Mark Your Calendars !
NOVEMBER 21st 2010
Knapp Co. Sample Calendar From 1926, The Year Mastic Beach Started.
BTW The Days Are In Exact Sequence With 2010
Sunday Afternoon 1 PM
THE KNAPPS LIVED HERE
Book Talk & Signing
Photo & Slide Presentation
and ... Mini Concert
THE MASTIC - MORICHES - SHIRLEY
Or As They Like To Say Down MMSCL Way
A LOCAL HISTORY EXTRAVAGANZA !
When I last did a program, at the MMSC Library four years ago, we had a very enthusiastic SRO crowd. I read some early chapters of the unfinished manuscript, showed a bunch of photos on the big screen, saw a lot of old friends, some of my Floyd Elementary & High School Teachers! and made new friends too. When it was over, I told Linda Knel, who organized the event, I would love to return someday, but only when I had The Knapps Lived Here book completely finished. It took me a lot longer than I thought, but as the manuscript finally went to press this summer, I contacted Linda right away and said " I'm Ready To Return Whenever You Want Me Back" and we set the date.
While I was waiting and pacing like an expectant father for the galleys (the first test copy) of the book to arrive, I had time to think about what I wanted to do this time around. First and foremost. there is no better place for me than in the Mastics, to do the first book signing of The Knapps Lived Here and this program. It is where everything started .... where the people, places and events that created the sparks all through the 1950s stayed vividly in my memory for decades . It's where the William Floyd schools that I learned to read, write and eventually would do research papers in are. And as for this library, it is where on March 19, 2001, in their Local History room, I first read the full name Joseph F. Knapp as the former owner of the land that became sections Nine & Ten of Mastic Beach, Land that my house was built on in 1941. Land me and my friends grew up on and that unbeknowst to me then, would send me on a long, long path of discovery for 8 years along "Knapp Road". Discoverys that continued, even as the book was being printed and are still continuing to both my amazement & amusement, Many of them have spilled over into a second manuscript called The Mastics From Blue Blood To Blue Collar, that hopefully will be in book form too by this time next year.
Along with reading some excerpts that apply to Mastic from the Knapps Lived Here book, as they lived all over Long Island , the eastern seaboard and in Europe too, one of the things I will talk about is, why it took so very long to finish. The actual Knapp Road in 1916 was only a mile or so from where it forked off Mastic Road to where it ended at the driveway of The Knapp Mansion. It's been a half mile shorter since 1938 when the Knapps sold their estate and it became the part of Mastic Beach that united the two separate towns. I traveled many miles, over many months along a metaphorical Knapp Road to compile what now sits on the 382 pages between the book's covers.
Mainly what I am planning to do this time around is have a whole lot of fun. ( hopefully two way fun and heaps of it ) I'm looking forward to interacting with the audience via their questions, showing more photos from my ever growing collection of rare ones from the Mastic area. But the jazzman in my soul also wants to introduce something new to the mix this time around.
My son Erik, who was still in High School when I started the Knapp book and was helping me do research in the library's history room that day in 2001, is now an art director living and working in The Big Apple for Discover Magazine and Elmore. the magazine that is saving America's music. A year or so ago, he asked me if I was interested in starting a publishing company for not only the "soon to be" Knapp book, that he did all the design and pre press work on, but for new editions of my past books and for the music I have written and hopefully will continue to write. After little thought I said "Great Idea" and after further thought, came up with the name Elm & McKinley for the whole enchilada. I have an entire web page that explains and illustrates the reason behind that name located here, but basically E&M is the corner of two cross roads in Mastic Beach, where I lived from the ages of 3 - 17 and where my roots are.
I am if anything, a lifelong musician, I have been residing in Nashville,Tn for over twenty years, where I have made much of my living there as a songwriter. In Nashville aka Music City there is a saying among the songwriting community "It All Starts With A Song", All three of the books I have written since 1994, have came from my songs. "Axel " was the genesis of my first book Long Ride On A Short Track, "If The Devil Danced In Empty Pockets, He'd Have A Ball In Mine" yielded a book by the same title, 'cause when you write a song with title like that one, there is no need to mess with success! A third song, about my childhood in Mastic Beach called "Buzz & Pee Wee, Butchie & Me". started a short story series by the same name, in which one of those stories simply called The Mansion, led to The Knapps Lived Here mega website & internet theme park and FINALLY this book.
Coming up with the name for the publishing company started a reverse creative process and I started writing short musical pieces titled The Elm & McKinley Suite. All of the pieces are rooted in memories or inspirations from places and events in "my so called miss spent youth that seems more worthwhile every day" ... Jimmy Webb, that I spent in Mastic Beach. The Elm & McKinley Main Theme, came from looking at this photo of the crossroads taken at our house in November of 1950, when my family first moved there.
My father pointed his Brownie standing directly outside of our front door, looking east on Elm towards the Lagoon. When I look at it, I recall riding my bike down to the lagoon year after year, to look at all the great boats moored there and at Pattersquash Creek which was an equal distance to the west of our house, Boats like The Melody, The Boom Boom, The Half Fast, The Slow Poke, My Love, all fired me up and I dreamed someday of having one too. The Little Chief, a ten foot speedboat and regular attraction for years at Pattersquash creek, was still be a decade away before my brother Butchie & Me would get to share it as teenagers.
Will's Waltz , has connections to both the William Floyd Estate, introduced in a early chapter of the book and the school dances held in the William Floyd gym that I played for with my combos. The fun and funky Swamp Road Shuffle, where I walked our dog Boots a gazillion times, was the unofficial name for the south end of McKinley Drive, that curves into the cat tails and swamp before it crosses Jefferson Drive and connects to Forrest Road.
I will be performing some selections from the Elm & McKinley Suite along with bassist/ guitarist Doug Percoco, and drummer Frank O'Shea, who were members of The Islanders. Doug lived on the corner of Elm & Beaver, just one short block from our house. As a guitar duo, we were like the Ventures of Mastic Beach when we formed The Islanders in 1961. We played all over the Island, but mainly in Mastic Moriches and Shirley at the Schools, Firehouses, The Democratic Club , The Property Owners Hall , Fannie's Bowling Alley, and at the legendary Schulte's Stable (big time!) . We will be joined by Kenny Vitellaro on keyboard. Kenny was with me in a group called The Del Fis in 1963 , where we played many of the same places during our junior year at Floyd. Like I said, we are hoping to have a lot of fun with this (providing no one throws a tomato or a shoe at us) It's been over 45 years since we last played music together, so we will be rehearsing prior to the show.
There will be books available to purchase and I will be honored to sign them for you
Tickets are free, but registration for the show is needed . Registration starts October 26 as the Library needs to know how many are coming. Seating is limited to about 200. For those of you traveling from out of town or the area the library serves, please contact me by November 15th and I will get your names on the list. My e mail is here
The Library is located at 407 William Floyd Parkway, Shirley, Long Island. NY- Phone number is 631- 399- 1511
I HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE ... Ken