A Brooklynite’s Story of America

A boy from Brooklyn who almost didn’t survive his birth made it into the world when the Empire State Building first opened its doors and Frankenstein and Dracula made their screen debuts. He grew up speaking Italian and English. Named after an uncle in Sicily, Anthony lived in a dingy tenement apartment during the Great Depression with two older brothers and their immigrant parents. In spite of the hard times and difficult conditions they coped with daily, they were a  happy family.

True to a promise the boy’s mother made to Saint Francis if he survived his troublesome birth, she made him wear a monk’s robe around the house when he was four. This did not prepare Anthony for the life of a saint.

The boy’s father had helped build the subways in New York City and contracted rheumatism in his feet from working in the Manhattan trenches but he did not complain about it. Tony was six before he saw his first Christmas tree. His first Christmas present, a toy tommy gun, did not make Tony another Scarface or prepare him for a life of crime.

When Tony was gravely ill before Easter, one year, mom broke the budget to buy some beautiful Easter plants for the sick boy’s room. He recovered quickly in this unexpected bit of heaven. 

A player piano in the parlor, from better times, drew out the boy’s talent for music. When better times returned, an opera coach taught Tony to play the piano and he taught himself to play the pipe organ in the school auditorium. The music teacher needed a double bass player for the orchestra, and he took lessons from professional double bass players to fill that musical need.

Tony talked and played classical music with a school chum and painted murals on school walls when “progressive education” slipped into the junior high schools of New York City. (Cutting classes for a preferred activity was allowed; it did not faze the brighter pupils.) Later, a college friend introduced him to something new from England called “high fidelity.” Tony saw 78 rpm records turn to LPs, then 45s, then “stereo.” He saw records and film “replaced” with magnetic tape. He saw radio upstaged by television and saw TV screens turn from black-and-white to color.

In the early 1950s the Brooklynite of this story was drafted into the Army and served in Korea. The war disrupted his career track in music, but the upset gave Tony an opportunity to learn computer programming. Computers were initially awkward giants that filled rooms with tons of hardware; digital technology had not yet waved its magic wand.

(The reader may by now have guessed that the Brooklynite referred to in this story and the author are one and the same Anthony.)

Tony loved advances in technology but considered progress as an end foolish if not reckless. It was an attitude that he recognized as the attitude that promoted Age of Reason socio-political theories and isms that push God out of the way for the sake of “progress.” This disconnect with reality appalled him, for to deny or reject God is to leave out an essential “given” of life, without which all else of importance is flawed in some significant way.

Tony would argue that to deny God is to deny self. To reject God is to reject life, a form of blindness that leads to radical error and suicide, spiritual if not physical. In Tony’s mind, people like Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, John Dewey, and other illustrious man­ipulators of the facts of life were to be pitied, not enshrined.

After questioning everything in life − for which this boy from Brooklyn had ample cause and opportunity − Tony recognized that pseudoscientific specialties like social “science” and social “engineering” are in fact at odds with reality, human intelligence, and life itself. His general skepticism, acting through a long haul of years, made Tony realize that Judeo-Christian tenets applied to life are ultimately more enlightening, more human, more liberating than social theories spun out of wish lists.

A principal takeaway from years of observation is that reason and science that lead instead of serve humanity are misapplied, a fact that rears its ugly head often enough to take sober notice and call for an honest examination of conscience. The need for divine guidance in human life has never been superseded. In this regard, it should be instructive that despite every form of corruption and deceit known to man, life in America in the first half of the twentieth century was more upbeat than it is today and people could live their lives as they saw fit, not as agenda-pushing moguls deemed they must. This was also a time when church pastors taught the Gospel, not Marxist-warped “social justice.” The divine guidance that inspired the Constitution was taken seriously in America, well into the 20th century.

To return to the story line, Tony married a girl who grew up in the U.K. when it was being bombed by Hitler’s Nazi bomb squads during World War Two. They raised three children, for whom they praise God. Tony’s beloved Sicilian parents passed away close to the age of 90.

It was with growing disbelief that Tony witnessed cradle misfits trash a great culture and pollute young minds with puerile social theories that reject God, life, family, freedom, and country – timeless essentials of a life worth cherishing and feeling good about. Their denial by fake liberals pushing fake progress made him write and distribute newsletters in the 1980s and 90s during a culture war that never really ended and is now hotter than ever.

Feeling like an alien in his own country, this boy from Brooklyn lives not quite happily ever after . . .

The foregoing “tale” may be taken as a rant over “the good old days.” It may also be viewed as what is possible when freedom and opportunity are not obstructed by power-obsessed ideologues – a possibility that increasingly dimmed in the U.S.A, as the young got dumbed down in public schools, grew up indoctrinated by a media in lock-step with ideologists pushing Marxism, became conditioned by Hollywood, the music industry, and TV programming to despise their own country, distrust their elders, question their faith in God, turn their backs on the traditional family, blame evil on Christians and/or blame it on being “white.” And be punished for speaking truth!

Such big “dots” in the historical map of the U.S.A. cannot be ignored or dismissed out of hand as conspiracy ranting while maintaining total candor about the most important issues confronting all of us today. Connecting those dots in fact yields important clues to why America is in the midst of its greatest social and political storm.

A final “dot” to this story: My father lost his first wife to the Spanish Flu of 1918. At that time there was no insane and cruel lockdown of society. Was that because scientists were dumber in those days? I don’t think so. I rather think it was because they were smarter.

Photo credit: Caroline Culler licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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