By JAMES SHERIDAN
For The Recorder
I must transport back some 70 years. We had survived object poverty and risen to a degree, to a degree, of normally economically. We lived at 121 Market St. and every school day my mother went through a ritual as follows: My sisters, Betty and Pat, and I lined up next to the kitchen table. On the table were four brown bags. Each one contained a nice sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a few Lorna Doone's or Oreo's. As we left the house we were each given a nickel -- that's what a Coke cost. You will notice that there were four bags. Our mother ate the same as we did. Now comes the tough part. She took a bobby pin and cleaned our ears out and checked our nose for any "excess liquid or foreign matter." Then she'd check our underwear in case one of us get hit by a car (or in my case a truck.) The girls had the SMI uniform, plus, ankle socks and saddle shoes -- standard equipment in those days. She would look at me and my sneakers and always ask "Why can't you look like Clayton Messane or Maynard Baker or Eddie Mohringee? They were always so neat! I said "Mom, I'm 110 pounds of nothing, it is what it is."
On the subject of Maynard Baker I was always envious. He always looked good. Academically he was in the top five percent of the class. He played varsity basketball and varsity baseball. He didn't just start. He was very good. I mention this because two weeks ago I was at Hannaford exercising my one vice -- the Take 5 number for the week. Here was this broad shouldered guy ahead of me. It was Maynard Baker. I was prepared to submit my usual thought, that he looked good, but no Jim Sheridan. But, I got a good look at him and to be perfectly honest, he ain't lost a thing after 70 years. He was a good looking dude.
What really turns me against him was that he married Pat Fisher. You youngsters never knew the Fisher girls. There were four of them and they were without exception drop dead gorgeous. On top of that they were in the top five academically. They were truly scholars. If you wanted to define the word lady, go to the dictionary, and their four pictures would be there. By an odd coincidence my manager-agent, T. McDermott, is also married to one of the Fisher girls, June. It don't get no better than that.
T. and I met recently and decided to dissolve our business relationship. I go back with him 77 years to when I got hit by that truck. He has been and always will be a valued friend. But, we became cognizant of the fact, that our phone wasn't ringing off the wall. We're getting along in years and don't move as fast as we once did. I have only given four speeches in the past year and we haven't done a Bar Mitzvah in over two months, so the cash flow is weak.
Our secretary had retired so we decided to liquify our assets and split the money right down the middle, 50/50. We had a problem. Part of our assets consisted of some Japanese war bonds. We couldn't take them to Patty Macek and the Golden Girls of Cafe Society that she employs at MCT. They don't handle arbitrage. So, we had to communicate, with the man named Joshua Yoguto of the First National Bank of Osaba, Japan. After two letters, and five phone calls, he finally cut us a check. I gave it to Patty Macek and she had Trish cash it. I called T. and we met to split the cash as always, 50/50. I don't know what T. did with his $26, but, I blew mine at Hannaford the next day. They had a pot roast special and pork chops were on sale. Oh well, easy come, easy go. The rich get richer and the poor get children. Hey, it's been this way for 238 years.
I was often referred to as a born loser. My definition of that is the man assigned to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
See you guys next Saturday, Lord willing. I have a couple of movies I want to talk to you about.
JAMES SHERIDAN is an Amsterdam
resident and frequent contributor.