On the schoolyards of his youth, my brother displayed above-average athletic prowess. As a consistent singles hitter with Hollywood and a solid receiver in Boobus Bowls past, he more than left his mark.  Consider:  when Greenview Junior High closed its doors years back, none other than H. Dale Bogart held the varsity basketball record for career scoring percentage. As such, it came as no surprise to the amalgam of family, friends and former teammates packing Mac’s Backs Bookstore — that in one shining hour last Saturday, he knocked it out of the park.

Go H!

First of all, to understand my brother you must understand the understated. Indeed, when he opened his talk stating “Everyone has nonsense and this is my nonsense”, those of us who get him, got it.

My brother loves music. Primarily 60’s music.

He spoke, at the start of his PowerPoint presentation, of humble beginnings working for a then-young Aunt Helen at Recordland. Chuckles threaded the room as from corners of their eyes, the Fentons, Herzogs and Newmans subtly eyed his old boss. She sat there, mind you, between Carrie and me.  ‘Not  certain she heard. (I know this though:  I wasn’t going to ask. Her balls are bigger than mine).

He spoke too, of his wife: a support, he claimed, through all of this “nonsense”.

Then his story he told.

Of a trip to California some years back (to visit Jack Benny’s gravesite), and how while dining at the famed Hillcrest Country Club he’d not only met the late comic’s family, but moguls from the music industry as well….

Of his recent fascination with The Wrecking Crew, (a cadre of elite studio musicians that backed up songs from Harry Kliot to Terry Macklin.  How he’d friended them on Facebook…and how Lo And Behold, real friendship brewed.

And of his travels – – – then solo to Indiana, soon “with” to Rochester. “Imagine,” he exclaimed, “Me, having dinner with them!” (The crowd laughed, moments later, when he referred to himself as a latter-day Harry MacAfee).

“Me, Harry MacAfee…appearing with Ed Sullivan?”

It was a beautiful evening, all told. Almost idyllic. Heck, even Aunt Helen behaved.  In an hour —not more— my brother had nailed it. Through audio and visual, he touched memories, brought smiles, evoked laughter and even informed.

Right out of the park.

Buttressing discourse with audio and visual, touching all bases, he left minions smiling, laughing, and better informed.  From Gary’s mother up front to Gary’s kids in the back, from his west-side pals to daughter Caroline, everyone kvelled.

Well, almost everyone.

“I’m terribly hurt,” said Aunt Helen, as we entered her driveway.
“Why?” I then mumbled, my face in full cringe. (Good, this couldn’t be).
“When did you last speak with Etty?”
“A month ago,” I said. “Maybe more”. (Ed. Note: As truthful as I was, I knew well at that moment that this dialogue would not be good for the Jews).
“That’s what I thought!” she pronounced, at her bottom step.

Silence, just silence, as she toyed with her key. Then… as finally the door opened, she finished her thought:

“Your brother never invited me to come tonight. He left it to you. Surely he invited Etty. I’m very offended”.

(I poopoohed it, as you might imagine.  I covered my brother.  I didn’t if he did, if he didn’t…and who in his right mind would care? Why? I asked myself. We were SOOOOO close! Why is there always an issue?)

We spoke a bit later, Hal and me. Twenty minutes we spent, on Helen’s implosion…and should he call …and what should he say…or should  he wait?

We laughed, as we do. And shared, as we do. Even this.

We know the drill:  this is her  “nonsense”.


  1. Marcel says:

    ” “

  2. Grandpa Maysai says:

    Too many people. But nice evening.

  3. Art in Heaven says:

    Too hot. But nice evening.

  4. Elaine says:

    Too soft. But nice evening

  5. Gladys says:

    Too loud. But nice evening

  6. Helunia says:

    There is still only one Raymond

  7. MarvF says:

    Sorry I couldn’t be there.

  8. Sheila says:

    I would have been there. But Bruce didn’t offer me a ride.

  9. Ryan Pinkus Gosling says:

    I protest. We are NOT related. Cut it out. Or I will have to tell Pa and Grandma Gogachi. Gotta run. Hearts game at 6pm in the back room at Nate and Al’s with my buddies Mitch Maxwell and Lewis Arthur. I repeat we are not related. No way.

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