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Class of 1957

   Our Own Thoughts

This page is for the things that we write ourselves to ourselves or to a defined or undefined audience, We share them here mostly because they have special meaning when they are spoken to people we know or have known. They needn’t be about any particular thing or even relate to our Belmont schools experience. They just are.

We knew him as Jerry Spizio. In correspondence over the past year or two, he’s shown the name as “Spezio.” So I asked which is right. It is Gerald Spezio. As happened to immigrants far too often, the officers at Ellis Island could not understand the names people gave them, or just didn’t much care. So “Spezio” became “Spizio.” Now its back to its original form.

The poem below was completed in October, 2007, just before it arrived here on the site. Here’s what our old friend said about it:

    Heya is some light and appropriate comment for our perilous times and the BHS web pages.
    If I coulda been thaya [at the 50th Reunion], I woulda been a contenda for the distance prize.

Rasslin, Boston, 1949 - Gerald Spezio

Everybody in Merica watched and loved rasslin in 1949.
1949 television was rasslin, rasslin, and more rasslin.
Millions of us suffered severe brain damage in 1949.
Some bewildered souls are still rasslin.

It was so bad, it was good.
You had to love it.
There wasn’t much else
Except the test "patton."

Everybody smoked cigarettes while they watched rasslin.
My Mum puffed away on Phillip Morris.
My Fathah sucked up two packs of Old Golds a day.
I ran to the drug stoah when they ran out.
Clouds of smoke choked us in our living room.
Clouds of smoke even choked the rasslin ring.

Good guys and bad guys rasslin in victorious Merica.
The “boys” were back home from the "wah'"
The Goddamn stinkin Krauts were whipped.
The sneaky Japs were all burned up from the Bomb.
Oh Boy, did our boys give it to those bastids.

The boys had been nourished by Spam.
Spam was embalmed meat in a crazy tin box.
Spam helped to win the war.
Merica was strong and powerful because of Spam.
God gave Spam to Merica.
Rasslin, television, and Spam
Helped to make Merica what it is today.

My Mum was real smaht about Spam
And she solved the I-hate-Spam problem.
“If it was good enough for the boys, it’s good enough for you.”
I felt so guilty for hating Spam.
I felt even more guilty for needing to puke.

Step over toe-holds and hammer locks.
Forearm blows and more forearm blows.
Argentina Rocca with his rolling take-downs
Gentle giant Yukon Eric, handsome, blond, and pure of heart.
The bad guys would try dirty tricks on Yukon Eric.
“Yukon Eric is mad now,” my Fathah said.
“He hates dirty fightahs.”
And Yukon Eric would crumple “the dirty bastid.”

The mysterious sleeper hold.
My Fathah loved the sleeper hold.
He would squirm and sit up in his chayah.
“Yup, he’s goin to sleep,"
And My Fathah would squirm some moah.
"He’s goin, he’s goin, there he goes…”
Then the captured flailing rassler would stop flailing
And collapse in a lifeless heap on the canvas.

The bad guys always got their comeuppance, almost.
And they got it good.
There was an evil bald Kraut named Hans Schmidt.
Really mean and ugly with a thick Kraut accent.
Everybody hated that bastid, Hans Schmidt.
My Fathah hated Hans Schmidt so much that he wanted to kill him.

We had real champ-peins for the working class.
My Fathah always pronounced it “champ-pein.”
Vern Gagne, the pure champ-pein, without a wart or blemish.
A body builder with a big chest and good diction.

Frankenstein Hans Schmidt won the first battle.
“That Schmidt bastid used dirty tricks,” my Fathah said.
Vern Gagne destroyed Schmidt unmerciful in the big re-match
Even though Schmidt tried every dirty trick in the book.

We watched rasslin and hated Commies.
The dirty Commies were mean, but we had the Bomb.
We could blow the bastids to Kingdom Come.
Everybody knew that we had a big one.

When the Commies exploded their big one
We hated the dirty Commies even more
Because they had a big one, too
And they hated God.
Hating God was the worst thing that the Commies did
Especially, if you were Catholic in Boston.
We knew the Commies wanted our stuff.
The Commies were out to destroy the whole world.

The dirty Commies had no humor, just bombs,
Like humorless murdering Merica today.
Murderous Merican crazies are rasslin for real.
Merica is snarling and waving their big one.
No humor, no reason why, just bombs
The big one and the two minutes hate.

Everybody watching rasslin on television 2007.
Or something resembling rasslin.
It’s the sleeper hold again.
But, its the big sleep for everybody this time.

Yup, it's the sleeper hold alright.
“We’re going, going...
We’re going, here we go...”
Clouds of smoke everywhere...
Everything smoking, everybody choking…
Burning up like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The big sleep for everybody.

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The Injuries They Inflict - Ed McDevitt

Upon being reminded today, the 23rd of September, that the autumnal equinox occurred early in the morning, I recalled a conversation I had on the elevator of our condo a few seasons ago.

The woman on the elevator with me that day is a widow, one of many in our building. She is a particularly fine example of the Aggrieved Irish I have known in my life. Each of my many short conversations with her on the elevator has contained a complaint. Her complaints, while on one level seeming simple enough, truly are not simple. They have a tone to them that suggests a deep sense of personal injustice and a certainty that each complaint is its own proof.

Not all Irish folk are aggrieved, of course. But for high-quality strength of aggrievement you can't beat the Irish, and certain Irish women have honed hard-done-byness to a high art, far better even than the highly aggrieved Irish men I know.

My wife attributes this lady’s sense of general affliction to the depression of widowhood and aloneness. But listening to the lady I get the distinct impression that she has worn the habit of complaint for all of her adult life. This didn't start when one or another person left her life. This started in the gene pool that created her.

More than once on the elevator she has observed that it is “much slower than it used to be.” I have tried to explain to her that when we rebuilt the elevators we actually made them faster. At the same time, we tightened everything so that the lifts do not rattle in transit. The rattling and banging gave the impression of greater speed. I tried to tell her all of this. But this woman has chosen not to buy any such explanation. She continues to announce to all who will listen that her elevator is slower.

She is not swerved by questioning. One day one of our other Irish residents (it is an Irish enclave), listening to her disquisition on the slowness of her daily ups and downs, asked, “What’s your hurry? You’re 80 years old. Where are you going?” At the time of his interrogation, she was in the act of taking out her rubbish, so the question was especially meet, at least as he saw it. She declined to answer him, however, dismissing him peremptorily.

So today’s change of season recalled to mind my most remarkable conversation with this maven of abiding aggrievement. It was on the March day of a vernal equinox, in this instance on the 20nd of the month.

I mentioned to her that it this day was the beginning of spring. She looked shocked. “Today?” she said incredulously. “I thought it was tomorrow, the 21st!”

“No,” I said. “It’s today.”

She shook her head, mouth turned down. “I hate when they change it!” she said with venomous disgust. “I just hate it!”

I was more than taken aback. I paused, a fatal hesitation as it turned out. “They?” I queried, finally. I was about to explain that the dates of the equinox had nothing to do with “them.” But it was too late. The slow elevator’s door opened and she marched out in the high dudgeon of a universal seasonal funk.

September 23, 2007

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