And today I have this model pretty much finished, other than minor touchup as the clay dries out.
And now I will start work on the next model.
I guess this is as good a spot as any since the other topic of this post is actually connected to this building too, I decided to make a call to a fellow named Antonio I used to work with in this building way back around 1978-1982, he got me a job in the building working night security on weekends, in fact I think this was my first real job outside of working a bit for my father. It was a union job and their contract with the building made it so that even though I was only working one night a week it was still time-and-a-half- $13.00 an hour, that’s about $45 an hour today!
It was still tough staying awake all night midnight untill sunrise and beyond- 8:00 AM when the relief man came, especially so because the building had no heat after 5 PM and it would rocket down to about 45-50 degrees within a few hours once the heat was turned off Saturday by 1 PM.
Other than an occasional night bell ringer who needed to be admitted, it was a desolate building, in fact the entire neighborhood there basically closed up around 5 PM and everyone was gone and I had the entire 9 story building basically to myself.
Anyway, over the years I wondered whatever became of Antonio, he was a fun dude to work with and we always got along great, on his Saturday shift a couple of hours before mine started, he would often come to my loft to watch the fights in Madison Square Garden my little B&W TV set. Antonio was originally from Spain but could speak and read English reasonably well, though at times he didn’t know what an English word might be for a Spanish one, and it made for some interesting and hilarious dialogue at times!
For instance, one time he wanted to know what time it was, as I had a wrist watch and he didn’t, but the only way he could think of asking me what the time was- was by asking it in a sort of oddly translated English such as exactly this: “what time you watch talka to you?” the first time I heard that question was really the first time I ever heard the question quite that way, but I came up with a great response to that: ” I dunno Antonio, I yelled at my watch last week and now it no talka to me no more!”
Another one he did that was also just as funny, was when he was going to talk about something in the news or politics or life in general, he couldn’t come up with the proper English words for this, but the proper words may have been something like: “I read something you can give me your opinion on!” his version for that was: “I talka to you this question: what happen if…”
So with all of that said, now we come to today’s phone call, I found Antonio in about five minutes with a Google search since he still amazingly enough still lives in Astoria Queeens in the very same house!
I had called his number a few years ago but I think his daughter answered and there was some language difficulty and Antonio was not home. Today he was home however and we started to talk, that’s when I learned he is 84 now, wow! I still picture him much younger with black hair and slightly grey temples, but anyway, he sounded great but I was somewhat saddened that he could not remember me. I brought up details I was sure would jog his memory but didn’t, yet he remembered the building rental manager we had problems with and other things from then, hmmm, I’m not sure if maybe there was a language issue on the phone and he wasn’t quite hearing me well, or if maybe it’s some memory loss due to age, we did work together for 4 years so it wasn’t just a brief encounter.
So I said I would send him a copy of my book, and was sure when he saw the pictures it would jog his memory and he would remember, I think it will work but wow, it’s hard to imagine how someone can forget
but I can see now how difficult it must be for families who have a loved one with mild dementia or early alzheimers, or just old age wakes up one morning and their family member with that doesn’t even know who they are despite being family for 80 years or something!
Oh well, we’ll see if I hear back from him or his family via mail after he gets the book, 32 years is a long time ago but I remember everything from back then to the smallest detail, that’s why this is so surprising, I really expected he would almost instantly recognize my name and then we’d reminisce about old times and talk about what we’ve been doing, but it didn’t happen that way and since he couldn’t remember I didn’t continue too far.