My son compiled these stories, from my husband’s very colorful childhood. Enjoy!
I dedicate these articles to my Dad, whose childhood has always seemed so funny to me!! The stories about my Grandpa Frank, my Dad’s neighborhood friends, and his group called the Imperials were hysterical bedtime stories! Even in his adult life, my Dad can always see the humorous side of anything!
Read and enjoy my Dad’s amusing true stories that always begin with:
“ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY…”
DAD’S BASEBALL DEBUT
On this particular day…in 1952, I was only 5 years old. My Dad, (your Grandpa Frank), played for the Newark Bears which was the AAA team of the New York Yankees. He knew Hank Bauer, Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and many other Yankees. One day, Grandpa Frank went to Hank Bauer and asked if he could set up an exhibition match between him and me.
Remember, I was only five years old at the time, but surprisingly, Hank agreed to the challenge. Grandpa had a dozen major league quality baseballs, and a bat and mitt made, that were small enough for me at the time. I was so excited because I rode in a convertible to get to the field where Hank, Cliff Mace, and Joe DiMaggio were going to meet us.
I struck Hank out in 4 pitches!! You know, of course, if Hank wanted to hit one, he easily could have! The newspapers caught the story and I have the picture and the article to this day!
Want to see it?!
I was so thrilled…the article said I pitched so well!! I think that’s what gave me the confidence to become a great baseball player in high school and to lead my high school baseball team to All State in my Senior year.
Did you know my name is in my high school’s Hall of Fame?
On this particular day…in October, I was at a restaurant with Grandpa Frank and he was bragging about how well he could bowl!! At around midnight, some guy stepped up and challenged Grandpa. So Grandpa took a $100 bill out of his pocket and proclaimed to everyone that he could bowl past the train tracks which were about 4 blocks away! ! The guy accepted the bet and Grandpa took the bowling ball out of his trunk, and walked into the middle of the street. Grandpa wound up, let go of the ball, and it went flying!!
Cars were swerving back and forth trying to avoid the rolling object corning at them!! The bowling ball sailed on passed the train tracks!!! Grandpa left the bowling ball where it landed and treated everyone in the restaurant to breakfast with the money he won!!
That’s your Grandpa for ya!
THE IMPERIAL PENNY FROM HEAVEN
On this particular day…in the Summer of 1961, my best friend, Marty, and I were in a “cool” club called the Imperials!! It had been a great year so far for the Imperials! The Imperials loved to pull pranks on Mr. Luciola, who was the owner of the cleaners near where Marty lived. One particular prank we liked to pull was sticking ABC gum in the key hole of the front door to the shop. Every time he would put his key in the lock, he would get gum on it!
One day, Mr. Luciola was leaning back on his chair in the front of the cleaners because he wasn’t too busy. The Imperials walked by and he was yelling at us in Italian and English. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a penny.
I simply said, “Ahh, be quiet!!!” and flipped the penny up in the air. It landed right in Mr. Luciola’s mouth!!!
He was choking on it and he almost fell off his chair! All the Imperials ran for their lives!
I don’t recommend trying this now-a-days!
THE MAD CRINKLER
On this particular day…Marty and I and the rest of the Imperials were in 7th grade. Our teachers gave us Spelling books to do and every week another lesson was assigned to do on our own. But the teachers never collected them or checked them, so the Imperials skipped the lesson every week!
During the year, the Imperials invented the “Mad Crinkler,” who would do pranks around the school. The “Mad Crinkler” would clap the erasers on the teacher’s seat, or do something like sticking pencils or pipe cleaners in the ceiling. Near the end of the year, we started to get worried that the teachers would collect and check all the Spelling books and find out we hadn’t done a single lesson for the whole year!!
So, I said to Marty and the guys, “Let’s blame the ‘Mad Crinkler,” then we won’t have to do our Spelling books!” We wondered how we would do it. So, one day when we were in school we left a window open. Later, we sneaked back in through the window. We went to all the 7th grade classrooms, got all the 7th grade Spelling books, and tore them up! Then, we made a big pile of torn Spelling books in the front lobby and a sign that said, “The Mad Crinkler’s Ultimate Strike!!!”
The teachers couldn’t figure out who did their lessons and who didn’t, so they passed everyone in the 7th grade that year for Spelling!
Don’t you find it hard to believe that I later became a police officer???
On this particular day…in Mr. Luciola’s cleaners, there was a counter about 4 feet wide. On that counter, Mr. Luciola wrote the slips about the clothes. Right under the counter, there was an open space with a curtain covering it. On top of the counter, there was a bell
that you would ring for service. One day, I went around and got under the counter on Mr. Luciola’s side. I put the bell above me, so I could reach it. I reached up and rang the bell and closed the curtain.
Mr. Luciola came from the back of the store, looked around, and mumbled to himself. Then, he went to the back of the store
again. I rang the bell again and closed the curtains. Again, Mr. Luciola came from the back very annoyed and started cursing in
Italian!! Seeing no one for the second time, Mr. Luciola again returned to the back of the store.
I could have kept that up all day!!
The next time I rang the bell and closed the curtains, and Mr. Luciola came up to the counter once more, I grabbed Mr. Luciola’s legs and yelled.!!!
He just about had a heart attack!!
When he finally caught his breath, he chased me out of the store and all the way down the block!!
On this particular day…in the Winter of 1962, the Imperials decided to build a snowman. The Imperials proceeded to build a 6 foot snowman in…what we thought would be…the most fun place! He had arms, a hat, scarf, and a stick nose. At about 5:00 pm, Mr. Luciola came out of his store and saw a 6 foot snowman on the roof of his 1956 De Soto!!
He looked at the snowman, blinked, looked at it again, and still couldn’t believe his eyes!!
Then, he simply got in his car and drove away with the huge snowman on his roof.
We never saw “De Snowman” again!
On this particular day…my Aunt Fran had a toaster. When the toaster broke, she brought it to Grandpa Frank to fix. He fixed it and was quite proud of his repair job! When Aunt Fran came back to get it, Grandpa warned her to be very careful with it.
“Sometimes,” he explained, “When the toast is done, it pops up right out of the toaster!!”
Aunt Fran responded, “But Frank, it never was a pop-up toaster!!”
And that’s how I learned to do repairs…explains a lot, Huh???
On this particular day…the Imperials noticed that a man-hole cover had some really “cool” sticky, black sealer stuff on it!! Since we had nothing else to do at the moment, we scraped some of it off, and found out that it stuck to everything it touched!!
No matter what we tried it on, it stuck to it all!!
We began to imagine the possibilities!!!
We threw it and it stuck to our heads, we threw it and it stuck to our books, we threw it and it stuck to the walls, we threw it and it stuck to the ceiling!!
Soon the school looked like a black polka-dot world of super adhesive!! We strategically placed it on sidewalks and in hallways, so that once someone stepped on it, they would get it on the bottom of their shoes and leave its print everywhere!
In one classroom, we stuck 4 little balls of it on the windowsill and once the window was lowered, locked, and opened
again, its presence was immediately noticeable!!
We watched, we waited, we laughed and it never lost its sticky power!!
On this particular day…when I was older and a cook in the Army National Guard, one of our Captains and his men started showing up late for dinner.
We had 150 people to serve each evening, and dinner was served between 5:00 and 6:00 pm every night in order to have enough
time to clean up.
The Captain would show up at about 6:30 pm and expect dinner. The first and second nights I fed the Captain without a problem. Then on the third night of this, I told the Captain,
“You can’t do this! My men have been working since 4:30 am! You better not be late again or you won’t be fed!”
On the fourth day, again they were late. I was annoyed, but reluctantly agreed to feed them. I told my helpers to get the spaghetti we had for dinner out of the dumpster. We slopped the food on the plate and gave it to the Captain.
He ate it all and said, “Now, that was the best spaghetti I’ve ever had!”
Someone told the Captain what happened and he warned me to never do that again…
But the Captain was never late for dinner again, either!
P.S. Hope you enjoyed my look backwards to my Dad’s childhood…mine was calm by comparison…maybe I’ll tell you about it sometime…