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Life Arts    H4'ed 12/9/21

Pizza, Sinatra, fairy tales and hope

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Frank Sinatra circa 1955 in Capitol Studios.
Frank Sinatra circa 1955 in Capitol Studios.
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By Bob Gaydos

"Fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you. If you're young at heart. For as rich as you are, it's much better by far ..."

Sinatra was in fine voice as I opened the door to Pizza Plus to pick up our regular order: A large, deep-dish vegetarian pizza, well-done, light on the cheese, with fresh garlic instead of onions.

It's always the same pizza. It's almost always Sinatra. I am a fan of structure, routine, tradition, whatever you want to call it. Something to look forward to. I think it builds memories, something to look back on.

On this particular pizza day, the Sinatra song playing took me way back to 1954. That's when I graduated from the eighth grade. Our graduating class sang the song, in excellent harmony as I recall, as part of the commencement ceremony.

We even remembered the slight pause at the end of the song.

That reminiscence took me back to the teen years that followed in Bayonne, N.J., and the memory-building hours spent in ice cream parlors, soda shops, candy stores around town. Diners, too. And the music on the juke boxes. The kind of music that's always playing when I pick up my pizza in Pine Bush, six decades and 65 miles removed.

The trip down memory lane also reminded me that the pizza place was actually an old-fashioned ice cream parlor when the building first opened some time in the 1980s. A little synchronicity, no?

Warm memories and continuity are reassuring, especially in a society that appears to have lost its way. Remember, it wasn't always like this. It won't always be like this. Hang in. Enjoy the moment. And do what you can to make things better.

"Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth to be young at heart? For as rich as you are, it's much better by far to be young at heart.

And young of mind. I've been trying to do my part to make things better for more than 50 years, writing and commenting on the world as I see it. Lately, I haven't liked a lot of what I've seen. So I write about it, hoping others agree and something will change. It's happened in the past. It happens in some way every day. I just have to keep writing. It used to be a typewriter, now it's a tablet. (Google is a godsend.)

I also have to pay attention to where I am, listen for the good music, remember better times and share a message of hope as well as good pizza.

"And if you should survive to a hundred and five, think of all you'll derive out of being alive. And here is the best part, you'll have a head start, if you are among the very young ... at heart."

Just 25 more years to go.

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Bob Gaydos is a veteran of 40-plus years in daily newspapers. He began as police reporter with The (Binghamton, N.Y.) Sun-Bulletin, eventually covering government and politics as well as serving as city editor, features editor, sports editor and (more...)

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