Sleep Log #612

July 4th, 2018

i have been

sleeping alot. is there such a thing as too much? too much time travel? too much darkness? well surprise these dreams were filled with sunlight and the sunlight wasn’t from a nuclear attack on nyc. one year ago i asked where would i be now. and here we are. sifting through the ashes of change. M&J bought a new house but in this dream it was a skyscrapping building overlooking the Judahque river. the river was the brightest blue so J wanted to paint the walls orange because #graphicdesign and M was out on the deck yelling down to shawn by the bright blue river. he hasnt shown J his tattoo yet and confided in me that hes scared as hell about her reaction. he is holding a dunkin donuts cup filled with JD and coke. K is also drinking in this dream and telling me that she is a partial therapist, part time theologist, adaquaited numerologist, bi-partisian contracTOR, elo-marine-bio-garderner, flOWER grOWER (please help me my dream is starting to lose)control. that is what we love about (isn’t it) dreams? )anything can happen) M&J are in the spaceship now, my ‘new’ car cant fly like theirs but its history is starting to come out. You know how like, when you are with someone and their history starts coming out?(exposed) as they circle the skyscrapper in Hoboken by the blue river, M is telling us about the lion.
s t o p.
here is where the dream loses it. i realize its a dream but let it roll. thank you for all these colours now. thank you for all the fears i have recently conquered. nothing was handed to us on a silver platter but its amazing how we can all help each other. waiting at the airport. a cat in a pool. anna and her friends bowling in wedding dresses. getting my tie caught is a screen printer. burying my brother. cursing the snow in july. missing my mothers birthday. remembering my fathers death (to the exact hour)3pm june 11 1971 and knowing at that moment, even though he was in boston, that something was wrong. marine biologist. brand new drill. painting the attic floor. my new friend the vending machine, and coffee maker. Powdered forgiveness.

Last year two old friends passed away. I hadn’t seen either of them in many many years. Decades. Several decades. Yet they were, like most old friends are, always there. One lived in Elizabeth NJ, was my old boss, the other was my best friend when I was growing up. He moved to Phoenix Az a long time ago.
When they both found out they were dying they made it a point to contact me. I tried texting but they insisted on talking by phone. Both of them mentioned all these crazy little funny things I did and said when we were friends. They said I helped them. They said I was funny and kind. They were glad to have met me and be friends with me and sorry that life had split us up. When I get down on myself I remember that.
they* were both in the dream. sitting on the edge of the balcony of M&J skyscrapper by the blue river. sipping cokes. looking down at the busy city street below.
Dream over.

Sleep Log #15

July 1st, 2018


writers blog:dry humid desert. empty for weeks
solution: make an assignment
Assignment: unemployment dreams
Begin: when it all finally happened it wasn’t like losing jobs that I had in the past. That sudden splash of cold water in your face-that dizzying blurred shock. In the past: One time walking down the streets of New York in a total haze. The financial numbers going thru my head. I’ve always been on the verge of total bankruptcy. Living paycheck to paycheck. But still, when they told me, I smiled and thanked them for the opportunity to work with them, the two short Jewish guys. I firmly shook their hands. Turned around and ran for the door before the other employees could see me.
There’s a certain amount of embarrassment to getting laid off. Although there shouldn’t be. The ones who should be embarrassed are the ones that lost the big accounts. Greedy negotiating or lack of salesmanship killed this place.
Canvas4death
Now: For a long time I had seen the end coming here. I had witnessed the first tiny leak in the hull. Shrugging that off as just something that happens in business. Each year more people jumping ship until towards the end it was just Gabby and me. Clinging on to the railing, our bodies half way deep into the salty rush of bankruptcy ocean. The builder of the boat unseen for four long years. Tangled in debt. Exhausted of credit.
So it wasn’t guillotine swift but it still hurt. I gave my everything and failed (or so I thought)

In all of the dreams nightmares of unemployment it is dark warehouses from my past. It is dreary and almost apocolypstic in nature. It is a David Lynch movie. Black and white. Filmed on streets of abandoned cities. Graffiti on brick walls still dripping wet. You are always alone. There is never anyone to help you.

Your new coworkers have blank faces and mumble instructions for your new tasks. You don’t understand. They shake their heads and walk back into an office probably to report you.
I’ve always thought to myself that money is the solution to all problems. Money equals happiness. But it is, as Forest Gump so simply says, one less thing. There are people in jail for the love of money. There are people dead from greed. Wars have been fought for wealth, It is somewhere written that cash is the root to all evil. The moral of the story is this: everyone finds out the hard way that money isn’t the absolute key to happiness. Respect money. Manage it well and you can live a good life. Try to get, hope for, pray for, inherit a good work ethic.
I had finally found a break, a paid vacation, sleeping in, staying up late but I couldn’t enjoy it. Finding a job is more work than actually having a job. The interviews. The revamping of resumes. The searching. The searching. And of course, the searching. Write a cover letter that will grab their attention in the first few sentences. Cliche is boring!
The real nightmare was reality. My car on the edge of total death. Every day a little older and who hires old people anyway? So fear is reality. Again. Fear triggers these nightmares of worthlessness, self-pity and creates these streets of industrial gloom in my dreams. Every job I’ve ever worked comes back to visit me. Decades before the dot com bust I delivered newspapers, tried painting, assembly lines, pumped gas, drove fork trucks down skinny warehouse aisles, poured five gallons plastic containers of bleach, loaded trucks on wind swept zero degree shipping docks on the overnight shift. Punched in. Punched out. Met a slew of the strangest people.
This is the thing: Suck up your fear. Walk thru the door. Shake their hand with power and knowledge. Smile with wisdom. And if you don’t know what the fuck they are talking about, nod your head in agreement and say you do. Fake it till you make it. The dots will always connect. They always have somehow for me.

we ended up here

March 2nd, 2018

we ended up here, up here on these
cliffs and ledges up here on the verge
of our autumns winter The patch of grass
we grew together almost too green and lush
here where the perfect pavers interlock
perfect stone walls and it all holds the
perfect town together This american flag flying
dream. Perfect.

we survived the blizzards of winter so Now
she plants bulbs and dried out seeds she stole
from her past lives Down in the shadows of
fluorescent studio basements and the giggling
children painting fiery sunsets they never saw

we ended up here in the layers and three dimensional
backyard of towering trees creaking in the winds
and sounds of jet engines and sirens The butterfly’s
and bees hypnotize Who are we?, we ask to wake up
ghetto-less in sun drenched bed sheets Who are we?
never escaping the late night train whistles and laptop
glow.

this cage is the clusterfuck of north Jersey
twisting turning dizzying asphalt
smokestacks and steeples line the horizon of
the industrial revolution from generation to generation
factory workers walking home to hot soup a long time ago
and we now under the same sun birthing a new era
that will plant grass and flowers and stop for a moment
to watch a plane deep blue fly by overhead.

Grandpa

March 1st, 2018


I’ve always been a firm believer in the “It takes a village” approach to raising children. When I was much younger at least I remember we had quite a village at home. Two grandfathers, two grandmothers, aunts,uncles and cousins and friends everywhere.

Then there was that dark period where it seemed everybody died. Grandpa Hartman (pops) was first, my father followed a year later, then his mother died while visiting aunt Gerry a short time after that. Then I remember my mother handing me the phone and it was my cousin Dennis crying and lost that his father, my beloved uncle Jay died of a sudden heart attack. Grandpa Gill died in 1972. All this happened within two years. I was only allowed to view Pops funeral from a distance, my fathers too. I never actually went up to the body and knelt down in front of it I guess because everyone was scared I was going to flip out.
I wasn’t close to flipping out. I was contused at all this death. Who understands death at nine years old?
Actually my most memorable event at the Dooley Funeral Home in Westfield was this huge Grandfather clock that chimed every fifteen minutes. And the chime was something I remember from a movie. Very eerie and lonely.

Both Grandfathers scared the hell out of me. They were both huge men, demanding, stern and their presence in a room was sometimes overwhelming. Both were extremely respected in their community Westfield. Pops of course, owned the Westfield Sewing Center and was a huge presence downtown on East Broad street. Grandpa Gill was a highly respected police officer. He started when cops used bikes, not cars to chase criminals and was even considered a folk hero by the entire town that knew him. Both were smokers, drinkers and fierce womanizers, loved cars and lived a full life.

Pops would sit on the front porch of Whitman street all the time. He always had and was offering me a pocket full of hard candies. I never accepted them. I don’t know why. Once he asked me to “go to the trains in Westfield” I dint know what that meant. Was it the railroad track we crossed over in Clark when we drove to Westfield? He asked me three times one day. Just me and him. Butch come to “trains in Westfield” No thanks. My mother even begged me to go with him. I just refused. I regret that today. Turns out it was an annual model train show they held at the Westfield Armory. We never bonded, I think as kids should with their granfathers. He was very grumpy and surrounded on the porch by stamped out Pall Mall cigarettes which he chain smoked. He drove an old station wagen and the back of it was just filled with unorganized shit. The Westfield Sewing Center when he owned it was also an unorganized nightmare of frick frack. Yet, when a customer came in looking for something specific, he knew exactly where it was. The basement of the store was also another childhood nightmare. Dark, mysterious and one time I saw a mouse trap and I said “that it, I aint going down in the basement again.”

Grandpa Gill was also known to be a bit grumpy. One time when he was very sick with shingles, he had a bed in our rec room and lived there for quite awhile. While I now know shingles could be very painful I never understood then why he was so angry and grouchy. One time I called him a “crab” and he got up out of bed and chased me in his pajamas outside and into the street, In my early childhood, the 1960’s he retired from the police force, a Sargent and purchased a house on the lagoon in Lavallette NJ. These were, without a doubt some of the best memories I ever had. There was fishing, a boat, the beach, and all the kids slept up min the refurbished addict. Carol and Rebel always seemed to be there too.

It takes a village so if you have that chance, be there whenever you can.

February 23rd, 2018

December 17
The best way to describe it is like being the last person on a sinking ship

I’m all write.

February 7th, 2018

(Inspired greatly by David Sedaris new book “Theft By Finding Diaries 1977-2002” I decided to at least attempt to write a few words every day. I have read every one of Davids books and wish I could write like him.
Below is the result of my experiment. I edited out many days because my life is truly that boring. It was still fun and I’ve continued the experiment)

JANUARY 8 2017
The Giants lost to the Packers today 38-13 in a season ending playoff game. I’ve lost something with football. Not sure what it is. I remember when I was a kid and I would be obsessed. I’ve actually lost alot of passion for anything period.

January 21
Mike pulled up alongside the street in front of our house in the Spaceship and Kryha called out to me; “do you wanna go?” So yes, spur of the moment jumped in and next thing I know it’s me Kryha and Joanna marching down 5th avenue in the woman’s march in New York. Wall to wall people, signage and protest. Truly an amazing feeling to be in the middle of this thing. One day after inauguration day. Very powerful. They blocked off Trump towers and the march ended there. Joanna took us to this warm restaurant Le Relais De Venise L’ Entrecote. A French steakhouse. Only one thing on the menu, steak. There was also a salad and a secret mustard sauce. Mostly we shared photos on our phones of the hysterical anti-trump signage but it was great to be out of the cold.

January 22
I’m still thinking about yesterday, how awesome it was. When we got on the train in Seacacus there was standing room only. The crowd was already pumped up and we were practically hanging out the doors and windows to get to Grand Central Station. So we stood all the way to Mid town and from a distance you could see the march. I’ll never forget those thousand and thousands of people. I haven’t been this politically active since me and a few friends marched in front of the Carteret Post Office in the protesting the reinstatement of registration for the draft.

March 18 Ocean Grove/Asbury Park
In a rare day, I was able to get both Joshua and Jonathan together at the same time. They jumped into my car and at the last second I decided to just wing it and head down the Parkway south. We ended up at the Silverball a Pinball museum on the Asbury boardwalk. Renovated pinball machines from the turn of the century to the present. Pay one price for an hour and we all got seriously lost in the clatter of pinball. One of the coolest places and best days I have had in a long time.
Afterward we slowly drove thru the incredible architecture of a small quaint town called Ocean Grove looking for grub. We stumbled into a place called Nagles. Known for its ice cream and sandwiches we found a nice table and I felt lucky because it’s really just a small drugstore.
There is something magical about anything you do on the oceanfront.

April 10 Wood-Ridge
I was up all night with a stabbing pain in my right shoulder. I’m not sure what it is from but I assume I ripped a rotary cuff in my shoulder. The pain is incredible. I try the couch, the bed and finally fall asleep in the rocking chair in our room. The landlord, who we code name Frank, has mentioned selling the house we live in. We only moved in a year ago. This has caused confusion and stress. My boss isn’t responding to any emails. I don’t know where he is and the company account is very low with many bills. We code name him Frank because Kryha thinks he has bugged our rental and we don’t want him to think we are talking about him. Related: my boss is an asshole.

April (13) Rutherford NJ Bus Stop
She was so happy when I dropped her off at 5 AM. Still dark. Empty bus stand. First stop New York and then on to Boston. A half a days journey. It is the smile on her face I will never forget. One suitcase. Filled with things to give her children on her little Easter visit.

April 16 Pine Brook
The boss is out of internet reach on an island off the African coast. I can not get a hold of him and there are some serious issues going on here. When I come thru the front door every morning I pass empty cubicles of laid off workers. Even though they are not there anymore I say good morning to each and every one.

April (?) Pine Brook
I found a subpoena taped to the outside glass door at work today. This is from First Industrial for the missed rent payments. A court date in Morristown looms.

April 21 Work
In a static-ridden conversation on the phone with the boss from Africa, he told me to lay off everyone but me and Rubin. It broke my heart to tell them. They were hard workers and great people. This is it. I think. It’s almost over.
I negotiated a payment plan for the back rent so court has been cancelled pending timely payments.

April 24 Kitchen
Kryha is crazy excited because she saw the “crazy animal” running across the ledge of one of her upper flower garden. It only comes out once in a while but eats the flowers and vegetables.

April 28 North Jersey
I have prayed for guidance for a long time from the Spirit and today is the day I was slapped in the face, kicked in the ass, grabbed by the shoulders and shoved into another direction.
I now have a terrible secret that keeps me apart from normal people.

May 10 Wood-Ridge
I finally put the tomatoes in the ground. I can’t explain this either. Somewhere between last year and this year I lost some passion for this home. I think it happened when Frank suddenly spread a rumor at Lucky Larry’s about selling it. This angered me and then worried me and it compounded my other fear of losing my job. I mean it seems like we just moved here and now he wants to put it on the market? If he did “wire” the place like Kryha thinks, I hope he heard me scream Fuck You Frank when nobody else was home.

May 23 Wood-Ridge
I have been riding my bike almost every day. The hills in this town are brutal. Some of them must be 20 degrees or more. Sometimes I take the hills for the challenge.

May 20
In a bike ride around the neighborhood I am almost hit by a careless woman who looked like she was texting. Last Summer much to my horror, I dislocated my finger falling down our front concrete stairs. And a few weeks later I got stung by a jellyfish in Spring Lake right on my dick.

May 30 Hasbrook Heights
Themes of fear and depression but I am taking care of important things.
Kryha spends hours and hours working on the layered garden in the backyard.

June 3 Woodland Park
On my bike. I am constantly inspired by patterns and prints, trees, current surroundings, the wind whistling across my face and listening in on conversations at Starbucks.

June 4
The KIA begins to SCREAM now when I drive. It’s the compressor, I know it. It finally died. I also know that they start at around $800. to replace. Why would I do that for a car with 185,000 miles on it?
It’s going to be a long Summer without AC in the car.

June 5 Pine Brook
At work every morning I pray and thank God in a mindfulness meditation expression. It is so strange having no real interaction with people at work. Except for the phone calls from customers which at first I dreaded and then grew to love. Most people are very polite and kind, even if there was a problem with their order I eagerly fix it and issue a redo. Once a very long time ago, my father told me in his store, the customer is always right. That is certainly open for debate.

June 6 Pine Brook
I never know what to expect when I pick up the work mail for this place at the PO Box across the street. It’s usually bad news. Anna has been home from Boston and has been in a cooking mood. The tea room, our sanctuary in the backyard is now open late nights.

June 7 Wood-Ridge
Snowie is sick. Some kind of skin thing.

June 8 Wood-Ridge
Kryhas birthday. We all chipped in a bought her a new phone. I wrapped the phone in a small box and kept re-wrapping it into bigger and bigger boxes.
It was a nice surprise for her. The phone was, not all the boxes.

June 9
The companies pick up service with UPS has stopped. This has never happened. The company owes so much money, they stopped service. I am negotiating a pay back deal with emails just to get service on again. So customers orders are sitting in the warehouse while the owner gets a tan on an island somewhere off the coast of Africa. Meanwhile I have no idea where the rent money is going to come from.

June 14
We had the BBQ of all BBQ’s this night. Alot of Charles friends were here, my son Jonathan and the usual Polish crew. Things really got going when Charles friends broke out the acoustic and started playing and singing.

June 10
There’s talk going around the house of shaving Snowie.

June 12 Pine Brook
Every time I take my car for an oil change they find something else wrong with it. “Your tire rods are loose” he said and took me into the garage to look. My Kia was up in the air and he went over to the frot tire and shook it. It didn’t look THAT bad. My typical response, “I’ll fix it next time”

June (?) Wood-Ridge
I came home from work today and Snowie was sitting on the couch with all her long beautiful white fur shaved off.
I was stunned. Not by the radical haircut as much by the fact that she was just sitting there on the couch. She hasn’t been able to jump onto the couch in years. And nobody is home.

June 22 Barnes&Noble
Joshua’s birthday. He is somewhere in Germany deployed with the Air Force. I always remember the day when they were born. It seems like another lifetime now. I was working in a huge refrigerated warehouse, teamsters union, commuting from Brick to Edison every night. I was watering our brand new lawn (sand) of our brand new house when I heard her scream upstairs that her water broke. A couple hours later we had a brand new baby.
Wasn’t this supposed to be the “American Dream”?

June 24 Montclair
A nice hot great day to end up in an air conditioned movie theater. While the girls went to get seats in the theater, I lagged behind and thought I’d surprise them with popcorn and coke.
I was greeted with my snack surprise with, “Why did you get this?” “Next time ask!” Kryha has that magical way of destroying nice things sometimes. Besides that little drama (I’ll never buy her popcorn again) Dinner With Beatrice was a lovely movie. It was deeper than the ocean with a very strange ending that kind ended in the ocean. Bit of a disappoint based on the huge sigh the theater released when the closing credits suddenly appeared.

June 25 Camden
Not impressed with this outdoor arena at all. I don’t like being this close to Philly. The Delaware river looks like a swamp. Cumberland Blues was a rocket to Mars, boy they can really get crazy on the two jams in that song. Once again I drums into space was memorable for me. Just love chaos.

June 26
Snowie has been sick. She is very sad and has stopped barking. Very concerned and Anna is freaking out and blaming us for not taking care of her.

June 25 Rutherford
So Anna found this vet opened on Sunday and we took Snowie. For some reason everyone in the waiting room thought that when I called Krystyna to come over to me, it was our dogs name. So they all looked at Snowie and smiled and repeated me “Ohhhh Krystynia… how cute”
This was appropriate however, as Anna and I have already determined that Snowie and Kryha are starting to look alike.

July 1 Wood-Ridge
Sitting in the sun reading the North Jersey Record. This fucking so-called president is a real piece of work. Kryha and I watch CNN daily in total disbelief at what is happening in this country. Bullies don’t come from strength – they come from weakness.
Krystyna’s cumbernickel crop is huge. Tomatoes are looking good but not even close to last years bumper crop. Thats because I didnt care and plants can sense those things.

July 2 Wood-Ridge
Mike the puppet maker has been working on this nine foot tall puppet in their studio. It’s actually a walk around custom, more than a puppet. “Throg” is in the works hanging in front of their view of the New York skyline. Anna, Kryha and I wanted to take Mike out to dinner but he ended up taking us. He said he “owed us” He took the spaceship to Hoboken and we ate at Leos, his favorite Italian restaurant. I think Joanna was at Johnson and Johnson working out some details for a logo redesign. After dinner it was a beautiful dusk, the sun was at that perfect angle. He drove around Hoboken a little. We went past Frank Sinatra park in front of the Hudson river and towering New York skyline. Everyone was in the park. There was orange and yellow reflecting off all the glass and mirrors from the setting sun. The spaceships entire roof slides open and he rolled the windows down and drove thru historic Hoboken. When I was in my twenties it was a crazy scary place where I used to buy coccain. Now it’s a hipster town with beautiful rows of brownstones, restaurants, bars and scarce parking.

July 4 Wood-Ridge
Jonathan came over to hang out and at night we went over to Mike and Joannas. We had the Macy’s fireworks on TV and we could also see them from their balcony lighting up the sky and skyscrapers of the NYC skyline. Joanna made zapiekanka – a polish dish – toasted bread with mushrooms and cheese. I always call it Polish pizza much to the dismay of Kryha.

July 21
Today is Jonnys birthday. I can only text him and then call later. This is going to be his final year at Rutgers. His grades are amazing. I miss the birthdays we had when they were kids. Summer Birthdays means BBQ and food and many people. One time I actually rented a clown. He had a serious allergy from something in our back yard and had to keep taking off his red nose. He was a fucking mess with tears and snot and sneezing. His final act was pulling a rabbit out of a hat and the kids went nuts. Layla actually ended up getting a rabbit as a pet shortly after that. The clown costs fifty bucks which I thought was worth it but then he was asking for a tip and I felt like punching him in the face like John Candy did in that movie Uncle Buck.

August 2
The news said several “Rain bombs” are coming. When did all this extravagant naming for things like storms and moons begin? When I was a kid we just said Thunderstorm.

August 3
Anna was right outside the back door pestering Kryha and me to come look at this lightening in the sky. I’ve seen lightening before so I didn’t go. She kept calling us to come look at this. So we went out the back door, stood in the backyard and looked up. The lightening was silent and it crawled thru the clouds like a snake. Constant and ever changing. The clouds were rolling shades of black, gray and orange. It was, after all the most amazing lightening I have ever seen. This is something the weather people need to name.

August 6
This was like dream. I was just following Anna and Kryha in Ridgewood. Kryha drove there for “something to do” and they went thru town like they knew where they were going. I had no idea what we were doing, not even sure where we were. I really just felt disorientated. We walked thru this empty town until they ended up at this place “Cravings Tapas Bristo”.
“Do you have reservations? we were asked
Reservations??!! I thought. The place is empty.
But they seated us anyway and we chose a table outside.
“This is small plates George.” Anna said
Small plates?
So … appetizers for the main course.

August 8 Wood-Ridge
Krystyna picked up Snowie and carried her into the bathtub and is washing her with this special shampoo the vet gave her. As she washes her, she sings her a song with her name in Polish. Snowie is a good girl, she never fights a bath.

August 10
The white noise from this tall fan from Costco that Kryha put in our room is highly addicting. I have never slept or dreamed better.

August 12 Inman Rd. Edison
Josh is back from deployment in Germany and we are at the driving range clubbing golf balls into an empty field. Nobody will ever understand how good this is for you unless they try it. My other son Jonny is AWOL. He just disappears most times. He and five other students are renting a house for their final semester. All I see in my mind is Animal House Keg parties.
Earlier we had lunch with my sister-in-law Ann who was on her way home to Florida. Lunch at the Reo, a famous dinner in New Jersey and then a quick visit to Shop-Rite to pick up a couple pounds of Pork Roll to bring back.
Besides Germany, Josh was able to visit Amsterdam, Paris and Prague. He told me how he was able to drive 170 MPH on the Autobahn and I was like, PLEASE – I can’t believe I used to hold these kids min my arms now they are having keg parties and driving 170 mph!.

August 17
Today my friend Jim McSherry would have been 57 years old. He just died of congestive heart failure a week ago. I’m still trying to figure that out. His wife insisted that I call him a few weeks ago. I’m so glad I did. He never told me he was fucking dying! She never did either. I guess you just don’t call people and say “I’m dying” or maybe I was supposed to know that. I would have never hung up the phone if he told me that.
Also today, my brother Glenn passed away three years ago.
Our family used to joke that he had nine lives like a cat. Now it’s still hard to believe that three of us are gone already.

August 19 StarBucks
I checked my “FindFriends” app on my phone and Kryha is 4,329 miles away from me in Leszczyna Poland.

August 20 Wood-Ridge
I am eating tomatoes one after another like grapes.
I have decided to separate myself from my job. In the way I have always said “we” meaning Tim , me and the company, I will now only say canvas4life or YOUR company. I realize how much worrying and loss of sleep I am going thru and it is making me sick. Evey email I get from him is “from my iphone” so apparently he is always at that island. How could he not let me know? Am I not his manager? What the fuck is he hiding? We’re running out of money again. From now on I just work here. I leave it here when I go home.

August 21 Parsippany
There was a huge build up to this day. A solar eclipse was supposed to cover most of the country. I was in the parking lot getting out of my car around 230 and that’s when they said it would “hit”. The shadows did seem weird.
All I saw was an old lady holding a newspaper over her head and running into the store.

August 22 Rt. 46
At what point do you stop putting money into a car with over 185 thousand miles on it?
Also I captured the “crazy animal” in a trap.
I am bringing it to work with me tomorrow to release it outside the grounds.

August 25 Wood-Ridge
Kryha comes home from Poland today. Apparently there’s a lot of drama happening there.
Anna and I went to Mob Burger at the top of Moonachie ave. Gourmet burgers are such a big deal in the USA now. So 34 dollars for two hamburgers, two fries and one shake is a big deal. I am 57 years old today.

September 1 Pine Brook
I miss going on vacation. The healthiest thing you can do is just get the hell away from everything. Home and work. It’s a huge beautiful world out there. I know this by printing our customers vacation photos.

September 7
There are currently three hurricanes brewing in the Gulf of Mexico at the same time. Irma, Hose and Katia.

September (??)
My brother Gary in Florida has taken my his family and our brother Greg in a car and evacuated to Alabama. Irma looks insanely dangerous.

September 9 Hackensack
I went to the oral surgeon in the morning and went about the rest of my day with blood all over my shirt. A lot of people looking at me in horror and avoiding me.

September 10
Went to Harry’s to watch opening kickoff for the start of the season. Harry always makes this incredible meal, Joe brings dessert and I bring wings. The Giants continued their very sucky ways of the preseason and lost. Something tells me it’s going to be a long season. But this time I don’t care.

September 11 Emerson
September 11 is my generations Pearl Harbor and that always dwells in my mind. More so since me, Gary, Ann and Josh went to the 9/11 memorial and museum last year.
Once again Kryha has poor Snowie in the bathtub and she is singing in Polish to ease her mind.

September 13 Wood-Ridge
Mosquitoes have totally ruined our backyard retreat this year.

September 14
Communication distortions. I sat down on the kitchen table face to face with Kryha and we ironed it out. Honesty isn’t complicated.
The next morning my alarm went off like it always does at 5AM and Kryha woke up to tell me she had a dream that she was pregnant and had a baby girl.

September 22
Friday night. No work tomorrow. By candlelight in the tea room the sky turns vanilla and orange as the sun sets and we sip tea.

September 24
Two days after Kryha had her dream that she had our baby I had a dream about the baby.
She was two years old and was looking out the kitchen window on 6th street.
“Look” she says pointing down
There is a row of huge tarantulas walking like ducks in a row in our rock filled backyard. Every day the family of spiders appear and they are a little bit bigger each time.
Soon they are as big as small dogs.

September 29
On the edge of October I bite into an apple that Merek picked in The Chester. There was a worm peeking out of a small hole after I bit it. I ran to the bathroom and spit it all out.
The next few days I asked everybody I know if this has ever happened to them. Every single one says no.
So apparently I won the lottery of apples in life.

October 8 East Rutherford
Buck drove up from Brick to attend the Giants real home opener. I didn’t count the Monday night game because Monday night games suck. Buck successfully changed his name from Tim many years ago because he didn’t like people calling him Timmy. Buck is much more rugged and masculine I guess. He was very fortunate to have pulled that off. Not many people can successfully initiate changing their name.
I shared with Buck my increasing lack of desire to follow football and he told me, “Well, of coarse you are damn it. You’ve been going for fifty fucking years!”
He also told me he would buy a few games from me to relieve the financial pressure I complained about also.
In between halftime and the middle of the third quarter the Giants just became unglued. They looked horrible. They were out-classed and out-coached and they were well on their way to losing big. At that point, Buck turned to me in his seat and said, “Remember what I said about buying some games from you? ….. Forget I said that, ok?”
After the loss we drudged back to the car to tailgate some more. I was using Anna’s 19 year old Tracer and the back bumper was filled with Bernie Sanders for President 2016 bumper stickers.
As I approached the car I was shocked to see it was covered with garbage. All kinds of garbage. Empty bottles, half filled trays of food and anything else you might find laying around a stadium parking lot filled with drunken tailgaters. I didn’t get angry I just kind laughed but we were specifically targeted and I don’t know why. We weren’t LA Charger fans. Buck who is a fierce Republican noted that this happened because of the Bernie Sanders for president bumper stickers and as I scooped Chili off the windshield I agreed he was probably right.

October 15 Boston
We stayed in a run down bed and breakfast that seemed more like a homeless shelter. We ate at Vietnamese food where I demanded a glass of Boston tap water. We then delivered fresh pirogi from NJ that we took with us to Anna who was having a massive sleep over with her friends.
The next morning a car alarm went off for like half an hour and that was how the day began. We were there to take Charles back to New Jersey after four years. His life cut down to several boxes of books and clothes.

October 22 East Rutherford
Today would have been my 29th wedding anniversary and I look back with zero regrets. I’m in the parking lot of MetLife stadium with my youngest son Jonny. We are in the midst of one of the worse seasons ever. Nothing can go right. I think I’ve spent half my life in this damn parking lot between Giant games and concerts. It is the peak of Autumn. They lost 24-7. WE are tailgating and throwing around the football. The asphalt is a sea of garbage and the seagulls are swooping up and down in the sky screaming with joy. We are sitting in chairs around the embers of the hot grill. Jonny used to be up to my waist in height. Now he is taller than me and he takes out a cigar and starts to smoke it.

October (??) Wood-Ridge
I don’t understand why Kryha has to pick up every single leaf when we do the leafs. We are just going to be back here next week with another foot of leaves at our feet. She does this too when it snows. Evey single flake is off the sidewalk and driveway. I’m good with just making a path. It’s survival not a game!

Oct 27 Garfield
At the restaurant called Warsaw with Kryha and Charles across from the Passaic river. Hungarian potato pancakes, chicken liver, goulash, pirogi and some awkwardness. We are both trying to overcome that little spat of yesteryear.
Afterwards in the parking lot, the moon was perfectly sliced in half and the river reeked of it’s industrial river history.
Charles is home to go to the dentist. Kryha built a tent in the dinning room.

October 31 Wood-Ridge
Kryha put an overflowing basket of candy on the porch for a take-one-only Halloween treat for the kiddies. Twenty minuets later she went out there and the candy AND the basket were GONE!

November 4
Josh came by to and we hung out in the backyard cooking steaks, talking football and unfortunately politics.

November 7 New York City
We are all together again for another concert at Madison Square Garden. Beef, an old friend texted me at intermission and came to my seats for a visit. I have a long history of concerts with him. Carol, my brothers Glenn’s ex wife also found us and said hello.
They played one of my favorite songs; China Cat Sunflower and it just sucked. Weir changed it too much. I was way more interested in Cumberland Blues and the Sampson and Delilah encore. Sometimes change isn’t good at all.

November 11 Barnes&Nobel
After another mass shooting in a church where the shooter was executing children in front of a camera.
I now blame the GOP and this piece of shit president for everything. The hurricanes, escalated racism and sexism, white supremacy, innocent people and CHILDREN BEING SHOT and a nation TOTALLY DIVIDED!

November 15 New York City
A very old friend I have heard from in ages contacted me about a job in NY. I learned so much about graphic, prepress and color with this guy. Back when I last saw him He didn’t take his contacts out for over a month and slept in them and eventually lost an eye because of that. He used to say to me:
“Look at me! One fucking eye! And I’m still the best color guy in New York City”
So at the interview I am walking around this shop and making little comments and the guy takes me out in the hall and says “You’re hired”
He told me the salary and I said I have to think about it.

December 2
Sales are crap and I tired everything. You need money to make money.

Apparently.

December 17
The best way to describe it is like being the last person on a sinking ship. I’m hanging on for dear life but don’t know for hoe much longer. Yet, I feel like I’m still doing the right thing. I continue to market to big company’s hoping to score a big account. I don’t just go down, I go down swinging.

December 18 Pine Brook
All the life boats are gone. I’m picking up registered sign for bills at the post office. My father would NEVER run a business like this, I thought. By pure laziness I grew the bottom of my goatee a couple of inches long. Kryha will pull it and make a goat sound. I had to be out of my mind to lend this company money.
Anna is home for break from BU and so Charles is living in a tent in the dinning room. I know she loves having both kids home again. I have no idea where my kids could be right now.

Dec 25 Christmas
Josh and Jonny drove here and I was so glad to see them together I hugged them each. I am so worried about where I am going to be working next year at this time. Also the pain in my back and shoulder has returned with a killing vengeance. It literally feels like a rusty meat hook is clawed into my back.
Joanna and Kryha did an amazing job cooking. Fresh fish and pirogi.
The sharing of the oplatek is my favorite tradition. Last year everyone wished me a year full of “more orders” this year it wasn’t even mentioned. Maybe people are thinking that jinxed me.

December 31 Route 3 East
It is bitterly cold out. I am going past MetLife and the last game between the Giants and Redskins is going on at the moment. There should be traffic stuffed on every square inch of this road and it’s empty. Somewhere in there are my two empty seats and the tickets are in my glove box, nice and warm and unused.
I asked Harry on Christmas if he wanted the tickets. He said no. I told him free, He said no. I told him, I would pay him to go. He still said no and laughed. I always liked Harry laugh.
Many many years ago, I would never miss a game. Even one as meaningless and cold as this.

January 3
“Historical Bomb Cyclone” is what they are calling this Winter storm. When I got up at 5am it wasn’t even snowing yet so I drove in. Around 11 am it was so bad I chased everybody home and just barely made it home myself.
The KIA got stuck going up Moonachie ave, I had to abandon it and walk the rest of the way home. It was a damn blizzard and it took me over an hour to walk a few blocks. In my life I had never experience such whipping ice cold wind and snow. This storm was properly named. My eye brows and goat beard were frozen when I finally walked thru the door and they took a photo of me.
Later that night, after the “Historical Bomb Cyclone” I had a very difficult time finding my car buried on some side street.
Like an idiot I walked back to my car without a shovel. Some random stranger came over from his house with two shovels and we dug the KIA out. I was so grateful. He told me his name was George. I told him my name was George also. He said “it’s a rough world out there George, us Georges gotta stick together.”

January 5
I tried turning out of the parking lot at my job and the front tire disconnected from the KIA. The tire rods I was warned about went! A half hour later I watched it being towed down the street to my mechanic and I walked back to work.

January 6
I usually keep the front door locked as the office is now empty and I spend most of my time in the shop. I must have forgot to lock it as my only employee left told me he saw someone walking around in there from the back. So I went to greet him, guy in a suit holding a brief case- a typical salesman that come stumbling thru the front door all the time- I was opening my mouth to kick him out when he pulled out a badge and held it to my face. “IRS, Sir, do you have a few minuets?”

January 8 Pine Brook
I realize for the first time ever, the boss did not call me for the Holidays. The emails, warning letters and unpaid bills are piling up. One guy is particularly nasty and calls me every week. I think my calmess is what angers him. This is NOT my company. The ship is taking on huge waves of water, I’ve been abandoned totally and the Captain isn’t going down with the ship, he’s on an island somewhere off the coast of Africa. I’m going down with the ship.

January 24 Ramsey
My mantra is perfect. I feel like it is part of me. Knowing that I’m going to lose my job soon, probably the last thing I should have done is buy a new phone and spend $750 on a Transcendental Meditation class with Kryha. I never was good a smart decisions.

January 25 New York
I had another job interview in the city. It was brutal. She said she would call me in two weeks. What the fuck does that really mean. I did a computer test on a ten year old iMac with a PC keyboard. I didn’t even think you could put pc parts on a Mac. If this is the way this company is run I hope she doesn’t call me in two weeks.

January 31 Wood-Ridge
Everyone is excited about a Super Blue Blood Moon. When I was a kid it was called a full moon.

Feb 1 Pine Brook
It’s official. The company just had it’s worse sale ever in it’s nine year history. Happy Valentines day indeed.

Margaret Hartmann Memories

September 13th, 2017

Margret Hartmann Robarge. Circled. With her father, mother and 10 siblings. Our grandfather George is standing, second from the right next to his mother Clara.

(click here) Margaret Hartmann Memories

This is Margaret Hartmann Robage (circled in photo) memories of her childhood. Dictated to her daughter Leatrice in August and September 1966.

The Nerve Brooke Marie Cordray

September 13th, 2017

Mc

July 27th, 2017

Many people are taking the Great Escape lately. My brother Glenn just a few years ago and alot of friends. Just a little over a year ago I was tailgating in a hot Summer parking lot in Queens New York with a bunch of friends and two brothers. I was just looking at the photos we took and posted on Facebook. Everybody seems so happy and healthy. I spent hours talking with my friend Jonny and quite suddenly I look at that photo today and he is gone. I would need three hands to count the friends that have just disappeared lately.

Jim McSherry was a different story you see. Jim McSherry was strong in muscle and character. Jim McSherry would never die. He never told me he was dying when he was trying to reach out to me. He was never on Social Media, didn’t understand or like computers. I received a few text messages from him and it seemed like he was saying goodbye. I just shrugged it off as his dramatic personality.
I am so happy that I did call him….. finally. We talked for several hours. He told me a story of how a long time ago his wife Susan and his family were homeless. They broke down on the side of the road and a cop pulled over to help them. His help went on for years after that. Eventually giving them a temporary home until they got on their feet. That was just like Jim. Here he was preparing for the great escape and all he could talk about was how someone had helped him deeply in his life and he would never forget it.

I haven’t see Jim McSherry in almost three decades, yet it always seems like he was there in my life. Years would go by before we talked. It is a strange thing to feel so close to someone that isn’t even there.

This taken many years ago. This photo is so old, I was still living home. The McSherrys had moved to Arizona and Jim came back to visit. I beleive his jaw is wired here from a fist fight he had in a cactus filled desert. The location was somewhere in Port Reading by the railroad tracks. It was early morning. I’m impressed with myself to have a camera with me at the time. We were drinking Jack Daniels straight out of the bottle and singing Grateful Dead songs. Jim was playing harmonica. I remember going home so messed up and crawling to bed and staying there for two days. I remember my mother coming to my room feeling sorry for me and helping me recover.

Jim McSherry was a Golden Gloves boxer and part of his training would be to run from his house on Tennyson Street up Harrison Avenue to the VFW and back again. Then he would sprint the last few hundred yards. I followed him on my bike every night when he did this. My mind has taken a photograph of him huffing and puffing, taking off his shirt and recovering from one of those runs. There was sweat poring off him into puddles on the street. I carried this mind photgraph of him with me to this day. Jim McSherry – the strongest, the bravest, the funniest man I ever knew. He took me to places I would have never went without him. His love of life, family, art, music and God were his glowing aura that will last forever.

The Great Escape

July 10th, 2017

Jim McSherry was always our leader when we were young. We were mostly bored out of our minds desperate to find something to do. There was no technology, smart phones or video games as you have heard from us old timers ad nauseam on social media. We did do a lot of interesting things but in between those adventures mostly I remember walking to the Shopping Center to get a coke or a snack to start the day. Along the way we met with other members of the gang that lived along this route. So totally boring and mindless it seemed to me that I would spend the rest of my life walking to Carteret Shopping Center with this crew.

I thought I always had a plan in the back of my mind but it seemed too selfish and stupid to share to anybody. It was my secret.
My first love in life was the New Jersey Shore. I was carried there as a toddler by my parents, and was taken there in my early years by aunts, uncles, sisters and their boyfriends. Something magical happened to me when I sat in from of those endless rolling waves. It was mesmerizing inner peace and freedom. It attacked all of my senses, the salt air, the hot sun, the sand between my toes. This was always my heaven on earth.

As our fearless leader Jim McSherry was the one that started the football team (he was quarterback), he was the one that initiated side street baseball. He told us where to go. He told us what to do. If you didn’t listen or do what he said you were shunned mentally from the “gang” He was also much stronger than us and apparently a good fighter. (later on he did join a boxing gym and fought in the Golden Gloves).

One day James Vincent McSherry began our daily routine walk to the shopping center with a plan. We listened intently as he explained what his old brother had recently done, we would now follow. The plan was to walk to the Woodbridge train station and take a south bound NJ transit train as far south as it would go which was Bay Head. From there we would hitchhike a few miles north on route 35 to Belmar. Belmar was a quaint little shore down. This was the McSherry beach of choice. You see each family in New Jersey had adopted a favorite beach to visit. I know for the Hartmans it was Point Plesant and the Gitter enjoyed Bradley (Bagel) Beach. Stuff’s family went to Seaside Park. Jim McSherry was our leader and Belmar was “his” beach so Belmar it was.

Belmar was unique in a way that they had huge wooden lifeguard boats that they turned over at night. We could tunnel underneath them at night to create a place to sleep. A couple times when we did this adventure we actually rented a room. Today I still wonder where all the adults were. Our parents for one thing, allowing us to travel by train 50 miles south, hitchhike and rent a room to stay over night. Also, what kind of responsible mature adult rents out a room to a group of teenagers all obviously under the age of 18?

So what stuck in my mind was that this great adventure and rebellious plan actually worked. This beach escape became a permanent fixture in the back of my mind. As the gang went on to different high schools and some of us to college we separated. It happened swiftly and without warning like life usually does things. I don’t really remember saying goodbye to anybody. Life just happened. If I would have known that our very last walk down to Carteret Shopping Center was our final, I would have done things so much differently. I would have a taken camera and lined us all up in front of Krausers holding our cokes and snacks in a cheer. I would ask one of the passing adults to snap our photo. Then I would individually hug each and every one of the gang and wish them well in life. “Bless your journey, whatever it may be.” I would say with tear filled eyes.

I struggled greatly in an all boy High School dominated by geniuses and talented sport playing fellow students. They had trophies with their names on them in the huge glass case out in the reception area of the school. The administration had a flawless reputation to keep. We are the best and nothing else. They hung up newspaper clippings on a board by the trophy case demonstrating that greatness. I was just barely getting by with my grades and at home it was now 5 years since the death of my father and almost pure chaos had kicked in. It was also around this time I started to drink. I drank to get drunk. This was a fine escape.

I was delivering the Star Ledger in the early morning my first three years of high school and I adored getting up early to do this. There was something magical and QUIET about being the first one up in a house loaded with 12 children. (at this point Barb had moved out and three step brothers had moved in). I loved the complete stillness of the early morning when I walked my route. Sometimes I would see stuff in neighbors garbage that I took. I found a cool wooden box hand engraved which I still have today filled with concert tickets. One time I found a box filled with National Geographic magazines and I picked up and took it home.

It was in these magazines I discovered the world. How huge and beautiful it is. There was something bigger, more important and much more beautiful out side of Carteret New Jersey.

I had concocted a plan and it was to run away from everything. I would save enough money for a one way ticket to Hawaii, pack nothing, fly there and then spend the rest of my life there. Since Jim McSherry had taught me that you can sleep on the beach that was my plan. I would stay on the warm beaches of Hawaaii until I could find a small job, maybe washing dishes and then just work my up. I told myself I wouldn’t tell anybody where I was. I would have just vanished with a new life.

With no internet checking flight prices and departure times was done with a phone and at times my vision of living on a beach in the Pacific ocean seemed unrealistic. But I was determined and several times I had saved a couple hundred dollars in the bank for my plane ticket but then “something always came up.” I don’t know whatever happened to this plan to escape. It got lost in the rough and tough tumbles of life. It was still always there, though, whenever I got frustarted or lost a job or fell behind on my bills.

It was only in writing this now and remembering that I realize a very influential friend has been gone in my life since I turned 20. It was one hot day in the Summer that Jim McSherry knocked on my door and said, “I’m leaving now. We’re moving to Arizona” His father had asthma so bad that the doctor told him that moving to Arizona would be the only left to save him. So Jim McSherry moved away and started a new life. He came back to visit a few times and I went there once to visit him in Arizona State University but it was never the same. He was on the other side of the country and so was his imagination, his laughter, his impersonations, his animated story telling and all the magic that he brought to any friendship.
Now he is slowly dying from congestive heart failure and I ask that anybody who reads this to say a prayer for him and his family. He is a great man.