This is the story of a young boy born to two hard working Italian parents, as an only child, in an affluent area of Queens New York, with a very bright future. That all came to a crashing end the morning his mother shot and killed his father while he sat out in front of one of their stores when he was 12. The story then goes on a multitude of different types of stories, as he adapts, to the ever changing places he finds himself in. It is a kaleidoscope of different feelings, thoughts, emotions, environments and locations. It could almost be viewed as a modern day Oliver Twist, with a twist. Oddly, it is free of self-pity, even through the self destructive portion. It winds through deaths, street life, jail, drug addition, street fights, financial ruin, and personal near death experiences. It is also a story of self determination to better himself through will, strength, and a need to succeed, even though life shows him that it is not ready to release him from the fate it has bestowed upon him.
I would claim to be old school, thick headed, doesn't take "no" for an answer, yet willing to let a 12 year old to show me how to answer my new phone. Graduated from the School of Hard Knocks, at the top of my class, and have the scars to prove it. By the time I had my 2nd near death experience, at 19, I learned to be at peace with myself, and put all my energy, that was transformed anger, into succeeding. Unfortunately, life wasn't done teaching me "lesson's" so, it took time, hard work, and a lot of energy to finally allow myself the space to call myself a success. After watching many people's lives spiral out of control, I decided to write my memoir in the hope that it would touch at least one person to keep on punching, and never give up on you're dream.
The wonder years of being a child, at a perfect point in time about to explode into tragedy, and despair. From that point forward the hardships fell like dominoes. Fortunately, I was to thickheaded to give up and die. https://www.amazon.com/Aka-Michael-Garramone/dp/069289442X
After school one day, I decided to stop at Marcus Capeeto’s house on the way home to see if he was there. Marcus and I had gone to school when we were younger but now I was going to private school and I was in the sixth grade. It was 1975. A couple of the other kids in the neighborhood thought he was a little crazy. He wasn’t a little crazy, he was nuts, but he was still my best friend. When I got there I noticed him working on his bike in his driveway. “Hey, Marcus.” “Hey, Mike.” “What’s up? What are you doing?” “I had to fix my bike. Why? What’s up?” “Nothing. You want to go for a ride to Bowne Park or something?” “Yeah. All right.” “Okay, so ride me over to my house so I can change my clothes. Then we’ll go.” After we got to my house and walked into the kitchen, Marcus asked me if I had a soda. “Yeah, there’s probably something in the fridge.” Marcus walked over to the refrigerator stopped and said, “Holy shit… what’s that?” “What?” “That!” he said as he pointed up at the refrigerator. I looked on top of the fridge and saw a handgun. I wasn’t really surprised to see a handgun in my house because I knew my parents owned one or two for the stores, but I had never seen either of them leave one out like this. “Shit, I guess one of my parents left it out,” I said. “Wow,” Marcus exclaimed. “Let me look at it.” Before Marcus would think of grabbing it, I shoved a chair over and picked it up. The first thing I noticed was that it was loaded because it was a revolver. After I got off the chair, Marcus kept insisting for me to let him see it. “If I let you see it, you’ve got to be real careful with it. Ya’ know, we could kill each other with this thing.” “I know, Mike. I won’t fuck around. I’ve just never held a handgun before.” I let him hold it but even as I handed it to him, I wondered a little bit about his “crazy” spells. “Wow, cool!” he said as he pointed it towards the doorway. After that we both fooled around with it for a few minutes, and then I put it in the dining room. When my mother got home a little while later, I told her what we had found in the house. “Where was it?” she said. “On top of the refrigerator,” Marcus answered. “How did it get here?” “I don’t know.” I answered. “Well where is it now?” vii “It’s in the dining room, I put it there after Marcus and I checked it out.” “Son of a bitch,” she said. Obviously she was mad, but luckily it wasn’t with me, I thought. After Marcus left that night, I did my homework, watched some TV, and then went to bed. The next morning my mother woke me up at 5:00. “Why are you waking me up so early? It’s still dark out. I’ve got school today. I can’t go to the country.” “I know. We’re not going to the country. We’re going over to the store to talk to your father.” “What the hell do I have to talk to him for?” “You don’t. You just have to come with me to talk to him, that’s all.” Man, I knew I shouldn’t have done that thing with the mortgage money. Now I’ve got to be the middle man every time my mother needs money from my father. Besides that, why does my mother have to ask my father for money? He should just give it to her. She’s worked just as hard as my father has over the years to buy the luncheonette. We got there at about 5:30 and sat in the car waiting for my father. Luckily my mother had taken some pillows and a blanket for me, so I could go back to sleep. After a little while I heard my mother start up the car, so I asked her what was going on. “Nothing. We’re leaving. Your father had his employee open the store.” When we got home, I went back to bed for a little while. Then I woke up, ate some breakfast, and went to school. The next morning we went through the same routine, but my father didn’t show up to open that morning either. During the ride back home, I wondered why my mother couldn’t call my father on the phone for money, but I guess she had her reasons. After we got home and I had a little more sleep then I got up, ate breakfast, and went to school. The next morning my mother really had her hands full trying to get me out of bed. “Come on, Ma. He wasn’t there for two days. He’s probably not going to be there today either,” I reasoned. “Come on, Michael. You’ve got to come with me. Don’t argue.” I could tell that she was serious, but I still really didn’t feel like going, and I actually started to get pissed at my father for making my mother and now me go through this every morning. I obviously had fallen asleep on the ride over there, because the next thing I heard was my mother say, “Come on, Michael, get up. Your father’s here.” “I’m too tired, Mom. Let me stay here and sleep.” “All right, go to sleep. I’ll be right out.” A minute or two later I heard my mother and father start arguing. Man, why the hell do I have to be here for this? I can’t understand why they couldn’t argue on the phone or something. I guess because it was something new they had started doing they needed some time to work out the guidelines. After thinking for a second or two more, I wondered if I should go in and say my peace about the whole situation. Na, I thought. It’ll be fine. Besides, Nicky looked like he knew what he was talking about the day he warned me about getting involved. I can go back to sleep anyhow. Just before I dozed off, I heard someone blow off firecrackers, and I thought to myself, That’s funny. It’s March, it’s not even close to the fourth of July. A few minutes later my mother opened the car door and got in. Good, I thought, now I can go home and get some sleep. After a few minutes I hadn’t heard the car start yet, so I opened my eyes and said, “Come on, Ma. Let’s go home... I’m tired.” After a few seconds my mother said, “Michael… get up. Get up, Michael.” I could tell from the tone of her voice that she was serious, so I sat up. My mother turned around in the car seat to face me, and I don’t know why but when I first looked into her face it scared me for a second. viii Then my mother looked into my eyes and said, “Michael… no matter what happens, Mommy loves you okay?” “What…What are you talking about…? What happened…?” “Nothing, Michael. Just come here and give me a hug.” As I hugged her, she squeezed me tightly for a few seconds and then started to cry. “Mom...! What’s wrong?!?” “Nothing, Michael. Nothing.” Then she started the car, and we drove off. I asked her one more time during the ride home if everything was all right and she gave me the same answer, being that my mother had never lied to me before, I figured everything was okay. I lay back down, even though something didn’t seem right. I woke up a little while later and asked my mother if we were home yet. “No, Michael, we’re not home yet.” “Well, ya’ know, I’ve got school today.” “Don’t worry, Michael. You might not have to go to school today.” Cool! I thought as I shut up quickly and went back to sleep. When we got home, my mother told me to go back to bed. “Why should I? I’m only going to get a little sleep.” “Don’t worry. I’ll let you sleep longer.” “Yeah, but then I’ll be late.” “I’ll give you a note. Now go to bed.” About an hour later my mother woke me up, made me breakfast, and then sent me to school with my note. At the end of the day on the way home, Neil asked me if I wanted to do my homework at his house. I thought about it for a second or two, and then I decided to go home. As I walked up to the corner of my block, I saw three cop cars and two unfamiliar cars parked on my lawn. I walked over to a parked car across the street and sat on the hood, wondering why there were cop cars at my house. I wondered if my mother had a problem with one of the boarders at my house. Or maybe they were there because of this morning with my father. Na, stop dreaming. Nothing happened last night. Instead of going inside, I decided to wait and see what happened from outside for now. Because there were never any police cars in my neighborhood, a big crowd had gathered. They all stared towards my house. A whole range of thoughts, and emotions ran through my head. Just as I was about to decide whether or not to go inside, they brought my mother out in handcuffs. They put my mother into the cop car, and I watched them drive down my street. I sat out there with them trying to overhear any type of information I could, and then I heard Debbie, Marcus’s mother say, “Oh, my God, Michael. Come here,” as she started walking towards me. “Debbie… what’s going on at my house?” “Oh nothing. Nothing.” “Should I go over there?” “Well, no. Let’s go to my house, and we’ll call from there, okay?” she said. After we got there, Debbie got me some cookies and milk and sat me down with some cartoons on TV. Debbie walked back into the room a little while later and told me to wait for my Aunt Marie to come over. I sat at Marcus’s house for about an hour and figured that something had to be wrong. After a while, I decided to lie down to rest and prepare myself for the blow that seemed to be coming. When my Aunt Marie got there, she woke me up and took me over to my house. We got inside, and she told Ronnie and Russell, my cousins, that they could go out and play. I sat there with Marie for about an hour, and she wouldn’t or couldn’t tell me what had happened. Then finally my cousin Ronnie burst through the door yelling, “Look! Look! It’s in the newspaper! ‘Wife shoots and kills husband!’ ” ix Well… I guess those weren’t firecrackers last night, I thought. “Ronnie, you little bastard. Get out of here with that newspaper,” my aunt screamed. I jumped up and grabbed the newspaper from Ronnie. There it was plain as day: my mother’s name, my father’s name, my name, and my address. “I guess I’m fucked…” I said. “Oh, my God, Michael. I didn’t know how to tell you. Ronnie, get outside,” Marie yelled. Tears were running down Marie’s cheeks as she held out her arms for me to hug her. I hugged Marie for her sake; I didn’t need to be consoled at that moment while my soul was tearing in half. It was too painful for me right then to comprehend. I was numb. Marie was sitting down, and I held her as she sobbed for herself, my father, her sister and me. “There, there, Marie… it’ll be all right. It’ll be okay,” I told her as I rubbed her back. “?!...Wait a minute… I’m supposed to be consoling you, Michael.” “Don’t worry, Marie. I’m fine… except for a splitting headache.” “Oh, Michael, I’m so sorry,” she said. “For what, Marie? It wasn’t your fault. But now it’s over… it’s done… there’s no changing it.” “I can’t believe you’re taking it this way, Michael. You do realize what happened, don’t you?” “Yeah… I realize.” Later that night there was some talk about where I was going to sleep. “Marie, listen. I’m sleeping in my house in my bed tonight. Now if George wants to beat the shit out of me like I’ve seen him beat the shit out of Ronnie and Russell over the years that’s fine. But he better kill me tonight because I’m not going anywhere.” I could see that George wanted to slap me, but he was holding back his temper. This one time I wish he would have, because I would have definitely ended Ronnie and Russell’s misery with him on this night somehow. That night I cried for an hour then I forced myself to cry for another half hour. After that, I swore I would never cry about anything, because nothing could ever make me this sad, or hurt this bad. Then I got pissed. I got pissed at myself for not going into the store with my mother. I got pissed at the world for letting everybody own a gun, and finally I got pissed at God. So what’s the deal, God? I was a bad kid because I didn’t go to church last Sunday? I go to Catholic school. I go to confession, I made my communion. What the fuck for? What the fuck could I have possibly done in my twelve years on this Earth that was so bad that I should deserve this fate? Fine, I thought, you know what? Fuck this. Nothing is the truth any more, nothing is believable, and nothing lasts forever from here on in. I’ll have to jot this one down as a major fucking lesson, too. But that’s it. I don’t give a fuck about rules, fuck regulations, fuck conversations, fuck me, and fuck you, God. Fuck everything. I was blowing circuits left and right. I blew circuits I didn’t even know I had. After I got over that trip, I started to think about what was going to happen to my own little world. Oh shit, Mike. Where the fuck are you going to live? What are you going to do with yourself? How are you going to eat? You didn’t even eat dinner tonight. What about tomorrow? What’s going to happen to the house? Fuck it, I’ll quit school and get a job. Oh, shit, what about the business?!? I’ll go to work there. I can run that place. I’ve done it before. We can’t lose the business. I know where to get the supplies for the store. I’ll use my mother’s car. I’ve been driving for years now with her. Wait a minute- I wonder where my father’s car is. I saw it parked in front of the luncheonette last night. Maybe I can go to the police department and get the keys to it. Then I’ll sneak back and drive it home. Shit, what about the keys to the store? I wonder if it’s locked up. What if people are walking out with everything?? No, wait, Mike, the cops must’ve locked it up. They probably found my father’s keys. Okay… now as far as cooking and selling shit in there, I’ve got that covered. The newspaper guys get paid on Sundays. The food, ice cream and soda guys get paid at the end of each month for last month’s load. Fuck, it’s the end of the month already. Okay… I’ve got about two hundred bucks in the bank. I know my mother bought me some U.S. saving bonds. Maybe I can sell them or sell some stuff around the house. x Yeah, I’ll sell the fucking lawn mower I hate cutting the grass anyhow. If that doesn’t add up, I’ll save the newspaper article from tonight and ask the bill collectors to cut me a break for a month or two. Then I’ve got the rent, electric, and garbage pick-up to worry about soon. Okay, I know that the electric company won’t shut off the electric for a little while. That leaves the rent and the garbage; well, these guys have got to cut me some slack also. Shit, I can probably make most of this money in two weeks. I’ve gone in there at 6:00 in the morning, and the place is packed with all the people catching the train to Manhattan. Man, I’m bad in the mornings. Fuck it. I’ll have to sleep there. Maybe I won’t open on Sundays for a while after I make a little money. The house is making money with the boarders my mother’s renting too. Maybe, I could use some of that money. But then I’ve got to pay the mortgage, and bills here. Well, wait a minute… my grandfather can help me with some bill’s, he’s got some money, but what if he can’t live here anymore…fuck… I juggled all of these thoughts in my mind until it short-circuited again and it shut me down, and I fell asleep. “Michael… no matter what happens, mommy loves you okay.” These words are branded into my soul forever, and they were the epitaph for my childhood… my innocence… and my wonderful, bright eyed point of view about life. I didn’t know it then, but something deep inside me died with my father that morning, like a candle, snuffed out. Being that I didn’t have any siblings, I suddenly felt very alone, and detached from the outside world, and nobody, could console this pain. Trial by fire, my rite to manhood. So how did this happen… it’s the same question I asked myself. We were a good, hard-working family, was it fate… my destiny written in some ancient scrolls somewhere, or just a tragic mistake that never should have happened. My father’s death was just the beginning of the events in my life, unbeknownst to me. They just kept coming in like waves thrashing me about. At times I thought I would surely drown, but I didn’t, I persevered, and I lived through them all. Occasionally I’ll see an old friend and he’ll look at me, shake his head and say “Mike… you’ve been through it all man” It makes the badge I wear on my chest shine a little brighter, but sometimes, I’ll ask myself why I was so lucky. At times I’ll look at all of the tragic events that took place in my life after my father’s death. My life would be on an unfamiliar road, and changed forever each time, and I’ve wondered whom I would have become if I would have been able to stay on that temporary road for long. I’ve come to assume that life just has a way of smacking you upside your head when you’re not looking, the trick is learning when to duck. Maybe my story will allow you to see the mistakes I made in my life so you can avoid them, maybe some of you will feel that your life is not so bad after all. Maybe you’ll laugh… maybe you’ll cry, or maybe you’ll just enjoy my story… well… enjoy.