DAY #29:

The summer of 1968, half way towards my grad degree, was a memorable summer for me…. the James Center playground was a big success and the kids (boys & girls) had a wonderful time playing sports, board games, exercising their bodies, and just “hanging out” with each other…and me and my dear friend, my partner in fun, Eddie Petrosky were having a great time supervising the playground.. the kids had to watch it stay “empty” for Fall, Winter & Spring…. so they couldn’t wait for us to open it up in the second summer that the Children’s Aid Society loaned it out to Transfiguration Church…. and this summer was also when I met my wife Maria…. my story begins on a steaming hot summer day, the Sunday after the 4th of July… me and my friend Frankie Libero decided to go to Manhattan Beach to cool off and check out the chicks….after sitting in traffic, we finally arrived, parked the car and immediately ran into the water to cool off…. I decided to go down to touch the bottom in about 4 feet of water. As I came up for air, a soda can filled with water conked me on the front top of my head. Some kids were throwing up some soda cans just for fun..? I was stunned by it but managed to get myself out of the water and up to the first aid station…. they cleaned the cut but told me I had to go to the Emergency room of Coney Island hospital for a few stitches to close the wound…. I looked at Frankie and said to him “Are you kidding me, the emergency room at Coney Island hospital must be a ZOO!…so l will keep a towel on my head while you drive us back to Beekman-Downtown Hospital. Wall St. is closed today so their emergency room should be empty”. So off we went to Beekman, which is down the hill from City Hall. I was so right, except for a few bums from the Bowery, who injured themselves when they were drunk, the emergency room took me in right away…. being in the sun a lot, I had a great tan and I must say I looked pretty good for a guy about to be 25 years old in a few days..(except for my height, of course)…… anyway, the nurse that came in the cubicle to take care of me and prep me for the doctor who would stitch me up (just 5 stitches). She had a beautiful smile and looked like the sister of Kim Novak… My heart started to race a mile a minute as I looked on her left hand to see if she was married, and lo and behold she did not have a wedding ring on.. after I checked her out, she said to me, as she cleaned up my wound, “the attendants usually do this but you have been so nice and polite, I decided to do this myself”. It was so hard for me to not drool all over her as I quickly said, “I would love to repay you for your kindness to me, when you get off work, can I take you for dinner in Chinatown”? to which she said that she was working a double shift til midnight and besides you’re too young for me. I said back to her that age is just a number and besides she sure looked my age (she is 7 years older then me, I found out later). So I then said, just think about it, when I come back to take the stitches out in a few days I will come back and we can at least go for a cup of coffee and piece of pie? She smiled back at me and said “maybe”. ……When I left the hospital, at the entrance was a security guard, so I told him about the blonde nurse I met in the emergency room that spoke like Zah Zah Gabor, and he knew it was nurse Kurylo (I thought it was Carrillo) the Polish nurse. I then asked him quite frankly if she just blew me off by telling me she is working a double shift…he told me that she was a very hard worker and she worked many double shifts…so she was telling you the truth…. that put a big smile on my face, as I thought to myself, she is beautiful and she is not afraid of “hard work” ! So as I met up with Frankie to drive me home, I told him that I just met my future wife, and he just laughed at me and said I was “nuts”……

I am all pooped out, long day with 1 1/2 hours of physical therapy as I am taking this time to put Genvisc shots in my surgically repaired rt. knee. 5 shots every Tuesday (the doctor uses “visual imaging” to put the needle exactly where it should go in my knee joint), followed by 1 1/2 hours of fantastic physical therapy and another 1 1/2 hours of P.T. every Friday….. I have a great team of P.T.’s who put me through a great series of exercises, they give pain relieving massages, finish up with 15 minutes of electrical stimulation while my leg is wrapped up in a nylon sleeve ice pack. and then either Alberto or Karim put back on the functional knee brace that makes me feel like I can run a 100 yard dash out to my car….. I have always seemed to make smart decisions and deciding to get the Gel shots and do P.T. at Physicians Rehab, just down the road from my condo, was one of the best decisions I ever made… It’s a very safe environment, and because of the virus, I am getting “individual attention” as only one other patient is in the room with me. (they usually have 10-15 patients) There are large bottles of hand sanitizers everywhere within reach… I am two weeks into the 5 week program and my knee feels great already…..
……so, if you don’t mind, I will pick up where I left off tomorrow. I left the best for last !

Read the next post Taking Stock Day 30.