I miss New Jersey a great deal, but at this moment I am glad I live at a distance. You see I pissed off Big Tony from Bayonne, and that’s something you never want to do. Big Tony (Tony Conti) is an old treasure hunting friend from North Jersey, and will travel any distance to find “good stuff”. But it better be there when he arrives, and it better be “damn good stuff”….
A couple of months ago I happened to mention my old high school in Lambertville, New Jersey, which at the time, was nothing more than a shell, having been razed by a fire years ago and was awaiting the wrecking ball. Built in 1854, it closed it’s doors in 1959 (yours truly was a member of the last graduating class) after a new consolidated school was built a few miles away. I further suggested that, given it’s age, it had to be a haven for anyone with a metal detector, and went so far as to describe the grounds as best I could…..
Tony and a companion (probably either Big Paulie, or Louie Bagels) found my tip too good to pass up, and drove the 65 miles to little Lambertville and my old high school. Much to their dismay (and me now looking over my shoulder), the school had been demolished and the surrounding area was heavily overgrown. According to Tony, “nothing but bricks and crap!” Their finds were nada, and they were even accosted by a neighbor telling them they had to clean up the area.
When Tony got home he emailed me a few photos taken with his smart phone, and let me know in no uncertain terms how he felt, and that he and his friend were not going back. At that point I started thinking about changing my phone number, and even moving, but then finally figured that Tony was getting along in years, and would probably get over it quickly. At least that’s what I was hoping. I told him how sorry I was, and promised to send a few cigars and a bottle of Sambuca Romana to make up for it ….
I have not been back to Lambertville for sometime, but if that area gets cleaned up, and is available, I will be there in a heart beat. I remember all the areas outside where the gang gathered, waiting for the bell to start the day, and the dirt volley ball court halfway up the steps to the right of the school. Most vivid in my mind is the atheletic field at the top of the steps, behind the school. All sorts of activities took place there and for many, many years. If it’s not been built upon, and if it’s not severely overgrown, it has to hold not just “good stuff” but “great stuff! You will see these steps towards the end of the following video, and you will hear a Lambertville resident tell about playing football there.
I am still looking out my window, keeping an eye out for that black Cadillac, but so far nothing. I am also sending Fay out to check the mailbox (I didn’t tell her why). If, by chance, I do not post anything here for a few days, please call the FBI….
For the record, Tony Conti is really a pussycat and great guy, and yes, he does indeed go by “Big Tony from Bayonne” (as noted in a few of his comments here on the blog). I have no intentions of asking why!