Friday, July 03, 2009

The Fountain of Youth

As I was walking back home from my daily morning beach workout, I came across a sprinkling fountain in front of an office building. I smiled, as it immediately reminded me of my youth, growing up in the Brown Square Park inner-city district of Rochester, New York.

Brown Square was located in the shadow of the main office of Eastman Kodak on State Street, which was only a few blocks from my loving-childhood home on Erie Street.

I recall so clearly those hot summer days swimming in the "cement pond" pool in Brown Square. This unique swimming place was essentially a large descending fountain, not more than three feet deep at it's center. It had a "stoney" bottom surface that was patched together with liquid tar. I must have scrapped my knees at least twice each time I played in that pool. But I never stopped going there - except on certain days when it was closed for repair or maintenance.

On those particular days, my friends and I would somehow find the guts to go and swim in the actual fountain that graced the front landscape of Eastman Kodak's main office building. That's right, just breaking open a fire hydrant at the corner of Erie Street and Warehouse was not enough to cool us off. We figured, if we were going to break the law on a hot summer day in a cool way, we may has well go for the gold.

So, there we'd be - in that pretty blue fountain - in front of Kodak, with all the "executives" walking by. Some were astonished at what they viewed. Some were repelled. And then others were just in plain happy awe and what they saw.

And now today, I am the one who is in awe.

After my Mom passed away, following my Dad - so many years ago, I truly thought my life was over. I resigned myself to selling a few magazine articles here and there, maybe writing another book about television, and singing at a few parties or clubs. But as far as pursuing my "dreams"? I thought they were dead.

But now, my dreams have not only come alive, they've come true.

I have awakened my child's heart, and restored my body, mind and spirit - by working-out, changing my diet, and thinking and living in only the most positive ways.

And as I flashback to the joyful past memories of my youthful fountain playtimes, I am reminded of how important it is to live in the always move forward, happily in the realization that joyful, forgiving and loving-kindness living invigorates and sustains an entirely different and yet everlasting fountain of youth - with knees unscraped and a life unscathed.


Anonymous said...

you should publish that in the rochester newspaper

Herbie J Pilato said...

Thank you. That's a good idea.

Jann said...

pretty cool huh? I know what u r experiencing!

Anonymous said...

excellent J. it is nice watching this transformation first hand. we are new men in a new world and it is exciting.

Mark said...


Just when you thought it was time to go to Frontier Stadium and watch a game, you bring up the glory of growing up in the 60s and70s. I have not been tempted to dance(swim) with KODAK execs, but the pictures of open fire hydrants, knot hole games and playing kick ball in the street have suddenly awaken.

This is the book you are dreaming about. The olden days, with a splash of revival.

Welcome back.

Herbie J Pilato said...

A "'splash' of revival."

I like that, Mark.

And you may be right...

There probably is an Erie Street book in there (me) somewhere...

Maria Burleigh Diehl said...

What is really neat is my memories of the old neighborhood. We were living a real live episode of The Wonder Years. Our parents loved us unconditionally and looked with wonderment at all our poor attempts at making a 'masterpiece' out of paper mache. We played outside until the street lights went out. Glowed for days when we held another person's hand and the ultimate was having a quick peck under an old oak tree. We rode our bikes with such wild abandonment because we believed we were immortal. There is a child in all of us and having my own children, I remember being a child again. Looking at things through their eyes...the eyes of a child.

Maria Burleigh Diehl