Friday, January 23, 2015

The Bad Boyz Hit The Shore For Vacation

The river rat bad boyz not only did some bad stuff near the Delaware River, some of them hit the Jersey Shore to make more of a mess.  The bad boyz hit the shore on vacation and left their mark.

I was fortunate enough to spend every summer on Long Beach Island were my parents bought a home right smack on the bay.  We had a dock and a couple of boats that we used the entire summer.

My routine was each morning I would get in my row boat and row to the bridge and back before having my morning breakfast, I guess it was about a mile total back and forth, but indeed great exercise.

One of my best friend/brother at the time was in college and his parents had a sail boat docked directly across the cove of where I lived.

One day he and his college buddies came to Long Beach Island and started to hit the sauce a bit to early I thought.  I was having my healthy breakfast one morning and saw a boat pull up to my dock.  I went out and there he was my friend and is college buddies ready to hit the bay for some morning water skiing.

My best friend asked me to come along, and I agreed.  I finished my breakfast and jumped into their speedboat not knowing that in a hour or so of fun in the sun would turn disastrous .

Everyone was taking turns doing a little water skiing and they ask me if I was interested in doing some skiing and I told them no I'm good for now.

It was my best friend's turn to ski and the last skier of the morning I might add.  It all started out great until that alcohol started to kick in and everyone was getting a little crazy and dangerous.  I have to admit I was getting a bit upset of how they were handling the boat, because I knew something was going to go wrong, and it did.

In the distance I saw a row boat with two Chinese men having a great time fishing. As we got closer the guy driving the speedboat decided to go to the right of the fishermen and in turn my friend decides he was going to the left. BAD MOVE HERE!

My friend saw that something was about to happen, so he raised the ski rope up as far as he could thinking it would pass over the heads of the fishermen, BUT JUST not high enough.
This will give you an idea of how it all panned out.


God was indeed looking out for those fishermen, and for us, the Cyprus Garden Florida Skiers.

So after I crapped my pants I asked the driver Please take me back to my dock and call it a day for skiing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The River Rat Bad Boyz Go Rock N Roll

My parents bought me my first guitar when I was 7 years old. They never forgot the look on my face when I opened my Christmas present, and it was my first guitar.

It was called a SilverTone I believe and was bought at Sears.  I was thrilled and started messing around with it , but had no idea how to play although I knew I wanted to learn that guitar and be a rock n roller like all those bands I listened to everyday.

Shortly my parents signed me up for guitar lesson.  I was so happy.  Now I could learn and be able to play those songs I listened to.  I never knew how hard it was to play that guitar.  I got so frustrated because I wanted to be able to play like those rock bands. I had it in my mind, but the chords just didn't come out through my fingers.

I practiced and practiced each day.  Each week my dad would take me to my guitar instructor.  In the beginning it was fun, but as time passed my instructor would say, "here play this." As I was trying my hardest to play these notes and chords, my instructor was on the phone talking to his friends and never minded me.

Before I knew it my half hour of instructions were over and I didn't learn squat.  I wanted to learn and play songs like the big guys. I was very inpatient to say the least.  I couldn't learn fast enough and my instructor didn't spend much time teaching me.  I told my dad that the instructor was on the phone during most of my half hour lesson.

At that time the cost was $3.25 per half hour, and there were guys and gals waiting in line for their lesson. It was like a Doctors office lol. NEXT please, he would shout out.

After some time passed I said screw this, I will learn guitar myself.  He gave me the basics of music, but I had a long way to go, especially learning music and playing guitar myself.

In the meantime, my best friend, that was one of the Bad Boyz on the block got a drum set and took lessons too. Not sure how his lessons went, but they had to be better than what I learned.

Now we had one guitar and a drum set. Now, we will need one more guitar player and a singer. One of the guys at school played a mean guitar and could make it smoke. He played some awesome melody and I became good with all the chords. So we hooked up one day in my basement as started jamming and learning together.

We started to purchase some equipment, little by little, such as microphones, mic stands, and I bought a 100 watt VOX amp. We did the best we could considering our money was limited. After a few weeks we said, "Now all we need is a lead singer."

There were a few pretty young girls on our block and the surrounding blocks, but we decided to ask a girl 2 houses away.  She was thrilled we ask her and said she would love to sing with us. I said, were in, we have the musical equipment and four great people to make this happen. The birth a another rock n roll band.

The next step was coming up with a name for this new band. We decided on "Emerson." So a new band was born. We practiced almost everyday either in my basement and sometimes out in my garage. Oh yes, the neighbors just loved all that noise. We drove them crazy and had many complaints to our parents.

We got our first gig in the grammar school we attended.  The coordinator of all the 8th grade dances loved us and asked us to play at their 8th grade dance. Once everyone heard us they wanted us back for each dance. The four of us were thrilled to death.  We are on our way to music success!!

As we started to be liked by our playing, the audience began throwing coins on the stage. That was a awesome feeling. Our moms would be outside the auditorium watching and listening to the new fond band.  They were indeed proud of us.  You could just see it on their faces. God Bless you Dee (my mom) and Joan (the drummer's mom.)  

Over the years I stopped playing the guitar and got interested in the keyboard. I bought a KORG X3. That was one awesome keyboard.  I had no idea how to played it or even what key was what note, etc. My Grandmother played piano and organ at her church with never taking one lesson.. She played by ear and I did the same on my Korg X3 keyboard.  I put headphones on and listened to a song as I picked out the notes and chords on my keyboard.  I would go over it and over it until I learned the complete song.

So be it, I didn't need an instructor to teach me the keyboard, in fact I didn't need a guitar instructor either. I learned on my own.

As you may have figured out, the band Emerson is no longer.  We all went our own way in life, But the memories will last a life time.  

Thanks You, Gene, Gary and Rose for being a HUGE PART of my life.  I love you all like my own family!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The River Rat Bad Boy Making His First Dollar At An Early Age

Here is one of the Antique Cars my Dad had. I can not find any
photos of me and my go-cart.

I guess since I grew up on the Delaware River I will always be called the river rat, but as far as being called the river rat bad boyz, that didn't always hold true.

There was a time in my life I was a sweet innocent boy and destine to make money at an early age.  The river rat bad boy making his first dollar at an early age was done with a homemade go-cart.

At the age of three (3) my Dad designed and built a go-cart in the basement of our home.  I was always interested in cars and since my Dad collected antique cars, restored them, and entered all car shows, I was around them since I was a baby.

Even when I was two and three years old my Dad would take me to all the antique car shows, coming home each time with a trophy, mostly 1st place and a few 2nd place ones. As he saw how interested I was in cars he decided to make my first car for me.

This go-cart was awesome.  It sat 2 people side by side with a 3HP gas engine.  He installed a suicide clutch.  The clutch had to be pushed down in order for the go-cart to move, and in the event I fell out of the go-cart my foot would come of the suicide clutch and the go-cart would stop.

After the go-cart was completed in the basement of our home my Dad wanted me to take it for a spin.

So he fired up the engine and I got in the seat happy as a lark. My dad said, "just step down on the suicide pedal and you will move.  Well, I moved all right , right into the hot water heated.  Water everywhere and I was scared to death for what I did. That was my first experience behind the wheel of a motorized car, and my first accident!

My dad wasn't mad at all about the crack up I had in the basement. All was good, after all it was my first time behind the wheel so he had to give me a break on that one.

It came time to bring the go-cart up the steps from the basement. It sure was a heavy go-cart made of all metal.  My dad got our neighbor to help with bring it up the steps, as I watched of course, after all I was only three years old, and to strong at all. lol

The minute the go-cart got outside and was placed in the driveway, every boy and girl in my neighborhood came to see this new addition to the neighborhood.

My dad started up the go-cart for all to hear and drove it to the ball field across the street from our home. The boys and girls followed us to the ball field hoping that they could get a ride in my car. I took a few spins around the bases of the ball field to see how she ran, and as I was driving solo it dawned on me, "how am I going to buy all the gas for this new machine I have?"

I saw DOLLAR SIGNS in my eyes and thought, "I know, I will charge my friends one penny $.01 per lap.  Home plate to home plate. I told them as they were just staring and wishing they could get a ride. I announced to them, "if you want a ride I have to charge .01 cent per lap to pay for my gas.

They bought it and everyone scrambled home to get hands full of pennies.  They were lined up and waiting their turn for this ride from home plate to home plate.  The distance today is not far, BUT when we were young kids, home plate to home plate felt like a mile long.

I was thrilled, I had an income coming in to pay for my gas, and would have change left over. They were the good old days for sure. I always wondered why I was so cleaver at that age of 3 in making money, but today as I am 58 years old it is tough as hell to save a penny.  Many of you and those that rode on my go-cart can surely relate i'm sure.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Taking The River Rat Bad Boyz On A Boat Trip To The Chesapeake Bay

My Dad and I on one of those wild and crazy boat trips.

I have grown up being around boats my entire life and each summer my father and I would ask one of my friends if they would like to take a boat trip from the Delaware River to the Chesapeake Bay.

Each summer the boat trips lasted about 2 weeks, and believe me they were the best 2 weeks any guy could ever want.

My father and I had a 1950 41 foot Chris Craft that we totally redid from top to bottom.

Each summer my friends would wonder if they were going to be asked to take this 2 week boat trip. I asked a different friend each year, and everyone of these friends were in the Bad Boyz click.

As Summer was coming close, the friend I asked to join my dad and I on this boat trip began to start planning what we needed for our 2 week journey down the Delaware and into the Chesapeake Bay.

The most important items was Beer, and Lots of it.  The day before we were ready to set sail, my friend and I hit the liquor store to stock up on cases upon cases of Beer.  My father just shook his head as we came down the dock with a hand truck loaded with cases of beer. Granted we did have food, such as eggs, coffee, spam, blocks of ice (to keep the beer cold, LOL) bread and all that was need to survive out on the water.

As we were ready to untie the boat for this journey out to sea we cracked the first beer and drank like there was no tomorrow. I have to tell you we had a ball.

When we got to the Chesapeake Bay we anchored right off the Annapolis Naval Academy.  We had a dingy to get into town if need be, and you can bet we went into town to a bar called Mac Garvey.

They had great sea food and as fresh as could be.  You would think that all the cases of beer we brought to the boat would of been enough, but NO we wanted to be in that bar setting as all the young guys do. It kind of got boring just drinking alcohol on the boat, so we went into town for some action.

One night my friend, my dad and I went into town to have some shrimp and a couple of beers.  For some reason my friend and I told my dad we needed to go back to the boat that was anchored out in the cove. My dad's last words were, "don't be long and don't forget to come back for me!"

We hopped into the dingy and headed over to the boat. We got on board and had a couple of beers,like we really need to do that. After about an hours I told my friend we better go back and pick up my dad at the bar.  Here is were the Bad Boyz came out of us. 

Instead of taking the dingy back to the bar and getting my dad, we decided to pull the anchor and take the 41 foot yacht instead. What a bad mistake that was!

We fired up the twin engines and tried to get the anchor up. In the meantime I put the boat in reverse, drunk of course, and ran right over the dingy that was tied up in the back of the yacht.  The dingy flipped over with of course the outboard engine on it.  It didn't sink and we got the dingy upright and bailed the water out of it. In the meantime with all that going on the yacht was floating around the cove heading towards other boats that were anchored out also.  Don't forget it was night time and very dark, so we really couldn't see all that great.

We started to navigate our yacht between the other boats anchored to get to the pier were my father was waiting patiently, well he wasn't that patient to tell you the truth, he was pissed off because he was watching us from land and knew we did something we shouldn't have done, and that was pulling up the anchor of the yacht!

We finally got to the bulkhead were my dad was waiting.  We drove up to the bulkhead not able to stop and as we went by very closely my dad jumped into the boat and said, "what in the hell are you bad boyz doing bringing the yacht over here instead of the dingy?"

We explained to him that we ran the dingy over and it flipped upside down engine and all, and now the motor to the dingy no longer runs. His was pissed, but the worse part was, when I ran over the dingy all the rope that was attached to the dingy and the yacht was now around one of the props of the twin engine yacht.

We finally got the yacht back where it should of been all along. Now, my dad said to me, "you will have to go under the yacht and cut the rope off the prop.  I got my gear on, and don't forget it was pitch dark, and even darker under water. I felt around and started cutting the rope until all of a sudden I felt something stinging me, so I flew up the ladder onto the swim platform and told my dad something was stinging me under water.

He said, "there is nothing down there son.,"  So I headed back down the ladder and into the dark water once more, but this time I was entangled with tentacles of a huge jelly fish. I was stung on every inch of my body. I flew up that ladder so fast and as soon as my dad saw me a he knew I was in trouble, deep trouble.

He got on the ship to shore radio and called the Coast Guard for help. My friend and my dad put me into the dingy with ice being brought along for the stinging and burns all over my body.  They had to row the dingy to land  because of the stupid thing I did sinking the dingy and motor.

As they rowed to land I saw in the distance flashing light of an ambulance.  YES I was on my way to a hospital.

My body looked as if I was whipped from head to toe,  I was indeed in very bad shape to say the least. We finally got to the hospital and there had to be 30 people sitting in the waiting room waiting to be seen.

As I waited and continued putting ice all over my body the burning began to slow up a bit. By the time I was seen by the E.R. Doctor I was almost cured, lol. Lots of beer didn't even ease the pain I was in, but the ice did the trick.

Thank God I didn't go into anaphylactic shock for the poison that was dumped into my body by this underwater creature.

Since then I have gone into anaphylactic shock twice from being stung by Yellow Jackets. I am highly allergic to the bees, and believe me that is NOT something you would ever want to experience.

I guess I was punished for being one of those River Rat Bad Boyz....What do you think?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Were Those Boys Bad Or Just Normal Kids?

There is a Town on the West Side of New Jersey located right on the Delaware River. This town had some real memories and the kids that lived there in the 50's and 60's are still around and remembering the fun times, and sometimes bad times, and often being in trouble by their parents.

There were a group of boys we now call the River Rat Bad Boyz.  We have got back together after a long separation due to moving, getting married and having our own families.

"Where those boys bad or just normal kids?"
I will leave out the names of these Bad Boys for safety reasons LOL.

It all started back in 1956 when I was born, and most of my parents friends on the block had their children about the same time, so we were all the about the same age. There were more girls on the block, but us bad boyz showed them who was boss when we got older.

One thing that just came to mind is when I was walking to the school bus one day and my best friend across the street met me to walk together and handed me a newspaper stating there was no Santa Clause. This broke my heart because we were at the age that we still believed in Santa, I least I did, but not anymore after I saw it in black and white. Well that day was a bummer for me, but I moved on and thanked my friend for ruining my day and my Christmas.

We were so close that you would think we were brothers, and till this day I feel that we are brothers.

The two of us now are reminiscing on our past as the Bad Boyz of the Town.  It wasn't just us two, there were about three other boys we added to the bad list. It just seemed that my best friend and I were the only ones that got caught and punished even though 5 of us were always the trouble makers.

My best friend and I were the masterminds of the things we did. Maybe I should restate that and say I was the mastermind.

Back in the day the Delaware River was dredged for the ships to have more water to go upriver to the factories in which the dredging created huge sand dunes.

These sand dunes were blocks wide and gave us bad boys a place to play and ride our motorcycles. We all had ball and took all those girls on the block for rides.  We were in our glory or at least I was.

Ah, girl friends we now had. We thought we were the coolest boys that ever walked.  Easy riders we were.

Back on the dunes is where we came up with things to do, some good and some not so good. For instance, the night before before Halloween (Mischief Night) we decided to get tooth paste and smear it all over our neighbors screens and while we were doing this we looked up at the window and there was the older man staring right at us.  His words were, "come with me, I am taking you home to your parents!"

The following morning there we were with a tooth brush and water cleaning ever hole in the screen trying to get tooth paste out of the screens, but that is minor compared to this one:

We had one of our tribe poop in a brown paper bag for two days getting ready to do the best of tricks, as we thought, but it didn't work out the way we thought.

That one Mischief Night we took the brown bag full of poop down a dark street and picked out a house we wanted to try this trick on.  There it was and just across the street were woods and a great hiding place to watch what was about to happen.

We let the boy that pooped in the bag for two days have the honors of going to the steps, lighting the bag on fire, and knocking on the door.

He did just that and ran his ass off to the woods across the street.  Well, the bag was on fire and the owner came to the door and saw there was a fire and called the police.  He didn't do what he was suppose to do and that was step on the bag to get the fire out and get shit on his feet.  No, he call 911 and as the wind was blowing it blew that bag on fire into his shrubs and then all hell broke loose, because then the front of his house and shrubs were on fire.

All we heard were sirens going off and we ran for the sand dunes, running along the river's edge and heading home.  As we got home, we still heard those sirens going off.  I walked into my house and my father said, "why are you home so early on Mischief Night?" Why are you full of stickers he asked?

I just said we were down at the dunes and left it that way. Never got caught thank God. That is why I am not mentioning any names because they might still be looking for us 45 years later. LOL

Now, behind our homes there was a couple of baseball fields where we played ball on a league, and on off season we shot our bow and arrows.

My best friend and I would go to the ball field and see who could shoot their arrow the highest, which was a very stupid thing now that I think about it. We shot straight up and one day my friend shot a great one so high we lost sight of it and all of a sudden we heard a loud THUMP.  We said, "what in the hell was that noise?" 

The noise came from the same house we put tooth paste in the screens.  Yes it was that mans brand new car.  The arrow came down out of the sky and directly on the hood of the new car. You talk about a dent, well the arrow almost went straight through the hood.  The man, Our neighbor was pissed once more.  He said, "what do you bad boyz hate me or something?" As he is yelling, then came my best friends father out of his house, and then it started. I was in the clear because I didn't shoot that one.

Here is one thing I masterminded myself and my best friend was not involved...this time.

There was a swamp right behind those baseball fields where in the winter we ice skated and in the summer we made wooden rafts and went up and down the swamp where eventually it went to the Delaware River.

One day three of us went to the swamp with a gas can full of gas for our motorcycles.  I had this brainstorm idea that if you poured gas on a lite match the match would go out. So, I figured we should try it and see if I was right.

I told the one guy, You hold the lit match and told the other guy, pour that gas on the lit match and I guarantee it will go out.  WRONG!!!!!!!

When he poured that gas on that lit match that gas can blew like a roman candle. My friend now was on fire from head to toe and he dove into the swamp that only had about one foot of water in it, but that water at least put the fire out on him, but we threw the gas can into the swamp and now all the water was now on fire spreading down stream.

My poor friend's hair was gone and he ran home as me and the other boy ran to our homes. The Township came down and got the fire out that was in the swamp. Never do anything like that Please.

We thought we were smart kids, but in reality, we were "The River Rat Bad Boyz." 

On a different note, I also write about alcohol addiction and how I became an alcoholic. I write now to help others understand there is always HOPE for SOBRIETY if you truly want it in your life.