Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 07

                             Into the world of work spins Mother

Dressed in a bright white nurse's uniform with her little cap and spotless shoes that were
religiously polished every evening at dusk with sani-white, she hastened toward the train.

How easy it would have been for her to take the car and park it at the station, but Mother
would hear none of that for she was quite robust and much in need of the exercise! A brief
appearance at the In & Out Shop for a coffee and the morning paper was always in order
for the day. Then it was down the old concrete staircase. Once there, she would stand
behind the yellow line on the stations platform with other passengers of the morning.

Gazing at her old Movado watch the time read 6:40.

                                        Two & a Half - Suburban early morning station

She would have dipped into her purse for a cigarette had she not quit three years ago.
Ah yes, those Benson & Hedges I remember so well. What a horrible addiction it was
and that damn smoke was everywhere! Puffing away like a fiend at the drop of a hat for
no reason at all, but to fulfill an addiction. Every time she lit a cigarette, I would cringe!

If it was cold out, light a cigarette.
If she ate too much she'd light a cigarette. 
If an electrical fire had started in the basement, I'm pretty sure
before she threw herself out the bedroom window, she would be
clutching a pack of those minty smelling, cancer causing little marvels!

When I was real young she used to torture me, and on several occasions I threw up in
the car. That was mainly because whenever my mother lit a cigarette, the windows were
either shut tight or rolled down only about an inch. Must've been some kind of groovy
fad they had going on back then in the early seventies because everyone was doing it.

If I'm not mistaken, the name of the game was called, “kill the person you're with.”

                                                           Steve Purdy and The Studs - The Weed                                                                                

I'd often try to imagine what mother would look like in forty years if she continued on the
path she was headed down, and in the back of my mind the image was always the same.

                       Around the bend she could hear the train approaching.

As it slowed itself down to a screeching halt where other citizens of the morning stood,
lost in waiting
, the doors slid gently open. Mother wasted no time finding a window seat!

One by one they got on and everyone found their prospective seats. Not so lucky were the
people at the New Dorp station who seldom, if ever got a seat. There, some chose to wait for
the next train. “Please step away from the closing doors” said the conductor in a refreshing voice
that was interpreted by the intercom as “pzistst shheb avray rhumm tde crosching draws.” Then
the bell sounded and the doors slid tightly closed. Only then, did the train slowly begin to pull
away from the station. Each stop welcomed more passengers who boarded. Some wandered on
as if in a robotic trance while others accepted their chore of duty with affluent grace. There were
even a few straphangers who appeared so miserable that Mother thought they might be happier
standing in front of the train than on it. Overall, the ride usually took about fifteen minutes, but
today it would be about twenty. Before long, mother would be arriving at her destination.

Getting off in Clifton, Mother walks casually across the street to the Navajo brown
building, located on a neighboring hillside. It is called United States Public Health
Service Hospital and requires eleven stops on the Staten Island Rapid Transit line.

While the outmoded structure would appear somewhat haunting at night
to a passerby, its commodious interior was still busting with hyperactivity.

                                                                              Pg 33

Who had to get what done first and what needed to be done next had not stopped
at all this century. Time moves on in its usual fashion as always, but when you are
sitting in that office, it feels like the old electric wall clock is still calibrated to 1942.
There is nothing in that whole entire room that has been made after 1940, including
Mother! Most of the time she's there a half hour early to read the morning paper or
to chat with her colleagues before beginning her tasks. Today, she's right on time. 

In her office, you will find a big industrial fan situated in the corner to get her through a
roaring hot summer and two big cast iron radiators to keep her comfortable as the snow
falls and the wind chills dip below zero. The windows in that building are enormous and
still bear sash weights concealed within the confines of a sliding sash. Windows you can
open and close with two fingers instead of two arms. Window frames made of solid wood!
Not cheap aluminum replacements or even that white vinyl plastic as seen around many
typically renovated homes
. Whenever I'm there, my mind fills with images of world war II
and big Sherman tanks! I can imagine those war planes flying overhead with loud propellers
and when you turn to look out the window, you almost expect to see them coming!

Mother doesn't think much of it. She says,“when you've been here as long as
I have, you become acclimated.” She also tells me one day she hopes to have
a modern office. That the room is too dreary, like it's always raining outside.
I have always found that to be rather pleasant, if not totally exhilarating!

Often I'd go there for a shot, and while I was there I would make sure to take
my time strolling down those long impressive hallways. As I gazed about ever
observing my environment, I would find nothing had really changed since the
McKinley administration. I must admit the exterior face of the building's facade is
a bit uninteresting and perhaps quite drab, but overall it served its purpose and its
country quite well. The way the floral arrangement is presented on the bright green
lawn which is cordoned off by the dark wrought iron gate, and the way it is always
kept perfectly mowed for all to see is an advantage. It infers you are entering a
clean establishment, and that is very important, but not necessarily true. The
archaic gate not only surrounds the lawn, but it also encompasses the entire
hospital. Every ten years or so, the maintenance crew were paid to paint it black

You cannot enter without first seeing the guard alongside the building in his little
security booth. You either show him your card or he phones in an extension of
the person you are coming to see, thus confirming your appointment by decree.

                                                                              Pg 34

What I find to be the most interesting about this hospital is the basement.

Walking down those long inviting corridors you can literally see the changing of time.
Look up and you will find hundreds of ancient pipes aligning the ceiling going to and
fro and how strange they are to see! The asbestos wrap coming free from the pipes
and the discoloration of the exposed material is quite formidable, to put it mildly.

Down the narrow winding hallway, you will see a scabrous trail of paint that has
fallen to the floor like snowflakes. Along the walls of the high ceiling and six feet
down one can see the old lead paint curling up like innocuous leaves growing.

Only recently has it been touched up,
but only to the point where the wall inverts.

I can recall stepping on one of the olive green shards back in 1969 when I was
admitted for scarlet fever. It made a distinct crunching sound, almost like I had
stepped on a small fragment of a light bulb that popped. Gazing down at those
tiny slivers beneath my feet, I just could not shake the feeling that I had been
taken there to die. Needless to say, everyone was really friendly to me because
my mother was an integral part of their organization. Being a good nurse
does require a fair amount of camaraderie and that was comforting.

Even so, I could not visualize ever returning to a normal state again due to the
bizarre disorientating effect of the viral infection. Aside from a persistent fever
that would not break, I had the horrible sensation of a nightmarish post-nasal drip.
The thick mucus coating which had adhered to the back of my throat like Elmer's
glue left me swallowing endlessly, yet to no avail. So numb and raw was this area
that a simple swallow resulted in great torment. Like sharp metal objects in a region
of Novocain or swallowing over a thousand impressed thorns, it simply did not
wish to end. Though I languished in misery while waiting for the end to come.

                                   I ponder through a looking glass

                                          The mirror of the mind
                                         To see what lies in wait
                                          Time has me confined

                                          Crystal Sect - Days & weeks

To imagine the world put into perspective from a distant time;
which precedes our own can be quite alluring to the stimulus
the senses when the rationalization of coming forth in an apathetic
society proves to be disheartening. Yes we have more than we had
before, this goes for any age, but we lose a little bit of ourselves
each time we turn over our values for technological advancements.

                                                                              Pg 35

Do yourself a favor, if you are from out of town and decide to visit the wonderful city of New
York. Make sure in your travels you remember to include McSorley's Old Ale House. Just tell
the cabbie to take you to the little saloon on 15 East 7th Street. Trust me, you will not be sorry. 

Unless you are a recovering alcoholic, then I would strongly advise against it!

During the daytime hours when it's quiet you can look around and take your share
of pictures. If you're not a picture buff, and you enjoy being in crowded places,
then I suggest you go there at night. Better yet, go there on a Friday or Saturday
night. If you are an introvert then doing this will be like committing social suicide!

On the weekend, there is a man standing by the door. This man will only let people
in as people exit because the little pub tends to get too crowded and regardless of
what time it is or how many people are inside, last call is
1 am, like it or not.

It is a nice feeling to be in an environment where you are surrounded by the past.
Where you can light a cigar, and no one is going to complain about it. Where you
can drift in and out of conversation as easily as turning on a light! McSorley's may
very well be the only place in the entire city that still does not have a television set! 

What is worse than a clock in a casino?
A television in a pub!

On a busy night, it may take you ten minutes just to reach the bathroom, and when you do, be
sure to check out those antique urinals! They all have that crackle effect, which can be found on
old china and dishware dating back hundreds of years. It's funny how the passing of time can bring
out such an interesting phenomenon, but yet, still allow it to still remain intact and undamaged!


If them urinals are original, I would say they date back to 1854 when they built the place.
I can only hope the olde ale house is still serving patrons long after I've been laid to rest!

They have a saying in McSorley's inscribed on a wooden plaque that hangs within
the establishment. It reads “Be Good or Be Gone.” It must have been referring
to those ruffians of yesteryear who lived as people once lived in the Wild West!

Even as they grew older, they still behaved as though they were in sixth grade making damn
sure they would find a reason to kick some poor guy's ass before day's end! I am happy in
knowing the only things they are pushing nowadays are the lilies in an old defunct graveyard.

Chances are you will not see any troublemakers in McSorley's.
It is because people of today have earned an endearing respect
for our history, and the struggles of early American life.

Unlike the hooligans of age's past.

You might see a leprechaun or two if you tie a good enough load on,
but don't embarrass yourself by asking the bartender for a coctail; this
is an Irish pub, and you will only find light and dark brew served here!

                                       The Bleach Boys - Wine, Wine, Wine

Close your eyes, you've walked into another time.
A time where sawdust is still sprinkled on wooden floors.

As you order yourself a hamburger and a beer, pause to reflect in silence
the years gone by while observing the museum-like atmosphere captured
in time by pictures and paintings that adorn its walls. See the cash register
still in use from a time when they had first come about. . . Look around.

See the cobwebs sagging down from wishbones left behind by young men of the
Civil war, who had not returned home to claim them. They are, in fact, still fighting.
If you should go there in winter, gaze at the pot belly stove in the middle of the
room and see how effective it works in keeping the whole establishment warm.
Get a feel of how life use to be and be thankful for all you have now. Look out in
the twilight hours of the day and if you are lucky, you may see snow coming down
on the old cobblestone street. Watch as it falls right outside the window where
seldom a car will pass. People walk by but not that many, and it isn't long before
inebriation unfurls a sad truth. . . They've left the horse and wagon behind.

                                                                       The Cuppa T - Brand New World

                                                                              Pg 36


Reviews for chapter 7

Jennifer Alan -
I love the nostalgia you create and how you can build upon it.

Melvin Seiden - Been to McSorley's - Love it!

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PG 33) Hollywood sani-white shoe polish circa 1950's -

PG 33) Pachka cigarettes poster
- Soviet Advertisement -

PG 33) Benson & Hedges advertisement
circa 1973 -

PG 33) Gnashing of teeth
Chet Zar -

PG 33) Steam engine #7
by Stanislav Plutenko -

PG 33) Stuck in the machine
by Tetsuya Ishida -

PG 33)
World War 1 poster - Be a trained nurse

PG 34)
World War 2 poster - Memo for tomorrow. . .

PG 35) Fibrous asbestos pipe covering
- newspaper ad -

PG 35) A painting
on the wall of an abandoned Soviet clinic -

PG 35) Gifts
by Ilene Meyer -

PG 36) McSorley's wonderful saloon
by Joseph Mitchell -

PG 36) Farbenspiel
by Peter Hutter -

PG 36) Destroy your TV
(propaganda ad by the legendary) Robert Banksy -

PG 36) The Bones
by Ciruelo Cabral -

PG 36) A goober and a tuber in an exchange of fisticuffs
by Todd Schorr -

PG 36) Party at Bagend
by Christiaan Iken - http://crsia/kkwqphu

PG 36)
The Cicero Stage makes a stop in North Syracuse -