Experienced full force all the disappointment my grandmother suffered due to the binge drinking of my grandfather ( who delivered coal in any weather in an uncovered horse drawn wagon ) was engaged to a NY State Senator, but gave back the ring when she became wild about my Uncle, Harry Kingston who owned his own construction company and whose family had a house directly on the Saugatuck River, Westport, Ct. They had one child, my cousin Matt, twelve years older than me.  Aunt Lilly is the one who got me to stop sucking my thumb and stop bed wetting. She had such confidence in my honesty, ” Richard would never lie ” and latent ability, ” Nobody can tell me he isn’t  a wonderful boy “, that there is no way I could ever, ever  let her down ….ever !.  Amazing how people can respond to praise positively and blame negatively.  Always worked with me…in either direction !

VINCENT TENETY..my uncle was the most successful of my grandmothers children.  He falsified enlistment papers, at fourteen to join the Navy  during World  War I and served undetected on a destroyer in the North Atlantic at fourteen !  for two years. He became an electrical engineer by studying at night while he simultaneously held down the job of House Electrician at the famous Ritz Hotel at the corner of 57th Street and Park Avenue.  He almost single handedly brought electricity to the Van Ness section of  the Bronx with my mother accompanying him and riding shotgun in his truck.

He was Superintendent of the Bayonne Shipyard famous for producing the Victory ships which ran Hitler’s North Atlantic submarine gauntlet during Worl War II. He was a 33rd degree Mason,  and a golf buddy of New Jersey Governor Moore.

He married Helen Tomkins and produced my cousin Cynthia who would smash champagne bottles against the bows of  new  launching with the whole family in attendence.  He had the power to get you a full draft exemption by hiring you as a welder.  He did this for my Uncle John and Aunt Mae ( see below ) but he refused to do this for my cousin Matt telling him to join the Navy as he had at fourteen. ” It will make a man out of you ” My father never bothered to ask.  But, my Uncle Vince would ask my dad ” which rung of the ladder are you on now ?  Curly “.  I was only eight, but I could sense he respected my dad and this was confirmed later when he came to my father for a loan ( granted ) for his new business.

Alas, the screen printing business he established to print on glass started to fail about  the time he got his cancer diagnosis ( age 46 )and he died almost broke except for the Masons.  Cynthia died at 32 with three kids. My father’s loan was never repaid.

MATTHEW TENETY .wasn’t with the family long, 3 years, as both legs were taken by a trolley car while  the conductor was settling a dispute between two women and Matty’s shoe was getting wedged into a trolley  track and my Aunt Lilly was momentarily distracted by a friend.  He was carried to Westchester Square Hospital where he died, but not before  finishing a pint of ice cream.

MAE PISANO Aunt Mae, just before my mom and,  unfortunately being carried to term by my grandmother while my Nana was grieving for Matty I have been told that Mae was an unhappy baby and child because of this.  She was pretty plain, but wholesome, and ambitious compared to my Aunt Lilly and my mom.My mom always felt Mae was a little bit out for her hide, threatening to tell momma this and that to get her in trouble.  Anyway, Aunt Mae married a barber / hair stylist,who had a salon in Whiter Plains, NY ( where I live now )  John Pisano and Mae saved every penny he earned They  had my cousin Robert ( five years my junior ) who was probably born with a smile on his face. Robert died before he needed to, in his sixties,  but he is rememberedfor his personality and his advice to his high school students and he received many tributes from them when he died. He left one daughter, Robyn and she has his smile. He and I owned a race horse who won at Hialeah, Zelous Dancer, and he wanted to retire to a horse farm in north Florida.  He got my attention on that one and I could have been very interested because Robert was honest. But somehow he got off that path and it never materialized for us.

THE ADOPTEES.( 3 ) ..They were all up and out before my time, but I remember Willy Vance. He grew up to be a carpenter, then a builder and , in fact, was foreman of the house my father had built in Eastchester, NY near Bronxville ( 1946 ) and our house at 40 McCollum Place, Yonkers, 1950. Solid guy and well liked and respected by everyone in the family.

RUTH MARGARET GORE , my mother.. Boy did she love me ! and my sister and my father.  She could be tough.  I can remember her trying to get at me with a belt as I scrambled under one bed to another, but only because I crossed the line. But, she could sit there at my elbow helping me do my homework, erasing every mistake I made. ” I’ll erase it “.   If I came home with a 96 , they wanted to know who got a 98. If I came home with a 98, they wanted to know who got 100  Who got 100 ? Robert McGuire the future Police Commissioner of New York…that’s who,  and if I had older brothers and sisters to help me, as he did, maybe I could have had 100 too !

I can’t talk about my mother without talking about me.  I had her for seven years before Beth was born and they actually had me believing I was little Prince Richard. “Quiet everyone, Richard wants to say something “. Richard wants to recite The Night Before Christmas ” I got used to being important and actually thought I had a vote in family decisions such as what brand of car to buy after the war.  My sister Beth,  found by my parents in a garbage can ” can we bring her home ? ”  changed all that in a hurry !!

April 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

# 3 …My Father’s Family

April 17th, 2016

I never had a conversation with my dad about how he felt about being the oldest son in a Jewish family and going outside his religion to marry.

I believe my father would have felt that was a stupid question because he didn’t analyze life decisions… at least not for me.   He did what he felt and wasn’t a second guesser.. But, I do believe my father saw himself as a new breed of American who would not be bound by religious  rules or prejudices of the past.

I know via my mother that my father’s only sister Rachel  ( third oldest of five )  told her that as oldest brother, my dad was very protective of his prerogatives  and possessions and that he would know if one of his brothers had so much as opened his clothing drawers.  And, I know from personal experience that my uncles Sol, Lawrence and Milton respected and only had warm feelings for him which he reciprocated..

When my fathers’s family moved north from the lower East Side to St Anns Avenue in the South Bronx, my father ran with a bunch of street kids who were not necessarily Jewish and the photos we have confirm him posing with a pretty diverse group.

My fathers father Samuel was always in his own business or  involved in something where he could delineate and be rewarded for his  specific contributions.  My father only graduated from grammar school,  but was tough minded, gifted with memory  and was able to calculate numbers in a very unorthodox, but logical way,  He  had a gunslinger mentality when it came to taking risk.  He never felt limited by any circumstance and always believed he could find  a way, especially if it involved an  interpersonal solution.  Looking back, I can see that he was the prototype of what people would later describe as being a grass roots capitalist.  He was comfortable in his skin and could converse with anyone on any level.

I now recall that my mother and father did not meet on the Westchester Avenue elevated train, but they traveled together to work every morning, she at Metropolitan Life and he for some bank.  Now I recall that they met via a blind date set up by one of my mother’s girlfriends.  She gave him an impressive buildup which included the fact that he dated mostly Broadway showgirls and was very generous including taking his dates  home in a ” heated taxi “.

My father was always a very good dresser and not a department store shopper. He was friendly with tailors who would hand make his clothes and he knew style. Not traditional, not preppy…more like a taller version of George Raft with a face to match.  In his prosperous fifties, he would think nothing of walking the length of 3rd Avenue looking for a particular style of soup tureen.  I got my love of decorating from him and my mom who would change drapes, slipcovers, and rugs every Spring and Fall..  He owned  a series of Cadillacs and continuously tried to sell my mom on the idea that they should get a new car to ” keep up their investment”.  Good try dad.  But, my mother never called him on it because she was his biggest booster, always ingraining in me and my sister that he was expending work energy  for us at a level no one had a right to expect and he deserved anything he wanted..

 

flaper and mom and dad0001

 

 

Back to their courtship.  After a couple of dates he ” confessed ” to her that he was Jewish and so she probably wouldn’t want to continue with him. But I think by  that time my mother knew he was a ” keeper” because her reply was. Why ?…. Jesus was a Jew. End of story. My grandmother Tenety reinforced this by telling my mother that  Jewish men make the best husbands.

And,… he was interested in clothes for me too. .  Always leather leggings, always an overcoat and a cap. Always an Easter outfit.  If possible, not retail..but .from a manufacturer in the 23rd Street area.  On Sundays, we would take a trolley from the German / Irish end of   East Tremont Avenue  to 176th Street where it was about to become West Tremont Avenue….just the other side of The Grand Concourse.  The Grand Concourse was the Bronx version of Park Avenue , Manhatten.and was mostly apartment houses inhabited by  prosperous Jewish families who couldn’t yet afford the real deal…Park Avenue, NYC between 46th Street and  86th Street.  But, the Concourse was probably the nicest apartment house address ( with Riverdale ) in the Bronx.  My grandparents lived on a park, just off the Concourse.

My grandparents lived in the same building with my Aunt Rae and her husband Lew Brenner. At that time they had only one child, my cousin Sandra whom I always looked forward to visiting because she was fun to be with and a smarty pants.  We would play on the wide stairs and take the elevator between her apartment on the 5th floor and my grandparent’s apartment on the 3rd floor.  She was at the epicenter of Goro life and navigated it with a smile always on her face.

My Grandfather was a dignified gentlemen who referred to me as his little Cossack ( which makes me think they really were born in the Ukraine…Odessa…and not Russia.)  My grandmother would always lift me and bite my face on both cheeks and always had a butterscotch pudding waiting for discovery by me in her refrigerator.

My Uncle Sol and Ann and their children , the twins, Jay and Joan would also visit my grandparents on weekends and very likely Milton would show up with his girlfriend Ethel and Larry with his girlfriend, Lilly.  This was a family that valued the concept of family and clearly enjoyed being together. After me ,Sandra, Jay and Joan Garrow  came a second, much younger , wave of children which included Stuart Brenner, my sister Lilibeth Gore , Sheila Garrow, Marlene and Jeffrey Goro ( Larry  and Lilly ), as well as Marilyn Sue and Steven Goro ( Milton and Ethel Goro ).  If we had all lived closer I am sure I would have had much more contact with this younger group. But, time, distance and new trails to new lives took their toll.    But….

I can tell you right now that as the oldest cousin I have only one regret and it has haunted me for forty years. When I moved Majestic offices to  32nd street and Park Avenue, I soon discovered by chance that my much younger cousin, Marilyn Sue worked in the building.  In fact we met on an elevator once. I don’t know why I didn’t,  but I should have made a big fuss over her, taken her to lunch etc because I could plainly  see she was a sweet girl.  But,  I didn’t and I’ve always regretted it as I’ve gotten older and it really began to hit me when I learned she had died . All I can do now is  hope the ones that follow me will be warned by this  not to make the stupid omission  I made…by taking a relative’s life for granted and assuming she’d always be there…