What's In A Name ?
LOOKING EAST ON ELM RD. AT THE McKINLEY DR. CROSSING 1950
Wow where in the heck did January '09 go? Of course this Obama guy kind of distracted us around here in the middle of it all. Our son Erik and Anne's sister Claire, were two of that intimate little gathering in DC on the 20th that ate up a few days on us here back at the homefront in Nashville.
It seems it was just the other day I was announcing the start of Elm & McKinley.com , which was created primarily to handle the publicity side of the publishing end of my future writing endeavors. Even the freshly created announcement page that is promising the first two titles from it in '09, has become obsolete in less than thirty days, as there will now most likely be THREE and if all goes well possibly FOUR or would you believe .... perhaps FIVE TITLES !!!!! .... (one will be a music CD) yeah right Ken , it only took you 8 years to get the Knapp book written.
But seriously I can quote those big numbers fairly confidentially with far greater optimism than that Paulson clown could. (no not Pat ... that other clown )___But I still live by the sage old saying I first heard the late great newsman John Chancellor say once __ "If You Want To Make God Laugh....Go Ahead And Tell Him Your Plans For Tomorrow" .... Intimate friends know they have served me very well for the last 15 years......
But what I really want to talk about here is the concept behind Elm & McKinley .com , 'cause to me it is much more than just a name. It's a real place , a state of mind, and in fact as I think about it (and I have ) It was the ground zero, for probably all that I have ever done.
I first became aware of that one evening in 1994, when I stopped right about where the above photo was taken and looked at my childhood home with a For Sale sign on it. When I got out of the car (a van actually ) and my feet touched the ground I truly felt something. The house whose corner property is just visible in left foreground of the photo, was where I lived from ages of 3 - 17. "Experts" say all we ever will be is formulated in the first few years of our childhood. I'm no expert at anything, but I don't buy their theory.
I will say a whole lot of what I am, was formed at the cross roads of Elm and McKinley, in the tiny town of Mastic Beach from 1950 - 1964. And I have drawn from a whole lot of that experiience and put it conciously and sub conciously into everything I think I have ever done since. It matters not to me if anyone buys into my theory or not , because I'm my best customer if you will.
So that "my friends" ( Yikes its McKinley Kenny boy.... not McCain.... McKinley, born Jan 29, 1843 .... he actually was a president ) is what ElmandMcKinley.com is really all about. It's much more than a name to stick on a product.
HOME IMPROVEMENT __1954
Newly Enclosed Porch & Front Entrance Moved To The Side
My Father Made The Fence Out Of Old Telephone Poles
IN THE SUMMER OF 1959 WE ADDED AN EXTENSION TO THE REAR AND A GARAGE TOO. IT ATE UP MOST OF OUR BACK YARD ( arrow shows new end of house) BUT GAVE BIRTH TO PERHAPS THE WORLD' S FIRST GARAGE BAND ? "THE ISLANDERS" THAT HOPEFULLY WILL BE HAVING THEIR FIRST REUNION THIS SPRING.
STRANGER THAN FRICTION
Last spring my old pal Larry Schulz , who was doing a bit of Knapp research on my behalf, ran into a fellow named Gary Fritz fishing down at ol Beach 10 in Mastic Beach. A friendly conversation ensued, and Larry discovered that Gary was now living in my former home. A few e mails soon were criss crossing in cyber space and Gary said he would send me some photos of the interior, as I haven't seen it since I left in June of 1964. Gary sort of got busy and I had not heard from him till yesterday (Jan 30th ) No photos yet, but he found this paper and thought I might like to see it .
McKENNEY & ELM !
If Your Going To Typo It Mr. Walsh , Get It Right
There Is No Second E In KENNY
UPDATE MARCH 21, 2009 !
Got an e mail today from Gary Fritz of which the SUBJECT was :
"50 YEARS LATER, 117 ELM ROAD'S DOOR FACES ELM ROAD AGAIN"
It is actually 55 Years Later Gary, It Was 1954 When We Remodeled The Porch And The Front Door Got Moved To The East Side Of The House
Gary let his pictures do the rest of the typing for him !
THE NEW WOOD STOOP IS CERTAINLY MORE ELABORATE & STURDIER THAN THE ONE THAT WAS BUILT IN 1941, THE FRONT DOOR IS MUCH WIDER TOO . OF COURSE THE PICTURE WINDOW, WE PUT IN IN 1954, GAVE A NICE VIEW OF WHENEVER A CAR WOULD PASS BY ALONG ELM ROAD..... WHICH WAS HARDLY EVER IN THE WINTER & WAY TOO OFTEN IN THE SUMMER..... and because there is always a "Knapp Connection" somehow ... Do you see those vine covered Hickory trees in background on the right of the picture? They are actual Boundary Markers for the eastern border of the Knapp estate as shown here on the old property maps
PICTURE THIS ! JAN 1961
Lots Of Snow & No School For 7 Full Days!
FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I DON'T KNOW WHY SOME PREVIOUS OWNER LONG BEFORE GARY HAD THE PLACE, TOOK OUT MY FRONT BEDROOM WINDOW ???? ..... IN THE LATE 1950's , I USED TO BUILD MY PLASTIC MODELS AT MY DESK THERE AND KEEP AN EYE ON THE PASSING SCENE ALONG ELM ROAD. I CAN STILL RECALL JOEY CASTELLANO CRUISING BY IN HIS DAD'S LAND YACHT, A '59 GOLD OLDS CONVERT, WITH THE TOP DOWN, ON HIS WAY TO THE LAGOON.
IN THE EARLY 1960's, I SOMETIMES WOULD CLIMB OUT OF THAT WINDOW, SO I COULD LEAVE THE HOUSE UNDETECTED BY THE PARENTAL UNIT, TO GO VISIT A GIRLFRIEND ..... I WAS A REAL REBEL WITHOUT A CLUE !!
YEAH THAT'S ME, THE HAPPY KID ON THE LEFT
BIG BROTHER "BUTCHIE" NEVER LIKED HAVING HIS PICTURE TAKEN.
OUR MOTHER MADE THOSE MATCHING BROWN OUTFITS & BERETS
MY BIG SISTER GERRI, IS MORE INTERESTED HERE IN HER LITTLE BROWN DOG "COCOA"
AND GARY SENT A BONUS TOO !
THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE SEEN INSIDE MY OLD HOME
SINCE I LEFT IT IN JUNE OF 1964.
Leaving Home 1964, Heading For Patchogue &
Riverhead Raceway Too!
I Guess Long Gone And I Bet Gary Too Wishes They Were Still There When He Bought The Place, Are The Stained Glass Windows On Both Sides Of The Fireplace.
Although I Would Of Loved To Have Seen All The Knotty Pine Preserved As It Was, I'm Sure There Was A Good Reason To Paint Over It After 68 Years. The Joint Is Six Years Older Than I Am , And I Could Use A New Coat Of Paint Too
CHRISTMAS DAY NIGHT 1954
You Can See A Wee Bit Of The Stained Glass Window And The Stone Fire Place
Once Again Butch Does Not Want His Picture Taken. That's Our Grandparents Walter & Julia Joseph, and Grandma Spooner & Our Mom Trying To Coax Him Into Just Looking At The Camera. But He is Concentrating On His Christmas Gyroscope, And Probably Wishing He Was Out On His New English Racer, That Soon Fell Apart Faster Than A Thin Sh__ Through A Tall Indian ! Pop Was Behind The Brownie and I Had Just Turned To Join In The SAY CHEESE Chorus When Pop Hit The Flash.... Least Interested Of All Is Boots, Who Is Taking A Snooze Here After His Christmas Turkey & Probably Dreaming Of Chasing Squirrels or Rabbits
Ah The KnottyPine In Glorious Color ! 4 Months After This Was Snapped, I Was Playing In My First Band "The Islanders" In The Background You Can See Boots' Head...He Is Heading For The Kitchen Probably For A Drink.
BUT BACK TO GARY'S PICS
A TRUE MIND BLOWER FOR ME IS THE FACT THAT NOT ONLY DOES THE NEWEST OWNER ( WHOM I HAVE YET TO MEET ) OF MY CHILDHOOD HOME SEND ME PICTURES OF IT AS HE FIXES IT UP .... BUT ALSO HIS TASTE IN READING MATERIAL!
JUST LOOK WHAT HE HAS ON THE MANTLE OF THE FIREPLACE!!
NO VIRGINIA THAT IS NO PHOTOSHOP TRICK
GARY ACTUALLY HAS A COPY OF MY FIRST BOOK LONG RIDE ON A SHORT TRACK,
THAT IS NOW REVISED & GOING TO BE REPRINTED THIS YEAR
AFTER I WROTE IT
WISE LONG RIDE READERS, KNOW THAT # 15 IS A VERY SPECIAL NUMBER TOO !
The Entire Book Is Being Re Designed Cover to Cover By My Son Erik Spooner, Who Was Just Ten Years Old When I First Wrote It
TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FRICTION MY FRIENDS
And If This Doesn't Call For A Tune From The Dancing Devil Juke Box
THEN NOTHIN' DOES !
Last but not least, regular readers of my web stuff know I always try to add in an appropriate tune or two when I can.
Well this time is no different. There's a whole CD of tunes I'm calling "Elm & McKinley Suite" coming almost as fast as I can write them this year, but I haven't had chance yet to record any of them yet, ( it's been a busy month, I've even mended a real fence ... literally) The main theme is pretty well honed in and there are two or three more coming along. But they are not ready yet, so I will digress here and borrow a very appropiate tune called, HOME written by "Cuzin" Andy Spooner & Fred Lehner, that I had the great honor of being on Joe Diffie's very first Nashville hit album with. The album title itself borrows a key line from the song
"A 1000 WINDING ROADS " was released 19 years ago and there were four count em, four # 1 Singles on it. This past year Joe & I have reconnected and for me the feeling I get from reconnecting with old friends is quite like the feeling I get from going home....
Don't Take My Word For It .... Get The Feeling For Yourself
Just Listen To One Of The Finest Voices In Country Music Tell You All About It