Growing Up Straight in a Crocked World

out at the edge of matawan a boro carried the load, to the tracks are the crossover to the ship of the town, wilderness, farms, canals on the cliff of woods and river of Rara Tan and the grand sea of Atlantis. the second great war had been done with for 10 years when we came to settle near the hills of the Boro of Mars in a land of a million trees i was a boy of seven seasons of four, taught in the smoking city to breathe through my mouth and not smell what you taste…it was the Way of the Bay where God is  a House/ El isa Beth…the realm newer than the old across the pond…it was called Jerzy…The New Jerzy different from original Ankh Sient Jerzy.

We were Catholics from the Northern Climes of Ireland, people of the Sea, fisherman and boatman, my Papa Grant was a Highlander in Scotland, a Forester and a Hunter, a gardener and a caretaker servant, his employers were the early 20th century millionaires including Mr. Willis of the Willy’s Overland Mfg.Co. …the estate of Papa’s charge was on the North Cliff of Oyster Bay on the Long Island.  My father met my mother while she was living at the North Cliff Mansion, he spotted her one day getting out of a chauffered limousine in front of the school of Saint Dominic’s…my father, an unchurched RC told his father that he wanted a Catholic school education and wanted to go to Saint Dominic’s…my paternal grandfather whom I never met or spoke with, let him go …to the charter class of that new Catholic school and into the arms of his shabbat queen ‘Bunty’.

we learned religion from priests and nuns, my sainted aunt was of the MaryWood convent …she was an…oddity, strange, prayed the rosary under her breath when she was not engaged in conversations with all her drunken brothers…when the priest announced that the mass was ended all the Waters brothers in unison said , “Thanks be to God !” and headed for a festive open bar at uncle Harry’s on The Island.  Uncle Harry was a wealthy Island Lawyer with many interests, he told my father on a golf course after the WWII to invest in a new company that sold cosmetics door to door…pop declined , Harry in vested…the new company was Avon…unc made the gelt , pop went to Newark. I got to Elizabeth.

at eliz a beth i contracted a chronic lung ailment along with my sister, they say its genetic …OK, I say its something else…thats another tale though, we slide this way and this becomes that. the city was my home my love my friend my playground we had bushes and tree lined streets but never a forest with a stream…sue and I gasped and coughed and slurped on red medicines shipped in plain boxexes from Biloxi Mississippi…in the days when we were all told where our place was and who we are and who we marry and where our kids go to school and parents still ruled…a long time aga oh ? in the days of yore …


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