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 near the station,
but Mother would hear none of that for she was carefully monitoring her weight
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 day, silently congregating.

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 reached for a
cigarette I would cringe. Whenever she lit one up, I would begin to feel nauseous.

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

When I was growing up, she had her own systematic way of doing things. There was
seldom any change to the usual method of these habits, and so, I came to understand
they were devised to torture me. On several occasions a feeling of seasickness overtook
me, and I had no other choice than to throw up in the car. That was 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                                                                                

Often, I would 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 down to a screeching halt where other citizens of the morning stood,
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
that was interpreted by the intercom as “pzistst sheb avray rhum tde crosching draws.”

the bell sounded and the doors slid tightly closed.

Only then, did the train slowly begin to pull
away from the station. As 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 activity.

                                                                              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 drop 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. . . Frames constructed of wood.

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 thinks nothing of it though. She says,“when you've been here as long as
she has, 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.

Occasionally, I would go there to visit my mom. Upon doing so, I took my time
in strolling down those long impressive hallways. As I gazed about ever
my environment, I would find nothing had really changed since the
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
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 arrival.

                                                                              Pg 34

What I found to be the most interesting about this hospital was the basement.

Walking down those long inviting corridors you can literally see the changing of
time. Look up and you will see exposed pipes covering 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. Gazing down at those formidable
slivers of withered sage beneath my feet, I could not shake the feeling that I had
been taken there to die. Needless to say, everyone was 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
disorientating effect of the bacterial infection. Aside from a persistent fever that
would not break, I had the horrible sensation of a nightmarish post-nasal drip.
A thick mucus coating that 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, 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 will be a man standing beside the door.
This man will only let people in as people exit because the 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's a nice feeling to be in an environment where you are surrounded by the past.
Where you can light a cigar, and no one complains. Where you can drift in and
out of pleasant 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 a while just to reach the bathroom, and when you do, be sure to
check out those antique urinals. They have a transparent 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. Indeed, they are original and date back to 1911.


I only hope the ale house is still serving patrons
long after I've been removed.

They have a saying inscribed on a wooden plaque that hangs within its walls.
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 though 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 quite 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.
That 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.

                                              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,
and the tables and chairs that were once used for writers
and poets to compose their works are still there today.

As you sip your light or dark 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. Don't be surprised when
you come to realize there is no cash register. . . 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 is 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
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 -