SHARE YOUR STORY

If you are from Brooklyn, currently living in Brooklyn, or have visited Brooklyn, you most certainly have a story to tell. If you grew up during the 50s and 60s you probably

have a story to tell as well.

Share your story with us, you can email your story anonymously, or if not too embarrassing add your name or initials. We will keep your identity secret.

If you have photos of Brooklyn or Brooklyn-related people or locations, feel free to include

Email your stories and photos to wagmom@aol.com

“I am neither from Brooklyn nor am I Jew. In fact, I am Irish through and through and yet I found Bill’s stories to be my stories, Bill’s growing up pains to be my growing up pains. No matter where you’re from and who you are, you will find this the kind of book we all need every-so-often---light and enjoyable with a bunch of laughs.”

Tim Malloy, Co-Authored best selling books with James Patterson, veteran of television news and political reporter

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In 1945 those push carts were still there. I walked that street. Mom shopped
there. When WW II ended  my mom bought me an Eisenhower army jacket at a clothing store on Belmont Ave.
- Irving H.

"Bill, as I started to read ur book I got to thinking how

Ur dad and my dad, both growing up in Brooklyn, had different carrer paths. My father was born in Poland, but grew up in the east New York section of Brooklyn and spoke English fluently. While ur family had a thirst for education, my dad  dropped out of school. He worked at western union delivering messages in the city; got fired when they found out he was jewish. Prohibition was in full swing at the time so he started driving vehicles delivering liqour all over the city and as far north as Monticello. He worked in the Dutch Schultz gang. He was making lots of money...gave it to his parents...didn't drink and was not womanizer. One time I asked my dad how he got the scar on his forehead. The gang asked him if he wanted to make more money hijacking liqour in other gangs warehouses. First time out a gun battle errupted and a bullet grazed my fathers forehead. After that encounter, he went to back as a driver transporting liqour. 

 

He did this for years and  must have been real good as a driver, because one day  in back of a speakeasy two big guys cornered my dad and said are u William Hirsch. They told him he was a lucky man. They told him if he didn't leave the country, he would be killed. He fled to Palestine...spent several years there....spoke fluent Hebrew and Arabic....in today's world he would be in high demand....in Brooklyn he used to take me to these seedy arab joints and love to mix with the arabs as they smoked their pipes. In Palestine he met my mom, who migrated from Lithuania to Palestine. They married there....my mom got pregnant with me and came to the U.S. in late 1936...I was born in '37...my father arrived shortly thereafter. With prohibition ending years earlier it was safe for him to return. In Palestine he did some shady stuff deliberately banging up new car and moving them across the borders and then restoring them. Yep our dads had different career paths". - Irving H.

It was a pleasure reading your book...

It was a pleasure reading your book.  It brought back many memories of being brought up in Brooklyn

I graduated from Midwood High School in 1960.  It was a terrific school with an excellent teaching staff.  Of course there was a share of lesser lights within the group.  I had a Mr. Doskow for Physics also.  He was a quiet spoken man who was good instructor.  I also remember the no-neck teacher mentioned in your book.  You obviously didn’t use his real name.  I believe he was a Spanish teacher who the kids used to call “froggy.”  I think his name was Friedlander.  I also had a teacher who committed suicide by hanging himself.  I think his name was Steinberg or Sternberg.  Mr. Harold Dorf (Chemistry), Mr. Albert Sayer (Social Studies), and Ms. Rita Gewant (Social Studies) were my favorite teachers at Midwood High School.  The staff was made up of many scholars and excellent practitioners of teaching methodology.  Too bad we can’t say the same thing for some of the poor instruction that is so prevalent today.

  

I will never forget that one day after school at Midwood I was walking through the cafeteria and Dr. Bernstein was escorting Jessie Owens and his wife through the area.  Mr. Owens was given an award by the school that day.  The image of Jessie Owens and his stately and athletic stature will be forever etched in my mind.  

I played ball--stickball, handball, basketball, slapball, punchball, and two-hand touch football--at the East 18 and Avenue L Park.  I played tennis, basketball and hardball at the Midwood High School athletic field (formerly Wingate Field).  On weekends and during the summer I was usually out all day playing ball.  Those were great times.  

I saw that you are listed as a 1960 graduate in the Midwood High School Alumni News bulletin.  However, you are not listed in my 1960 Epilogue yearbook.  

I know that your brother was an important figure in the news media at ABC, CBS and NBC.  I am glad he kept his surname especially upon your father’s forceful persuasion.  He obviously did very well keeping the Gralnick name.  Your brother was part of the golden age of excellence in broadcast journalism which has now descended into mostly mediocrity.  The people behind the scenes like your brother helped make those in front of the camera project respect, trust and credibility.  I am so sorry for your loss of a loving, talented and impactful brother.

I can spend pages and pages writing about your book and its memories.  However, this missive will suffice.

Thanks again for bringing me joy and laughter in this time of COVID and its resulting stress and down periods.

Stay well and be safe.  Have a sweet and happy Passover.

Sincerely,

Harold Dembo

“I’m reading your book for the second time—it relaxes me.” -   IS/Delray Beach, fl.