Into the Sicilian-American lives of Sadie and Frank Scherma came a cute, bouncing baby boy: me! I am a child of Brooklyn and I cannot escape my roots. As a teen I wanted to be a man’s man, so I joined my high school football team; Sadie objected, but I got Frank to sign the permission slip. I tried my best but really, it was not a good fit. Then I studied to be a Roman Catholic priest for about four years and after Frank had a religious revival and Sadie got used to the idea, I left to become a Latin teacher in the Public Schools of New York City [uh huh]. I went on to become a guidance counselor, a college adviser, and then a psychologist. At present I have a practice with adults in Greenwich Village.
When I was embarking on a new graduate degree, Sadie would ask me plaintively, “Don’t you know enough yet?” I replied, “Oh Sadie, I have so much to teach you and Frank.” I took them through my religious phase to my spiritual and from my straight relationships to my gay ones. “When does it stop?” Sadie inquired. I said, “Never.” I was always trying something new even though it was not my nature to do so. I went off to Fiji to find God, off to the Seminary to find Jesus, off to loving men and women so that I could be simply who I was.
It’s 1957, and the three of us, Jacky,Vinnie from 19th Street, and me, are doing this Brooklyn strut sort of a walk down Eastern Parkway. Vinnie is a thief. He will steal anything he can get his hands on, doesn’t matter who owns it. That’s just the way he is. But there’s something cool and […]
A group of Asian teenage boys with shaved heads slows down in front of me. It is around 7 pm, not yet dusk, not really day, and we’re passing by a series of low brick row houses with bar-covered windows on 73rd Street in Jackson Heights. The boys look kind of tough, but they are polite as […]
In a school full of hard cases, Theresa Fulife was the hardest. She looked like the oldest kid in the eighth grade because at 16 she was. Her scarred, nearly six-foot muscular frame looked like it had been tattooed by a drunken sailor. Her face resembled the pitted surface of some foreign planet. Her hair […]