evening in Elmira

the cat moves
around this newcomer
paw to foot
an experiment
the fan blows
a friend sleeps
the night quiet
in the upper regions
of New York State
and peace
in the heart
among friends

Remembering Moondog and Some Others on a Sunday morning in Istanbul

Leonard Durso

I was remembering Moondog this morning, this blind musician/poet who dressed as a viking and wandered the city streets reciting poetry, playing music, and scaring the wits out of drunk teenagers like me who just happened to bump into him when rounding a corner in the West 50s. The first time I was with Henry Munoz and Alvin Miller and we had spent several hours after acting class in the Blarney Stone eating those greasy cornbeef sandwiches and drinking draft beer spiked with rye whiskey that Julian Richards always smuggled in under his coat. Anyway, Alvin was going off to catch the D train to Carnesie, if I remember correctly, and Henry was walking with me to 34th Street where he would get the E or F train back to Jackson Heights and I would catch the LIRR home and boom. Right smack into this viking. I mean, man, that’ll…

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My Two Fathers, Part II

Leonard Durso

Charles Frederick Russell. Charlie. My stepfather.
Perhaps it would be best to begin this by giving some background.
Charlie was the oldest child with one younger brother, Albert, and two younger sisters, Susan and Bertha. He was born in Manhattan but his father, a contractor, soon moved the family to Long Island where he built houses that he would later sell. They ended up in Lynbrook in a big, sprawling three family house where they lived on one side and rented out two apartments on the other side. Charlie would eventually buy this house after his mother died, paying his three siblings their market value shares, but that’s getting ahead in the narrative.
Charlie went to high school in Lynbrook and then to Gettysburg College, a private coed college in Pennsylvania. This was just before the Great Depression in 1930s America, and he graduated in 1930 when that Depression was…

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My Two Fathers, Part I

Leonard Durso

I know that title sounds like some sit-com from the late 1950s/early 1960s starring Fred MacMurray & Bill Bixby but I wouldn’t have cast either of those two actors in the roles. No, it would be more like Ben Gazzara and Joseph Cotton. And the real star of the show would be the woman they both were married to, though, of course, at different times: my mother. But she deserves a whole ‘nother memory piece all to herself. So this will be about the two men in her life and the two who served as role models for me in what a husband should be.
First, there was my father, biological father, that is. A first generation Calabrese Italian who, if you know anything about the people from Calabria, you know when saying that you are supposed to bite the knuckles on your left hand and rap your right on…

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My Senior Year of High School

This, after spending the day/evening reminiscing/laughing/telling stories with my brother Robert at his house on the third day of my NY trip.

Leonard Durso

Senior year of high school found me attending acting school in Manhattan. It all came about because I was enacting some story in my head to Jimmy Hanley who looked at me with a half smile on his face and said, “You oughta be an actor.” Now I probably thought the same thing at one time or another like every kid thinks, but never really taking it seriously because the only thing I ever wanted to do since I became enthralled by E.B. White’s Stuart Little was write. I mean, I loved reading, loved the worlds I discovered in books, loved getting lost in other people’s lives which in books I seemed to be able to do so easily, and I thought I’d kind of like to do that, too. Create worlds people could get lost in, create characters people could care about, want to get to know, have coffee…

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my temporary disappearing act

Hi Everyone,

I will be leaving for New York soon and will be without stable internet access for a few days. There is wi-fi at the hotel I’ll be staying at till Sunday but since I won’t be in that room very often or for long durations of time, I doubt I will be able to keep abreast of your posts until after I am at a friend’s house in Elmira on Sunday evening. No doubt my inbox will be overflowing and it will take me at least a week to catch up if I ever do catch up.

I may try reblogging some older posts  while away so don’t be surprised if you see posts relating to my life in Turkey appear in the next few days. I will, though, not be in Turkey, or at least part of my heart will be but the other half of that organ will be reconnecting with family/friends in the US, a much needed exercise to rejuvenate what’s left of it.

I know some of you are under the impression I am returning for good but as life often does to us, my plans have changed and I will only be in the US for a month or so while my application for a work visa is being approved. I have recently been offered a position of editor/columnist for a Turkish newspaper and so will be writing on culture, literature, historic spots in Turkey, and politics (mostly the American election but also on Turkey from an expat’s point of view).

Most of you know I love this country and its people but also I feel a need to stay connected to my aging family/friends so even though I will be staying here, I will be returning for visits to the US frequently.

And so it goes and I go with it. Be well.