The Story I Want to Tell You

Life Story Club Contributor

June 17, 2020

Once upon a time, there was a child who wanted to be a singer. He tried making songs every day, writing down his ideas and setting them to music. First, he would write the poems. Then try to set them to a tune. This did not work. Then he tried the opposite. He wrote the melodies, then tried to put in the lyrics. This also did not flow. He was frustrated, to say the least. Then he had a dream. In the dream, he saw colors. In the dream, he saw animals. Because it was nighttime, they were huddled in the safety of their homes. Instead of frolicking in the forest and having fun. He saw people alone in their homes. Isolated. They were sad. Then he saw the ocean. And the moon. As the moon spun around the earth, it’s gravity was influencing the oceans and forming tides. The ocean’s waves were kissing the shore. Then as the earth revolved on it’s axis, night became day and everyone—the animals and the people, came out from their shelters to work and play. The birds sang their songs and spring was in the air. This child then knew that life was about interconnection and rhythms. That’s what his efforts were missing. Life is musical, and when he realized this, he began to sing his songs with feelings. Whereas he once had thoughts, now he had emotions too. And this is how he became a success!

A nice gesture

Life Story Club Contributor

June 10, 2020

I first moved into this new neighborhood and then I met some people. They invited me to a dance and I met this young woman there. Her name was Barbara, and she was very warm and sweet and she introduced me to just about everyone that was there. I was a new person, sort of like a nobody, so I felt that was very sweet. Later, one of her friends took an interest in me and she taught me how to dance.

A memorable celebration

Life Story Club Contributor

June 10, 2020

Back in 1987, I was 38 and I went to a Thanksgiving with my girlfriend that she had in her home in Annapolis. And I met her children’s in-laws. Her in-laws. The children’s married partners’ parents, who were Mexican. And part of the Thanksgiving was paella. It’s a big rice dish with Spanish sausage and seafood. And we had Turkey. And it was very festive and very, very enjoyable to be multicultural.

I’m Chinese, born in Manhattan. My girlfriend at the time was German and her son had married this Mexican woman from Mexico. Her father had flown in from, I think, Mexico City. So it was pretty diverse. And we were … Let’s see … I’m sorry. It was 1988, one year off. We were appalled at Tian An Men Square, what was going on then. But we were happy to be celebrating Thanksgiving during peaceful times in America. It’s unlike what we have now…

Speaking Up

Life Story Club Contributor

June 3, 2020

I was shopping at my Key Food supermarket about maybe three weeks ago. And they had us wait outside so that we wouldn’t be overcrowded. And I went in, I got my basket. And I was going down an aisle and a woman had probably seen me come in. I was wearing my mask and she blocked my path.

So I was going to turn around and go the other way, because I didn’t want to go past her in the aisle. And she said, “Come. Come here. I want to talk to you.” So I turned around and she said, “Why did you bring this virus here?”

So the woman was Hispanic and she was middle-aged. And I should have said something, but I didn’t know exactly how to respond. I didn’t bring the virus here. So I just looked at her and she looked at me. And she was shaking her head and using her finger to point at me.

I came home. I told my girlfriend, who is Jewish. And she said, “I’ll go with you to the store and tell the manager that he should be on the lookout for people being harassed. Maybe we can still catch her in the store.”

So, I don’t want to escalate something, give her like a sense of importance. But I probably should have said something. So when people are accusatory like that, you don’t know what to say. And you know that you’re dealing with someone that’s not too bright, usually. Then it wouldn’t be appropriate. They would not understand. I could have said, “Well, maybe you brought it over here.” And then she would have…

Anytime there’s a… I’m aware also of being in the public, and being a man and then some kind of altercation with a female. You have heard of that woman named Amy Cooper?

So she could… Amy Cooper, she could have said something like, “There’s a man here. He’s threatening my life. He just touched me inappropriately. He’s trying to rip my underwear off.” The police would’ve come and beat him. Or give him a free choke-hold.. What can I say? I mean, “He touched me. He touched me.” What do I do then?

So, I didn’t want to provoke it, escalate it. So I just thought, silence is golden.

Historical Event

Life Story Club Contributor

June 3, 2020

The airplanes going into the World Trade Center and the towers coming down, it happened on a very close to 9:00 AM in the morning and the twin towers, they had a restaurant on top and when my mother turned 60, I took her up there, the whole family, it was called Windows of the World. So I remember the buildings being so tall and the wind hitting it. And you actually felt the swaying, the buildings would sway very gently.

That was the restaurant on the 110th floor. And at night when we went up there, I timed it so that my mom would be able to see the city lights coming on at the sunset. And it was just beautiful, just really beautiful from there. And then we had an elegant dinner. So I was remembering the second attack, I should say. That was 9/11 of 2001. But if you remember, that was the second attack.

The first attack was when they put a bomb in a van and the van was parked in the garage. And when it went off, it shook the building and it set fire to a lot of cars. Then what happened was the man that had rented the van and put it in the basement, had loaded it with explosives. That was a rental van and they captured him when he went to get his deposit back from the rental company. That’s what happened. The second attack they say was from airplanes. One building went down and then the second building went down.

But what happened was also, there were other buildings in the area of the World Trade Center. There was only two towers, but there’s also a whole complex of buildings. And the site is called a superblock because what they did was when they built it, it was a whole section. That area years ago used to be where you would go for buying all radio tubes and things that were electronic. They eliminated all that and they made it a large site, a super site.

If you look at Lincoln Center, that’s another super site, where they redid the geography of the streets. But there’s a lot of engineers that look at the films of the World Trade Center going down. And this is not just US engineers, it’s all over the world. When they see the towers coming down on film, they all say it’s a controlled demolition. And when the fireman first went into the World Trade Centers, they were told, okay go in there, climb up the steps. Now remember it’s 110 floors. It’s not like a two story building. It’s very, very tall. And the firemen, when they were proceeding up the steps, they heard a series of explosives going on, boom. And then after a certain time period, boom again and repeatedly. And this is not the testimony of one person, but several. And then the people in the building on the higher floors above floors I think 84, they were told to climb to the roof, helicopters will come and get you.

But what I want to say is, on that site, there were several other smaller buildings in that vicinity and the cars on the sidewalk. And also these other buildings were melted. So if you have a building coming down okay, let’s say your house goes on fire. It’s not going to melt the cars on the street. So there’s lots of controversy of what that the event actually was. A lot of unknowns. And if you watch how the towers fell, it fell in and onto itself. It didn’t fall like a tree on to other buildings. It just collapsed onto itself, from the top floors all the way down, both towers went like that.

Well, they say that… This is the popular explanation. They say what happened was the fuel from the airplane, when it hit the building, it set off the gasoline from the airplane tanks, the fuel of the airplanes poured down the World Trade Center. And this melted the steel. So, if you have an airplane that’s burning fuel, it’s the same as gasoline. It’s just a higher grade of gasoline. It’s not something mysterious. If you have a car and you go to a gas station, you buy gasoline to go into your car. Now I’m sure that lately you have seen on TV, the police vehicles that the looters have set fire to, and when the police cars melt, when the police cars are set on fire, their gas tanks explode. And the people run away.

But you don’t see the police cause melting onto the ground. You don’t see that happening because when gasoline burns, it is not hot enough to melt steel. And when you have a building that they say, “it was melted by steel.” “The building came down because it was melted by the gasoline from the airplanes.” That’s a joke. It doesn’t make any kind of sense. Also all the cars on the street were all melted.

The military uses something… I forget the exact name, but it’s a kind of plastic explosive that is high grade. And it’s used to compromise foreign structures in combat. And they think that that was actually used in the destruction of the World Trade Center. Not some airplanes going in and the gasoline making the building melt.

The Fireworks at Coney Island

Life Story Club Contributor

Watching the fireworks at Coney Island. They have them on Friday nights in the summer, and they start around 9pm. One time, my girlfriend and I were standing on the beach, and the fireworks take off from a barge that’s floating in the ocean. So we were on the boardwalk watching, it was so close. The fireworks are just like Macy’s fireworks – they’re huge! And every time a shell goes up, there’s a muffled boom, and you see the trail of the shell going up into the dark summer sky. There’s a slight reflection because the boardwalk is slightly higher than the beach, so if you look on the water, you see the reflection of the trail of it going up. When it explodes, you hear Oooh’s and Aaah’s from the crowd. During the finale, they set off many, many shells at one time. They also have these explosive fireworks as well that repercussion in your chest because it’s so close.

But this one time, the fireman on the actual beach were running up onto the boardwalk and motioning and screaming, “Everybody back, back, Everybody back!” because the wind that normally blows the fragments of fireworks out into the ocean, this time there were very strong gale force winds that were blowing towards the shore. So you saw embers going into your hair and onto your clothing. And that was also scary and exhilarating. We were running back, and they were continuing to scream “Back! Further, further, back, now, now, now!” They were pushing their arms in the air, motioning. So we turned around and ran away as fast as we could! Because the embers were hot. This was during the finale, which was usually about a minute. It takes time because the explosive fragments are really small, like snow. It takes time for the embers to drift down from the heights. Even though there were no more shells exploding, you still had a cascade of small bits of burning metal. You could feel it, of course you smelled it, saw it, and you heard it – the only thing was you couldn’t taste it.

It’s a whole experience because none of the rides stop for the occasion. Everything is going on as normal, and there are some parts of Coney Island, where if you stand, I guess it’s toward the Aquarium section, you can kind of see the F train and the D train coming in on the elevated tracks. You always think of the subway as being underneath, sub, like submarine, underneath. But actually, many parts of the subway in the outer boroughs are above ground, elevated. Years ago, on 3rd Avenue, on 6th Avenue, and also on 9th Avenue in Manhattan, the subways were above ground. So there was a lot of crime underneath the tracks because even in day light they were cast in dark shadows. They created a lot of noise – you know, metal on metal. The subways in other cities are sometimes on rubber wheels, but in New York, steel wheels on steel tracks. If you clanging and clinging all day and all night, through 3rd Avenue, 6th Avenue, and 9th Avenue, it’s not only crime-ridden, but it’s disruptive for schools, churches and business. If you want to see it, what I’m talking about, if you have an old copy of King Kong, which is shown on television during Thanksgiving, you can see King Kong taking a subway off the tracks, opening the doors and eating the people! You can ask people who lived in Manhattan during that time, like I did, what their childhood was like. In the 1950’s when they tore down the subways, clinging and clanging all the time – all that ironwork!

Nature

Life Story Club Contributor

I would have to say visiting a garden that a few weeks before was very sparse, and then going back to the same area and seeing it blossom. I enjoy seeing water lilies and blossoms afterwards. There’s a bloom called the lotus, and after that, it forms a seed pod, which can actually be dried and eaten. My mother used to make it in stews.

This is the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, it’s alongside the greenhouse. If you’re familiar with where they have the weddings, it’s right there in the wedding area. Where they have a whole row of tulips. The street is Washington Street. My partner almost lived there, but I go infrequently.

The lotus forms a pod, and the seeds are inside the pod. The seeds are dried and put into medicinal stews. It’s very stringy and requires a lot of boiling, you boil it for a long time. It’s a tan color, mild tasting, and kind of chewy because of the stringiness. If you’ve ever seen a rose window inside a cathedral, as in St. John’s cathedral on the upper west side, it’s like that.

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