The 1970s were coming to an end, tearing me from a time and place I dearly loved: A place full of baseball, bongs and slamming guitars. The Disney years had officially ended in ’76, when my oldest brother Joel, and guitar hero to the neighborhood, confessed to Mom about the voices in his head. The Smith family took one on the chin but dreams remained for the making; for me that dream was baseball.
The 1980s had already begun with 70’s punk morphing into New Wave, and techno-pop a distant stench on the horizon—we had disco-demolition for this? Us alley bums still saw the world the same way, I had all the same friends; so what all three of my brothers quit high school by the time I became a freshman; sister Josefa was still there, brother Art’s friend Red was a senior and took me under his wing. All I had to do was stay in school, play baseball and everything else would fall in line.
I knew, oh how I knew, and the more I knew the less I could stand any of it; everyone was a moron but me. No, not everyone; I loved my family. Dad and Mom instilled in me a compass I could follow; had a group of guys I belonged to despite something inside knowing that none of us were, ultimately, going the same way…There’s that knowing again…I was so goddamned angry and yet so full of love; I felt the world pushing me like it knew better where I should go…but it was me who knew...
I knew everything.