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But no matter how ill Chris felt, she always spoke to me. I will always cherish this memory and forever be grateful for the opportunity to say goodbye. As days flow on through our lives, the memories and faces will change. I'll remain your friend under sunlight and stars, thinking of you close to my heart. I was deeply saddend to read about the untimely passing of Ellen Fox and Christine Hess. I grew up in Wavecrest on the same terrace as Christine. I went to school with Ellen's brother Neil Fox.
My hearfelt sympathy goes out to the Fox and Hess families. If anyone knows how I can get in touch with the family please e-mail me at YRW aol. It had been at least 35 years since I had last talked to Chris. She was my first girlfriend and she was a ton of fun to be around.
Lloyd and Gail were a "couple" at that time. We were probably 14 and we had fun. When her family moved to Wavecrest I starting hanging out with her brother Danny. Turns out that Danny and my brother Gregory became good friends, but in the process I got to be friends with Christine and Gail. I can still see her skipping across the terrace with that cute smile on her face. Even though it was over 35 years ago that I last spoke to her I was terribly heartbroken when I attended her wake.
I was one of the lucky few that was touched by such a kind soul. Her smile and friendly personality will always live on in my heart. Happy 23rd birthday and my special mother's day present, Bossman, we all miss and love you forever in our hearts. Your loved ones you lose every day and there are no words to say. We all love you with ours hearts, and we will never be apart. Days go by, even though it gets harder to let go, but we know you're in a better place, and right now you are our 'Guardian Angel" in heaven watching over us forever.
We love you Boss, and you will always be in our hearts like we are in yours, R. Our mother was a beautiful woman, inside and out. She was voted the most beautiful girl in her graduating class and remained beautiful until the end.
She will be missed greatly by her family and her many friends. Hey Todd, did you do that girl? I remember asking Todd that question hundreds of times. Todd and I were like brothers, and I can't sit here and write about Todd's legacy without feeling a great sense of loss. I haven't been close in the last ten years with Todd, but that doesn't mean I didn't think of him.
Todd will be missed Hey bud, I know there is a little more fun in heaven now. Todd, you were the single most funniest person that ever lived people could not speak your name with out laughing. Thanks for all the laughter and the jokes. Your memory still makes people laugh. Todd was my cousin and more like a big brother. He was a total crackup whom I always has a blast with.
I truly miss not talking to him. Todd, or Toddy as he was called by me and my whole family, was my friend; my best friend, along with Michael Schwartz. Toddy and I lived on the same terrace in Wavecrest. He used to call for me by playing his trumpet out the window. My mom, may she rest in peace, would always say, "Why doesn't he come up and ring the bell? I remember running into Toddy at a Long Beach street festival.
I introduced him to Ed, my husband. And, as usual, Toddy's first remark to Ed, "Oh, lucky you. You got her after she got boobs. I'll always love him. You were somewhat of a loner. Other than a great friendship with Sam Rosen and me, you pretty much kept to yourself. Thanks for all the high times and great memories. Sam and I will never forget you.
I was shocked to hear of Gary's passing. He was a classmate of mine back to JHS We were friends in school, and we always had lots of good laughs. Gary had a great sense of humor and certainly made an impression here Gary was tall and quiet, that is for sure, but beneath that shy veneer lived a personality brimming with verve and sophisticated wit.
We had known each other from home room. We shared friendly chats with each other, yet nothing more. The other girls and I nicknamed him "Joe Cool" for his mature style and dignified comportment. In other words he wasn't a jerk like the rest of the boys. Yet one day, moments before the H. He suddenly sat so close to me, sharing my desk chair.
His proposal was crafted almost as a riddle. I was taken by his wit and taken by the compliment, but didn't take the question seriously. We laughed about it for a moment and then the bell rang. For some reason I only dated boys from outside of Rockaway. Gary, Godspeed and please accept my broken heart as testimony to your very real coolness in H. You will be missed by all of us. You and friends like Sheila and Fern were a part of our group and we will always remember your bubbly personality and warm heart.
Again, you will be missed by us all. Gail- You were one in a million. We shared so many memories over the years, all of which I will always treasure. I will always remember your great smile and the amazing ability you had to light up a room just by walking into it. My heart goes out to your two wonderful children Adam and Jamie, always know that you live on through them, I love you and miss you.
We haven't kept in touch, I know, but that doesn't mean you haven't touched me. I have many great memories of you and I talking about life, the opposite sex, and Nehru Suits and Chunky Mama's.
I'm sorry to learn of your passing, but know that you're in a much better place now. Michelle left us on Oct. I did not know her during my High School years, but met her when I was in my early 20's. She was 5 years older than I, and I thought that was the coolest thing!
She wore "expensive" makeup and wore stylish clothes! I wanted to be like her, or so I thought. Later I would be her Maid of Honor at her wedding to Jeff, and later on we lost touch, by accident or design Maybe a bit of both, when one decides to take the road to life. She was certainily a beautiful woman and left a daughter of 23 behind. She never lived to see her 50th birthday, so I lived to see it for her.
We gather threads and pieces from all of the people we meet and somehow grow our own personal piece of cloth. Michelle did not have a happy life, but we did share lots of laughs together. I know now that when you called me in the Fall of , you were ill, but did not tell me. I spoke to your brother today, and he agreed that you were probably getting nostalgic and going through your old telephone books to contact old friends.
I know now, that you were really calling to say goodbye. You, Peter, Shelley and me. Arletta will always be remembered by family and friends for the beautiful woman she was. In our hearts forever. She was a beautiful person both inside and out. It's a lifetime ago. She deserves to be remembered fondly.
I will miss you. Gail was my first love. I remember in third grade winning a prize on the boardwalk and choosing a wedding ring that I gave to her. I also remember being separated in the sixth grade and walking into the principal's office demanding we be in the same class.
It was great to see her at the reunion at Tavern on the Green. I will always remember you. Howard Matthew Rosenberg hrosenberg allcomm1. Tommy and I shared the same birthdate. We played football together through the "Glory days" of Seahorse football. Tommy was a great teammate who would have done anything for his fellow teammates. We had a connection that transcended teammates, color or religous background. I will always remember him on "our" birthday. I read that Tommy passed away in Alan Cohen's memorial.
I too remember Tommy as a fun loving, handsome, special guy. We were on the JV Football team together. I was his starting center Alan was better than me but he played Varsity and we became close friends.
I always admired his easy going nature. We were in Geography together too I will always remember you Tommy and think of you from time to time. He was a champion person. Tears came to my eyes. I was a cheerleader when you played.
All the cheerleaders loved you and so did I. I just wanted you to know that. Unfortunately, another of our Far Rockaway brothers has passed on way too soon.
Lonnie was always so full of good spirits and thoughts for his extended Rockaway family. We always enjoyed just hanging out and remembering the privilege of growing up in the "Rock ". I love and miss my Dad; he is so special to me. I know he's somewhere with me. And I know that when I get married I won't walk down the aisle alone. I know that my Daddy will be walking with me. I want to thank everyone that I've seen recently, you are so special as well, and I will keep in touch.
We lived on the same floor on 17th St. You would always come talk to me sincerely, while visiting with my brother. I have great respect for you. Lon, you were one of the good guys.
I wish you peace and know that we will never forget you. You will always be in our hearts. My sincerest condolences on the loss of Lonnie. Although we were not related we share the same last name.
Lonnie and I grew up in Arverne together. His mom, Beatrice, was friends with my Mom. Maybe 8 or 9 years old. We were all a close-knit group.. That was an integral part of growing up in the Rockaways. If there is anything you need please e-mail me and let me know. Barry Bernstein and Family bbernstein01 hvc. Lon Bernstein had a heart of gold. He wasn't well for a long time, however, even in his worst days of health his concern was everyone else's feelings.
He used to call my mom and brother and just want to hear about their day. That is the type of guy Lonnie was, he was a selfless person always willing to give whether it be advice or lunch or even just being there to help.
He truly was an original soul. My brother, Nick DiDio, became very close to Lon, especially in his last years and was with him the day of his passing and all throughout the hospital process. He was like family to us and his loss still effects us today. We KNOW he's in a good place and not in pain anymore. Maria DiDio mariadidio gmail. Betty died in a horrifically freak accident at the age of She was so full of life and joy. Everyone who met her was instantly drawn to her sweet,open and warm nature.
She deserves a tribute to her loving and giving spirit. She will live on in our hearts forever. Her best friend was Karen Schatz - they were cheerleaders. Thank God she had so many happy years enjoying the amazing pleasures of our hometown, last stop on the "A" train. Our relationship took on a myriad of changes as the decades wore on.
She always reminded me how she would change my diapers. Fortunately, we have lots of photos and old home movies to watch. We went to the Bronx Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Freedomland, now Co-op City in the Bronx , she visited me at camp, we loved Manhattan, museums, restaurants, we went to tons of concerts in the 70's, 80's, 90's. My memories go on and on and new ones surface all the time. I hope I will hear from a few 'distant' friends who will comfort me and my family by sharing thoughts and memories.
After Rockaway, Betty lived in many cities due to her husband's relocating every 5years: Cincinatti, Buffalo, Charleston, New Jersey. She loved Dallas and LA the best. Her last lovely home is in Charlotte, NC. She was an AVID animal lover and activist.
She received awards and recognition from the local ASPCA and The Raptor's Center for her devotion and dedication to rescuing injured, abandoned, suffering birds and dogs. Her beautiful backyard became a haven to squirrels, racoons, opposums, an astounding amount of cardinals, bluejays, herons, and birds whose names I don't recall. Then, there was the returning duck family, which every spring for 13 years, gave birth to adorable ducklings in her swimming pool. Tragically, it was in this very same pool that her life would come to a end.
Her life was an important one. We shared 's of concerts together - Jethro Tull was our favorite. I really could fill volumes about the fun and pain we helped each other with and through.
She was one of the ONLY people in my life that loved me absolutely and unconditionally. She sacrificed to save me from demons that threatened to destroy me at one time. She and husband, Eddie opened their home to me, countless times. Her two sons and her husband of 37 years, our sister, Arlene and her two daughters, and my parents, along with aunts, uncles, cousins,and countless friends she made along the way , will keep her soul and spirit alive I am SO grateful for this opportunity to share some of the grief I am feeling.
The Far Rockaway Website is growing everyday and it's existence brings us together in a powerful way. You're in my thoughts daily and you live inside of me. I just heard about Robert's passing. He was a good friend and a close boyfriend for a short while in We met in Mr. Canillo's office doing clerical work in lieu of phys. He lived in Wavecrest until his mom's passing then moved to the Bronx to live with relatives. He attended Lehman College and we hung out at his fraternity house and his aunt's beachclub.
He was outgoing, sweet, and will be missed. He lived in Texas, but returned for reunions and loved re-establishing ties with old friends.
Most of his Rockaway friends do not know that he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in February of He died in October after a valiant fight. He only wanted to be able to survive and lecture children about the dangers of smoking even though he did NOT die of smoking-related lung cancer.
He never refused to treat a child and always went to the ends of the earth for his patients. He truly left his mark on this world. I will miss him always. His high school nickname was "Scoop. In the yearbook, Ernest stated as his goal, "To play college football.
He distinguished himself well enough as a wide receiver for Stony Brook that he landed a job as an assistant coach for St. Afterwards, Ernest coached a football team called The Panthers and they were up until he left because of his illness.
He also taught social studies at Francis Lewis High School, thus also advancing his academic as well as varsity objectives. But, an even greater legacy will be the family he leaves behind. He married Candice in the mids, and they had two beautiful children: In , he was diagnosed with an advanced neuroblastoma, and was given 6 months to live. He valiantly battled his cancer for six years, earning the unending respect of his peers. Barry came with me to the house of my girlfriend's friend in Bayswater.
My girlfriend, Jane Heller, was there too. Barry had brought a record with him. It was "Like a Rolling Stone" by Dylan. He asked how we liked it, but at first we didn't know what to make of it, with that Dylan goat voice. We made him play it a dozen times to his consternation!!! But I became a confirmed Dylan freak after that. I remember his mom as a really nice lady. I was so sad to hear that Barry is not with us any more.
I was just scrolling through these pages and noticed that Barry had passed on. I remember him as one of the first guys I met in the Edgemere Houses in or I remember softball games at and parks as well as climbing over the fence by Jamaica Bay where we were not supposed to be to play "home run derby".
Barry was one of the first wild and crazy guys that I met and until today I remember some of the things we got into. I had always wanted to connect with him again to check him out and just found out that he passed.
All I can say is that he is up there somewhere grabbing a brew and having a good time. I'll miss you buddy. I hadn't seen him since graduation and I was saddened to read about his passing. I will always remember him as part of the fun we had in FRHS. I was quite upset to learn the circumstances surrounding Jim's death. When we were seniors, Jim joined us on the track team to throw the shot put. Both of us joined the NYPD around the same time. We crossed paths quite a few times over his 20 years in the job.
He was a good man with a great sense of humor. He is truly missed. Who would ever think that a fun, innocent day would turn into a night of horror and confusion. Who would ever think or believe Arthur's life would be taken away so fast, so young. I never thought that day would be the last day I would see Arthur.
He was really such a sweet, handsome, all-around nice guy. Arthur has always been in our thoughts and memories- He is very much missed by many of us. The death of Artie Zampino has left a permament mark on all that knew him. Our childhoods were lost on the day his life was taken, he will be remembered always.
Today I am 37 yrs. My friends from the old neighborhood know me as Puerto Rican Dave or D. My window faced the swimming pool in between the two buildings. I remember when Arthur, John, Vinny, Evan and the rest of the gang would hang outside by the pool during summertime waiting for it to open playing chinese handball.
I would set up my speakers on the window sill and mix my music while the guys played. Arthur was truly a loyal friend to all that knew him, and a big brother to me. Arthur had a small gym room down in the basement of this huge parking lot garage where he trained. He'd always invite all of us to train with him, And actually showed me how to use the speed bag.
Arthur was built like a brick wall and someone i wanted to be like who was loved by all. Arthur was a leader and a captain of the Far Rockaway H. He had so much going for him, and i felt like he was meant to do something huge with his life. I remember the loss of Arthur not only changed me, but our community. We were hurt and very, very, angry. I remember Arthur now by telling stories of Arthur and the old neighborhood. I now live in Cape Coral FL.
And about a year ago I ran into someone who also knew Arthur Zampino, and we shared, laughed, and were saddened of the lost of a great human being who I still call my big brother. I'll see you someday, bro. I first met Artie when I was a kid growing up in Far Rock. We hit it off pretty good.
Artie's dad was ultimately in charge and we would have to answer to him in we got in any trouble. Artie and I hung out with each just about every day, including the day of his death.
It still is a terrible memory. Not a year goes by especially June - that I don't think of, and miss him. I grew up with Debbie and last I heard from her was back in the late 80s after Arthur passed. I had known the family for years. I met Debbie in kindergarten, Arthur was just a tyke.
Many years have passed since then and I am wondering what ever happened to Deb and her parents. East Brunswick, NJ Please get in touch with Steve Eisenberg, Patty's brother-in-law, for further information. I will aways have fond memories of our inseparable friendship and all the fun we had.
Though the years drifted us apart, meeting once again with our daughters thanks to this web site was a blessing. I will miss you dearly, my friend. Until we meet again, I will always hold you in my heart.
My sincere sympathies to Patty's family. You will always be in my heart, you brought so much happiness to everybody you encounted through the journey of life. You will be missed by everybody and though you are no longer with us your spirit will be with us through eternity. Whenever we were together you always made me laugh, you will always be in my heart I will miss you very much.
Patty was a rare and special friend. Things happened to Patty that always made one laugh. They were almost unbelievable, but weird things did happen to Patty. She was a true friend and one who is missed.
Her daughters are great and making it in life because of her early influence. Robyn Posner Small Class of To contact the family, our updated email address is topelgroup comcast.
Anyone that knew Marsha knew that she endured many hardships throughout her life both emotional and physical, however she had a good and caring heart and there was nothing she wouldn't do for a person. Marsha was a very good sister to her brother, Allen when we were growing up. I recall the many times we took long walks on the beach by the water together. We had good times together. Unfortunately having breast cancer was a challenge that she had to face and live with for the past eight years.
The past few months were tough for her but she kept on telling me how lucky she was to have the love and support from her family. We all shared memories, stories and feelings about life.
I know Marsha is in a better place now- in peace and not suffering. We will all miss her but we have to be thankful for the time we spent together. His ways were so gentle, so loving and kind. He truly possessed a beautiful mind. Despite his ups, his downs and his pains, he was able to create his immortal refrains. His presence on earth was a blessing in disguise, much more then any could truly realize. We mourn the loss of one so selfless and sweet, his departure has left us with lives incomplete.
Gone but not forgotten, his wonderful memories will stay, locked in our hearts forever, forever and a day. He practiced medicine as an anesthesiologist, affiliated with Yale University School of Medicine. I encourage anyone who knew Pat and reads this to include any memories they may have of Pat. Flay was truly a wonderful women. As a friend of her son Harold, I had the pleasure of knowing her, her husband Harold Sr.
Flay always welcomed Harold's friends and always treated us as members of the Flay family. She was a special lady and her personality and outlook were as bright as the sun. I am a better person for knowing her and saddened by her passing. I will forever cherish the memories of you As you will always be in my heart. This was Lisa's mantra. She was always motivated and positive.
We were majorettes together but friends first, since fourth grade. My memories of Lisa always bring a smile; her Barbra Streisand imitations, "I got 36 expressions.
Sweet as pie to tough as leather Being first in the crowd to have her own car, a Cougar, Lisa shared her car and time with "The Girls. I last saw Lisa at our 15th Reunion and she told me she had a son. I hope Seth gets to see this so that he can know how very popular, very generous and very cool his mother was.
One of a kind! You touched my life Lisa, and I was priviledged to have known you. With the fondest of memories,. I was very saddened to learn of the passing of my very dear friend Natalie. She was the first smile I saw when I came to the schools in the Rockaways.
I met her at JHS in the 8th grade; we had home room together. I was a very shy, quiet girl then. She introduced herself to me and we became fast and close friends throughout the years. She introduced me to my very close and dear friend, Joan Yurgel Zimmermann, whose friendship I have cherished all these years. Nat, Joan and I used to spend many, many days together going to the beach, hanging out at each others houses, going to FRHS football games, going into the city Manhattan and just growing up together Nat was very outgoing..
She had a beautiful soul, a warm heart and a vibrant personality. We also did SING together. We had so much fun, so many laughs.. When I got married, Nat wanted to give me a gift that would really mean something to me from her It's very hard to say good-bye to someone who was a very special part of my childhood.
Nat, I pray that your life was fulfilled You will be very missed. I see you every day in her eyes, and I rejoice! I was truly shocked to learn she had passed, and hope someone out there can tell me what became of her after Sue Feder Monkshould comcast.
Shelly Zwilling was my cousin by marriage. Shelly was a very sweet person. Unfortunately we did not keep in touch too much. The last time I had seen Shelly was at my husband's unveiling in Shelly and her husband lived in Brooklyn and were re-constructing an old house. One night I not to sure of how long ago , the house caught fire and when the fire was out, the firemen found Shelly's body.
She had been murdered and the house set on fire to cover the crime. The police have never been able to prove who did it, but they believe it was one of the construction men working on the house. Shelly was really sweet and she did not deserve to die this way. I only knew Shelly from on when I met my husband. She was at my wedding in Shelly left behind her husband, mother and brother.
When did you leave us? What was your life like? Did you have children? Where have you lived? So many questions, and now I will never have the answers. Did you ever think of me?
Maybe it was just me who never forgot. You will forever be a special part of me, and I will never forget you. You were and always will be my first love.
If anyone knows anything about Russell's life, when or how we lost him, please contact me at: I would like to encourage everyone to have a colonoscopy and an endoscopy on a regular basis. You must have both. My brother loved life, and I remember him mostly with a big smile and a wonderful sense of humor. His joyful presence is missed, but his spirit is with me always. I hope everyone understands that I need to post more of my feelings about Marty. Marty had no children of his own and was Uncle Marty to the children of some of our friends.
Those of you know who I mean. He treated his " Nieces and Nephews" as if they were his own. Marty was a great success financially but it never went to his head.
He was just a Good Ole Rockaway Boy. I hope I'm done expressing myself, but I loved him enough not to make any promises about that. We were more like brothers than friends. To all who knew and loved him Joel, Howie, Les, etc. Marty, I hope you're at peace and spending time with Mickey Mom.
Marty was my oldest friend from Far Rockaway. We grew up on Beach 36th Street, on the bay side. I remember him when we were both too young to remember much of anything sharing a playpen.
I remember visiting him after he had his hernia operation and all he wanted to do was play baseball. We played stickball, punchball, stoop ball, baseball, all on 36th St.
I am glad I got to rekindle my friendship with Marty during the year celebration and again at my 30th reunion he came with me so he could visit with old friends. I was in absolute disbelief when I heard about the passing of my friend Robert Soldo. I just found out earlier this year from a mutual friend. Rob was always encouraging as well as optimistic. I still have some pictures of us jamming in Emery's basement Herb was the nicest person in the world; kind, sweet, devoted to family and friends.
He left a family who adored him and many loving friends. You lived in the apartment just downsatairs from me in Wavecrest. We had some great times together. While I was in Florida this year from January to April we spoke many times and planned to get together. Your illness and treatment prevented that reunion. I'm now back in California and wish with all my heart that I could have seen you one more time.
It's said that in Heaven everyone is 30 years of age and in glowing, perfect health. I hope that's true and you are as radiant and as vibrant as I remember you. I am so sorry to learn of your passing. I am also so sorry we fell out of touch after you moved to Florida. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your sincere friendship. Yours was amongst one of the truest friendships I have ever been blessed with. Could we ever explain to anyone now, how good it was to be alive in the Rockaway Far Rockaway of the s?
With love, Cristine Erickson. I was going through the Memories page and saw Hugh's name. I was so sorry to read about his passing. I met Hugh when we were in the 6th grade at P. I think of him often. Truth be told, he was better than me.
I found him to be a lovely guy and I was saddened to hear of his passing at such a young age. To contact the Chapel please feel free to call or Sue's family has used her actual working web site as a tribute to Sue for friends which not only includes loads of photos, but the eulogy she wrote for herself, "Who Will Speak For Me.
Please sign their guestbook as well. Janet Brodsky Janetedpsych cox. One of our neighbors from Far Rockaway wrote: Through the years our friendship grew. When we moved to Long Island, it was more difficult to keep in contact with one another.
Sheila never married again and lived a pretty lonely life. We would say "We have to get together," but unfortunately that day never came. The last time I spoke to Sheila was six years ago.
Again, she was so happy to hear from me and of course we both planned to get together and stay in touch more often. That day never came! Today, I started thinking about her and called her house. Her mom, Betty, now 85, started crying and told me Sheila passed away, "alone" in her apartment this past May. I cannot stop crying!! My only thought is "when you say to a friend or relative that we must get together," mean it! Get together often and let that person know how much you care for them.
I feel very bad because I never got the chance to tell Sheila how much my husband, children and I cared for her. There will be visitation this Thursday from 6 - 9 p. Ellen was much loved by all who knew her. She will be greatly missed. May God be with her and her family. By regular mail, send to: Box Pittsfield, MA Online, please go to this page and scroll down to "Designate Your Donation" after filling out the form. My sister Ellen passed away a year ago this Sept. There are so many wonderful things I could say about her, but two things from the end of her life say it all.
I walked into her hospital room about two weeks before she died. She had vacation magazines spread out on her bed, planning a trip for when she recovered. I loved her, and I miss her. My name is Steve Feldman and I graduated in If you need to reach me my email is Sfel optonline. We were each others first loves and about 10 yrs. We'd been inseparable ever since.
He married the greatest woman in the world who made him happier then anyone else ever could. Anyone that knew him, knew he was the kindest, sweetest person you could ever meet. I wanted everyone to know that he passed away on Aug 18th, 2 days after his wedding anniversary and 2 wks before his 48th birthday. My heart is empty without my best friend. He will be 4ever missed by all who remained close to him. He will always be in my heart, he will always be my first true love, and I will love him 4ever.
Jessica was a loving friend to all who knew her. We had been friends for 27 extraordinary years- we joked that we couldn't possibly be old enough to have sustained a friendship for that long. Rikki was my first cousin.
I remember how handsome he was. They lived next door to us in Bayswater and during his teen years he looked and dressed like Happy Days' "Fonzie. Rikki and Carol moved to Phoenix almost 20 years ago and loved it out here. Even after he became ill in , he stayed in touch with the world via his HAM radio hobby. He also was an inveterate reader and gun collector.
Al Biener, Class of albiener sbcglobal. Gail Niemetz, Class of mamatuti aol. You were a very dear friend to me, always. I love you and will always love you. You were a kind and generous soul, who everyone loved. You will be missed by all, but never forgotten. You will be in our hearts forever. Paul was more like a brother to me then a friend. I will miss him forever. She is survived by her brother Bobby, sister Joanne and mother Arlene. David Millner casademillner aol.
Edie Schenk Ross, Class of photolady1 mac. I see another good friend of my sister's, Shelly Zwilling is also on this memorial site. They remained good friends until Shelly died. When I saw their names on here an incredible wave of nostalgia and sadness came over me all at once. I was nine when Barbara died and I looked up to all of them. At the time they seemed so grown up to me and so much older.
I guess that's how I'll always remember them. No matter how old I become, they will always be people that I look up to, just like my sister. Zoe was a great guy, we all loved and cared for him. He is survived by his loving wife, Gerri Herbert-Papathomas, his son Thomas, and his daughter Christina.
I guess I was Zoe's first official business partner, we always worked hard to make extra money and it was truly a blesssing when he became a member of my family. Zoe was more than a brother-in-law to us, he was a really considered a blood brother. Zoe's kind heart and genorosity to all people and charities as an important part of these past few years.
I will mourn for him always and pray that God continues to grant peace and help of his holy Spirit to comfort my sister, niece, nephew, and all those who had known him. Anyone interested in raising money by having a fishing competition to support some of his charities please call Maura Herbert or , I would love to help honor his good works.
Any ideas are welcome. Thank you and Blessed be. It would be wonderful to have a yeary event in his memory and support charities as well. He was active in Alzheimers organization, orphanages, and foster kids,as well as many others.
Any ideas or help will be very much appreciated. We, The Class of love you and we miss you! You were a very special man taken from us to early in the prime of your life.
I remember you when we were younger, always singing. Your beautiful voice was silenced too soon. If you were not singing, you were using your beautiful voice to spread the good news of the Gospel and giving people the pathway to heaven. That's why you were killed - because people didn't want to hear the message you were delivering so they took your life too soon, but your soul will live on forever.
You will forever be in our hearts. This is my older brother who was known as "Rev". Indeed he lived up to his name, he lived and preached the word of God without fear or regret. He was a God-sent angel who touched and changed the loves of all who entered his presence. Rest on, my brother, take your rest, your life and words still linger on. I love you, Evangelist Antoine.
Dennis was my first date New Years Eve and my first real boyfriend. He was on the swim team, a diver, and had a varsity letter which he gave me for my sweater. We were in the same homeroom, Mr. We did not keep up after graduation and so I don't know what he did with his life but I hope he was happy.
I'll always remember the tall blond athlete that was my first crush! I was saddened to see the message re: Don Pedro tapped me on the shoulder from behind. Don Pedro squeaked at the waist when he danced. But such a noble head. And we went off to Watutsi on the terrace. I didn't know what a present was until my eleventh birthday. I gripped the table to steady myself and broke out in goose-pimples. At home Mother was holding a brown-paper parcel. I took it breathing heavily.
Out rolled a pair of grey socks. Next, Mother brought me home to a black dockland slum called Pitt Street and christened me George.
You didn't get lower than Pitt Street. Even in those days the police patrolled it in pairs. If you moved at all it could only be up.
And we did, very slightly. When I was a couple of years old the family was rehoused on a new council estate in Norris Green on the edge of town. Since the rest of Pitt Street moved with us, along with the equally notorious Scotland Road, the atmosphere continued to be full of fists.
Families like ours stored coal in the bath to stop it being stolen. But we had the luxury of three bedrooms. The smallest was reserved for me alone because for the first fourteen years of my life I nervously wet the bed.
As a punishment I would be locked in there without heat or light and told there were ghosts. My parents were both Liverpudlians.
Mother was born Ada Brown, a name I now use when attempting to travel incognito. She, a Protestant, married my father, Frederick Jamieson, when she was sixteen. He was a Roman Catholic and so virtually she dropped one child a year: Apart from us there were several who died at birth.
Being a middle child I never had new clothes. Just grey hand-me-downs, patched, darned, frayed, hanging off my scrawny frame. Even my clogs - then de rigueur among poor scouse kids - even these were hand-me-downs. I thought I should never see the end of those clogs coming down to me, hard wooden shells with a steel rim nailed on to the undersides.
These rims were always falling off and had to be hammered back on, so one felt like a horse. In her youth Mother was pretty and flirtatious, with fine brown hair and eyes and good teeth. She adored to go out dancing or 'jigging' as she called it. This was hardly ever since she was always pregnant. My first impression of her was that she didn't like me. There was so little between us that was physical. But she had a large heart for taking in strangers.
Big blue-eyed Roddy, who went to sea when I was very young, was constantly bringing back strays. One was called Reggie Endicott, half-Indian, always laughing, fabulous-looking, who stayed with us for a long time and shook up the house by buying a gramophone and playing Frankie Lane records until the plaster cracked.
An Australian, Bernie Cartmell, followed Roddy in through the door one day. He was skinny and floppy, all hands and feet. We called him 'the long streak of piss' and wondered when he would leave.
And there was a Mexican girl, Beautiful Phyllis. Mother had gone out to the lavatory in the morning and found Phyllis in there asleep. In her arms was a baby covered with sores. Of course Mother took them both in.
There were always processions through the house. Usually they slept where they fell. Father was a cook in the Royal Navy and not often home.
When he was, he would hand out bars of chocolate white with age and while we munched he would describe exotic seaports or indulge his passion for oysters washed down with Guinness. Father was as short as Mother, slightly built but good-looking, with strong dark eyes which I inherited and a heavenly, puckish smile.
He was also a scoundrel, a heavy drinker and spent every penny on the booze. I was mad about him. The house was always active, but I don't recall many other relations. My only living grandparent, Mother's mother, was so taken aback by the sound of the first air-raid siren that she had a heart attack and died on the spot. One of Father's brothers was said to own a Stradivarius, but we never saw it.
Father's irresponsibility meant that Mother had to work very hard to keep us alive. She heaved sacks of potatoes and boxes of oranges at a grocery shop and during the Second World War made bombs at the Fazakerly bomb factory.
Because of the daily proximity of TNT, she lost much hair and all her teeth. Doris Paper, Mother's best friend from across the road, worked in the same establishment. They would go off together every day in their. One morning in the factory Doris said, 'I feel all queer. TNT can do that to you. She and Mother were brought home in an ambulance.
Mother made a pot of tea and Doris started yelling, 'I've got to go to the lav! I've got to go to the lav! Mother found her dead on the toilet seat. I was a problem child. Apart from the bed-wetting, I was born with a severe calcium deficiency. This led to frequent accidents which left me unable to walk. On a poaching trip I fell off a twenty-foot wall on Lord Derby's estate, escaping from the game-keepers who were trying to shoot me. The fall immobilised my legs for three months.
Roddy and Freddie constructed a go-cart from an orange-box and old perambulator wheels so that I could be pulled around the neighbouring streets. It was always breaking down, or smashing into walls when they raced it. People kept finding me lying in roads, which irritated them after a while. There were weekly calcium injections at the Alder Hay Children's Hospital.
If I were out of action, Mother would have to carry me piggy-back. She could rest on the tram, then pick me up again and carry me to the hospital. These journeys were made in complete silence, with Mother's mouth set in an unnerving way.
Eating was another problem. I didn't take to it at all. We lived on a basic diet of brown-sauce sandwiches but Mother would bribe me to eat with chip butties, which I did like. Sometimes I stole beetroots from allotments and ate them raw, or carrots which I would clean by scraping them on a wall and share with my mongrel pointer Prince.
Roddy didn't bring back only people. He brought back the first bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup I ever saw. And the first post-war banana. It was cut into six pieces, one each. Such a bizarre taste. I spat mine out and haven't touched them since. And when I was seven years old, he brought back Prince. We adopted each other immediately.
He would follow me to school and wait outside the gates until I reappeared. He followed me to the Saturday Morning Pictures at the Broadway Regal, running along behind the tramcar, and while I was inside enjoying my favourite series, The Perils of Pauline , he would sit patiently outside surveying the street.
As the one whom nobody wanted in their gang, I always felt safe with Prince. His only vice was killing cats. He murdered about twenty of them before a great tom cured him with several nasty blows in the face. Liverpool had twenty-three miles of docks, the largest dockland in the world at that time, and was bombed heavily during the war. When the siren blew at night, everyone was supposed to run into the Anderson shelter. These were made of corrugated iron and were to be buried in the garden and covered with earth.
It was stuck out the back at a lopsided angle in a few inches of soil. There were three bunks on either side full of fleas and bugs. I detested going in there even more than into the single bedroom and if Father were home he would allow me to crouch close to him under the hedge while explosions shook the house and the sky over Liverpool turned red. But what I most remember is the smell of salt in his uniform.
My schooldays - such torture. Those nuns, those priests, those hopeless teachers, those disgusting children! Although he never went to church himself, Father insisted we were brought up as strict Catholics. I was sent to St Theresa's Primary School, a vicious and backward institution run by the clergy where one was forced to one's knees four times a day in prayer.
It was very rough. We spent a great deal of time cleaning the floors with dusters tied to our clogs and if we were slow the nuns would rattle rulers between our knees. Knees were the big thing at St Theresa's. On the whole my education consisted of learning how to run fast. I was the ultimate weed. My head looked far too large and this was emphasised by Mother's penchant for cutting my hair into a Henry V pudding bowl, If they weren't calling me Sissy they called me Chinky, and I was.
It was fortunate that after school the staff would inspect all the air-raid shelters because often they would discover me inside one, tied down to a bunk. It wasn't so dreadful being tied on one's back. But being tied face downwards left ugly red marks across one's cheeks from the bare bunk springs.
Once a gang held me to the ground while several more jumped rapidly up and down on my feet. This meant another term missed, more piggy-back rides to hospital, and Roddy and Freddie wheeling me about in a box. In an attempt to freshen up my life, Miss Filben - an eager young Canadian teacher with large expensive teeth - decided to make me class monitor with responsibility for distributing books.
As I came by with the decomposing red textbooks I can't remember what they were, Miss Filben never managed to get very far into instruction , the urchins lashed out with their iron-clad clogs. After a fortnight of being rendered black and blue by my privilege, I had had enough and the next time that breezy Canadian accent came lilting over the desks - 'The books please, Jamieson' - I froze.
Miss Filben tried again. I was paralysed and she slapped me in the face. I slapped her back. We were all flabbergasted. Her pretty eyes filled with tears but I lost the job.
Anything else in the academic line? What do you want to be when you grow up? One was supposed to say 'train driver' or 'priest'. Eventually they awarded me a bronze medal for life- saving. Vincent Patterson was my only friend at school. He was dark and pale like me but bigger.
He didn't enjoy fighting but was good at it if somebody insisted. We were very religious together and decided not to swear. For such a place Vincent was exceptionally ethereal and he might well have become a priest.
One day he went on an outing to Bromborough in Cheshire and drank from a polluted stream. Three days later he was dead. I was thirteen years old, very shaken, and committed the mortal sin of missing Sunday Mass.
During Confession the priest said, 'Why weren't you in church on Sunday? Get out of this church! A by-product of my loss of faith was a loss of guilt over poaching. These were about half-an-hour's walk into the countryside from Norris Green, dreamy spots on a sunny afternoon, but the arrival of myxomatosis put an end to it. Not long after Vincent's death, Mother had Father evicted from the house, which therefore ceased to be home for me too. Long voyages at sea, and when he was home getting plastered in pubs on rum with beer chasers, he would go Absent Without Leave.
There would be fights, Father coming off worse. Besides, Mother was now getting on very well with Bernie Cartmell. After Father's eviction, she and Bernie lived as man and wife. Father was eventually invalided out of the Royal Navy with shrapnel wounds in his stomach and legs which refused to heal.
He worked briefly as a bus driver, then tramped round Liverpool on a tiny pension. Just before my fourteenth birthday I had another terrible shock. The school leaving age went up to fifteen. The most intelligent course of action was to ignore it - until the authorities threatened Mother with prosecution.
One day the Headmaster came into the classroom. We stood up in uneasy silence. While talking to the teacher, he suddenly span round. It came from over there. Hurt and angry, I yelled, 'You horrible man, I told you it wasn't me! Mother barged straight in. The Headmaster made the mistake of trying to patronise her. You bloody Roman Catholic, I'll kill you if you touch one of my kids again! She was jumping up and down, hitting him. I didn't want my kids brought up bloody Catholics anyway, I'm sick to death of them spendin' half their bloody life on their knees prayin'!
The word went round about Raving Ada of Teynham Crescent and my final months at school were largely untroubled. What a hard life it is for mothers and head-masters in the slums. If I have given the impression that home life and school life, though brutish, were continuous, I shall correct that now. From the age of ten I started moving out. John's brother was briefly engaged to my sister Theresa goodness, the times Tess was 'engaged' as she called it.
When I began to drift away from home it was towards them. They employed me as errand boy at their shop, which was famous for bacon. I hauled sides of it which were much larger than myself. Half-a-crown a day plus tips, 8a. This was at weekends and during the holidays. Later, whenever I chose to ditch school, which was often every other day. John was large, fair and given to mirth. I tried to imitate it and in doing so fell between two stools, as far as accents go, so that later when I moved to London it became easy for me to speak with no accent at all.
John and Edna turned into surrogate parents and I lived for long periods in their warm flat. For the first time I encountered wine and uncracked crockery and could sneak slugs of whisky from the bulbous cocktail cabinet with a musical cigarette-box on top. Edna became pregnant, a business one vaguely understood in a creepy way.
Something about it had been indicated to us at school via readings from the Bible, but on the whole the nuns and priests, celibate themselves, circumnavigated the problem by filing it en bloc under 'Sin' and trying to pass their sense of revulsion on to us.
At home, where we were frightened even to put our arms round each other, the entire subject was taboo. But one cannot live long in a town like Liverpool and remain ignorant of the facts of life.
The red-light district in the port was Sodom and Gomorrah with flick-knives. From one's earliest memory the prostitutes were a city sight. It was said that if ever a virgin walked down Lime Street the lions outside St George's Hall would roar. Each Friday evening the girls would gather on Lime Street Station, wearing red lips and red shoes, to meet trains bringing in the G. We would follow, making grabs at the sprays of chewing gum which went flying across the platform as the carriage doors crashed open.
If any girlfriends were there to greet their beaux, the tarts would flay them with handbags: If this sounds melodramatic, be assured that scarcely a day passed when I was not subjected to some barbarism by the local tough boys, so that early on there was forced upon me a sense of my own uniqueness.
Thank God, through cutting so much school to work in the Market, I was rich. As a bonus John would push a bunch of tea coupons into my hand rationing still prevailed. With my wealth I bought Mother presents - scarves, stockings, cheap jewellery. After he was turned out of the house, Father would hang around the Market or the school gates and ask me for a few bob. I gave him what I had, knowing he would make for the nearest pub.
When at the age of fourteen I made my first court appearance - Prince had returned to his old ways, been caught biting the head off a cat, and the outraged owners prosecuted me - I was able to pay the fine of ten shillings. Funnily enough, I hardly ever bought anything for myself. The bliss of those first shoes. It was like walking in bed.
My hair grew out of its embarrassing pudding bowl and, with all the bicycling, I developed slight roses in my cheeks.
I came to work one morning, put on my white coat and was about to nip under the counter to collect the orders, when Edna said, 'Why, Nugget, you're quite beautiful. Physical references to myself always made me feel ill. I assumed I was ugly, a belief most others seemed happy to confirm. Later I checked up in the mirror. Thin and stunted for my age. Eyes dark, greenish brown, eyelashes very long and eyebrows finely arched. This part of my face was always held in a deep frown, except when it lifted into bewilderment.
No spots - I never went through that ordeal. A bit of red in an otherwise gruesome pallor. So what was new? Soon after, returning from the Pierhead on the No. Unexpectedly he knocked me in the ribs.
In comparison many of my contemporaries were hulking brutes covered with fluff. Although I neither wanted to play with dolls nor dress up in Mother's clothes, I was constantly taunted for being like a girl and yes, I wanted to be one. Until my loss of faith I would have long conversations with God each night, asking Him to make me wake up normal, wake up a girl, wake up whatever it was proper for me to be.
Instinctively, without knowing why, we all knew me to be a misfit. Therefore I decided to take myself in hand. It was no longer any good wanting to be a girl.
I wanted to be a man. When nobody was around I croaked away in the lower registers until my voice was forcibly broken or at least roughened up. I couldn't speak for five days and the Indian doctor told Mother I had 'done something mental' to my voice.
Far more important, I privately determined to go to sea. All the other men in my family did, even little Ivor in the end. It seemed to be one of the things that made you a man. My grocery deliveries took me to the smartest districts of Liverpool.
Since these were a long way from the town centre, I would be given cups of tea when I arrived. One of my favourite destinations was the house of Mrs Rossiter.
To me she was a creature from outer space, with her hair-dos and long fingernails, her Tradesmen's Entrance and sprinkler on the lawn. Mr Rossiter was an important man with Cunard and when I confided in his wife she arranged for him to interview me in the Cunard Building itself.
I was fifteen and looked about eleven years old. It cut through all the red tape such as medical tests and parental consent, which was a boon because I had told none of my family or friends about this - not even John and Edna who were more important than anyone - in case they raised obstructions.
The night before departure I came home from work and said, 'Mum, I'm leaving tomorrow to join a cadet ship. On a damp November morning I found myself at Lime Street Station with a small brown cardboard suitcase, waiting for the train to Bristol and the cadet ship S.
My only personal memento - rosary beads. The course was very intense - six weeks long. I never could do them. I did bows instead. The first three weeks were spent in nissen huts. There were about two dozen of us. We were issued with blue serge trousers and a boiler jacket, thick woolly socks, square-bashing boots and a beret to be worn at a jaunty angle.
There were no fittings. Everything simply came at you out of a big cupboard. All mine were far too large. I looked like a vaudeville act. Up before dawn, ablutions, tidy the bed and locker, polish buttons and boots, clean the washroom, marching, breakfast, formal classes, lunch, potato-peeling and floor-scrubbing, physical jerks, dinner, lights out at 9p. There was no time for conversation. The second three weeks were more romantic.
We moved on to the S. Vindicatrix herself, a three-masted hulk slurping up and down alongside the River Severn, where one was taught the practical skills of seamanship. I dashed up the rigging, out along the yard, and shouted 'Land ahoy!
We're putting you in charge of the yacht. The Captain shouted 'Nor' Nor' East! Every order on the Bridge had to be repeated to ensure there were no errors of communication. At night we fell asleep exhausted, soothed by the creaking of the ship and the sound of water. I loved it all, especially this new experience 'companionship', even when the others bragged about girls and I went peculiar inside. My only reservation was in having to occupy a bunk when most of the class were swinging glamorously in hammocks.
Shore leave came at Christmas but those unable to afford the fare home were allowed to stay on board. It promised to be glum until an extravagant food parcel arrived from John and Edna. Included was a huge fruit cake. I cut myself a slice and passed the rest on. In return, back came a hunk of haggis which I tasted for the first time and found not unpalatable.
We shared everything, cracked jokes, and in the evening ambled over to the Mission House where the tea ladies in flimsy paper hats made a sense of occasion out of lemonade and buns. On Boxing Day three of us slipped away to the Bristol pubs and got tiddly: It was the most delightful Christmas I've ever had. By and large I loathe Christmas, bolt the doors, and watch television until it goes away.
My final report was creditable, apart from knots, which were disastrous. We signed each other's group photograph, pledged eternal friendship, vowed to meet up in Cairo or Rio or Tokyo, and all went home. If you want it. It slowed up for a moment when on a cold February night in I found myself with Colin at the entrance to the vast blackness of Manchester docks.
In fact my heart almost stopped. It was so dreadfully silent - apart from the squeaking of rats and the ominous ripple of unseen water. Black lines of cranes and sheds fell away into pools of ink. It started to sleet again, softening the smell of resin and old fibre. A policeman checked our papers from his little sentry-box and let us pass. I screwed up my eyes, stuck my head forward, and stumbled after him into the murk, trying to avoid coils of rope and long cables mooring dead ships to the wharfside.
Suddenly the black hull of the Pacific Fortune hung over us. Except for half-a-dozen hurricane lamps the ship was in darkness. The sailors were ashore. I followed Colin up the gangplank. At the top a man stepped out from the shadows. He was about fifty and cube-shaped. Swinging me into the lamplight he looked me up and down, then said over his shoulder in a thick Glaswegian accent, 'Och, Colin, I thought we was gettin' a laddie! This was Mr Macdonald, my boss, the Bo's'n. We crossed the deck, went down the gangway, flicked on a light, along passages, down again, along more passages, down, down, to the aft of the ship where the sea crew had their quarters.
An iron door was opened and I was shown into a small cabin. Danny will be back soon - he'll explain everything. Sign the list tomorrow at 9a. There were three bunks in the cabin. The two lower ones had already been taken. I clambered up into mine and sat there nervously swinging my legs. An hour later the door opened and Danny came in. He was about nineteen or twenty, skinny with an unexpectedly studious air. Danny had a crisp tongue which I later discovered enabled him to hold his own among the bigger, rougher sailors.
Robby, a junior like myself but a couple of years older, followed. Robby was amiable enough but overweight and afflicted with boils and indelicate odours. I was the youngest crew member, the only one who had never before been to sea.
Danny showed me where to hang up my toothbrush, all that sort of thing, and said, 'I'm bollocked so it's lights out. Suddenly there was a rumpus outside the door. Drunken sailors crashing back from the bars, a sound which was to panic me often in the future.
The door sprang open and a light went on. Three young mariners were hooting round the cabin. They weaved across to my bunk and started to tug at the bedclothes. The ringleader, a heavy leathery crewman about twenty- five years old, was bellowing in a Scots slum voice, 'C'mon, let's have a look! Ooh, 'e's wearing pyjamas! Danny was shouting, Fuck off, Jock! We want our sleep if you want your breakfast!
Robby was giggling uneasily and playing with a boil on his neck. The alarm shook me rigid. Robby was already pulling on his trousers and saying, 'Get a move on, we've got to get the mess going before the sailors turn up, I'll show you the routine. We were the first up. Robby led the way along brilliant red decks and into the sailors' mess, which was spotless and had to be kept that way by us.
He showed me how to make the tea, set the table for the crew, trot along - everything was done at a trot - to the Petty Officers' Mess and set it up for the Bo's'n, Colin and the Ship's Electrician known as 'Sparks' , then along more corridors to meet Chief Ship's Cook Heywood who resembled a barrel of lard.
His face opened in a grin and he said, 'Well I'll be blowed, whatever next! They lived amidships with their own mess and waited on the officers and passengers. There was a sharp distinction between the sea crew, who actually moved the vessel, and the stewards, who provided service for the elect. The sailors dismissed them as a 'bunch of fairies'. Most of the stewards were English and all the sailors seemed to be Scotsmen called Jock, coarse-grained types yet good at heart.
The passengers were even further away, somewhere in heaven - the Pacific Fortune was a 9, ton freighter carrying general cargo but with room for a dozen or so banana-boat travellers. One never saw them unless 'scruberising' their decks or painting the scuppers where the water ran off. Captain Perry one saw only when he chose to make the ship's round like Matron in a hospital. Having been introduced to the hot, steaming galley it was time to trot back to the sailors' mess to clear up the tea and ashtrays.
The crew would work until about 8a. Afterwards Robby and I had to dash away to serve the Petty Officers. Colin said I had a choice - to call the Bo's'n 'Sir' or 'Bo's'n'.
I chose the latter because it sounded so nautical. When all this had been set in motion one was permitted to eat too, for about five minutes, before the clearing up had to be done. My duties were divided into one week in the mess, one week on deck, plus serving tea and breakfast daily. Mess duty was no joy.
Waiting on the sailors, cleaning out their quarters, scrubbing floors, polishing brass, waxing teak, lunch, tea - after which many of the sailors would finish for the day - dinner, collapse. Our part of the ship was usually silent by 9p.
Scrubbing in the fresh air is more entertaining than scrubbing in the bowels so I preferred deck work, especially when entering or leaving a port. My overseer on deck was a taciturn Scot. I can't remember his name but presume it was Jock. Since he had no regard for words I learnt as I went along. The first voyage began. The stevedores came on duty and cast us off at dawn.
Winding the steel hawsers on to the bollards made my palms bleed. Jock said, 'Put these on', and my hands disappeared up to the elbows in deck gloves.
But I lost some of my excruciating shyness and began asking questions which Jock ignored with a friendly smile. At Liverpool the ship floated past the green bronze birds on top of the Liver Building. Father said that if one saw them flapping it was a premonition of tragedy at sea. First week out of port: In the mornings I ran up to the fo'c's'lehead to retrieve the flying fish which had inadvertently suicided there. First come, first served, delicious for breakfast. And at the end of the day, while the crew were gambling or unwinding in their bunks, I climbed to a secret place on the poop deck and sat on a pile of ropes in my oilskin.
Out in the Atlantic after dark the world is eerily bright. I wondered many things - and especially: The sailors began to take off their clothes, which was very disconcerting. I clung on to my jumper and black trousers. We worked without shoes or socks unless the steel decks became too hot. We put up a canvas swimming-pool for the passengers. About two weeks out: I was running along the deck in the early morning when a remarkable smell hit me.
The relentlessness of salt had abated, and a heavy scent was in the air. Even the old hands were growing frolicsome on it. Eight hours later - land! On the horizon a low green island wobbled between the blue water and the sky. My first palm trees. I had never been anywhere in my entire life and now - whack! I kept rushing the sides of the ship and shouting, 'Can't we get off now?
The ship rode at anchor all day in the Bay of Kingston, waiting for a berth. I asked if we might swim ashore like the sailors do in films with a Polynesian setting. Cook Heywood said, 'Ever seen sharks, laddie? An old salt had become very agitated. Apparently the saying goes: Ours disappeared on the second night and the old salt lived to sleep again.
Cook Heywood picked up a bucket of bones and offal and tipped it over the side. At once, and I mean at once, the water convulsed in paroxysms of pink foam and teeth. It was absolutely mesmerising. The ship was overrun by hawkers in jazzy clothes with whom the crew bartered furiously. Last to arrive was a black woman of enormous size. She wore a peppermint-green blouse which couldn't have been cut lower, a blue skirt daubed with flowers, and a flamingo scarf tied round her head.
She flapped on board in sandals. When she moved everything moved because she wore no undergarments. This was Cynthia, the washerwoman, who had come to take the sailors' laundry ashore. Obviously she was very popular and knew all the men by name. They were phenomenal, and running down them was an unstoppable exudation of sweat. I emerged damp and red with the promise that 'One night, darlin, I's gonna show you der reeeel Kingston. They looked incongruous, seedy even, in that tropical landscape.
Officially the party was in honour of a Royal Navy battleship moored in the bay. A group of young matelots moved towards me and I overheard 'Look at that skin! Only minutes before, I had discovered Coca-Cola, an invention of genius.
So Coca-Colas started to arrive. For the first but not the last time I was horribly sozzled. They had fixed the Cokes with rum. The next morning I made another discovery. Double agony, because our cabin was at the bottom of the ship, just over the screws, where the heat is at its most aggressive. True, there was a porthole. But this could not be opened in harbour because of rats. In fact it couldn't be opened at sea either because we should have been drowned.
But when Cynthia, smoking a cigar, turned up to take me along the Kingston Waterfront, I knew exactly what to order. In and out of the little wooden bars we went, where three-piece tin-can bands make the sound of thirty, and smiles leer at you out of clouds of marijuana smoke - eventually I ordered so many rum and Cokes that I went quite off them.
Cristobal, where South America begins. We went ashore across a solid red carpet of cockroaches the size of sparrows. Here the issue of salt tablets was added to my chores. I hardly needed them myself, being a salt addict. Salt over everything, even over anchovies, even today when I'm supposed to be on a sodium-restricted diet.
Sliding out of the Canal into the boundless blue clarity of the Pacific Ocean, we almost bumped into a whale. The idea was to avoid ramming it. The whale rose out of the sea like a cathedral, waved and gracefully disappeared.
This went on for twelve hours because the animal had adopted our ship as a playmate. If you ram them you drive right into a mass of blubber and it sticks, forcing the ship to put into port to have the corpse removed. Usually I wouldn't press myself on Danny and Robby when ashore.
In public they were embarrassed by my effeminacy, I think. But the older sailors didn't give a damn. They were amused by the sight of a young thing groping pathetically into the mysteries of alcohol and adult life. But in San Francisco all the sailors had their special banging parlours to visit, so I went into the city alone.
From the docks I caught the bus uptown past the gingerbread houses to Union Square where you have to press your face against the bus windows to see the tops of the skyscrapers.
I gravitated towards Chinatown. We had one in Liverpool but San Francisco's exploded all over me in a dazzle of Chinese neon. Too young to enter the bars, I walked agog for hours and hours and formed a lifelong friendship with the American hamburger. After the lights, the most noticeable feature of the district was the number of drunks vomiting in doorways.
Then it went very quiet. It must have been the early hours of the morning. I had to return to ship and grew apprehensive between Fisherman's Wharf and dockland. No bright lights here. Out of the gloom, wailing and flashing, a cop car flew at me. Two uniformed immensities jumped out, an entire hardware store hanging from their belts. I hadn't known there could be so many different instruments of persuasion.
Hands up, against the wall, frisk; I knew the routine from James Cagney. They clanked around for a few minutes, checking my papers, expressing surprise at my being at sea 'aweady', and told me to hop in. I was treated to a motor tour of the city before being dropped back at the ship. Their surprise returned when I shook hands and said thank you.
Americans, I've since realised, are always impressed by civility. They don't quite know how to cope with it. If ever you find yourself the victim of aggression in the U. As we sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge I very much hoped Seattle would be as stimulating - one was so inexperienced.
But we did see a body float by with a bullet through its head, so even Seattle must have its moments. Our northernmost call was Woodfibre, an isolated lumberjack settlement with one coffee bar, where, surprise, we took on timber. It was in Canada that I gave my first interview.
Colin had something to do with it because the radio people were allowed to come on board. They introduced me to the listeners as 'the youngest person to go to sea since child labour was abolished'. Now the voyage reversed itself. Haiti was on the horizon for a while. My seventeenth birthday came and went like a piece of flotsam.
Then only the sea. Whenever I could I retreated to my secret place on the poop deck. While we were in and out of port, everybody had plenty to occupy his attention but now, back in the small claustrophobic world of a ship in mid-Atlantic, my anxieties proliferated. At meal times the sailors flaunted their sexual conquests, while I sat in silence and became increasingly choked.
With all the toil I should have been developing male muscles but I remained puppyish. Most of the men showered in the evening after work. Always secretive about bathing, I was now so ashamed of my body that I crept out to shower in the middle of the night so that no one would see me unclothed. My behaviour of course only made them more curious. It was always a huge relief when the weather changed to wind and rain, so that everyone was covered in oilskins and there was no pressure for me to take off my top.
I was phobic about anyone seeing my chest. Instead of the hard pectoral muscles which all the other sailors loved to display as one of the bonuses of physical labour, there was a pulpiness around my nipples which I took to be rudimentary breasts. The ragging of that first night was repeated, usually at the instigation of the same young bullying Jock who now frightened me very much.
There was always a great commotion. Objectively nothing catastrophic happened - a few bruises in the scuffles - and the older men prevented matters getting out of hand. But it made me wretched. Sometimes they blew kisses and said 'Hullo, ducks' or 'girlie'. They would wink, slap my bottom, slip an arm round my waist.
What was one supposed to do back? All my wires were tangled up inside because, you see, I was excited by it as well as afraid. Had I been among the stewards, possibly it would have been easier. But I was at the Men's End of the ship, in the throes of a profound identity crisis brought on by puberty but not explained by it I never completed the proper physical cycle of male adolescence.
Why did I have this curvaceous body? After three months of voyaging, the ship was in a filthy condition. If one wasn't asked to join up again all the fears about not being good enough were confirmed.
I had made the grade as far as they were concerned. I couldn't wait to return to the ship. When I did, it was a comfort to see that the seamen were by and large the same as on the first voyage.
At least I knew where I stood with them. And one - tall, too handsome, blond, a friend of the young bully - thrilled me strangely. This could not be openly admitted, especially not to myself, but nor could it be disregarded because I went groggy every time we met. Half-way along the Ship Canal my overseer knocked me to the deck with one clout.
A whirring noise passed overhead, terminated by a violent whipcrack. One of the hawsers securing the ship in the lock had snapped and would have gone through me like a wire through butter. It wasn't a good start. Passing out into the Mersey I scrutinised the Liver Birds. A light flashed from them but did they move? Or was my mind wandering?
Life on board settled down to its jittery routine. One of the stewards I met in the galley presented himself as a suitor but I didn't respond, having adopted the condescension of the sailors with regard to these lesser mortals. Besides, the rejection of all advances had become automatic. Touching people is a very healthy activity. The absence of it made me morbidly sensitive. Nor could I accept my feeling for the Blond Sailor who caused such an upheaval in my prudish breast. I stared at him working on deck.
He would look up, wink, and I'd turn away hot and confused. I was convinced a monstrous mistake had been made and only my being a woman would correct it. There were no fantasies about dressing in such and such a way. I merely wanted to be whole. One night the Blond Sailor opened my cabin door, unbuttoned his shirt and started to kiss me. Two of his friends burst in to see how far he'd got. The Blond Sailor laughed and went off with them. But I was engulfed by shame and driven closer still to paranoia.
In Kingston Cynthia said, 'Why, honey, you sure is gettin' prettier every time I sees yooo. Cynthia, all Earth Mother and soothing powers. Yet really she could do no more than she already did. Which was my washing, free of charge. Colin took me up into the Blue Mountains for a drink. We sat on a terrace overlooking a misty valley. The alcohol churned and threw up the conviction that not only should I never be normal but that instead of getting better it was going to get worse which it did.
I experienced an acute attack of panic which suddenly began to break me up from within, the eruption of intolerable pressures, and a compulsion to jump. Reason played no part in it. The compulsion emanated directly from the body. As we sailed for the Panama Canal on a calm sea I began to vomit from nerves and tried to pass it off as seasickness.
The Blond Sailor knew he had broken down my reserve. He appeared to swagger with extra self-assurance. The battle raged on inside me. In the Pacific the Bo's'n began to realise I was in a pretty bad way. He gave me work which was either alone or with older men but he couldn't isolate me.
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