Posts from the ‘Stories by Carl D’Agostino’ Category

FICTION TRIBUTE TO ARMISTICE DAY NOVEMBER 11 (Veterans Day) “I was a world war I fighter Pilot” by Carl D’Agostino

“On being a pilot” and “My clothespin air force” by Carl D’Agostino

ace-1 ace-3 ace-4

wood clothes pins , buttons, beads, balsa wood. paper insignia, model glue, acrylic paint

wood clothes pins , buttons, beads, balsa wood. paper insignia, model glue, acrylic paint


“I was a pilot in 1918” by Carl D’Agostino


“I Wanna Be a Famous Humor Writer” by Carl D’Agostino

erato picsletter 1 aletter 2


yankpost 1yankeespost 2 yankeespost 3yankeespost4yankeespost5yankeespost 6

Emergency – All blogger heads of household: run to your kitchen immediately !

Don't risk your family's health. Be responsible. Take immediate action

Don’t risk your family’s health. Be responsible. Take immediate action

“Christmas Recollections from Childhood: The Day we made the Jewish people cry” by Carl D’Agostino

hannakah-picture1han 2han 3

How I Got Barry Goldwater’s Autograph by Carl D’Agostino

My political interests and small time political career (which dead -ended in my late 30’s) began in the early spring of 1964. I was in the 10th grade. There was a small strip mall in North Miami on NE 6th Ave. and 123rd St. A small suite had been rented with a big elephant poster in the window and Barry Goldwater posters were hung too. I drove by on my bike for a whole week before I mustered the courage.

I walked in and confronted half a dozen startled people and said “I want to be in politics.” This attractive late 40ish blond lady stood right up and said “My name is Alyse O’Neill and my husband is running for the congress of the United States.”  “I want to work for Goldwater.” I replied. “So do we and you have come to the right place!” she smiled.

I learned the mundane to the sophisticated. The basics included hand addressing over 20,000 envelopes, verifying at least several thousand phone numbers, studying maps to walk precincts, and passing out literature door to door and in front of the big grocery store. I soon had a key and was office manager. I was given this great responsibility because the adults had “jobs” (which I later found out meant mistresses for the men and vodka martinis and little pills for the women).

One of the very sophisticated things I got to do was to go to parties with lots of rich people. They were called fund raisers. Leaving off the letter “d” on fund would be a more accurate characterization. The people always seemed to drink a whole lot too much of beverages that left them so incapacitated that they could not even crawl to a voting booth, let alone pull a lever. I was very indignant about all this until I went to college. I learned all about politics very young. From sex to booze to money to the handshaking and precinct walking, I learned it all that year.

Now if you go to the library you can ask that nice lady in the gray dress, that has worked there since Coolidge was president, to help you find out about the election of 1964. We lost. I mean BIG TIME lost.

In June, 1965 the Republicans held a big strategy building convention on Miami Beach. They rented out the 3 most lavish hotels for a week. I went to all the activities and sat with Nixon, saw Jacob Javits, Winthrop Rockefeller, and a big time congressman from Kentucky, I think, named Thurston Morton. Some people called him “Mr. Jack Daniels,” however. I assumed that was his “with close friends” nickname.

The main event was on June 16th. The defeated Senator Barry Goldwater was to speak at the Miami Beach Convention Center(soon became the Jackie Gleason thing). There were over 6,000 people in the great room. They announced he would be at the platform in a few minutes . And then it started. The cheering of 6,000 of the standing faithful. For 15 minutes before he even arrived! I was so overwhelmed inhaling the energy of the event.

He made his entrance. Ramrod straight, squared jawed, sure of stride, dignity took to the podium. Another 20 minutes of cheering followed before he could speak. People had tears rolling down their cheeks and it was all so loud. It seemed they broke the cadence of his address at every word not at the end of a sentence or phrase. “sixty-eight, sixty-eight, sixty-eight,” they chanted. It was glorious.

I was not able to get backstage to get an autograph. That was one of my most disappointing times in my life. All I had was my ticket stub. I saved it.

In 1997, I heard he was very ill. I wrote John McCain(who now held Goldwater’s senate seat) for an address. The reply came quite promptly and I sent Barry Goldwater my ticket to sign. He did! I got it back in March of 1997. He passed away 13 months later. And that my friends is how I got Barry Goldwater’s autograph 32 years after I saw him that day on Miami Beach.

(repost) The Silver King by Carl D’Agostino

Years back, a tough old salt told me the story of the Silver King Fish at the bar we both frequented. John’s long gone now, but he was part of a charming era of Miami’s history, a time of movie stars, gangsters, gambling, and lavish weekends 90 miles away in Havana. The fifties. John worked on the charter boats that took yankees and Midwesterners fishing off the coast of Dade and Broward counties.

He would relate how he would establish rapport with the passengers with charming joviality. He explained that it was important to make the passengers feel like we cared about them and we made them feel special. As they approached the teeming schools of king fish the “vacation fishermen” would begin to get strikes. John would select a middle-aged fellow and help him land his catch with a big gaff hook. Another Miami con had begun. “Oh my God!” John would rasp out in well-practiced disbelief. “What’s the matter?” John would reply “I can’t believe this!” in the roar of a grizzly. Again “What, what?” At this point it was the tourist that had been hooked as well as the fish. “I would yell out ‘This is a Silver King!’ “said John, acting out how he would stroke the flapping fish, his face contorted in amazement and voice rising in crescendo. “Can I eat it?” came the naive query. And here’s where John would utter the Academy Award winning words: “Good God, man. Are you crazy. This is a grand trophy.”

From the bridge the captain would also express amazement. “There hasn’t been a Silver King caught in these waters in over thirty years!” He would come down and erupt in an animated dance and the celebratory exhilaration would mesmerize all aboard. Unseeable dollar signs would reflect in John’s and the captains eyes. The bump initiated, the hammer closes. Touchdown. Taxidermy time. A tidy sum would be extracted, contract signed, and all eyes beamed in glory for the tourist’s good fortune. John and captain would earn their usual commission. And pictures were taken(no film in camera of course) to be sent back to Oklahoma or wherever he was from.

They had to hope the fellow did not see the hundreds of “Silver Kings” being pitched up to the filleting tables when they came into the docks. But if he did, “Hey a contract is a contract,” John would explain “ and there were also the rules of the sea to be upheld.”

A time or two the fellow turned out to be a lawyer or a doctor and John could see a little “I’m not going for this” trouble coming. And here’s the art of the real con man. Conning your way out of getting caught. “Look,” John would begin with sincerity. “ It’s been your trip to Florida. And you were really thrilled weren’t you? The fish will arrive in six weeks and you’ll have it as a forever memory to share with friends, family and grandchildren. So in a sense it really is your “Silver King. See?” The man could now appreciate it looking at it that way and they’d shake hands and sometimes the fellow would come back next year. I heard the story many times. Every one a little different. And I never minded paying for the drinks as he conned me with his stories.

School Days Half a Century Ago: Jewish Christmas by Carl D’Agostino

From the D’Agostino archives……….

#2 The Day We Made the Jewish People Cry

In my elementary schools in the 1950’s in Miami, a choral presentation was held just before the Christmas break with the traditional carols. Our teacher called us together to announce our participation as one of the performing groups and that we were selected to sing a special song. A Jewish song about a thing called Hanukkah. Letters were sent home allowing parents to withdraw their child from participating in this most controversial affair. There were none returned.

You must understand that this was a time when “No Colored Allowed,” “Curfew : All colored domestic workers must be off Miami Beach by 6 PM,” “Irish Need Not Apply,” and “No Jews Allowed,” were ever present and prominent signs.

Our sole prop was a large wooden window frame on a table with a menorah inside. The one Jewish girl, Judith, would light the candles as we started singing. The cafeteria was packed that day. It never was before. Several hundred Jewish people were in attendance for a school with a couple of dozen of their children at best. Strange, huh?

The teacher gave a 1,2,3 and we opened “Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah…” I have never heard such emotional and vocal wailing and crying in my life then or since. I did not understand why this was happening. We finished and left the stage and the room emptied before the rest of the recital ended.

I found out why the Jewish people were crying when I got to the 11th grade. Mr. Edge showed us the movie. The one with people being herded into cattle cars, the book burning, the ovens, the camps, and the piles and endless piles of bodies.

I flashed back a dozen years to that day of our singing and knew immediately why the Jewish people were crying. Their tears were a wonderful celebration of joy and praise to God for their ability to have life without ever present fear of death. To be accepted, recognized, and validated as fellow people of the human race was expressed in their acclamations of joy. And it was right there in the wide open venue at a public school . And that my friends is the most wonderful story of how we made the Jewish people cry.

%d bloggers like this: