Monday, July 25, 2005

The origins of Erie Street Entertainment

Had a really, solid full and happy weekend.

On Saturday morning and early afternoon journeyed to Caneeshis Lake. And I have completely spelled that wrong for sure. But essentially, it's one of what is called the "Finger Lakes" up here in Upstate, New York. Some of the others are Honeyoe Lake, Canadaigua Lake, etc.

Everytime I think of them, I think of The Dick Van Dyke Show, when Rob and Laura went to Lake MiniMaMooMoo in one episode - or at least they referenced that they did. Actually, now that I recall, Buddy and Sally worked a night club at one of these Lakes on the "QT" during a summer break from the Allan Brady Show (in another episode).

ANYWAY - I went to Caneeshis for a mini-reunion of some friends from Erie Street, where I grew up - the Monroe family, including Laura (who surprised me at a book signing a few weeks ago), and her sister Eva was there.

Eva, as SHE recalls, was my first love - who I apparently chased around the sofa when I was six and she was 11. And she even once called a local radio show I was on and relayed that story. I, of course, remember things differently. (SHE chased ME around the sofa).

All in all - it was AWESOME to see those people. When those reunion moments happen, you can help but feel something dramatic like, "I have LIVED! My life has not been a dream."

Well, at least that's how I talk to myself.

Either way - it was a great drive (about 45 minutes from Rochester), and since my trek to Albany last month for the Bewitched premiere, driving anyway is no longer an issue for me. I now embrace it (except driving in LA, that is).

Then, Saturning evening, I was invited to a high school graduation party of one of the children of my good friend Jim Heil, who I've known since 7th grade at St. Augustine's. He has six kids in all - and they're all great. Jim and I also went on to attend Aquinas High School together, and some of our classmates from Aquinas were also at the party. Tom Centron (and his wife Charlene), Jim Philbin (and his wife Sue). Don Bates. It was great to see them all.

On Sunday morning, I then attended the Christening of my friends Monica and Jeff's new baby Maya, who they adopted from Russia. They've been through so much in the last 18 months (and prior) to finalize the work for this beauitful child. SO happy that it all came together finally. They are such wonderful people. On top of that, they have a big beautiful family - and they live close by to Greenleaf Meadows - where I moved with my parents when we first left Erie Street (in 1977).

Clearly, its because of events like these three fesitivites that I am in Rochester.

Hollywood tries to create on-screen the joys of what I am living in real life. And they come close (The Andy Griffith Show, Avalon, The Miracle of Ordinary Days), but ain't nothing like the real thing - as opposed to the "reel" thing.

It took me a long time to get that. And maybe had I not met and worked with everyone I have ever truly loved, I might feel differently. But you can't beat conversations like this one I had on Saturday with Eva Monroe:

Eva: Remember, Herbie J, when we used to put on those 'shows' across the street on that stage in front of the warehouse?

HJ: "Oh, my gosh - yes."

Eva: "It's where you made your WORLD DEBUT!"

HJ: LOL!!!!

Erie Street Entertainment, indeed.

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