P.S. 18 a fortress on top of one of the seven hills of Yonkers was impressive and esthetic looking school in the otherwise bleak surroundings of aging row houses.  My brother and I would walk about 1/2 mile to get there through poor but proud ghettos.

         My kindergarden with the deep rich colors of the large arched stain glass window and indoor playground far surpassed the tiny apartment we lived in.  It was in the first grade that I became very aware that I wanted to paint . I have always partially attributed it to the fact that I was among the first left handers allowed to be left handed ( up until then your left hand was hit with a stick if you dared use it in public school)  I could move my hand in a natural way. 

                                                       GARY AT 6 or 7

      All my teachers stating with my first grade teacher Mrs Smolen fostered my talent . Standing at an easel the corner of the room set up with tempera paint and paper I painted my first painting. It was Woody Woodpecker walking towards you with his three nephews pulling up the rear.  This was the beginning of a passion for painting.

      I spent so much time painting Holiday scene to the principles windows or painting props for the school plays ,including  one in that I played the Captain of the Pinafore in the school production of the H. M . S . Pinafore, that my spelling skills suffered . That is why you may find spelling errorshere.

GARY far right  -  Nella Pomponio  center  -  ?

           Suddenly my father Zygmunt was doing really well and we moved into the middle class with all the trimming including the woods behind the house with would become a secret place where we could act out all and any teenage fantasies. Up till this point I was Pretty much a goody goody dead set on good grades and pleasing authority. This was all about to change 

We had arrived in this great new life but suddenly my dad left and came back the next week and announced that he had married Erna his secretary and left upset that we weren't happy for him ???? He wasn't seen again for a year.  I was 12 , it was 1964  the "BEATLES " had just invaded and my brother and I grew our hair LONG . There were only one or two other guys in Junior High had long hair . It was a very dangerous place that was still ruled by the indigenous GREASERS - tough guys with nothing better to do than drink and if they get a chance hold you down and cut off that fuc---g girly hair . This actually happened to me when I walked through the wrong neighborhood.  I guess I really didn't care since in the 9th grade I played Conrad Birdie in the school production of " BYE BYE BIRDIE " There in the gold suit I made I sang Ba -a-a-a-a-a-b-e-e giva me one last kiss - wow its surprising the greasers didn't end my life that night.


This is one of the few photos of Gary with his long hair . we no longer took a lot of family photos.

Stickman was made out of popsicle sticks to my own proportions. He also had a popsicle chair he sat on.

He somehow found his way to to the local art museum - my first of many art shows

            THE SUMMER OF 1967

The summer between Junior high and and high School was when the flower that was the hippie movement bloomed . Those who could hear the call formed tribes that were open to all sizes , shapes , colors , and religions . All the ways of the previous generations were put aside replaced by the longing for yes " PEACE , LOVE , COMPASSION , FREEDOM and FUN.

       Our dream of a Utopian world was tempered with extreme political and personal unrest which were many like myself became great escaped artists . with the help of grass and L. S. D.  

       I had been a councilor at welfare came that summer.  I was walking home over the Odel Bridge in Homefield when I saw Joanne. She had straighten her hair and wore it long with bangs.  I knew then she had also gotten the calling and I set my sites on her - desperately needing the love I did not have at home.

     You know the ARROWSMITH song " WALK THIS WAY " -  it perfectly desribes the halls of Roosevelt High school. I guess Steve Tolerico ( that is Steven Tylers real name - they all went to Roosevelt  - about two years ahead of me. Girls in mini skirts - longhairs - collegents - greasers - flocked together like birds of a feather.

     A little to smart for my own good I became profisunt at cutting classes including not even going to school for the first two weeks of the 11th grade.  School days were spent on the aguaduct , that ran above the school, drinking Boones farm apple wine and smoking joints if we had em.  I attended just enough to keep myself on the honor role throughout High School.  

     If your on the bleachers you can put your coat over your head and take a poke - OH NO the assistant principle is com'n up face  - start running back through the school and out the widow to high for him to jump - wow close call.

       The one class I did attend of course was ART. My teach Mrs. Brody who was always ready with a pass for me out of this or that class  to work on art projects.  She would utimatly get me a full schoarship including room and board at Pratt institute a presitigyes art shool in Brooklyn.  WE had no family money - up untill then I had never even considered college.

Most of the art I created at this time had a grutequec quality here are some examples

" Orange SUN"