Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hobo Slim / Walking the Tracks

Walking the railroad tracks was a favorite pastime for us kids.
Great treasures were found along the tracks...big sticks, cans which were good for both kicking and throwing at each other, scary looking dolls with most of their hair missing, the list goes on. Many times while enjoying these afternoon walks along the 21st Street tracks we would run across hobos. Yes, we called them hobos in those days, not bums, not transients...Hobos. One hobo who I swear I saw off and on throughout the 60s and 70s was Hobo Slim. Now Hobo Slim wasn't slim. He was what you would call "swarthy looking", kinda grimy, always half drunk or fall down drunk and always asking us kids or anyone
for a dime. He really scared the crap out of us too and if we had a dime, penny, nickle whatever, we gave it to him.
Walking the tracks began to get a little sketchy as more unfamiliar hobos made there way there. Us kids decided that the alley was good enough and strange enough.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I am currently working on what is destined to be a tale which will be handed down from generation to generation. Well, if it's read by a few of you cool readers I'll be happy.
Urbaniak's is a market located on the corner of 24th and German streets in Erie, PA
and is still in business today.
My upcoming strip will tell of one of my visits to this institution of culinary delights.
Hope to have it posted by the end of the week.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spring 1969

Ahhh...memories. Nuns cracking their ruler over my knuckles, the milk man whistling while he delivered his milk, cheese and eggs to various neighbors. Of course living in a city and neighborhood where there was a bar on every corner you are bound to see an assortment of drunks and bums. That's when you could get a cold draft of Genesee or Koehler for thirty five cents!
And then there was the girl who's name I can no longer remember. Her backyard butted up to ours in the northwest corner, a short wire fence separating the two yards.
I don't know what I said or what I did but the rock hit me square on the front of my mouth and I sported a chip tooth for years after that. Always remember to keep your mouth shut when being pelted by a rock I would tell my nephews.
And never piss off an eight year old girl who has a decent aim and a helluva an arm!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Uncle Ray in "Saving Contrast"

Uncle Ray was my grandfather's younger brother. A successful barber who had a thriving business downtown, he would drop in from time to time to visit grandpa. They would always argue over the craziest things. One particular episode involved grandpa insisting that TV tubes were something that the TV repairman would fill up. "My contrast must be low" or "The horizontal should be fine, the repairman filled it up just last week!"

Grandpa worked at the Erie Forge all his life and judging from his knowledge of televisions it's a good thing he did. He would have made a lousy repairman.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Crazy Love" / Al & Marianne

Al & Marianne were a couple who lived in a house two doors down.
Their house was actually located in the back of another house and their backyard was the alley where most us kids hung out.

Marianne claimed once to have caught the sun in her bed sheet. She also claimed that the Virgin Mary spoke to her and that she needed to put a darning needle in her hair to shut her up. Evidently the Virgin Mary is quite a talker.

I remember Al coming home with a bottle every night. Can ya blame the guy for drinking?!

One Summer they showed up with a car. How it got there nobody knew because neither one of them drove. That Summer they would get dressed to the nines, grab a bottle of booze
and sit in that car for hours. At the end of their date, Al would open his door, walk around to the side of the car and open the car door for Marianne.
Crazy love.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Sonny lived across the street with his alcoholic mother and his two brothers. Sonny had spent some time in jail and was a somewhat tragic figure. He would spend long hours on his front porch drinking beers and sniffing what was known as tea. Tea was basically any chemical you could dip a rag into and sniff. The last thing Sonny needed was to kill even more brain cells. Many nights he could be seen standing with a chemical stained rag in one hand, and a beer in the other, groaning and shouting at whatever imaginary demons his abused brain had conjured up that evening.

He walked with a permanent limp which was the result of a fun try at hopping a train
with friends. He didn't make it onto the train of course as he was too busy
screaming his head off while his buddies waited patiently for the train to pass so they could retrieve his severed foot.

Such good times.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Maintenance Man with a Secret

The maintenance man at St. John's School was Mr. Hines.
A stocky and gentle soul, Mr. Hines did all there was to do to keep SJS running smooth.
He spent most of his time in the Boiler Room.
The Boiler Room...I always thought that it had a strange ring to it.
I always imagined it sounds like something from Hogan's Heros. Y'know when Col.Klink would yell at Hogan..."HOGAAN...To the COOLER!", "HOGAAN, To the BOILER ROOM!"

Anyway, Mr. Hines had a missing thumb which led to much speculation.
I'll let the comic take it from here.