Author Topic: Remembering R. W. G.  (Read 4041 times)

Offline Nagelberg

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Remembering R. W. G.
« on: March 26, 2012, 03:17:52 PM »
Anyone out there remember my old pal, "Gruff"?  That wasn't his name, of course, but we called him that because he was loud and overbearing.  Fortunately, he had a great voice, an announcer's voice, so we listened to his bad jokes and goofy sayings without too much difficulty.  "Gruff" passed away several years ago, and I was saddened to find no mention of it anywhere--hence this posting.  His real name was Richard, and back when we were teenagers, the girls called him Uncle Dickie.  His claim to fame? Except for a stint in the Army and time away at Boston College, he lived for most of his 69 years in Jackson Heights.  He grew up in Hampton Court, got married and raised two kids in the Towers, and then moved back to Hampton Court until the end. Dick and I were part of a circle of friends who enjoyed the best of times in Jackson Heights in the late 50s and early 60s.  We hung out in the P.S. 69 school yard and, frequented Maxel's, Harry Martin's, and The Rendezvous. We got to see all of the horror and science fiction films you could ever imagine at the Jackson and the Boulevard theaters , and we bounced back and forth between St Mark's and Community churches on the eternal quest for girls. On Saturday nights we danced to The Drifters and listened to the Kingston Trio at friends apartments in the Chateau.
In addition to Gruff, our crowd included guys named Rod, John, Charlie B., Tommy, Chas. and Garry (also known as Rippy). The girls were sisters Ann and Linda, Barbara and Erika, Inky, Lotte and sharp-witted Dede. We patronized Toddle House, Jahns, The White Castle on 69th Street and, when Herc from Astoria supplied the wheels, we'd visit Kiddie City and Fairyland.  To pay for it all I delivered liquor for Kurt Gugenheimer's 82nd Street Wines and Liquors and worked at a factory called Flour Mix. Dick had a summer job as a landscaper and helped keep the neighborhood's famous gardens in shape. To be sure, Dick probably saw more of old and new Jackson Heights than just about anyone I could imagine.  If you knew him, your comments would be appreciated.

Offline ECG

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 09:51:09 PM »
Did he have a mom who did a lot of community work? If so, I think I remember him. Where did you go to school?

Offline Nagelberg

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 10:49:08 PM »
His Mom did do a lot of community work.  She was a real estate broker. I went to 69. 145, and Stuyvesant H.S. Did you go to neighborhood schools and, if so, when?

Offline ECG

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 11:19:03 PM »
Yep. Same person. Mary Garrett, I remember her but not so much Dickie. He did go to St. Marks for a while.
I went to Garden 13 years (kindergarten) and to St. Marks.

I live in the Chateau and if I saw a picture of him as an adult I'd probably recognize him.

Did you ever go to the live children's shows at the Boulevard?

Offline Nagelberg

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 12:18:29 AM »
Absolutely right. Mary was his mother and I remember her on stage at the Boulevard conducting one of the children's programs. Do you still live in the Chateau?  I had many friends who lived there, and I thought it was the most elegant building in Jackson Heights.  What years did you attend Garden, if I may ask? Did you know the Johnson and Wiegand sisters, Dede Thompson, Tommy Rigg and Gary Nelson?

Offline ECG

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 11:06:35 AM »
I moved to the Chateau in 1965. Before that I lived at 34-20 83rd St.

I haven't strayed far from home at all.

I graduated in 1959 from Garden. I knew Barbara, Erica, Tommy and possibly Gary - did you know Michael McPhillips? I think he is a friend of Gary's.

Tom (don't call me Tommy) came to St. Marks last summer. Brought the children and grandchildren. It was good to see him.

Not too many of the old timers left here.

Offline Tarbender

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 06:52:27 AM »
Was wondering if you might have known J.C. Curtin at GCD? His dad was "Mr. North" on the radio. J.C was a pal of Dick Ellison, a red-haired boy named Joyce and J.C. lived in the 80th Street Chateau's. There were other GCD boys: Jamie Mc Clintock, Donald Fordyce, Gibbs, and girls like Carole Vaughn, Carla Vogel, Sue Kelly most were Chateau residents.

Offline ECG

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 12:23:30 PM »
Yes on almost everything. Knew everyone mentioned. Val Curtin was one of my best friends until they moved to MA. Waited until JC graduated before moving.

Donald Fordyce lived in my building but before my time. Susie Kelley and I are still close friends, even though she is in CA.

I'm on the Garden Alum address search committee, so if you are looking for someone specific, maybe I can help. Also for St. Marks.
Tom Morrissey's brother John (Chip), lives across the garden from me.

Best regards,

Offline Tarbender

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2015, 09:49:57 AM »
What a nice message. All those old names of some very nifty people. God bless them. If you are connecting with Val or Sue Kelly please say hello and all the best to them from Owen Gavigan. I remember seeing Sue Kelly "under the clock" (as F.S.Fitzgerald said) at the Biltmore Hotel and she was in a Boston college and I was at Georgetown and I got her phone number which I put in a "safe place" intending to call and see her, but, misplaced it and had a lapse of what college she was at. I later found out that a pal of mine Bart Higgins from Tufts had dated her in Boston. That's all in the realm of 6% of Separation, a movie by John Guare who lived in JH on 82nd Street near 37th Ave. in (the "house of blue leaves") Val's brother J.C. I believe went to B.C. when they moved to Boston and married a former Jackson Height's girl named Lyn (I believe) Von Holten. Would love to connect with him sometime. He and I were students at Mrs. Louis's dance classes on Friday nights in the basement of an apartment house on 34th Ave. around 77th Street. The girls there were all great and very kind toward two left-footed teenage boys like myself. Anyway thanks for the memories. Did you know a girl named Mary Kehoe from the Chateau? By the way, my oldest friend from 82nd Street, Ted Schroetter a poet, Summa graduate of Princeton moved back to Jackson Heights and left Roman Catholicism and is now a St. Mark's communicant. Do you by any chance know Ted?

Offline ECG

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2015, 01:02:26 PM »
Hi Owen,

I think we knew different Susies. The one I knew had an older brother named Steve, you may have known him.

Did I already ask you if you knew the Fleming girls? Barbara, Sue & Pat? Sue and Pat are on FB.

JC sadly died, a number of years ago and Lyn also died in childbirth many many years ago.

I, too attended Mrs Louis/Miss Lewis? but not on Friday nights. Later we were at Miss Bloss's in the Garden gym. I still have nightmares about 'social' dancing!!!

I don't know Ted, but will check the church records. After the long term rector left in 1998 they had a turbulent time of fill-ins, decreased attendance, etc. We are slowly creeping up in attendance. 7 years ago, they sent in a "priest-in-charge" who was so difficult he drove more people away. Thankfully we have a man who is warm, friendly and hopeful. It is a different place now. Very multi-cultural congregation and we're all learning from each other.

Off now to help design a St. Mark's t-shirt for fund raising!! You have to do something inside in this weather!!!

Take care,
Betsy


Offline Tarbender

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Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2015, 10:03:16 AM »
The Sue Kelly lived in the Chateau 34-06-81Street, I believe. There was a very nice Fleming girl in Miss Lewis dance class, but I can't remember the first name. I'm sure that most of the girls I knew were GCDS girls and lots of fun. Several years ago we moved full-time  to our summer home in Maine and the pastor of the local Catholic church we attend is a former Methodist. He is a breath of fresh air and a brilliant speaker. Has that calm dignity lived by ladies and gentlemen when they have the genial grace of life that we only heard about. Never focuses on social justice, equality or anything PC, just gives insights and reflections on the good Lord and redemption. Church is loaded to the brim and since the good padre never mentions $$, they have one of the heaviest collection plates in the State. Spending the Winter in Charleston, S.C. where we have just the opposite kind of pastor, who never gives a homily resembling the Lords message. Keep the faith and keep helping St. Mark's in all their good works. Cub Scouts at St. Mark's was an excellent experience for me when I was growing up and will never forget the paper drives, metal drives that our pack under the supervision of dads, Pack Master Fuller and guidance of the good Rev. Schofield were enormous successes.

Jackson Heights Life

Re: Remembering R. W. G.
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2015, 10:03:16 AM »