At Alexander Hamilton High School, I played football. For practice the first day we had to duck walk the length of the field. It wasn't until the next morning that the affect on the muscles became known. My legs ached just to walk. To climb stairs was an impossible task. I had to call mom to help me up the flight of stairs to our apartment. The discomfort lasted about a week, but by then I could run with the best. Then came our first game. I entered at left tackle. Both teams assumed their positions. The whistle sounded and the ball went sailing to our opponents with me leading the defense. "DON'T HURDLE", the coach had stressed all pre-season. DON'T HURDLE. One blocker was between me an the ball carrier. To go around or feint with him, I would lose the ball carrier. I HURDLED not once, but twice. I was grounded for the next three games. "Why do I do these things", I would ask myself?
The answers that came back were not nice.
On the outskirts of Elmsford and back in a primeval forest was a fair sized pond called Browns Pond. To reach it we would walk a half mile on the main road toward Tarrytown then another mile through the woods. It was a beautiful spot away from any noise associated with civilization. Weekends it was heavily occupied by families of the area.
Blankets and picnic lunches were shared by all. Once school was out for the summer we practically lived there. One day, out in the middle of the pond, I developed a cramp in my leg. It was so bad, I could not move either leg. I was a strong swimmer and by keeping my lungs as full as possible, I made shore with my arms. Friends massaged the calf until I could at least walk. The incident taught me a great lesson; Don't swim alone!
Years later I visited Elmsford and drove to the path in the woods. I wondered if the pond was still there. I didn't get to far afoot when I was accosted by a threatening individual who asked what I wanted there. When I explained my intentions he advised me to leave. It was private property. I am sure the Mofia bought up all that beautiful property.
High school years were generally filled with many interesting incidents, experiences and mostly pleasure. In my second and third year I worked as a milkman's helper early each morning before school. The milkman was Ditti Mazziotti, who was a senior at school. Ditti was a happy well built fellow and an exceptional athlete especially in football. Milk deliveries were made in the early morning hours before school. He probably acquired the job through friends for he was liked by everyone. For some reason Ditti liked me as much as I admired him. He paid me twenty-five cents and two quarts of chocolate milk a day to deliver the orders door to door as he drove the truck. We were a great team making record time before school began. Depression was upon the nation. Money was for the most part was non-existent. I never felt I had fully enough to eat. With the twenty-five cents I would buy a coffee cake and share it with my brother at breakfast. Through Ditti I passed my driving test and earned my auto license using his car.
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