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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Elton John, Alexander Hamilton, Friendship, and A Gift of Love


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Alexander Hamilton High School


If you drive Route 287 West to Hartsdale exit, hang a left at top of the exit ramp, you'll see Staples office supply store on your right. At the corner, make a right. It's just opposite the Greenburgh Library. Can't miss it. Keep driving. Down the road apiece is The Village of Elmsford, you'll see the welcome sign, it's a one-square mile tract of land. This is my hometown.

Named after a tree, The Village of Elmsford is dotted in gas stations, and a main street runs through it. Back in 1953, when I moved there with my parents, it boasted a drive-in theater, delicatessen selling best-you-ever-ate fresh-baked cinnamon buns, and a parochial and public school walking distance to our home, a little Cape Cod on North Goodwin Avenue.

I no longer live in Elmsford. I grew up, moved away a long time ago, and got a different life. I lost touch with classmates and friends. Life has a habit of doing that.

Today I dropped by Robert Venuti's Carmine's Delicatessen located at 7 Old West Road, not far from where I used to play as a child. I wanted my morning cup of coffee and to just say hi. I like to people watch and Carmine's is a Grand Central Station for my favorite spectator sport.

Robert is owner and proprietor of Carmine's, the best delicatessen in town. He is also a good friend. And he makes best-I-ever ate blueberry pancakes!

Always Robert greets me with a hug and a smile. Today he warmed my hands. It is 30 degrees and I lost my gloves.

We got to talking and next thing I know, he's asking do I want to make a delivery to Alexander Hamilton High on South Goodwin?

"Alexander Hamilton High? Sure!," I said.

It's been more than forty-something years since I walked the hallowed halls of my alma mater. And the thought of going back overwhelmed me. I grabbed the bag packed with chicken parm wedges and dashed out the door to Big Blue. Big Blue is my car.

I parked in the fire lane, right under the No Parking Fire Lane sign. I walked the staircase reserved for senior students, and shook my head remembering the time in my freshman year I got detention for treading these concrete steps illegally.

Sometime between climbing the steps and pressing the brass lever on the door handle, I was flooded with memories of days gone by. In my mind's eye, I saw the students I studied with. And the teachers who taught us. I walked past Room 205, and remembered Mrs. Leone. I swear I could see her wagging her finger at me. I recalled study hall with Frank Kopicki; English I with Mrs. Spellerberg; English II with Ma Hoffman; English III and IV with Mr. G. Oh, and Algebra, I was cheating off Sue C's paper. When I looked again, I was racing to Social Studies, late for Mrs. Bullis. I peeped a window of my junior class homeroom and I swear I could see the back of Rex R's head. He sat in the seat in front of mine. I had to pass the music room, and it was as if Mr. Stonehill, my music teacher, was waving me in for band practice. I was filled with familiar smiling faces. It was a beautiful moment.

There's more. I made $4.43 tip. And I got the smile big as a banana to prove it.

Yes. I am grateful.

Thank you, Robert Venuti for sending me out on a delivery. Thank you for morning cup of coffee. Thank you for being my friend.

Who says you can never go home again?


See you in print,

Linda Della Donna
Author of
A Gift of Love

P.S. Note to Elton John: Your Million Dollar Piano revue at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2011 is coming to Westchester for a private screening and will be playing for two days only on march 18 and 26. I wish to celebrate, too. Call me. I'd love to interview you and snap a selfie.

Food For Thought:

"Always mistrust a subordinate who never finds fault with his superior." --John Collins


Linda Della Donna is author of A Gift of Love. She is a freelance writer, photographer and grief coach. Be sure to write for a copy of her free ebook, Treasury of Quotations. Also, you are invited to LIKE her facebook fan page--see FanPage tab at top of blog. Della Donna thanks you for stopping by her blog. She values your friendship.

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