‘Brewerytown Way’ Brought Back to Life

I see my life through the eyes of a kid who grew up in Brewerytown, swashbuckling my way through fights on the streets and later the jungles of Vietnam before finding my true calling as a spiritual clarion who wants all North Philadelphia children to return to their God-given Nature of Love. Continue reading

Serving graciously as a St. Ludwig altar boy

Ad Deum Qui Laetificat Juventutem Meam!

That’s one of the prayers I would recite as an altar boy at St. Ludwig’s Roman Catholic Church and I’ll never forget it ‘til the day I die. Don’t ask me what it means. I never figured it out, but I loved to say it! Continue reading

Brewerytown never too far behind me

No matter where I go, Philadelphia will always go with me. I’ve taken the old neighborhood to combat in Vietnam as well as  to the wailing wall in Jerusalem. I let it shine in the courthouses of Philadelphia and the one and only house of pleasure I visited in Panama.

Yeah, I’m from Brewerytown, an old German-based section of Philadelphia that families of beer-makers settled in a small enclave of the City of Brotherly Love. Brewerytown is near the Philadelphia Zoo on Girard Avenue and not too far from the Eastern State Penitentiary where Al Capone once lived in a section called Fairmount. Continue reading

A ‘Lot of Heart’ can go a long way in life!

Kids I grew up with in the tough section of North Philadelphia said that I had “a lot of heart.” I cherish that statement more than any I later heard as a teenager, a young adult or even someone in his middle ages looking back on what made him the most proud in his short lifetime. You’d have a “lot of heart” if you didn’t care for the consequences when sticking up for a black kid when a white “friend” called him the “N” word and then classified you as a “N-gger lover” for coming to his defense.

Continue reading

Contentment: Learning to be Content OK

Good enough is the lazy man’s way to enlightenment . . . There’s nothing more to do . . .  Your job is good enough . . . Your spouse is good enough . . .Your life  is good enough . . . Your meditation practice is good enough. . . You don’t need anything more, and what you now have is good enough. — This is all according to a young monk, – Ajahn Khemavaro, who spoke on Impermanence, in a 2008 presentation, “Everything Will Be alright.Continue reading

Growing up with Catholic Sisters (Nuns)!

While growing up in a Catholic School, I met all kinds of nuns. Some I liked more than others. I was kind of like the class clown, or a class-clown wannabe, and got called out by many of the good teachers wearing the black coverings with the bullet-proof white vests covering their chests. I went to Saint Ludwig’s, a church school in what was then a predominantly German neighborhood of North Philadelphia called “Brewerytown.” Continue reading

Graduation highlights father-son ties

One of the most wonderful moments of my life occurred without my knowing it. Had I the presence of mind to be more present for things that mattered, I might not have missed it. Recalling what this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence must have been like, however, is the second-best way I know of memorializing it. Continue reading

Recalling childhood angels with dirty faces

I can think of no worse place to be than in a church, a temple or a synagogue when an unbidden and involuntary giggle would invade my psyche and take control of me. A “giggle,” is too mild a word: uncontrollable laughter would rise to the level of guffaws and downright knee-slappers’ right at the most somber parts of a religious service. Continue reading

These are true signs of our times

When I read the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators were unfocused and without a coherent message, I took a closer look at them in Philadelphia, and disvovered some were disheveled street persons looking for handouts, and one a graduate school political science major spouting Marxist teachings.

They represented only one percent.

The 99 percent of the other protestors were mostly young, highly educated unemployed or underemployed men and women who got tired of the debt-ceiling fiasco and took to the streets to mobilize against the Tea Party followers. Continue reading

Escaping Brewerytown in 1 piece not easy

I never took my eyes off the gun. The man’s hand shook. I was afraid it would go off. Raising my own hands, I prayed that he would not shoot, and said “I’m coming out,” slowly climbing out of the window, placing one foot on the ground and then the other as I exited the ACME supermarket warehouse building two blocks from my home. Continue reading