Friday, September 30, 2016


There were a few siblings
at the seminary  -  3 or 4
years apart. The fellow I
mentioned yesterday, from
Plainfield, Joe Vouglas, and
his brother, 3 years younger,
Dennis. Then there were the
two Mosca kids  -  Paul and
maybe Jim, I forget. It must
have been, I always thought,
pretty funny to have two of
your kids in the joint  -  I
know that meant 'prisons',
from old movies, but who
cared. The households
these kids came from
must have thought, that,
maybe, having 'Lik-M-Aid'
for candy treats was really
wild stuff. This one younger
Mosca kid was a trip  - 'Pauley'
was the reference. There was,
once each year, in early Fall
(again pretty weird for a
schoolful of boys), a 'Talent
Show'. The usual stuff  - 
early guitar learners, a piano
or two, a small music group.
etc. No tap-dancing or ballet,
that I ever saw. This Pauley
guy  -  small, dark, Italian -
for two years in a row (then
he was gone) sang his most
emotive, almost horridly
sentimental and foppish
version of 'You'll Never
Walk Alone.' I mean to the
rafters. It was terrible, girlish,
weak-waisted. I don't know if
you know that song, or if it's
even meant to be religious or
what, but this kid played it for
all get-out. Blasting. A screaming
crescendo  - which is pretty
much all the song is anyway
a long crescendo. "When you
walk through a storm, hold
your head up high, and don't be
afraid of the dark. At the end
of the storm is a golden sky,
and the sweet, happy song
of the lark. Hold on, hold on,
with faith in your heart,
'cause you'll never walk
alone. You'll  N-E-V-E-R
walk alone!!!!" Use your
imagination anyway then;
this little punk Guido, 5'4",
dressed like a saint, blasting
out this stupid, trite song. I
always hoped the damn
lark would just poop on
him and fly off.
Anyway, this talent show
was pretty tired stuff. Early
on, each school season.
Personally, I used to think
it was a way for the priests
and brothers to get a good
look at the 'new talent' they'd
be dealing with that year.
Kind of a 'scan' of the most
active birds in the nest. I
used to just sit there, bored
as all get out. I played
the piano, OK, well enough,
pretty decently, but damned
if I was nervy enough to
get up there and show it
off. Eventually I did become
the 'page turner' for some
piano recitalist guy there -
John Banko, a senior then. I'd
sit next to him on the stupid
piano bench while was playing
Brahms or Rachmaninoff or
whatever, and I'd have to
read the music along with
him and turn the music
page for him so there was
no let-up. It too was boring.
John later died in prison,
sentenced in 2002, and
doing at least 18 years, in 
one of those priests-in-jail-
after-molesting- boys court
judgments. Yikes again. He
was from Milford, which is
North Jersey, some church
or other where he was Pastor,
but he died, oddly enough, in
the sex-offender's prison unit
at Rahway, about 1/2 mile from
my house now. Very weird.
This happened in three or so cases,
actually of priest-people I may have
known or crossed paths with.
It was always too bad, in fact,
horrid, and I won't say much
more about that. Creatures that
we are, we all live strangely.
Now, I need to take a minute 
here to say something, or 
maybe also to use this point 
to end all this seminary stuff.
I hold those years dear, I am
not bitter or vindictive over
any of this  -  and I just write
of it here because it comes 
through and I want to put it 
down. It's my story, and not
too many others would have it
to tell even if they did try to.
Really, I don't care two whits 
about any of it, and really didn't
then. It was all silliness, like
going to clown school. Fun at
the waffle stand, if you only
knew how to withstand it. 
There was very little to do 
with 'religion' and so many
other things were entwined 
and woven into it. So, as I
mention things, it's kind of 
with the detachment of 
distance and the distance
of writing. This is true. I'm
speaking real. Funniest thing
in the world  -  the last time 
I was there for a visit (the old
original buildings, ours, I had
been advised, were about to be
torn down). The place had become 
Camden County College now, 
and was modernizing and 
expanding. We walked in an
open door, for the theater and
auditorium. In the lobby, a
malfunctioning pretzel machine
ate my wife's dollar bill. She 
began pounding on the side 
of the machine. Someone 
called the cops. Security came.
Took us in, questioning us,
separately. Made us identify 
the vehicle we'd arrived in  -  
and then went out and checked 
for verification of what we'd 
just said said! Copied our
licenses, and said if we were
ever found on 'campus' again,
we'd be arrested. Believe that
shit? I said we were only there
because "I'd grown up here when
it was a seminary and wished to
see the old buildings before they
were gone." He chuckled, the
stupid rent-a-cop campus jerk,
and said 'It'll be a few months 
yet; don't come back.'
That all sure was strange 
scene, exactly as if I'd landed 
from another world, to this 
horrible, secular, world of 
warts and wrinkles and rules 
and regulations, and the people 
who do absolutely nothing
about life except follow them.
These were still, to me, all my
buildings  -  especially for that 
one with the cheating vending 
machines. For us to be so 
unceremoniously  tossed and
 turned out was a painful scene.
So, I'll leave it there (oh, 
you know I won't, right?).  
What it did prepare me for 
were the next two major 
hurdles in my life : the 
duplicity and stupidity
of local 'Government' 
schooling - high school, 
and then, in a bit, NYC 
itself. New York City is
a double ended battleship. 
At one end you have the
most avant-garde, supposedly
forward-looking and brash
phalanx of art and music 
and literature and thought.
While at the other end is the
most servile, old-line, and
all that old-world religious 
slavishness; leftover creeds 
and practices, and all that 
swirling cross-current
of ancient beliefs and 
manners. Pretty weird. 
I've often gotten by in 
life because of a knowledge
gleaned from knowing it 
and having seen it, from 
both sides. That's how it 
it was when I got 
out of 'the joint'.

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