Happy Anniversary: The Road To My 31st Home

The place where I hang my hats (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The place where I hang my hats (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Nine years ago today, I moved into The Place Where I Hang My Hats. And that’s the longest time I’ve ever spent in one place, believe it or not. Nine years.

In two weeks and I’ll be 49 1/2 years old (the toddler in me still appreciates that) and I’ve lived under 31 different roofs in that time. And, it’s fair to say, it’s taught me this: Man, I hate moving.

As I laid in bed last night “wow’d” by the fact that it had been nine years, I started thinking about all the places I had lived and the trail of memories that I’ve left behind at each and every place.

The fact I’ve been here, in the 203, in the Land of Fairfield County, Connecticut, for nine years was equally as staggering. I’ve lived here, in the space above this two-car barn, for almost a decade. Come another 365 days, it will be.

The first weekend I was here I went grocery shopping at the local Stop and Shop and thought I recognized this 10-year-old kid walking in the same aisle as me.

It was my landlord’s son, whom I had just met that weekend.

Today, he is a sophomore in college.

Time flies.

That’s why I thought today — nine years after I moved here — would be a good day to reflect on all the places I have called home.

1 — Charleston, Maine

Mayo Hospital, the place where I was born.

Mayo Hospital, the place where I was born.

OK, so I didn’t technically live here. This is where I was born — Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. It was May 8, the year before the Summer of Love.

Sadly, I don’t remember much about the first Summer of Love, just like I don’t remember anything about the first place I called home. All I know is it was in Charleston, Maine, and that’s a smaller town than Dover-Foxcroft, which at least, thankfully, had its own hospital.

2 — East Street, Bangor, Maine

We moved to East Street in Bangor when I was just a baby and I don’t remember anything about that place, either.  I do remember what the building looked like when I lived in Bangor during my 20s and 30s, but a search of Google Earth shows what looks like newer houses along that stretch of the street.

So, I’m guessing, my former baby abode has gone way of the wrecking ball.

3 — Chamberlain Street, Brewer, Maine

The memories start kicking in when it comes to this building. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The memories start kicking in when it comes to this building, but I don’t remember all those trees being there or being that big. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Now it’s coming back to me. I was probably around the age of three or four when we lived on Chamberlain Street in Brewer, which might I add was named after Civil War hero Joshua Chamberlain.

I vaguely draw back on memories from here. I remember making snowmen outside during the winters and I remember receiving a drum set for Christmas in this very home, which I’m sure pleased our neighbors a bunch. (Or maybe I just remember the pictures from this apartment, which are now embedded into my mind as memories).

Music never took, though, since I had no musical ability whatsoever. I suppose given my writing abilities I could have become a lyricist, but I can’t carry a tune down the block.

Yet somehow I fell in love with hearing music and maybe that started right here since it was still the 1960s and my parents were English and they must have listened to the Beatles.

So there it is: I was influenced by the Beatles. I said it.

4 — River Road, Orrington, Maine

The house where I grew up and started becoming who I am on the River Road in Orrington, Maine.

The house where I grew up and started becoming who I am on the River Road in Orrington, Maine.

Now we’re getting somewhere. This is the home where I grew up, where we lived from when I was four years old until, I believe, around seventh grade.

My bedroom was the window right above the door, upstairs to the left. It also had the door to the attic, which freaked me out a bit every time there was a noise coming from the other side.

If I remember right, my dresser is what kept me safe from the monsters in the attic.

Oh the things I remember about this house.

The garage is different now. It’s huge. Previously, there was a little two-car garage there, built low enough so we could jump off the roof into the backyard.

And there was so much yardage. Look at all that green.

It was while living here that I learned to explore and started realizing the world was bigger than just my yard. There were woods out back that held the secrets of old junked cars, slowly being hidden by the growth of the underbrush.

Across the street was a cemetery and what young boy wouldn’t risk being scared shitless by exploring that graveyard of secrets.

And, yes, I remember kicking in the basement windows, beginning my long streak of window-breaking days, and I remember me and some friends being caught red-handed “exploring” the apartment of the old lady who lived in the back. (Some people would probably call it breaking and entering, but since we were probably 10 or 11 exploring sounds much more acceptable and thrilling).

This picture was taken from the Masonic Hall, a big two story brick building which allowed us a place to ride our bikes and throw balls up against a brick wall while getting to pretend I was playing second base for the 1975 Boston Red Sox, knowing I would have helped us win that World Series despite the best efforts of Ed Armbrister and Larry Barnett, that God-damned umpire. (Sorry, during flashbacks I forget the fact we’re three-time World Series champions in the 21st Century).

Down the road just a quarter mile from here lived the two brothers that became my brothers — Jody and Robbie Norton.

To me, for as long as I’ll live, this is the one place I will always look back on and feel like I was truly at home.

But there are sad memories, too.

A house across the street was struck by lightning and caught fire, and is probably the No. 1 reason today why i still hate thunder and lightning storms.

It’s also here where I found out that divorce is a bitch, yet life goes on.

5 — Center Drive, Orrington, Maine

The Wonder Years — Middle school through high school (and a few years beyond that) I lived here).

The Wonder Years — Middle school through high school (and a few years beyond that) I lived here. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

After my parents divorce, my mother was remarried to my step-father and we moved into this house on Center Drive. It was brand-spanking new and while it didn’t have the yardage the previous house had, it was just a 100 yard walk to the Center Drive School, my middle school which had baseball fields, basketball courts, the town’s library and more.

It was a three-bedroom place, split level, and once upon a time there were five kids living there in a poor reprise of the Brady Bunch, sans TV cameras and bad acting, of course.

It’s not a wonder I literally put my step-brothers ass through a wall one day. (Long story, but it made a perfect butt-print impression and did turn a intense family spat into giggling fits of laughter) at least between me and my step-brother. Our parents weren’t too pleased, if I remember right.

I spent my high school years here, as well, and came and went as I moved into one apartment, moved back in with my parents, moved out to get married and have a kid, and I actually moved back in for a few months to save money for my move to New Hampshire.

I was 30. Not proud of that one, but sometimes in life you have to do what you have to do.

6 — Hammond Street, Bangor, Maine

My first apartment. My bedroom was the window on the right off the porch. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth).

My first apartment. My bedroom was the window on the right off the porch. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth).

You never forget  your first apartment and I certainly don’t.

I was 18 years old and I moved in with my high school friend Scott Johnson and his girlfriend, whose name is now escaping me, but she did end up being the mother of his child.

We lived on the first floor and it wasn’t really a party house.

We came and went and enjoyed our freedom and worked to pay the rent.

I don’t even remember why we moved out, but I’m pretty sure we lived there less than a year.

7 — Columbia Street, Bangor, Maine

92 Columbia Street. This is where the fun really started. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth).

92 Columbia Street. This is where the fun really started. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth).

If these walls could talk.

After Hammond Street, I moved back home for a while until deciding to move in with Mark St. Germain, a former high school rival (over a girl, believe it or not) who turned into one of my best friends and a sports-loving nut, as well.

This apartment building was located right smack dab in downtown Bangor and has plenty of memories soaked into our third-floor apartment.

We worked hard to afford the place and partied even harder to enjoy the place.

See the patio on the top floor, above the canopy? We once stood up there, looking down over the back entrance of the Bangor Opera House and had an on-going conversation with ‘Til Tuesday lead singer Aimee Mann, who had just performed there.

We tried to convince her to come up for a drink, but she opted not to. We did find out that night, though, that “Voices Carry.” (Bad joke, sorry).

One of the biggest memories — yet one of the most heartbreaking, as well — was Mark and I watching Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, jumping up and down and hugging each other as the Red Sox closed in on their first World Series championship.

Then came Rich Gedman’s passed ball (fuck you, Gedman; you know you should have caught Bob Stanley’s pitch) and Bill Buckner.

The rest is history.

Yeah, the 21st Century couldn’t come fast enough.

8 — Hancock Street, Bangor, Maine

The Terraces on Hancock Street in Bangor. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The Terraces on Hancock Street in Bangor. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Oh my, The Terraces.

This was THE PARTY HOUSE of 1987 — our own Summer of Love, 20 years later.

The stories I could tell from this building.

And I would get into them because I promised I would use this spot to be honest and open, but there are certain things our mothers shouldn’t know, so while mine is still alive and kicking and spending the kids’ inheritance (private joke there; Love ya, Ma.) most stories have to go unsaid.

See the window on the left, first floor?

That was our front door. It was always a window, but our friends would park in the parking lot, climb the stairs and instead of going to the door in the rear of the building, they’d just climb through the window.

And there was a revolving doors of friends coming and going.

Everybody was welcome.

Here are two stories I can tell that still make me laugh and have nothing to do with the booze that flowed (Two Fingers Tequila) and the drugs that were done (Aspirin, of course…) there.

Both involve our cars.

One day while walking by the window to the right I looked out into the intersection and saw my roommate’s car sitting in the middle of the road as he was sitting on the couch.

Some how it had popped out of gear and rolled out of the parking lot into the street, thankfully not striking anything or anybody.

Then there was the time I left the building, walked in front of my car and found my wipers going.

“Damn,” I thought to myself, “I left my wipers going.”

As I put my key in the car door it dawned on me. Why the hell were my wipers even going?

Pretty soon the smoke and flame from the electric fire in my engine was evident.

Oh, the memories.

9 — Langley Street, Bangor Maine.

Living in Capehart led to major changes in my life (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Living in Capehart led to major changes in my life (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Growing up, Capehart was a scary place. People called it “The Ghetto” of Bangor as if anybody in Bangor, Maine, truly knew what a ghetto was.

There was new Capehart and there was old Capehart and while it was once built as housing for the servicemen who called the Dow Air Force Base home, it soon became a cheap place to live in the city.

Four of us lived in this apartment building and while it was tame in comparison to the party house of Hancock Street, it also proved to be a place where major changes would come to form my life.

This is where I was living with I met the woman who would become my ex-wife.

10 — Broadway, Bangor, Maine

The first time I lived with a woman was in this bottom floor apartment.

The first time I lived with a woman was in this bottom floor apartment.

When I decided to get married it was in this building that me and my future bride, Amy, would first live.

We had the bottom floor apartment and in the first week we lived there we had the fire department visit and Cablevision pulled all of its advertising from the newspaper I was working because I wrote a column about their devious ways of giving you a six-hour window and when you take a 5-minute shower and they show up, you have to reschedule for two weeks later.

(As for the fire department, we didn’t realize fireplaces had a flue … live and learn, right?)

I asked for Amy’s hand in marriage in this building.

11 — Main Street, Old Town, Maine

Taking advantage of old people was our first married endeavor. (Photo courtesy of Google.com)

Taking advantage of old people was our first married endeavor in this second-floor apartment. (Photo courtesy of Google.com)

When Amy and I were married, we were living in the second floor of this building in Old Town, Maine.

Old Town was a mill town so we knew when it was going to rain because 24 hours before the Heavens opened up, the town literally smelled. It was the best weather forecasting model ever.

Amy’s sister lived in this apartment before us and when she moved out, we moved in.

She was paying only $250 a month and we were shocked when we moved in to find the rent was still the same — easily half of which the apartment could have gone for under current market value.

An older couple owned the building, though, and that’s all they charged.

We weren’t about to say no, not so soon after saying, “I do.”

12 — Windsor Place, Bangor, Maine

Windsor Place Apartments on Ohio Street in Bangor, Maine (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Windsor Place Apartments on Ohio Street in Bangor, Maine (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The ride from Old Town to Bangor was approximately 16 miles long, which after a couple of years was wearing on both of us, so we moved back to Bangor and found this little two-bedroom apartment in Bangor. (Ours was the third door on the right).

It was a thin little apartment, smushed between two other thin little apartments and quickly became too small for a family that would soon be growing.

13 —  Essex Street, Bangor, Maine

Two months and gone. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Two months and gone. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Of all the places I’ve lived, this is the one where people almost lost their life and Amy and I could have gone to jail.

We had moved in, signing a month-to-month lease (first warning sign) and everything was just fine and dandy until we went to war in Iraq. (The first time, mind you).

We weren’t even there three weeks when our piece-of-shit lords (can’t call them landlords because they’re lower than landlords) jacked up our rent by almost $300 a month, citing concerns about oil prices rising.

It got so bitter and angry that this idiot couple would blast music super loud in an effort to annoy us and we’d just call the police to tell them to shut off the music.

If I could even come close to remembering the POS’s who owned this building and were to come across them in a dark alley, I’d still punch him in the nose … that’s how angry I still am all these years later.

14 — Elm Street, Bangor, Maine (Part 1)

Once, time, three times a home to me (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Once, twice, three times a home to me (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Funny story about 17 Elm Street in Bangor, Maine.

After our fiasco on Essex Street, Amy and I moved into the back-side first floor apartment of this four-apartment unit. Little did I know then that I’d end up living in three of the four apartments before I left Bangor behind for good.

But I digress.

This was a lovely apartment for us. Don’t mean to put this imagery in your mind, but it was in this building — which used to be blue and had an open porch on the right, behind where the tree stands — that we conceived our son. (Either it was here, or in a tent en route to Toronto!).

Once we were with child, though, we knew we’d have to be moving on to something bigger so we bought our house.

It was the only time in my life I’d be a “homeowner.”

15 — Highland Court, Bangor, Maine

Highland Court in Bangor, Maine. The only place I was ever called a "homeowner." (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Highland Court in Bangor, Maine. The only place I was ever called a “homeowner.” (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Would you believe we were neighbors with best-selling author Stephen King when we bought this house?

True story. He lived about 200 yards down the road, but it was a world away financially.

Union Street separated Highland Court from West Broadway. Highland Court was working class. West Broadway was Bangor’s “Upper East Side” — to coin a New York City term.

This was the house we bought to start our family and for Amy to start her business, a Montessori School, which took up the first floor on the building while we lived up stairs.

The two things I always say about my ex-wife that I believe are as true today as they were back then: She was a good mother and a good preschool teacher.

It was here, however, that I also was reminded that divorce is a bitch. And that can lead to the biggest mistakes of your life.

16 — Lincoln Street, Bangor, Maine

The single life, again, began hear, just a short walk away from the Bounty Tavern. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The single life, again, began here, just a short walk away from the Bounty Tavern. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Post-divorce, I was back with Mark St. Germain and his friend, Tim, and we lived in the second story of this apartment building.

I could walk to work (which was just 150 yards away) and I could walk to the Bounty Tavern, our drinking place of choice, where we could also get drunk — and boy did we — and walk home, sometimes with a female friend (or stranger) alongside us.

With a little boy to look over, though, living with two other single guys and having alcohol become a big part of your life again wasn’t adding up.

The little boy had shared my bed one night and I woke up after a nightmare, certain I had squished him in our sleep.

It was time for another two bedroom apartment, so he could have his own room.

Thus it was time to move on again.

17 — Palm Street, Bangor, Maine

It is here where the spiral began (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

It is here where the spiral began (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

See the windows at the very top? That was my third floor apartment and it was here that my life began unravelling for the first time.

Post-divorce drinking is something I don’t recommend to anybody.

On weekends when I didn’t have the boy, I was chugging them down — rum and Coke s and Xanax. Whatever worked to kill the pain, you know?

I was living here, struggling with post-divorce woes and the sudden loss of my job when one night I found myself hospitalized because a milk carton full of rum and coke and five Xanax didn’t mix too well.

I had to drink that charcoal stuff they give you at the hospital to sober you up and the doctor asked me why I tried to kill myself.

I told him if I was trying to kill myself I had about 20 more Xanax pills back at the house I would have taken.

Killing the pain and killing yourself are two vastly different things.

This wasn’t the bottom, but it was close.

18 — U.S. Route 2, Bangor, Maine

Living out of a hotel room was the lowest of lows, but at least I wasn't homeless.

Living out of a hotel room was the lowest of lows, but at least I wasn’t homeless. (And it’s a total coincidence that the car in this picture, taken in the summer of 2015, has AMY in the license plate).

I remember shortly after my parents own divorce my father was living in a hotel for a time, one of those pay-weekly joints.

After falling three months behind on my rent on Palm Street (money from unemployment was going for food and drink … the wrong kind of drink, unfortunately), I was one step from being homeless.

No job. No home. I even lost my car, which had been repossessed due to lack of payments.

Life was not good, outside of one very special “Angel” who I woke up every day to see, knowing it would get me through another day.

However, it was out of this hotel room (the second floor, Room 20) where I started to rebuild my life.

I would either walk from here (or take a bus) to my sister’s work where she allowed me to borrow her car so I could deliver pizzas during the lunch rush.

That allowed me to build up some cash so I could buy a car from one of those weekly places.

I was paying for my apartment weekly. I was paying for my car weekly.

But the darkness in my life was starting to lighten.

I went from delivering pizzas to working as a waiter at a Pizza Hut. From there, I was able to take the step to move back into my own apartment.

19 — Otis Street, Bangor, Maine

I lived here for two months, if that. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

I lived here for two months, if that. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Sometimes you need to take two steps backward to take one step forward and that’s what I did when I lived in this apartment (top left) for approximately two months.

Knowing I wanted to get the hell out of my hotel room, a co-worker set me up with a friend of hers who was looking for a roommate.

It was a disaster.

Never move in with a stranger was the lesson I learned.

It would be a lesson I would try again to much different results just a few years down the line.

20 & 21 — Elm Street, Bangor, Maine       (Parts 2 and 3)

Once, time, three times a home to me (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Once, twice three times a home to me (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Remember this place? I sure do.

I had lived here shortly after getting married, conceived my son here (if not en route to Toronto), yada, yada, yada.

One day while driving by I noticed a for-rent sign in the front window, which I knew was a studio apartment across the hall from where I had once lived.

I called the landlord, who remembered me, and I was able to move in.

From there, I was able to move upstairs into a one-bedroom apartment.

My life was starting to feel as though it was returning to some semblance of normalcy.

22 — The Granadas, Ohio St., Bangor

The Granadas Apartments (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The Granadas Apartments (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

When the landlord who I knew so well sold his apartment building, the new landlord jacked up the price.

So I moved out on him, much to his chagrin.

And this is where I moved.

My neighbors across the hall were an elderly couple who were really cool and a young mom of two kids and we all got along well together.

It was a nice play to live, but little did I know a job change would spring me toward an adventure I never imagined undertaking.

23 — Upper Dedham Rd., Dedham, Maine

Couldn’t find a photo of this place because it was tucked into the woods of a tiny little town about 15 miles outside of Bangor. I moved here because I had gotten a job in Ellsworth, Maine, working for a weekly newspaper and needed to move closer.

Little did I know everything would be so short lived, however, as a friend of mine talked about moving to New Hampshire and she wanted a roommate so she wouldn’t be alone.

In my quest to start over, I jumped on board.

I lined up a job and was ready to go, at least until she backed back out and opted to stay home.

I went anyway, moving to New Hampshire with just me, myself, and I.

24. Henry Law Ave., Dover, N.H.

Cricket Brook Apartments in Dover, N.H.

Cricket Brook Apartments in Dover, N.H.

Cricket Brook Apartments. It was a gorgeous place to live (bottom floor, second door from right) and I would have stayed longer had life not thrown a curve ball at me.

When I moved to New Hampshire, I had gotten a job as the full-time substitute teacher at Oyster River High School in Durham, N.H., where I was also on staff with the girls basketball program.

Upon arrival, however, the ORHS teachers were in the process of under going union negotiations with the school department and were told not to call in sick and give any reasons for the school board to fight back.

That meant no work for me and I quickly fell behind on my bills.

I started doing some freelance work for a local newspaper, but it still wasn’t enough to pay the bills so I needed to take on another roommate.

I was in a state full of strangers, so I’d have to move in with somebody I didn’t know again.

25 — Locust Street, Dover, N.H.

Moving in with a stranger worked out this time around. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Moving in with a stranger worked out this time around. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

This building was a dark maroon when Monique and I moved in.

Monique was a total stranger to me when we first met at a little coffee shop in Dover. She was from Manchester and was looking for a place to live, and I needed a roommate.

So we did it. (No, not that). We moved in together in a strictly platonic fashion and soon we’d be hanging out at a local bar, making some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life.

We got screwed out of our security deposits by landlords who lived upstairs, but I’ve come to expect that by the 25th time I had moved.

She ended up dating my friend Danny and when her and Danny broke up, he got me in the end and I moved in with him.

26 — Route 108, Somersworth, N.H.

Good times and bad came under this room. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Good times and bad came under this room. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

I’ve lived in two party houses in my life.

The first one was definitely Hancock Street, back in Bangor, Maine, when I was 21 and 22.

This was the second and while many good times happened in this little house tucked away just off Route 108 in Somersworth, N.H., it also had it’s share of demons … tiny little demons that would grab hold of you and never let go.

Trust me, I got grabbed and recognized right away the hold it had on me.

Despite all the good times and great memories that were had, I knew I had to get out or else I might never escape.

27 — Jamey Drive, Rochester, N.H.

A calming place to escape the demons of Somersworth. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

A calming place to escape the demons of Somersworth. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

The demons of Somersworth were mostly left behind when I moved in here with a friend and her family.

Her oldest daughter had moved to Michigan and I was able to move in to her room and help the family out a little bit financially, as well.

While I was able to move myself away from one addiction, however, I discovered another while living here.

String cheese.

Far more healthy, for sure.

28 — Charles Street, Rochester, NH

A nightmare neighbor turned this place into a living hell for me.

A nightmare neighbor turned this place into a living hell for me.

A friend’s referral led me to the third floor of this apartment building.

When she lived there, I could have totally taken advantage of her one night in a drunken stupor but I played the perfect gentlemen.

So much for karma.

When I first moved in, the neighbors were great and friendly.

Those on the second floor, however, almost turned my life into a living nightmare.

Fortunately a job opportunity back in my home state — coupled with the second floor family’s dastardly past — allowed me to get on with my life unscathed.

29 — Briarwood Drive, Biddeford, Maine

Wasn't much of a view, but it was like living in a cave, which I needed at the time. (Photo courtesy of Google.com)

Wasn’t much of a view, but it was like living in a cave, which I needed at the time. (Photo courtesy of Google.com)

Moving back to Maine to work for a newspaper was a good thing for a while.

Living in a coastal town in Maine is costly (this two-bedroom apartment was costing me $925 a month) but for two years it was an expensive home that allowed me to focus on work and little else.

One more move short-lived move, however, would lead me directly to the future again.

30 — Vine Street. Biddeford, Maine

I lived here for such a short tenure I couldn't even remember the road I lived on ... and this is where I lived before I moved into my current home. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

I lived here for such a short tenure I couldn’t even remember the road I lived on … and this is where I lived before I moved into my current home. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Another short-lived tenure at this building as another job change would come swiftly and suddenly.

This time, though, I would be leaving my native Maine — perhaps for good — and not looking back.

In fact, I’ve only been “home” four times since I left the state.

31 — 260 Washington Pkwy, Stratford, CT.

For the last nine years, a longer time than I've ever lived anywhere, this has been home. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

For the last nine years, a longer time than I’ve ever lived anywhere, this has been home. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)

Which brings us back to one … Well, thirty-one, that is.

Nine years ago today, this is where I moved too and I’ve been here ever since.

Nine years.

Longer than any of the other homes you’ve seen if you’ve made it this far down through a pictorial journey through my life via the places where I’ve lived.

It’s brought back some memories, both good and bad.

Yet I’ll be honest. This doesn’t feel like home.

Home is family. Home is friends.

This is just where I live as I get deeper into the October Weekend of my life.

I just hope I’m not going to No. 32 anytime soon.

I hate moving.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damn My Pride and Damn Thursdays

Mel Gibson as Col. Benjamin Martin, from the movie, "The Patriot."

Mel Gibson as Col. Benjamin Martin, from the movie, “The Patriot.”

“Pride. Pride is a weakness.” — Benjamin Martin, “The Patriot”

• • •

Every Thursday, I go through this.

I wake up in the morning, climb out of bed, fill my belly with a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and 24 ounces of Green Mountain Coffee and I sit down to put together the Wilton Villager Sports Section, one of the weekly newspapers put out by the publishing company I work for.

Nine years ago, when I first relocated to Connecticut from my native land, I turned the Wilton Villager from just another weekly into what I truly felt was probably the best weekly newspaper in the state.

Yes, that’s my ego talking. I might have been a lousy husband, a lousy lover and a lousy friend, but I’m a fucking great journalist who has worked his ass off for three decades, doing what was best for my profession and my readers and I’m pretty damn proud of that.

As part of my growing the Wilton Villager Sports Department’s coverage, I founded and began what was called, “The Warrior Nation Sports Blog” which took on a live of its own around the town, an extra to the four broadsheet pages I was given to cover the town’s sports scene like it had never been covered before.

I was kicking ass, taking names (and reporting on them, literally) and the readers were either loving it or hating it, which is exactly what a newspaper is supposed to do.

Today, I open the pages of that same newspaper and I look at what I have and what I’m putting into it, and my heart sinks.

So much is being left out because those four broadsheet pages that I once received are now limited to four or five tabloid pages. By the time you lay in the ads — which granted is all that’s left of a newspaper’s livelihood — I barely have four tabloid pages as my disposal, which is about half of what I had to fill about nine years ago.

Some journalists would be happy to do half the work and get paid the same amount of money. Sadly I know too many of those.

Needless to say, I’m not one.

The Warrior Nation Sports Blog was also destroyed by somebody’s — ahem — “bright” idea on how to make things better; even though it was so obvious that the decision was so wrong right from the get go.

The blog had a personality of its own — it was the second-most read online entity we had — and this person’s mind-numbing decision to make a change wiped out everything I had worked on. Literally, it’s gone forever, even from the Internet.

We’ve tried time and time again to kick start the blog, but it’s been slow-going for reasons I can’t really comprehend because that’s not my department.

I want it to be what it once was, but that’s never going to happen. I want the Sports Section to be what it once was, too, but that’s never going to happen either.

Like every passing year of my life, it’s gone forever.

So I open the pages and I feel sorry for the people of Wilton, who aren’t getting what they paid for anymore. Thankfully, this weekly newspaper is free and mailed to everybody in town.

Every Thursday, as I start to put this newspaper together, a depression washes over me to the point where I really feel it, where I really feel how bad and how sad this newspaper industry has become.

What was once so great, I’m now almost embarrassed to put out. And facing the townsfolk who remember what once was is always so tough, having to explain to them why stories aren’t getting in the paper anymore.

They were used to getting top grade scotch and now they’re getting watered down Iced Tea.

Thus, I find, pride has become my weakness.

I was so damn proud of the product I was putting out that now my hands are tied and I’m being forcefully limited to what I can do. And, I’m having a tough time dealing with doing less.

Thus, I vent.

 

I’m sorry, Wilton. I’m sorry I can’t do better for you and your athletes.

Damn my pride.

And damn Thursdays.

October 4 – Are You Ready For Some Football? Not at 9 a.m.

The NFL Today crew circa my youth. (Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

The NFL Today crew circa my youth. (Photo courtesy of CBS Sports)

I woke up this morning to sounds The NFL Today — the familiar voices, the familiar jingle.

I suppose if I had heard Brent Musberger and Phyllis George discussing the weather with Jimmy The Greek then I would have either been: A – Dreaming, and the last 30 years of my life weren’t real; Or, B – Transported back in time, which would have given me the chance to try and make out with … over never mind.

NBC Sports used to give us Breakfast at Wimbledon.

The NFL is now giving us Breakfast at Wembley.

The New York Jets are facing the Miami Dolphins and they’re doing so across the Atlantic Ocean in London, England.

Thus on this Sunday morning I really am waking up to the NFL on CBS.

This has been going on for a few years now as the league looks to expand its horizons (read: Find another place to steal money from the people’s pockets) because pro sports is all about the money.

The game could have been played in Miami. Or East Rutherford, N.J. — though I’m sure the Jets would rather have a home-field advance in London than swamp lands of Eastern Jersey.

For the record, I’m not getting my weekly dose of Charles Osgood. Instead, I’m forced fed the likes of Ndamukong Suh and D’Brickashaw Ferguson.

But I did get to hear a gorgeous version of “God Save The Queen.”

So there’s that.

I have my coffee, I have eaten my breakfast. It’s time for kick-off.

I just need to figure out who’s playing Left Limey and a what point with David Beckham be put in the game to kick an extra point.

 

 

On October 3rd, I Was Again Reminded Of How Old I Am

The cast of Mean Girls, featuring Lindsay Lohan, front and center.

The cast of Mean Girls, featuring Lindsay Lohan, front and center.

It happened while I perusing Twitter during the early morning hours of, well, October 3rd.

It started with a high school athlete who follows me and she had posted to all her followers something about “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”

A few posts later somebody had retweeted E! Online, making a meme of a good-looking guy who looked familiar to me (some actor, I figured) with the words, “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”

I knew it was October 3rd as I was reading all this, but what I didn’t understand was where it was all coming from.

I’m hip enough to know that April 20th is a special day because it’s, well, 4-20. So take a toke, take a bong hit, pass the pipe and don’t bogart that joint my friends because at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 I know what many of you are/were doing.

But as to why somebody would ask somebody what day it was on October 3rd? I admit I was coming up lost.

Then I really got baffled.

Two members of the Chicago Black Hawks NHL team posted a video.

In the first scene, back-up goaltender Scott Darling stares into the camera and says, “On October 3rd,  he asked me what day it was.”

Then the scene cuts to defenseman David Rundbland asking Darling what day it was and Darling replies, “It’s October 3rd.”

You can click here to see that little gem.

https://vine.co/v/e2zpj3aWmJM/embed/simplehttps://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

 

Now I realized I just wasn’t getting the joke.

High school students all have their inside jokes that fly over my head, just like I have my old timer moments when I leave them clueless (I still can’t believe Missy Noble doesn’t know who Mary Lou Retton is!)

But when E! Online is posting something — not to mention the Chicago Blackhawks — this should be in my wheelhouse.

I’m a pulp culture connoisseur, eating it up like it’s chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

What was I missing?

I turned to my trusted friend, Mr. Google, for an answer. (I also turned to it to find the correct spelling of connoisseur, but I digress).

I typed in, “On October 3rd, he asked me what it day was.”

Voila. My answer.

Lindsay Lohan in a voice over from the movie “Mean Girls.” She’s talking about a boy she’s crushing on and on October 3rd, he asked her what day it was.

Now, I’ve seen “Mean Girls.” More than once. I’m a fan of Lindsay Lohan — who despite her youthful transgressions of poor choices and alcohol and drugged-fueled arrests — is a damn fine actress, and if you don’t believe me just check out “A Prairie Home Companion” where she stands toe to toe with Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin.

Having found my answer to what the hell all of the commotion was about October 3rd, my next question became, “When did this become a thing?”

Mean Girls came out in 2004; thus it’s been 11 years since Lohan’s character, Cady Heron, uttered those words.

Having I been sleeping through the October 3rd for the last 11 years?

Or is this new?

I fear it’s something else.

Perhaps, I’m just getting old.

FML.

But Happy October 3rd, Everybody.

 

October 2 — Mourning Routine

Columbine High School 1999 (Photo courtesy of Fox2now.com)

Columbine High School 1999 (Photo courtesy of Fox2now.com)

Columbine stunned us. It took our breath away. Left us speechless, without words. It was 1999.

Sandy Hook — which came 13 years later — broke our heart and flooded our nation with tears. Twenty dead children laying on classroom floors.

Umpqua was just yesterday. Ten more dead. Another killer’s name goes down in history.

And what’s on Netflix?

Nothing shocks us anymore. Sure, many of us take pause, say what a shame, and then it’s back to our lives until the next school shooting/mass murder happens.

Welcome to America in 2015.

I’ve said this all before so I know it’s like talking to a brick wall and hearing it is like hearing from a brick wall.

I made a crack on Facebook yesterday about millions of more dollars being sent from the National Rifle Association into the pockets of our politicians, who refuse to budget on gun control.

One of my Facebook friends — pardon the expression — shot back, “You’re blaming the NRA?”

My reply was: “Nope, it’s the fault of the 26-year-old shooter and whatever happened in his life to make him him a mass murderer. The NRA is just going to pump more money to the politicians to fight the gun control laws that much of our country wants and could possibly have saved the lives of some of these people who have been killed in the 250-plus mass murders that have occurred this calendar year.”

Everybody knows gun control laws aren’t going to stop people from dying from gun violence.

But most of the arguments against modifying the Second Amendment in this country is just so head-slapping ridiculous it’s obscene.

Rolling Stone magazine wrote a great piece about Four Pro-Gun Arguments We’re Sick of Hearing, which you can read by clicking here.

President Obama — who I really thought would be able to get stuff done after Sandy Hook, which is 20 miles from the place where I hang my hat — is as angry as much of America is, but nothing gets done.

Our President of change seven years ago proved he wasn’t powerful to change anything against a right-wing establishment whose sole purpose was to derail his presidency.

And it’s a shame.

Just like Kennedy in 1963 — though nothing like Kennedy in 1963 — we’ll never know for sure what the future could have held, only this time it’s because this country is so divided on political lines that nothing is getting done.

We’re dying every day — in our schools, in our movie theaters, on our streets, in our homes. The good news? At least most of have insurance now so we won’t be dying in the hospital.

There are children going hungry every day, crying themselves to sleep in a shelter or a car, or God knows, where else?

Welcome to the world in 2015 where it’s all apart of our mourning routine.

 

 

October in the October Weekend

Ladies and gentlemen, October has come to The October Weekend.

Ladies and gentlemen, October has come to The October Weekend.

It is October 1st.

And this, as you know, if you come here from time to time, is the October Weekend, my personal blog where I spew forth stories, feelings, tidbits and the like of random things that pop up in my life.

I don’t post here as much as I would like simply because I’m so damn busy living my life.

Well that’s a lie. I’m not busy living, I’m busy working.

My work is wife, my mistress and my John, who pays me for all my time as I whore myself out to each and every possible job description — writer, reporter, photographer, page layout, copy editor and more.

Welcome to Journalism in 2015. I remind myself that I’m lucky I can do all those things because those journalists who can’t do all those things are no longer in journalism.

There again, I’m not sure if I’m the lucky one, or if they are.

But I digress.

As I was saying, I don’t post here as much as I would like, so since it’s October — and since this is The October Weekend — I’m setting a goal to post something every day for the next 31 days.

My challenge is not to try to make it a “Dear Diary” thing because I think that would bore both of us.

Thus, I have no idea what will be coming over the next four weeks and three days.

I guess we’ll start to find out on October 2.

I only hope you’ll enjoy, if you take the time, as much as I hope to, if I can take/make the time.

See you tomorrow.