I was born in 1943, one of a set of fraternal twins, in New York City.
At the time,
my father had
so my mother settled us on
Jerome Avenue, just south of
For the first 17 years of my life,
Avenue El ran outside my window.
My parents were both the youngest of their siblings. They married late, and had us even later,
so I am actually contemporary with my cousins' children, rather than my first cousins.
Both my parents were first-generation Americans.
My father's stock was German/Polish my mother's
Irish/English. (Our family name was 'Von Maluski'. My father changed
it, when we began school.
Neither parent had much 'formal' education — something they both remedied later in life.
My brother, Richard (I was named 'Raymond') was born with a mild handicap (Cerebral Palsy), and
The quieter of us. I was active and undisciplined (now-a-days, I would probably be put on
medication), but at a very early age, we were both assessed as uncommonly bright. I have often tried
to imagine the anxiety a young Irish-Catholic woman must have felt, when faced with the prospect
of single-handedly raising two overly-bright children — one handicapped, one hyper. Eventually, my
father got out of the Service, and joined her. But he worked long hours, and the brunt of the
During the "Great Depression" (was it really that great?) my parents had worked as "domestics" on
carried the things she saw during this time as the epitome of what decorum
and behavior should be.
She raised us accordingly.
I attended P.S 70, and J. H. S. 117. Then went to Bronx High School of Science. During my High
years, I discovered a guitar a cousin had left under my father's bed for safe-keeping. I taught
to play, and it changed my life. I was suddenly popular.
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