To the Editor,

For the past twenty years or so, I have had exchanges of opinions with many other contributors. For some reason, I have never agreed with the other contributors since I have a conservative viewpoint while theirs was of a liberal nature which, I must say was well thought out - but wrong (remember Tongue in Cheek). Well, actually, over the years, I did agree with two contributors who presented well thought out opinions (Mr. Mehlman on the need for additional fire stations and Ms. Mary Shea on the subject of gun control). It’s hard to admit that there are actually liberals with whom I could agree but I guess that’s life.

There is one contributor that I almost feel is a kindred spirit. When we look back at history you will see what I mean. We are both old guys in our nineties. We both started out in life living in the Bronx, New York probably living not more than two or three miles apart. We both lived within walking distance of the Bronx Zoo. I lived just off Pelham Parkway close to the zoo. At an early age, both our parents moved. His family moved to Brooklyn in Kings County while my parents moved to South Ozone Park in Queens County at which point we lived probably no more than twenty miles from each other. Like him, I looked ahead to the Summer vacation and the things we could do such as stoop ball, punch ball and stickball. Let me tell you when you are chasing a fly ball make sure you don’t fall over a Johnny Pump.

At times we both asked our moms for nickles to buy ice cream; he got his from the Good Humor Man while I got mine from the Bungalow Bar Man. He referred to the Summer heat melting the asphalt - even now on hot days here in Banning, every once in a while I smell the sweet odor of the melting asphalt and it brings back nostalgic memories. Our Summers were so much alike except the Summer of 1938 when I came down with pneumonia the day after school closed - was in bed for six weeks. That was the year before penicillin - let me tell you, sulfur drugs taste bad.  

As young kids, to make extra money, we had part-time jobs; he worked in a candy store while I delivered newspapers. Try pushing a bike in the snow with 120 papers in your basket - not easy.

As we grew older, we each spent time in the Army where, because of my Southern friends, I was known as The Damn Yankee.  After The War, we went to college; he went to Long Island University while I went to St. Johns University which might account for our different viewpoints (by the way, St. Johns basketball team regularly whipped LIU. It’s even possible that we might have been sitting in the same arena watching one of those games. After college we went our separate ways but, surprisingly these two old guys who grew up so close together, not knowing it, wind up three thousand miles from their early days living no more than three or four miles apart in Banning. Of course, I’m talking about (Tongue in Cheek) Marvin Haas. Isn’t life strange at times when you think about it; was it fate or just a coincidence that caused us to be here so close together in our late years? I wonder!

A kindred spirit?

R. S. Bibbo, Banning


(1) comment


Amazing coincidence. I, too, was born in the Bronx, on Oliver Place, not too far from Webster Avenue, Fordham Road and the Zoo and right across the street from the Bronx Botanical Gardens. I left at age 5 to move to NJ. Based on our far differing political views, I hesitate to say we are "kindred spirits," but we are at least alike in our early geographical roots.

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