Posts Tagged ‘Westfield Sewing Center’

Hard to describe in words

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

window
You may find yourself…
One day I woke up here and the sun was spilling into our bed in what seemed to be huge buckets of yellow and orange paint. We had breakfast together and then went outside into the garden.

People come in and out of your life for a reason
I come here immersed with gratitude. I am very lucky blessed and God has been very good to me. As I look back on Gods impeccable track record a glow of thankfulness covers me like a warm blanket in my new home.
In all that was chaos is blessings. I have done some of the footwork for I have no idea where I would be today if I wasn’t sober. Most times my mind goes faster than what I can keep up with but even that is getting better. It seems like so many many years ago I walked thru the doors of a place in Piscataway NJ, fresh out of jail, jobless and confused. It was a big room on the second floor covered with windows by a railroad track. There was always cofee and sweets, there was always clouds of cigarette smoke (yes, that’s how long ago this was.) but most of all there was always meetings. The building was not dedicated to anything else but recovery. Everyday, several times a day. And during holidays it was 24/7. I am very lucky blessed to have found people to talk to and phone numbers (there were no cell phones back then but I knew where every phone booth was)

she died a Hartman

she died a Hartman

I continue to be in awe of life …. and death. If you take for granted the billions of miracles that are going on around you and within you then you can lose touch with this whole amazing thing. You were actually a very sweet person, you just got a little lost. (like we all do) I’ve lost count of how many people have just slipped away from my life just so suddenly. They are up here, swimming and struggling* to stay afloat like the rest of us and then you turn around and
they are gone.

* and some people can just float

One day, a long time ago, I woke up on this farm in Canada too.

One day, a long time ago, I woke up on this farm in Canada too.

So this past June 16 was the 45 anniversary of my fathers death. I remember him telling me about the “7 year locust” next to that funny looking tree that is (still!) in our front yard. Obviously the seven year locust only come out every seven years. The story is that he was working on the rose bushes which he loved to do and one of those huge MF’ers flew into that tree and let out one of his crazy long noise/scream/bug sound. It freaked me out but my father soothed me by saying, “Don’t worry it’s only a seven year locust. He wont hurt you.” And that’s the end of the story pretty much. It’s funny how I can have memories that long ago! Actually if you asked me what my deepest longest memory EVER was, I might think it was the 1964 Words Fair in Flushing NY.

I lost you in the butterfly tent
So basically I have obtained a Flux Capacitor on Ebay and with the help of a friend of mine from New York City, we have created a Time Traveling APP. In a nutshell, when the phone is charging I can transfer through communication lines into different periods of time. My current quest is to travel digitally to a bar in West Carteret (Mikes Bar) and transfer my image onto the TV at that bar. The date I picked is October 10, 1968. A Thursday. My father frequented this bar ofter especially on Mondays and Thursdays when the Westfiels Sewing Center was opened until 9PM>
Since my father has never seen my kids, HIS grandchildren, I plan to show photos and small movies of them projected thru this black and white TV in Mikes Bar. My only hope is that dad sees them.

I haven’t traveled into the future yet. I’m too scared.

IDGAF
Sometimes I wish I never connected this blog to the family website. Sometimes creativity is hard to understand. Many

once a long time ago I woke up on the third floor of this Victorian mansion and had just impregnated my wife at the time with my first son.

once a long time ago I woke up on the third floor of this Victorian mansion and had just impregnated my wife at the time with my first son.

people need pure logic and straight thoughts. Sorry I don’t have much of that nor does this blog feature happy butterfly clipart and borders of flowers. I can view the number of times this blog gets “hit” which is actually pretty high probably only because it’s so public. So I’m sorry I can be so deep and dark and I know my audience isn’t keeping up with me nor caring but it’s this: Writing for me is incredibly therapeutic and the creative energy it creates just knowing I have a little corner in the world to turn to is so very nice. At least there is some family tree stuff and heritage so maybe one day one of our kids or their kids might be interested in that. I seem to be the only one.

Every time I start feeling Sorry For Myself I watch The News
I used to think I knew too much about life to have optimism. I was very wrong. When I was a teenager and into my twenties I wasn’t a very good person. In fact I was a big dick. I was indeed a racist, a sexist, an egomaniac and an irresponsible punk ass hippy. I’m very sorry to all the people I hurt, especially my family.

Everything that makes you happy is going to end at some point. I have gotten over that and have diligently tried to be a better person. I used to think that letting my divorce happen was one of my biggest mistakes. One day I woke up in my car and said “what the fuck have I done?” I should be waking up with my kids and teaching them how to sheetrock a fucking house or something! How to make a living in life. How to cook. How and when to put on underarm deodorant.
Actually I don’t have the first clue of how to sheetrock a house.
And today I don’t regret the sloppy one-sided nightmare divorce one bit. I know in my heart of hearts I did the absolute best that I could…..stressing with WHAT I HAD.

I am extremely blessed with these guys. You can not put a word to parental love.

I am extremely blessed with these guys. You can not put a word to parental love.

I have been calling Uncle Billy and I did that because I had some kind of crazy resentment with him. That he “abandoned” us or something. See, I can still be an idiot. After Carol died we used to think Barb was the last elder left in the family, then we found Jerry Jones but she sadly passed away almost as soon as I found her. Our fathers brother is still here and he such a nice, intelligent man with many many memories. He was so pleasant and patient when I last spoke with him and I had a hundred questions(knowing me yes some of them were strange) He is doing very well and will soon be out of assisted care.

Westfield NJ 1919. The Westfield Sewing Center not yet here (second store from the right) I hope to time travel here some day.

Westfield NJ 1919. The Westfield Sewing Center not yet here (second store from the right) I hope to time travel here some day.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve conquered it all except death. And maybe heavy merges on Rt 46 during rush hour.
When I see people in their twenties freaking out in their car, I laugh to myself. I was like that once too. Climbing the ladder of life. Knocking people down. Building a wall around myself and possessions. Yeah, this materialistic fever fed by American TV and movies. I’m reading a book now that changes all that. After the last France truck terrorism episode… it changed me greatly and I needed to find myself again. I’ll tell you one day soon how I made out.

the inevitable

Friday, April 8th, 2016

If there is an empty space in my life I usually try to take a vitamin D or sit out in the sun for an hour and I usually feel better. I’ve practiced, sometimes successfully Transcontinental Meditation but found that I need the perfect space, time and silence for it to work. If that doesn’t help, then I need to do something creative. Ever since I was a little kid I loved and was fascinated with animation. I used to create them in books by drawing one thing at a time on the bottom of a page. Old school stop action animation. My first one was in one of my fathers old Hardy Boy books of a stick figure running and catching a football.

About ten years back before smart phones, I found out that the camera I was carrying around with me all the time had video. That was the beginning of the end for me. My kids were young and I tried to get stuff of them before they grew up. So I had all these little movies and decided to just mish-mash them together just to get them up on YouTube (for all eternity I was hoping) So there I was with my free time on top of a skyscraper in New York City, my job in pre-press, using my free time to put these little things together. They were ridiculous. But what I remembered most about putting them together was just how much fun I had doing it. I mean, I loved graphics but now add some movement and then music and sound effects, I was in heaven. No plot. No rhyme. No reason. Ridiculous.

"Eraser Head" left and "Where Do The Clouds Go" right.

“Eraser Head” left and “Where Do The Clouds Go” right.


The weird kid that I was, when Greg and I were in Westfield and we went to the Music Staff on Elm street to buy music, Greg would load up on Bob Dylan and classic rock and I was buying albums of sound effects. Sometimes I would make the sound effects myself if I couldn’t find them in the Music Staff. Once again, in today’s world, Internet to the rescue. Now I have an endless library of sound and music.

The two photo albums I received from our aunt Carol were in terrible shape. Something about the Florida humidity and weather just kills old photos. I had promised her long ago that I would do my best to save them. She thought it would take me a week but it is an endless job, the results of which have ended up somewhat archived here on Family web site at Photos That Make You Think.
Nobody makes real photo albums anymore.* That might be one of the saddest things to ever happen to this digital society we now live in.
A lot of the old photos on PTMYT needed quite a bit of restoration in Photoshop before I posted them. You’re welcome.
One of my favorite pieces was a great old photo I found of mom in front of 710 Austin street in Westfield. She can’t be more than 19 years old.
I enjoyed this image of my mother so much that she ended up in a movie. Snowball.
retouchedJOAN
I incorporated Adobe Flash, Photoshop and constructed an entire apartment building in Adobe Illustrator with this movie. Getting the “camera” to pan in and out was a great revelation for me. The thing about this “art” as there is with any art is that there were many accidental explosions of brilliance! I was influenced greatly by the graphic novel Watchmen. The movie was brilliant. The recurring symbols and imagery, the smiley face, the doomsday clock were simply genius. The movie, even more so. In this two minute and twenty-five second YouTube video, “Where Do The Clouds Go?” I tried to make it all “cartoon” and that’s why it’s only 2:25. It was a lot of work but still a lot of fun.

The Radiator Woman and my mother in "Snowball"

The Radiator Woman and my mother in “Snowball”


This was a fairy tale land. So much better than Carteret. So much more elegant! This town was full of little nooks of culture and art. You could feel the energy in the air. Instead of traffic lights there were real policemen directing traffic and crossing people at the streets. The endless rows of shops and food. The old A&P. The clean back alley shortcuts. Grandma and grandpa Hartman lived on a third floor apartment right around the corner from Dads store. We went there often for lunch. These were the days, right? When everything seems so pure and innocent and carefree. Everybody is nice to you. Everywhere you go is magic. Everything has character and depth and the places even smell good. It is all burned into my memory. And then what happens? All the adults eventually die and things change. These were the good times and I thought they would last forever.
musicstaffWestfield was my second childhood. We knew the back alleys and mom and pop stores like the back of our hands. It still remains a charming town but has lost it’s innocence as everything does when you grow up. The smell of Woolworth’s during a busy noon time lunch. Tommies. Little Joes luncheonette. Even the smell of our own fabric store, Westfield Sewing Center. Greg sitting in the back room eating his hot dog lunch and reading the back covers of his newly purchased albums. Where is he now???

*another post for another time.