CGP Community Stories

Albert Keck, November 19, 2008

Title

Albert Keck, November 19, 2008

Subject

Assessor B.F. SkinnerBoston Public SchoolsBrooklyn, NYCaroline KeckArt ConservationContractingCooperstown Fire DepartmentCooperstown Graduate ProgramCooperstown, NYDearborne Middle SchoolEconomyEducationHarvard CollegeThe Otesaga HotelRecessionSheldon KeckSocietal ValuesWorld War IIYouthZoning Officer

Description

While Albert Keck and I were sitting in his living room at 3 Delaware Street in Cooperstown, New York, he explained to me that life is made up of happenstance. “I look at my whole life, how critical little twists and turns are. And you don’t even know it, until you’re looking back five years later” he said. At sixty-five years old, Mr. Keck has lived in three different cities, had five careers, raised two children, and currently has seven step-children. This insightful and philosophical oral history explores Mr. Keck’s experiences as a child of two fine art conservators, a special needs teacher in the Boston Public Schools from 1966 - 86, and his 1990 move to Cooperstown to care for his dying father and mother.

Albert Keck was born on May 8, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. As a child of two fine art conservators, Mr. Keck developed a strong interest in fine art. After graduating from Erazmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, he attended Harvard College from 1961 - 65 majoring in the History of Fine Arts. Post-graduation, he made a brief stop in Newark, New Jersey working for Rabin and Krueger galleries as an art conservator. In 1966 he returned to Boston where he unexpectedly found himself working as a special needs teacher at Dearborne Middle School. Teaching quickly became his passion, as he not only taught his students reading and writing but also offered them guidance and counsel.

After enjoying a twenty-year career as a special needs teacher, Mr. Keck moved to Cooperstown in 1990 to care for his sick father and mother. While tending to his parents, Mr. Keck demonstrated a strong commitment to the community of Cooperstown. With his positive attitude and strong work ethic, he has served local positions of Zoning Officer, Assessor, and President of the Cooperstown Fire Department.

Mr. Keck has a Brooklyn accent. I have tried to represent his pronunciation of certain words by spelling them phonetically. Furthermore, certain actions occurring during the interview, such as the snapping of fingers or pointing to photographs are presented in italics and parentheses. Laughter is represented by the word ‘laughs’ in italics.

Creator

Cara Bramson

Publisher

Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York-College at Oneonta

Date

2008-11-19

Rights

New York State Historical Association Library, Cooperstown, NY

Online Submission

No

Interviewer

Cara Bramson

Interviewee

Albert Keck

Location

3 Delaware St., Cooperstown, NY

Transcription

Cooperstown Graduate Program
Research and Fieldwork Course (HMUS520)
Oral History Project
Fall 2008

Interview with Albert Keck by Cara Bramson

Interviewer: Bramson, Cara
Interviewee: Keck, Albert
Date: November 19, 2008
Location of Interview: Cooperstown, New York

Archive or Library Repository: New York State Historical Association Library, Cooperstown, NY

Description:

While Albert Keck and I were sitting in his living room at 3 Delaware Street in Cooperstown, New York, he explained to me that life is made up of happenstance. “I look at my whole life, how critical little twists and turns are. And you don’t even know it, until you’re looking back five years later” he said. At sixty-five years old, Mr. Keck has lived in three different cities, had five careers, raised two children, and currently has seven step-children. This insightful and philosophical oral history explores Mr. Keck’s experiences as a child of two fine art conservators, a special needs teacher in the Boston Public Schools from 1966 - 86, and his 1990 move to Cooperstown to care for his dying father and mother.

Albert Keck was born on May 8, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. As a child of two fine art conservators, Mr. Keck developed a strong interest in fine art. After graduating from Erazmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, he attended Harvard College from 1961 - 65 majoring in the History of Fine Arts. Post-graduation, he made a brief stop in Newark, New Jersey working for Rabin and Krueger galleries as an art conservator. In 1966 he returned to Boston where he unexpectedly found himself working as a special needs teacher at Dearborne Middle School. Teaching quickly became his passion, as he not only taught his students reading and writing but also offered them guidance and counsel.

After enjoying a twenty-year career as a special needs teacher, Mr. Keck moved to Cooperstown in 1990 to care for his sick father and mother. While tending to his parents, Mr. Keck demonstrated a strong commitment to the community of Cooperstown. With his positive attitude and strong work ethic, he has served local positions of Zoning Officer, Assessor, and President of the Cooperstown Fire Department.

Mr. Keck has a Brooklyn accent. I have tried to represent his pronunciation of certain words by spelling them phonetically. Furthermore, certain actions occurring during the interview, such as the snapping of fingers or pointing to photographs are presented in italics and parentheses. Laughter is represented by the word ‘laughs’ in italics.

Key Terms
Assessor
B.F. Skinner
Boston Public Schools
Brooklyn, NY
Caroline Keck
Art Conservation
Contracting
Cooperstown Fire Department
Cooperstown Graduate Program
Cooperstown, NY
Dearborne Middle School
Economy
Education
Harvard College
The Otesaga Hotel
Recession
Sheldon Keck
Societal Values
World War II
Youth
Zoning Officer


AK = Albert Keck
CB = Cara Bramson

[START OF TRACK 1, 0:00]

CB:
This is the interview of Mr. Albert Keck by Cara Bramson recorded at Mr. Keck’s home of 3 Delaware Street on November 19th2008. Hi Mr. Keck.
AK:
How are you Cara? This is wonderful.
CB:
Laughter. I am glad you like it. Can you tell me your full name?
AK:
My full name is Albert Cosgrave Keck.
CB:
And were you named after anybody?
AK:
I was, and that’s the fun part. I was named after my grandfather who’s my Mother’s father. Right there, my Father drew his picture. He was a great influence on my own father, uh who was his son-in-law. I got lots of good stories to tell you about these people, and I was named, my middle name was given to me by my mother in honor of her best friend at the time, May 8, 1943, during the war years, Esta Cosgrave who was her best friend, and who was a painter. And unfortunately died of polio in 1952. But that’s why I have Cosgrave as my middle name, cause she couldn’t have kids.
CB:
Okay. That’s a good story.
AK:
Oh I could tell you good ones about my Grandpa too. But they’re not about Cooperstown.
CB:
That’s okay. What kind of stories do you have about him?
AK:
Oh he’s a wonderful man. My Grandpa he was born in 1864, he graduated from the New York public schools, took over his father’s jewelry business cause his father didn’t want to do it, and sent, and only graduated high school, and sent all his brothers and sisters to college and beyond. He was the oldest one.
CB:
Wow.
AK:
Pretty good.
CB:
Mmhmm. And your Grandfather is your mom’s, the one you just mentioned.
AK:
Mom’s father yeah. And he my father, who did not like his own father, and I can tell you stories about him too, was cause he’s an Upstate New Yorker, he befriended my own father and he became a great influence for my father, his father-in-law. And a wonderful friend. And they went fishing together and they had a great relationship.
CB:
What kind of influence did he have on him?
AK:
He had an influence of life, not of profession. Of life, enjoying life, an influence. My father was a pretty talented man anyhow. But he had an influence for enjoying life, being a gentleman, thinking of other people a certain way. Much different than his own Father, who was a real tight skinflint. And was absolutely detested by his elder daughter until her dying day. You could feel the room fill up with her intense hatred, even in her seventies when she talked about her father. When I was in Florida, and I just knew her Father very, very weakly, because, well he did respect me. Because when my father was away, my mother and father were away in Florida, and they put me with my grandpa Keck, and I wouldn’t eat the oatmeal, although I love oatmeal now, but I wouldn’t eat it then. And he’d spank me, and I still wouldn’t eat it. So for some reason he had a lot of respect for me, because even after being spanked, I still wouldn’t eat it. But, he. I’ll tell you about him. He was a great teacher, he taught at Erazmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, he taught math. I’ve since in my life, back in the ‘60s, met two men, in different locations, in the ‘60s, who told me that they had my grandfather as their math teacher, and said he was the best teacher they had ever had in their life.
CB:
Wow.
AK:
But, he was very tight with his money, he had gone to Hamilton College. And my father who graduated from Erazmus, with seven honors, one of which was a full tuition, four year, all paid to any college of his choice. That was given to him by Erazmus Hall High School because he was one of the all around student of the 1928. And, his father told him, if you don’t go to Hamilton, I’m not going to give you a penny. But my father also won the Long Island Harvard Club’s all tuition paid for Freshman year. So since he got that, and he wanted to major in fine arts, he went to Harvard. In spite of what his father said, and when my mother met him, I mean he was shoveling coal, cleaning the other boy’s bathrooms, and shoveling snow to make his room and board. But, he had full tuition paid. So that’s what he did. In spite of his father.
CB:
How did your parents meet?
[START OF TRACK 2, 0:00]
AK:
My parents met, this is a good story. Considering they also taught at the NYSHA program, the Conservation Program, this is a good story, you oughta know this one. They met at a Harvard Fine Arts class, taught by Paul Sacks. I think it was Paul Sacks. And they were doing a recreation of a fourteenth century icon painting, which required gold leaf. And it required the appliqué of gold leaf to the various built up levels of ground. And I don’t know all about what levels of ground they were, but they were on the panel, I think, and it had gesso ground and so forth. And, my mother looked at her friend, and she looked at my father, and she said, what do you think his name is. And her friend says, well he looks like a Jimmy to me. And my mother says, Jimmy will you pass me the burnisher? And that was the first contact between my mother and my father.
CB:
But his name isn’t Jimmy?

AK:
No, his name isn’t Jimmy. His name is Sheldon. Sheldon Keck.
CB & AK: Laughing
AK:
But it’s a good story, and that’s how she got the foot in the door with him. And she had fight with this other girl. She had a fight with another girl in the girls bathroom at the Fogg Museum over my father.
CB:
Whoa.
AK:
Laughing.
CB:
Do you know the details of that story?
AK:
No, I don’t think it was physical. I think it was like an argument. But it was in the girls’ bathroom, and you know. No one got hurt. And the one saying, you know, that she he was going with her, and you know. The same old stuff. You know. And she’s saying, no he’s going with me. And you know. Whatever goes on in the girls bathroom I don’t know, in 1930 whenever it was, ‘30 probably, yea 1930 probably. So I don’t know anything more than that.
CB:
And then your parents were married after they graduated, or?

AK:
My parents were married in 1933, went to the Empire State Building for their honeymoon and went to work the next day. My father worked at Macy’s for twenty bucks a week at that time, and my mother was working for her father’s jewelry firm doing public relations. But she was also giving artists shows there, you know, every month and using it as a forum to show young artists off in the showrooms.
CB:
Oh wow. Did she ever show any of her own art there?
AK:
She didn’t do a whole lot of art, she did uh, jewelry and hair things. You know like carved sculptures that would hold women’s hair in place. And I even have some of it. I don’t where, I don’t have it right here. But it was good it was carved, it was like organic, and it was like, uh it was like Indian, but it was like near eastern, it was like foreign near eastern. And it was carved beautifully, and it had like a head with like a headpiece on it. Looked like something out of you know, an Indian sculpture it looked like. And she used that, you know, as a design to put a little prong through it and hold women’s head, hair in place, back in the thirties. I can’t tell you all about what was going on in the thirties, but that’s. I found them. I found these things that she created. Plus she went to art class and she went to Arts Student League, and I have some of her work still. And my father went, my father was a great artist. He was at Erazmus Hall High School. Did the covers for the Erazmanium, which was their magazine. Did a whole lot of art work, ya know that I still have and are being framed on eighty-one Main, eighty-one uh yea, on eighty-one Main, National Past Time, right now. Cause when she died I had got a lot of the stuff I had never seen of my father’s.
CB:
So they’re on display in Cooperstown?
AK:
No.
CB:
Oh.
AK:
Well they’re not on display. They are being taken care of. They are being framed by Barbara Fasset, right now. They are not on display. I sold a couple of things my father did, and gave some away, and sold some to a man, David Russel. And sold my Uncle’s Johnny’s painting to David Russel, down the street here.
CB:
Mmhm. So both your parents were working in Manhattan you said. So then were you born-
AK:
Brooklyn.
CB:
You were born in Brooklyn.
AK:
My father got a job in the Brooklyn Museum in the late Thirties. And then he was drafted.
CB:
Okay.
AK:
In the Second World War. And then my mother took over his position in the Brooklyn Museum during the war and she only got half his pay. But she, the thing that’s interesting is that he really trained her. My mother would do any kind of work that needed to be done. She wasn’t a primadonna, so whatever needed to be done, she would do it. And he would teach her. She was not
[START OF TRACK 3, 0:00]
scientific at all, but my father was very scientific. But she was a hard worker and she was smart. So she would do all this handwork and all this stuff that you know was tedious stuff, cause I’ve done it myself. And, uh that, they were a good team. My mother and father were a good, good team. He’d take the photographs, he’d do the analysis, she’d do a lot of the like the benchwork that just needed to get done. Like take off an old lining or you know uh clean up an old varnish, and she was good at it, let me tell you, she was good at it. And then, you know reline, and stretch the new canvases and all this other stuff. I will tell you that. And then my father died in ’93. And my mother, you know, was basically always just downstairs, doing this kind of like subwork, you know. And he would come up and do the finishing touches. He’d in-paint it, in the style of the artist. You know he’d fill the gesso and then he’d varnish it. Which he was real good at doing. But he in-painted in the style. You know, which was not a real easy task. Especially if you have big losses. You have to in-paint it in the style in a water soluble pigment if it’s oil, so it can be removed with water at anytime, by someone who doesn’t like the fact that it’s not original. And you have a full record of the fact that it’s not original. You know, they were very principled, I have to say that. When my father died in ’93, my mother started to do in-painting. And I will tell you, that she was not far behind my father.
CB:
Wow.
AK:
Blew my mind! She had a painting that was destroyed, in a fire. One of these steamboat ships, they used to advertise, you know these paddlewheel ships would have an advertisement or a sponsor on the side of it. You know and that’s how they did it in the old days. Rather than have billboards and stuff they’d have a ship with whatever sponsor that helped sponsor them. And one had been burned in a fire, and I would say it looked like two thirds of it were gone. And she painted back the missing two thirds in the style, that was just unbelievable. I mean, I couldn’t believe it, and I majored in fine arts. So I mean, I know what I’m looking at. It was amazing. And I said whoa. And she was in her nineties when she did it. Unbelievable stuff, so she was just basically being just a very sweet wife.
CB:
Lauging
AK:
No, she was. You know. Not getting, uh, not. Well she was pushy in some ways. But not trying to you know, just promote herself. She was working as a team, whatever needed to be done, she did it.

CB:
So, she took over your dad’s job cause he was drafted in World War Two?
AK:
Yea.
CB:
And what did he do in World War Two?
AK:
Oh, he was actually in Fine Arts and Archives. And he was one of those guys that came home last. Because he was still going into the caves getting all the paintings that the Nazis had stored in these caves, and in the salt mines and places like that. And he had to identify them and know their, and he knew a lot of their. And my father was unbelievably schooled in Fine Arts. Cause he loved it ever since he was a teenager. And that’s why he went to Harvard to major in Fine Arts. So I mean, he was a bright kid that loved Fine Arts anyway so he knew the provenance of a lot of these paintings. He knew the artist, but also the provenance, what museum they had come from. When they came out of the salt mines, he was a valuable person. And he didn’t come home until ’46. And so I as a kid, on my block, and I’ll never forget this. I was standing in nursery school, and everybody’s dad was coming home. And mine wasn’t, and I remember to this day, cause I took my son back and I showed him where I stood, cause spaces of association. And when I stood there, like in my 50’s, in that same spot, and you know, the sun wasn’t hitting the same way. But I mean those memories came back, when I got in that spot, those memories came back that I had as a kid, wondering why my father hadn’t come home and feeling very, very upset about it. Deeply deprived at that why my father hadn’t come home. But then he did come home. So that was great. Laughter
CB:
And then he came home in 1946.
AK:
Yea.
CB:
And how long did you stay in Brooklyn for?
AK:
We stayed in Brooklyn a long time. Until 1960…I moved, I worked on the moving truck in ‘62 so I knew how to pack, pack a truck. And I actually moved them with this guy named of Rudy Labrun, who was the brother of Jim Labrun, the stretcher maker. And we had a box truck, it wasn’t like a tractor trailor, but it was a box truck, a big box truck. And we moved them up three loads, from Brooklyn to Cooperstown, three trips. And we paid nineteen point nine cents a gallon, because we knew they were having a gas war at Livingston Manor. So we filled up the truck. And that’s how much we paid for gas mostly. Nineteen point nine for that move, wasn’t too bad.
CB:
And why did you parents move to Brooklyn, no Cooperstown?




[START OF TRACK 4 0:00]
AK:
They moved to Cooperstown because they had been treated. Uh, they had been involved in Louis, oh no, maybe it was Stephen Clark Senior’s plan, program. I honestly don’t know who envisioned this program, but it was a great program. And they don’t do it anymore, and I think they probably should. It was seminars in American Culture. And I saw some great stuff at the Otesaga. When these black guys came up from Harlem, and just did all the dance routines. You know that they had had at these different clubs through the years. I mean they would do things that weren’t you know strictly major type material, you know for a graduate program. But had definite interest and appeal. And my parents were asked to come up, I think as early as 1954, to teach two weeks of the principles, or overview of conservation techniques, for you know, paintings and works of art. My father, made his own two and a quarter composite slide, negative, positive, excuse me, positives, transparencies. And they had this old big, air cooled projector. And I know this because I was a slide boy in 1957. Um when I came up finally with the family. Uh They brought the whole family up in 1957, when I was fourteen. And I came up, and I was a slide boy just once at the Otesaga. But I’ll tell ya, I majored in Fine Arts, and there was nobody who gave, a better, not even close. It was like secretariat. He was that far ahead of him. And in terms of clarity and understanding and succinct too, he wasn’t the wordy intellectual type person. Examination and treatment of paintings, and he had infrared photography, he had ultraviolet photography, he had x-ray photography, he had photography under all kinds of magnification, so it had cross-sections. It was unbelievable stuff. And I was the slide boy at fourteen. So I had never take a Fine Arts course, but I only did it subsequently when I went to Harvard at eighteen. But my father’s were unbelievably clear presentations of exactly what he did. And he spoke over the slide, he didn’t have a recording. He spoke, and then when he gave me a little (snaps fingers) you know, like click, and I shoosh put the next one in and pushed it. And I was in the back doing that, and these were all like housewives mostly.
CB:
Really?
AK:
Yea. These were just people that had come up to the basement of the Otesaga Hotel because they had had an interest in the subject. And it was, I don’t even, it wasn’t for credit. It was just for learning. And you know, that was nice. It had no pretense beyond the simple absorption of information and the joy of learning about it. And that was nice. What can I tell ya? It was-they came up to Cooperstown in ’63, because we lived next door to a Puerto Rican tenement. It wasn’t originally a Puerto Rican tenement; it was originally belonged to a man named Mr. DaSilva, uh Portuguese. But eventually when I think when he died, a lot of Puerto Ricans moved in and I love Puerto Ricans. My best friend was a Puerto Rican at the time, but however they would have fires, because they’d cook everything on hot plates. And that’s what made them worried, because they didn’t have stoves in their furnished rooms, they had hot plates. And they would you know leave them on, and who knows what. And we had, they had two fires in the house next door. And my father was you know afraid about having those fires destroy paintings that he was working on in the back of the house. Just storing them there. So he, and he was a Brooklyn boy, you know, from the original, from the get go. And I think a lot of this was just wearing on him. And I think he just wanted to go. Because he had known Brooklyn in a whole different timeframe. You know he was born in 1910 in Brooklyn, so. What was going on in 1963 and ’62, you know ’63 when we finally moved, just wasn’t, you know I could handle it, because I had grown up from ’43. And all those people that were my friends. For him, it was just like culture shock. You know, and he just thought everything was going down. So he came up here.
CB:
And you came, you moved up here with him?
AK:
No. At that time I was at Harvard college, and I was married with a kid.
CB:
Oh wow.
AK:
When I moved them here. That was a, that was a different, different time for me. But I did move them, you know and I helped them. I packed the whole the whole house, my friend Taylor McLean and I. Packed the whole house and then we moved it up with Rudy Labrun.
CB:
What years did you attend Harvard?
[START OF TRACK 5, 0:00]
AK:
I attended Harvard from 1961 to ’65. And I loved it.

CB:
Laughs. What did you study there?
AK:
I studied Fine Arts. I majored in the History of Fine Arts. I got a Magna Cum Laude and I could have had a Woodrow Wilson if I had told them I wanted to become a teacher. But I would to have been a college teacher, I think. So I turned it down. I told them I didn’t think I wanted to be a teacher. And this is a flip, next year, guess what? I was teaching! But I was teaching Special Needs in the Boston Public Schools. Which was totally different than a Woodrow Wilson.
CB:
How did you wind up becoming a teacher?
AK:
This is a good question. I can tell you all these, see I can give you all these answers. This is critical. You know what I mean? You know the relationships you have a life, you don’t think they’re important. Every little twist and turn of your life is critical. I’m telling you. I had a girlfriend at the time named, Michal Goldman. And I had her from New York City, cause when I graduated I went down to work for Rabin and Krueger Galleries in Newark. And my wife and I had broken up. Okay, now that’s all true. This was 1965 okay, I got married in ’62. Uh, I went to, back to Boston, Cambridge. Cause, I’ll be honest with you, the draft board wanted to know why I wasn’t living in with my wife. So I moved back to the same town with my wife, cause I had a kid and I was supporting her. All the money I earned, I didn’t need anything to live, which was good because I saw my daughter on a regular basis. And plus the chemicals, I was working with, Bernie Rabin, of Rabin Krueger galleries down in Newark, who was a wonderful man. But I couldn’t use the gloves, I didn’t want to. And the tweezers and the chemicals were affecting me. So I came up there, and I said to myself, you know, what am I going to do? You know, cause I worked with Odate. I got a Max Beckman scholarship to go to the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and I was very excited about that in 1964. I was actually sculpting with this guy Toshio Odate, and taking drawing courses with this guy Paul Waldman and Calvin Douglass, and a lot of other people who were pretty good. And so I went back, and Michel was my girlfriend for this time, and I went back to Boston to re-establish a bon a fide family relationship, which really I didn’t do to be quite frank. But I, you know, I was still right there with my daughter and I took her every weekend. And so, I said to myself, you know I had to get working because I stood in the line twice. And I took the check once, cause I couldn’t find any job as an art restorer. And I couldn’t, I just could not find a job as an art restorer. So, I went out and I started building walls and doing stuff like that with my friend John. Cause I remember the second time I was in the line, I just was walking up in the line and I thought, this is crazy. I just am never going to stand in the line again. And so I got out of the line, the unemployment line, and I went down to Harvard and they had this place with this woman, Mrs. Lowensheisshuss, and I went and built walls. But then when that was over, I had to do something, so Michal Goldman’s dad was the union attorney for the Boston’s Teachers Union. So he said why don’t you go down and ask Mrs. Gilligan, who was the head of Fine Arts for the Boston Public Schools, if you could teach for her, or substitute teach for her. So, I went down and I saw Mrs. Gilligan, she was a great lady, a wonderful lady. One of the smartest people I ever met in the Boston Public Schools, and you know, in Administration. And she said, yeah we can use you. So they called me up, like September 19, 1966, at the age of twenty-three. And I went down to the Dearborne Middle School and I taught Art, as an Art substitute. And it was interesting cause I had never taught before. Well, I had taught women, excuse me, in the Brooklyn Museum Art School with Toshio. He thought I was good enough that he would let me teach some of these women, and they liked me cause I was a pretty good sculptor, I was a talented sculptor. I won the Andover Exeter Prize, okay. I won it when I was, 1961, I won the fifty dollar first prize. But what happened then, was I went in to this school. Taught, and it was a crazy day boy, it was crazy. But, I had it under control. I had them fold the paper into three sections, I still remember. And I taught them how to do a square.
[START OF TRACK 6, 0:00]
How you can turn a square into a cube. And how the perspective lines worked. And you can make an illusion of a three dimensional object on a flat surface, and they loved it. These kids loved it, I’m telling you that. They liked to know how to make a three dimensional illusion on a flat surface, and I taught them the principles. The second one, I took a circle and showed them how to use shading with a light source to make it a sphere. I mean real basic simple stuff, but you know how to graduate your shading to make it look like a sphere. They loved that. And the third one, I did them both. I did a cylinder and showed them how to make an alpha sphere at the top, and that’s more difficult. To make it actually show linearly how it is in perspective. And then also that with a light source, so I combined them both. So I used a line, the line to show how the line could give you that illusionistic feeling. But also the light source reinforced it, because once you started shading that edge of the cylinder, and made it look round from the vertical part. And so they are all good and quiet, and they were good. And so the principal, and the best woman I’ve ever worked for, best woman I’ve ever worked for, for five years, Gladys Wood, a West Indian Woman, called me in to her office and she said, Mr. Keck, what did you teach the kids? And I showed her what I did and I explained to her why I did it. And she said, Well you did a very good job. I want to know if you want to come back tomorrow and teach the special class, they’ve had seven teachers in five days. I said, they’ve had seven teachers in five days?! And she says, yea we can’t keep a teacher up there. I said, well what does special class mean, special what. Cause I didn’t even know what it was, what it meant. And she said, well these are people, you know these are kids with learning problems, and they’ve all been put in this room. And they need to have you know a teacher. And why don’t you just go up and if you like, you know, if you want to come back, you know, this is where I would put you. Because we don’t need you in Fine Arts anymore, but you know we have an opening here. So I said, ok sure I’ll do it. You know, me I’m game, I’ll do anything really, I’m game. And so I went in, and I did it. And I stayed there for twenty years.
CB:
Wow.
AK:
But that woman came down to me, let me tell you what a wonderful woman she was, because I didn’t know boo from bah. I was making, you know, three, I was making like, I don’t know what, thirty-five dollars a day. And I didn’t get any vacation time or anything. And I stayed there, now I stayed there in that room, now it was in November okay, coming up to November now, I had stayed in there from like September 22nd to like end of October. And she came up to me, cause I was there, and I won’t say I didn’t have some difficulties with them, cause I did, because they got a little crazy. But I worked with them, cause I had, I took a course with B.F. Skinner, so I worked these reinforcement schedules. And I would work like five hours every night prepping material, and I would be in there an hour early every day, had it all up on the board. I would have every reading group, I would have questions, I would have word breakdowns. I had a system, exactly that I’d use, you know going around, the reading, that particular, whatever reading group was with me. Of how they could you know, I would give a, they would go around once, and then I would give a clue on the board, go around again, then I would give another clue. And as they were reading, they’re also learning all of the skills for breaking a word down. Cause in my clues, I’d be breaking word down for them. So I was teaching basically phonetic and structural analysis, while I was teaching reading. Cause when they got stuck on a problem, you know they all would pay attention, because they get points if they got it. You see. So I worked this pretty sophisticated system out, and I had my class, like this. I got the highest rating in the school my second year, from that teacher, from that principal. She gave me the highest rating in the Deerborne Middle School. And she didn’t tell me, the secretary, old Alice Gallahue told me that. And I was flip! And I mean, she knew I was working hard, and I was, believe me, I was working hard. But I loved it, I want to tell you, I did love this job. I loved it.
CB:
How many kids were in a class?

AK:
Eighteen. And sometimes as many, if a teacher got sick, and we had it broken up. I had as many as twenty-seven special needs kids in one class, during the course of the day, back in ’66, ’67. If one of the three of us was sick, we had to divide up the other room, cause they wouldn’t, if they didn’t send you subbing people. And subs would not go down to Roxbury. Okay, this was in Roxbury. And subs would not go down to the Orchard Park Housing Project in Roxbury. You wouldn’t find people would even go. They could call them and they wouldn’t have somebody go. They wouldn’t go.
CB:
Why wouldn’t they go?
AK:
They wouldn’t go cause they were afraid. They were afraid because it was in the project, the housing project. Black housing-well it was black and white at that time. But, I mean it as poor housing project, right off Dudley Station in Roxbury. So, they would, a lot of times, they just said, no subs coming today, you gotta split the class.
CB:
So were most of the kids in your classes people of color, kids of color?
[START OF TRACK 7, 0:00]
AK:
I would say in the beginning, I would say it was probably like sixty, forty. And then, during the years it probably stayed that way. But it changed, because you know I don’t know what they want, yea I guess the Cape Verdeans and Puerto Ricans and this and that. But they were, you see, they weren’t of one ethnicity, and that’s what people don’t really get. You know the black people are very divided people. They’re no- an African, a West Indian, and a Southern black are as different as an Italian, a Pole, and an Irishman. You know. And that’s what white people just really don’t get. You know, so you’d have tremendous differences, you know of, you know I had people, kids from British Honduras and then kids from Mississippi. I mean they were all coming into Boston, you know, they were all totally, you know, very different in their route, where they came. Some not, you know, some would team up. But, pretty different. And that was an education for me. You know I’d go to their houses too, that’s another thing. Cause I grew up in Brooklyn, see. Which actually now is an advantage for me. I’m a Harvard guy, but I grew up in Brooklyn. So now, Brooklyn is much more of a resource. My whole life growing up in Brooklyn, going over to my friend Muelo’s house as a kid, he was my best friend, and his brother Lefty and his sister Mima. Those were my friends. So I had no problem going into these kids’ houses or walking in the projects. And I didn’t get stabbed, my friend John Leite got stabbed twice. I never got stabbed. I had a knife in my face, once when we were in front of a car, but that was after a teacher’s meeting and everyone else had gone.
CB:
Why were you going to the kid’s houses?
AK:
I would, because if they were having a problem, if there were a problem, or if but if, see most of the kids who are problems, are having problems. You see what I mean, so what you want to do is talk about the problems they’re having. You see. And you try not to be part of that problem, you try to help them beat the problem. And I think most kids knew that was my intention, so I had amazing control over my class. I really did. But, I had respect from them, because I respected them. And most of them were workers, they’re not like today’s kids. Most of my kids were really work oriented. So if you would give them something, you know, a little, a task-they would do it. You know you just couldn’t give them something they couldn’t do, you had to break it down. And you had to show them the steps toward completion and solution. And, I did a lot. I won grants, I won grants to write their own books. I you know, we dictated and we tape-recorded stuff. And we actually blew it up on the primary gothic type-writer, Xeroxed it on colored papered, and shared it with all the other members of the class that wanted to have those stories. I still have those books today. Some of them I threw out, because I just had too much junk when my mother died. I’ll be honest with you. And some I said good-bye to. Because, it’s just you know, I don’t know how many people are going to want to see that when I’m dead. But, the fact of the matter is, it was a good program. But then I realized, it was a good program for getting kids interested in reading. Cause they were not interested in reading, because they had these crazy Gin, Gin Basil Readers, Up and Down Cherry Street, The Little White House, ya know, Open the Gate. Those were the kinds of books they read, now you have kids eleven, twelve, and thirteen, who were very socially sophisticated. You know, who knows what they’ve been doing, out in the street, okay. And what they’ve seen. They’re way ahead of most people in that realm and now they’re getting little books, like you know, they’re pulling their wagon up and down Cherry Street and they’ve got a dog. And it doesn’t fit, you know what I mean, its just out of context. So the, the reading program was good in that it was their own syntax, their own context and their own vocabulary, so they were pretty interested and liked that. But then I realized I was getting too much into that, because it gets too kind of myopic, into their own world. Which is all right in a way, to get them interested. But then you got to teach them reading for information. And you know, cause they didn’t have any information, they really had no information at all. So now you have to teach them. So I went down, and I, this is the best thing I ever did, and I went down to the basement. And I got these old fourth grade readers written by Mary Kelty, who was a great, by the way, educational author. And she wrote these books, and she wrote tremendous, her books were like in service from the early Twenties to the Fifties. And they just had like new editions to be printed up. And she did things like Ancient History and American History, and they were wonderful, at different grade levels. And I got, went down, and I got the Mary Kelty series on American History, which was a beautiful book, I can’t understand why anyone would not want it, it wasn’t racist, it wasn’t anything. I don’t know what, why anyone would have an argument against it, at any timeframe, because it was a wonderful book. And I got enough of them, and they were sitting in the basement like
[START OF TRACK 8, 0:00]
all dusty, and no one was using them. And pulled them out, I didn’t order new books, pulled them out. And we read out of those books, like for five or six years. Every class came up, and I will tell you, I taught more history, and I learned history from Mary Kelty. And I went to Harvard and majored, and I you know, I majored in History, Fine Arts History, but I took a lot of History courses. And let me tell you, Mary Kelty, her fourth grade history book taught me history, it was a great book. It was great, and I had more fun teaching out of, I had fun teaching out of that book. And the kids had fun learning out of it. And then we did, you know, paragraphs and answered the comprehension questions. So then they gradually and so then reading became history. You know and then, we tried to make reading become a little science. You know we did stuff like that. So reading really was the vehicle toward all these other disciplines, which it really is anyway. But these kids had been so deprived in reading, that they didn’t have any skills to access this other stuff. And the teacher before me, and I’m not gonna mention her name, but she was just having them fill in like color, she was doing coloring with them. They were like being pacified and that’s what’s going on today.
CB:
Is it?
AK:
In the educational system, right here in good oll’ upstate New York.
CB:
Why do you say that?
AK:
Cause my wife’s stepson has only been, was in a Special Needs class last year, and he was only required to read once that year. My kids read everyday, and if they didn’t read everyday in a book, and they read once or twice or three times, they’d read something off the board, or they’d read some other thing in a science-even if we were doing, you know the scientific analysis of a tooth let’s say, with the gum, the crown, the root, what is it, dentin. You know, you draw up the tooth and show them the different parts and describe, you know what it’s made out of, enamel and so forth. So those are words, enamel, dentin, and you have definitions. Root, all these different things, cap. And you learn about how many baby teeth you got, and how many adult teeth you got. And so, and plus the circulatory system, whatever your doing, you know. It’s all, it was great. I mean I really loved it, I’m telling ya. And the kids liked it too, I could tell because they all paid attention and did their work. And they were all special needs kids. And they really did their work and they were well behaved, so I stayed there twenty years.
CB:
Were those kids only in your class? Were they in your class the whole day or-
AK:
They were in the beginning, but then Special Needs went through an evolution. And it became chapter 766 and what happened then was kids were then given a much more thorough evaluation by psychometric tests. Tests called the WRAT, which is the Wide Range Achievement Test, which I wish they’d give my wife’s stepson, her son who is now my stepson. Because he is without skills, and he, I don’t think he even let’s them evaluate him and he gets away with it. I mean, but it’s crazy because the kid, ya know, these kids today, they live in denial man. The whole country lives in denial, in my opinion. This country today, I hate to tell you about this country. When you see people pouring out of the cars in Cooperstown from every state in the union, and the kid is in the teenage years and he looks like an out of shape forty-year old, what do you think? His parents have given him any kind of guidance? No, they just cater to every little whim he had. Its not a good a picture. And now we’re paying for it. Because they all went crazy, they thought they didn’t have to pay their bill. Oh, I don’t feel like paying my bill, and we’ll just go bankrupt, and we’ll have all this crap, and what do we really merit, and what can we really afford, but we’ll just have it cause we want it now. And that’s the crap we all got, and that I’m telling you, thank god, I couldn’t teach today! I went down for the Parent’s Day, for Archie, who’s my stepson. And, but I really can’t, it’s hard to call him my stepson, cause I met him, you know he came to live here at eighteen and half, so I mean he was formed pretty thoroughly before I had any influence. I had very little impact on this kid. But, it’s amazing what goes on in the school today. Even in the so called good school of Cooperstown, in the hallway, in the classroom, the lack of seriousness, the lack of respect. I don’t know what went on in your high school, but when I was running the school, when I was the teacher, and that was from ’66 to ’86. I had made it way back there now, doesn’t seem that far for me, but for other people it’s probably way far back there. There was a whole different, you know, focus on endeavor and at least you know, everybody, even if you violated it, you knew basically you had to be serious when you came to school; and you were supposed to be working and learning things. And that was it, that’s really what you were there for. But I went to Newton North, at my son’s, a conference they were having on my
[START OF TRACK 9, 0:00]
son, you know who is now twenty-two this year. And, these kids, and I’ll tell you this, this blew my mind. Newton, million dollar home community now in Mass. These kids, we went into the room at 11:45, or maybe 11:30, and these three kids were sitting powwow style in the middle of the floor, we walked by them and no adult said boo to them. Now, in my old days, we would have said, I said, what are you doing here? Get up and get to your class. Is what I would have said back in my school. I never saw three kids who even dared to sit powwow style in the middle of the floor. Okay? But there these kids were, and no adult said boo to them. Just let them be, and walked by. And then, when the meeting was over at 1:15, they were still there. And no adult said boo to them. And I said to myself, this is crazy. And I said the same stuff in the meeting too, because my son was getting all these psychometric tests and this and that, alright, and I said, I’m gonna tell you something. What do you have to say Mr. Keck? I’m gonna tell you right now, if my son wants to do the work, he could turn this around in a nano second. When he wants to do it, he will. But right now he doesn’t want to do it, so I don’t even think these conferences are worth anything, because it’s all about him wanting to do it, because he can if he wants to. And that was that. And he knew I was telling the truth. You know, but it’s all you know, it’s all these people got to keep their seventy-thousand job making some other kind, you know excuse that kind of dribbles out, into who knows where. I don’t even know where. The responsibility gets kind of all, you know infusing the world, and no one kind of has to pick up their own stuff. But in my room, we did. Laughs.
CB:
Laughs. Why do you think that things are, that things have changed over these years?
AK:
Wrong focus. The focus is on, Madison Avenue has won the war. Okay. Madison Avenue has won the war. Herman Goering would come back from the Nazi regime and pat every executive on Madison Avenue on the back and say, beautiful job my friend, beautiful job. You have them so totally brainwashed. Because they, they, they identify, they, their identity is now based on, their rates of consumption and accumulation of things. In their own mind, not only as they show off to one another, but in their own mind. It’s not like the relationship, the quality of the relationship they have with their friends, their family, you know their boss, their kids, whatever. The quality of the relationship is almost incidental. It’s really like their, and you see it you know, it’s like joke time. You see it on all these stupid Hollywood Stars and all the crap they’re going through. Kind of like role model types. You know, I mean they’re just I mean the whole thing, is really light, it’s like bad teenage life, it’s like light weight. And that’s the norm for the, for most of these people. I hate to be a snob, but it’s not too much higher than that for a lot of these people, who come in and out, and shop at the Great A.
CB:
Mmhm.
AK:
Okay. And I don’t me to be a, or go down to Wal-Mart. And I’m not trying to pick on people but I think it was better before we had this great homogenizer right here, pointing to the TV, the great homogenizer, and that hasn’t helped anybody much. I mean it could, it could, cause it has a lot of vehicles that are good. But I think the whole fact, just sitting down passively and just absorbing stuff through a screen is not too good a format for, I don’t know, learning.
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
It’s one way, but I wouldn’t put it in the upper quartile of good learning techniques. Laughs.
CB:
So what do you think are the more active ways for learning, do you think?

AK:
You know one of the greatest educators in the history of the United States of America was Booker T. Washington. You ever read Up From Slavery, that Booker T. Washington?
CB:
Yeah, I sure did. Yeah, mmhmm.
AK:
Okay well, and I didn’t read that book until about ten years ago. So I’ll tell you, I should have read that. I never did. Well Booker T. Washington, just, you know what he did? When he did Tuskegee, they dug their clay, they fired their bricks, and they built their own buildings, before they got to study the Greek and the Latin. But I mean, you see what I’m saying? All of those things done well are absolutely important learning skills. You know, and there was no higher lower prejudice about the different kinds of work, you know? And I’m happy to say my mother never allowed me to have that kind of prejudice. About being superior to some kind of work. That any job well done was something worthy.
[START OF TRACK 10, 0:00]
And I owe that to my mother. You know she had that value deep in her. You know, so I mean, I will say, that I think that’s an important value for the country. I don’t think we have that value. We have some people right across the street, and they’re going to remain nameless. That you know, feel that you know. I said listen man. And it was a friend of mine for a while. Why don’t you have your kids shovel, why do you have so and so come and shovel. Cause I used to shovel for them. Your kids are like teenagers, why don’t they go out and shovel when its snowing on a snow day. It’s good exercise number one. Number two it gives them the capacity to organize in time and kind of pace themselves over a job, you know a lot of learning goes on in that kind of activity. Where to put the snow, everything else, what shovel to use. Nah, no response, because they’re above it. We don’t do that. You see, and that you know that’s like, I don’t know. I think maybe these hard times coming might help a lot of people get down to earth and just understand, you know. Not be so, I think we really got off base I think, you know. Even Obama, now he’s President. He’s got, he has a big, he has the biggest job since Abraham Lincoln. Bigger than FDR, because he has to take the mentality of the people and reorient the mentality. And he’s fighting against all of the forces of ABC, NBC, and CBS, and their sitcoms and all the other crap that they produce, so they can sell products. You understand? I mean it’s all tied into that. So, this man has a tremendous task. I mean any President now would have a task, and it’s in collapse. Because what happens, and even in ’29 there wasn’t this kind of over extension. ’29 they all like invested and lost it. But they all weren’t indebted to the level that people are, on every level, deeply indebted. You, it’s, you know, it’s like, you know, you give them a stimulus program. Someone says I got to get stimulus again. I say stimulus is like taking a whip and some old nag that’s like in a road falling down and exhausted, and you going to whip her again. No, what’s gonna happen, if you give them a stimulus, you know what’s going to happen? Any bright person would pay off their debt. Some people won’t, they are just going to go out and buy some more and remain in debt, which will not help the nation one bit. But, unfortunately, when it really gets down to the fundamentals of food, and heat, and clothing, they’re gonna pay off their debts because if their credits no good, and they can’t even get them, get those things anymore. They realize man this is it, you know, forget about it, I don’t care whether you know if it’s a Lexus or a BMW anymore. I just want to make sure I got some stuff in my pantry.
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
You know?
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
Now this has nothing to do with Cooperstown.
CB:
That’s okay. You’re getting me thinking though. So you were talking about the value of hard work. So, can you talk about some other jobs you had after, after the Boston Public Schools?
AK:
I certainly will, I’ll be happy to do that. I was a contractor, for probably for twenty years, and still am and still can do it. You know, primarily because again, my father, it’s my father’s influence. My father one day, he was looking at me, and he said Kecky, cause that was my nickname to him, but sometimes he called me Al. He said, you know, this house, your mother just paid these guys sixteen hundred dollars to do the trim on the house. Which was down in, next to Jane Clark’s on River Street, Byberry Cottage. And my father was just beside himself, and he said, and he ‘s just painting over the old paint. He said, that’s no good. She gave him sixteen hundred dollars to do that. And he was, my father, he confided in me for some reason, not my brother so much, but he would confide in me about my mother. Laughs. You know? And so, I just said, what can I tell ya, Dad? What should I do? He said, well you got to take that old paint off there, I mean, you know its just gonna work and the new paint’s sometimes just gonna make it peel off faster. And so what I did was I started to go out and I worked a whole system of taking the old paint off. And I started getting into that. You know, like so when I was thirty-one, I did a whole house up in Orford, New Hampshire. A whole house, I stripped it to the bone. And this guy, and my father, this is a funny story. My father went to a conference on, New England Council of the Arts. And this guy from New Hampshire, cause he lived in Orford I guess, and had seen me work on this house cause I don’t know who he was, asked my father, he said, oh are you the father of Albert Keck? Laughs and claps hands.
CB:
Laughs.
AK:
And that was great because everyone asked me, if I’m the son of Sheldon Keck.
CB:
Laughs.
AK:
So that was the, he told me. He told me that story! My father told me that, so he was laughing about that. But I did a lot of contracting. Then I got into tiles, I got into bathrooms, I do stonework, I do pointing, I do brick pointing.
[START OF TRACK 11, 0:00]
I do dry wall. I could even do some, grey coat, white coat plaster, which I’ve done. I know how to do it, properly. But, I mean couldn’t do a ceiling. I can’t tell you I could do a ceiling. You know, cause that’s really skilled. I mean, a lot of these old Italian guys are way over me. But, I mean I can still do it. I’ve done it. I’ve learned the techniques and I’ve mastered the principles, so. That’s what I did. I did a lot of that, and I made in my best year, in 1985 or 6, I made fifty grand. Doing that, which wasn’t bad. But I was working till seven pm. And my second wife, my second wife was not happy with me. And so I paid attention to her, and I slowed down. Well, I you know, I tried, you know because my first wife was actually pretty good, to be honest with you. I was jackass, and I was not, I’ll tell this right on the recorder, I was not too good to my first wife. She was alright, my first wife was fine. But I should not, you know, I think I was married too young. At eighteen, I was married too young. You know, and so I was not too mature. But she was, there was nothing wrong with my first wife really. She was a good wife, very loyal to me, and a good mother too. But my second wife, was angry with me. And she’d get angry a lot. She was much testier than anyone I’ve ever had before.
(Door opens. Mr. Keck’s stepson, Archie, comes in the house. There is a brief conversation between Mr. Keck, Archie, and interviewer.)
AK:
So, so basically that was uh, that’s what I did. I mean I did contracting, and then as I got tired of contracting, this guy Tony Scelici, in the year 2000, no in the winter of 1999-2000, asked me if I wanted to be Zoning Enforcement Officer of the Village of Cooperstown. And I said yes. And I was Zoning Enforcement Officer of the Village of Cooperstown, and learned all about zoning law, which I knew nothing about, and I enjoyed it. Because, I’m not too bad with people, cause I worked with tons of people, you have to understand, my whole life I worked with people. You know from Boston Public Schools, all over the place. So, I did that job and then Stu Taugner, who was a trustee, like in 2003 asked me if I’d be the assessor too. So I said, yeah, I’ll be the assessor. So, I did both jobs. I, and because you know they’re both, they weren’t that demanding. Zoning Officer got to be more demanding when the economy started to pick up and more people were building. But the assessing wasn’t hard at all, until they did a reval and screwed it. And screwed it bad because they weren’t very serious about it, the two people involved with it, and I won’t get into them, because they are known quantities in the area and historically. I don’t want to jeopardize, you know, just insult them. But they didn’t do a very good job. And I had to redo it, and I think I did it pretty well, but I think it took a lot out of me. So, I had to give up Zoning Office while I did that. Got that done, it’s all done. Only had two complaints go beyond the board of assessment review, you know that one to a higher court and one to a special hearing. Out of all the properties in Cooperstown, that wasn’t bad. And that brings you, more or less, right up to the present. And now I’m just assessor, cause I gave that back to Mr. Newby, who was the man who actually took it over for me. Cause I admit back in late June of 2007, I realized I couldn’t do them both, cause my mother was dying. And I was trying to take care of my mother who was dying, and that was a big job. Cause my mother had an alcohol problem, and a lot of it was coming back to hit her. You know, she had neuropathy in her right knee, so if, don’t, if you get to be an old lady, stay away from the alcohol. I learned that too, you stay away from the alcohol. It does you nerve damage.

CB:
Really?
AK:
Yea, it does. Accumulated, and you know and that’s rough. Nerve damage, is nerve damage is real tough. And uh, so she had a real hard time. She couldn’t sleep. And the only thing that she could do, was you know eventually kind of collapse. And because, you know she’d get up in the middle of the night, and she couldn’t sleep for more than two hours cause the pain, the nerves, nerve pain was so intense. And that was a, that was quite, quite a long, long test. And you know, you hang in there with your mother, cause she’s your mother and she’s always been good to me. You know, she was always good, my mother was always good to me. I mean she was a tough mother, you know. But she was a good mother. For that reason too, cause she
[START OF TRACK 12, 0:00]
cared. And so, that was a, that was a uh, another thing you know, we were going through, you know, just taking care of her and doing all of them. So, I gave up the Zoning Officer, but I took it back from June until November 1st of this year. And now I gave it up again. And now I’m just the assessor. And, I’ll tell you, I just got a check, and this is how much I make now, which isn’t much, one hundred and thirty-five dollar take home for two weeks. But my mother, you have to understand, has passed away and I, we kept her house and sold it. So I will get a piece of that action. So, I’m not complaining. I’m not a, I’m not what they call a, I don’t squander. You know what I mean. I’m not interested in that. I’m not really interested in money per se. And, just to pay my bills to be honest with you. But a lot of people are in the country. But they’re going through some heavy changes right now.
CB:
Yeah, very. So you said that you were Zoning Officer and an assessor. But didn’t you also play another big role in Cooperstown?
AK:
Oh I did, you’re right. Laughs
CB:
Laughs.
AK:
Yes I did, I was uh. Laughs.
CB:
You skipped that big part.
AK:
President of Fire Department, from 1994 – 2007, you’re right. I’ve been in the Fire Department since 1990. I love the Fire Department. I don’t, I’ve raised a lot of money for the uh, with I make induction day covers, I should show you sometime, just for your benefit. I mean not that these people will ever hear about it. But I make induction day covers, commemorating the induction of various inductees to the Hall of Fame. And I have raised over, I think now it must be like thirty-five to forty-thousand dollars over you know the last seventeen years, for Fireman’s Fellowship Fund. That’s one thing I did. And plus we started community breakfast, and uh we just you know, tried to make things a little more tolerable, for a lot of the people. Cause I’ll tell you, it was little bit rigid and petty, and I’m not saying it doesn’t get back to that, it does get back to that from time to time. But, I think people are a little bit more oriented into doing community service and less oriented to having it be a men’s club. And I think that’s all positive. We have some wonderful people in the fire department, I’m not as strong a performer as I used to be me. But I do Monday nights still and I’ve take on Thursday nights until Cindy’s husband, Glen, can drive full time back in March, because he’s only been in six months and he has to be in a year before he drives. So he’ll do Thursday night, but I’m taking it for him until them. But that’s really it, you know. Yea, I do, I’ve been in the fire department, and I enjoy the fire department very much. It’s good, I would say that. It’s good experience for me. I’ve grown a lot as a result of it, makes me see a lot of things I hadn’t seen before. Particularly going to people’s houses that are in trouble, make’s you want to keep yourself, take care of yourself. You realize how important it is to take, well my mother’s death taught me a lot too. You know, taught me an awful lot. It was a very slow painful death. And it was, shwew, she said, and my mother was not, you know my mother said, I’m really having a hell of an exit, I’m having a hell of an exit. Laughs.
CB:
Laughs. Oh my gosh. So how long did you take care of her for?
AK:
Well, I took care of her, and I’m happy to say, I had some good help with the woman who was living there named, Jaqueline Brown, she helped also, immensely. My brother did come up from time to time, from Virginia and helped. But I would say probably, you know, for about, well I’d been looking in on her everyday since my father died in ’93. But, I would say only really for about a year, maybe a year and a half, you know, things really started to go south, you know. And she really needed help, and it went down in stages. That’s the amazing thing, you really learn about the stages of decline. It’s truly unbelievable, when you take a, when someone, you know, goes out slow. You know, all the things they need to have, they need to go through, you know, I mean at the end I was picking her up, and you know, and finally at the end I couldn’t even pick her up anymore to go to the bathroom on the potty. I just had to kind of let her go in the bedpan, because the one time you know that I got the potty she almost fell over, and it was just too much getting her back in the bed, because she was insistent on doing it. She wasn’t, my mother was a very determined woman, and she wasn’t going to go down the steps easily. You know, so she fought, I mean even like her last week, to walk you know with the walker, but then, you know you knew, you could see, when people have to sit down after six steps, you know, you know things are changing. You know, it’s amazing, it’s an amazing process. I learned a lot, I learned a lot in that process. And it makes you,
[START OF TRACK 13, 0:00]
make you doubly conscious, at least me, because my father was a very health conscious guy, about taking care of yourself, you know, being intelligent, not making excuses, you know. It’s easy to make excuses, people love to make them. But, you know, including me, you know, you can do it, you get in that habit. But what happens is you really need to be vigilant, you know about how, what you say good-bye to. You got to say, that part of my life is over. Have a drink, no, that part of my life is over. Have coffee, no, that part of my life is over. Cause you know what it does to you, you know you can feel it. Even sugar, way down, that part of my life is over, cause you’re not the same thing biologically that you were before, so if you don’t recognize that fact you will suffer the consequences. So, that taught me a lot. That’s what I, and really I try to tell people that when they’re young all around me now. You know be, you know careful, don’t take this stuff for granted. You know these kids smoking dope, these kids you know, doing what they do, not to take you down, it will all take you down, you know what I mean. And sure you know, you feel so resilient when your that age, you know nothing can get you, you know, you’re gonna go on forever cause you bounce back pretty quick. But you know, as an elder person, I can see the cost, you know of it. And so, you know, I’ve talked to my son and his friends and all. I, I’m very, I will speak to them, you know cause you know, you don’t know how long you’re going to live. So I will tell them exactly what’s on my mind. Laughs.
CB:
Laughs. That’s a good, that’s a good trait though.
AK:
Yeah. Well my mother did that. And my father would to, my father never told, my father never told a lie. He wouldn’t always open his mouth, at least to me, he would not always open his mouth and offer you advice, but if you asked him, he would never tell you a lie. He would always tell you, dit ta dit ta dit, you know straight stuff. So, I was very lucky. Cause some people have parents, oh man, they’re like whoa, head gaming, holy smoke. No, and that’s not good. You know I mean, cause I guess you learn how to survive in the world with it, but as far as it really getting any place, it keeps you from, you stand in your own way when you’re doing that. So I would say, try not to, you know try. My son, and my, I have a son and a daughter. Daughter is forty, shwew, forty-six , forty-six, and my son is twenty-two. Interesting, huh?
CB:
Your son that I just met, Archie is twenty-two, or another son?
AK:
No, Archie is my step, my wife’s son, he’s actually a step-son of mine. But, he’s a good kid he’s nineteen. He’s nineteen, he goes to school here. But my son, is twenty-two November thirtieth, coming we’re not too far away now. And he, he is in Wentworth studying construction, you know?
CB:
Where is Wentworth?
AK:
Right on Ruggles Street in Boston. Did you go by Ruggles, down Ruggles? See that Greek, Greek church?
CB:
I don’t know.
AK:
Ruggles is right off Huntington. If you go to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Isabelle Stewart Garner, there’s a street called like the Fenway, and you’re going around, and Ruggles comes right into the Fenway, right where Emanuel and Simmons College had buildings. Simmons College has like a an Administration Building there, and Isabelle Stewart Garner Museum is a little step back.
CB:
Okay.

AK:
Then you have Boston’s State Teacher’s College in the brand new building, right up the street on Huntington. And then you have Emanuel College around on Longwood, you have the old English high school around on Longwood, and the Boston Public School, not a too bad it’s not a high school anymore. I think you also have Boston Latin there though still. So you have, you know that’s a pretty good little block. Then right down Ruggles, and if you take Ruggles, you go right into Dudley Station.
CB:
Okay.
AK:
Okay, which is where my wife comes from. Her sister used to live on Ruggles, her twin
sister Edrit, which is right in that picture up there. Stands up and takes photograph off the wall. I’ll show you these people. All these people are my family now. Laughs. These people are my family. This is.
CB:
So this is your, she’s your second wife or your-
AK:
Third.
CB:
Third wife.
AK:
Third wife, isn’t that terrible?

CB:
No! Whatever. Three times a charm, maybe? Laughs.
AK:
Laughs. No, definitely. I’m not having anymore wives. No this is my good wife, okay. Points to photograph. This is my wife, Audrey, her twin sister Edrian, and her other sister, Shirley. And Edrie used to life on Ruggles, until just recent, not she lives in Fort River.
CB:
How did you, how did you meet your wife?
AK:
My wife, believe it or not, very early on, was one my first students. But, she called me up and
[START OF TRACK 14, 0:00]
must have been 1988. And I would see her, you know, cause I would see her, you know, I had her like in ’66, ’67, maybe ’68 even too. And then she went on, and you know, and then I saw her when she had her first kid back in 1970. Okay, I mean I saw her, you know I saw her in Beth Israel, I went to say hi to her. And I’d just see her like on the bus, she’d tell me, she’s down to earth, she’s just like me, she’ll tell you, just, man, she will tell you. She’s born two days after me. She’s May 10th, I’m May 8th. So she will tell you exactly like what’s on her mind. Tell you the truth you know, you could see her for like thirty seconds, she’ll tell ya everything, bang, her mother’s the same, her mother was the same way. Tell you exactly what’s going on, bing bang, you know, she’d give you the root. Laughs.
CB:
Laughs.
AK:
So I used to see her on the bus, Dudley Bus, and talk to her. I used to see Edrit on the train. And then in 1986, no it was ’88, she called me up and unfortunately she was getting beat up by the man she was with. And she was crying. And that was amazing that she turned to me and she said some stuff to me, you know like her mother thought we’d made it together. And I said, nah we never did, I hand never did any of that stuff with my students. That was completely off limits. I would never even, I was very serious about school. I was not like some of these other jokers today. I was very, very serious about school, because really it’s a disservice to get on to any other stuff. Kids really got to know how to use school time, and develop a like for learning. Which is even more important to me. Develop a real curiosity and a like for learning, because that will go your whole life. You know, that makes life a pleasure and a discovery process. That’s another thing I think we kind of lost. But she called me up and I thought of that, and but I didn’t do anything about that for a long time. But that meant a lot to me, that she would call me, me up, when she’s getting beat up by somebody. And so I did, I went back and I saw her. I went to visit her in 2000. And, that’s that. I went to visit her in 2000, twelve years later, when my wife and I broke up, second wife and I broke up. And I saw her in 2000, but to just see her, just to see her, and because she always has the most beautiful smile anyway, that I’d ever seen. No seriously, she does has the most beautiful, you know my wife? You ever go shopping at the Great A?

CB:
I met her very briefly.
AK:
Yea, you shop at the Great A and you talk to her. You’ll see that she has a beautiful smile.
CB:
I did, I met her here.
AK:
Oh here, okay.
CB:
But, I don’t, I go to P and C actually. I don’t go to Great American. Laughs.
AK:
Laughs. Oh you don’t. You go to P and C, okay. Alright. So that’s why you don’t see her. But, she has a beautiful smile and she is, and she’s for real. She’s not layered her personality, she’s not a layered personality. You know what I mean. I mean she does some of the stuff her mama does, but still she’s not, you know. Layered personality is kind of like, phew. I mean it’s like pealing onions, you know, you get tired of that. So, I this is my wife now, and she’s gonna stay my wife which is good. So I’m happy with my new wife, very happy with my new wife and I think she’s happy with me.
CB:
When did you get married?


AK:
Valentine’s Day of 2005. Points to photograph on the wall. And there’s the cake, we were cutting it right there.
CB:
Aww.
AK:
Yeah, Valentine’s Day of 2005. But we went together for about five year before that, so that was pretty good. You know, and we did a lot. We went through a lot. I know all her kids. I know some of them very well. I don’t, actually I know some better than Archie. I mean Archie has lived with me a year, but she had two groups, she had seven kids. Four and then three by the last guy, and Archie is one and Lee is one, he’s a twin, like his mom, he’s a twin.
CB:
Oh?
AK:
Yeah he’s a twin. Lee his brother, and Taleah is his younger sister. And they had a hard time. Because life, you know was tough, cause they were all there at the end. And they’ve been in community, they’ve been in under the care of the state, and that was tough, for them too I’m sure. To be honest, very tough. It’s not easy dealing with the whole result of it. Social workers, social workers like a lot of teachers want to have an easy day, although Shirley says most teachers are better than social workers. And what they do is they, they do like a lot of parents today. When kids are unhappy with a situation, they cave into the kid. And so the kid then realizes that by getting angry, and by whining and complaining that they’re gonna get what they want. Rather than just by toughing it out and going through the situation, you know, and coming out the other side, you know, which is kind of what I had to do. I wasn’t, whining got me nowhere. Whining got me sent to my room. Shut up, you know. But the whole, the whole mentality of the culture has kind of changed. And I think, you know it’s tough, it’s tough. I even see it in her grandchildren. Not all of them, but a lot of them. And, and even my own kid, my second kid. My first kid no. My first kid, very, very self motivated hard worker.
[START OF TRACK 15, 0:00]
Different time, I mean the generations, I think there’s really something different. And, and you’re only twenty-three?
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
Well you’re pretty well motivated for twenty-three, I must tell you that.
CB:
Well, thank you.
AK:
You got good parents.
CB:
I do have great parents.


AK:
Yeah, you have good parents. But the culture per se, is not you know, the, I’m sure you have a lot of peers in your school that were of a different mentality, in your high school. Maybe not.
CB:
Yes.
AK:
Yeah. Not here, because they’re probably all pretty motivated. But in high school, I’m sure.
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
And so that’s kind of, you know, the way it is, what you’re up against. But I think in all the great new reckoning, cause as I said, fat city is over. And when fat city is over, that means we got to stop thinking like we’re fat heads, and get down to business. Laughs and stands up to place photograph back on the wall. I’m sorry I put that back, you probably don’t get my voice.
CB:
Laughs. I think it probably did. I think it’s fine.
AK:
But fat city is over, fat city is over. Laughs
CB:
Laughs. Wow.
AK:
So, that what, that’s really, we’re doing well.
CB:
We’re really, we’re great.
AK:
Yeah, we’re doing well.
CB:
We’re good, we’re good.
AK:
That’s really where I am right now. You know, and I’m enjoying it. Country’s going through some heavy changes. Trying to guide my own children through these changes. I’m sixty-five years old, you know I mean, I’m. I’ll do anything still. See I’ll do anything for work, that I can do. I have no, as I said, I was raised not to have any of that supercilious, what I will and won’t do. So, I mean, I will do anything as long as I can. And I can tell you right now, if they had a shoveling contest between all the kids in the high school and me, I don’t know how many of them would beat me, but I think they’d have few. Laughs.
CB:
Laughs.
AK:
And I’m serious, in the high school too. You know, so I mean, I would know that if I have to, no matter what it is, go out and do whatever I need to do, I will probably find a job. Because I’ll show up on time, I’ll do the work that’s expected of me, whatever it is, okay. And I will do a good job, and I’ll stay after, you know I’ll stay as long as they need me. You know, I won’t just quit and be looking for a break and all that other stuff. And that’s the old school and thank god, you know. And Mexicans are like that too. They come in, thank god for Mexicans, they come in, they’re working everywhere. They are, seriously I’m not kidding you. They are hard workers. And they’re happy to be here. That’s what I used to tell my son when he came in high. My son used to get high in Cooperstown at the age of thirteen. Not good. No. And he wasn’t doing himself any favors. And he doesn’t even understand it, but then I told him, you know, this is not, you know your body has basically given, you know, you have done, you have conditioned yourself mentally through all your, you know, different steps in life. You know, whether it was learning spatial configurations or language acquisition or reading, whatever it is your brain has gone through tremendous changes to pick up these skills, you know, you don’t even know it. Cause you’ve done it, your going through it, but it’s a good thing that your brain has done for you. And so when you know, your smoking reefer and you’re getting all la-la all the time, all that, you’re just kind of pissing all that away, you know, all that discipline. And I’m not saying you can’t have a good time, I say do it, just have a good time. Say what’s on your mind. You don’t have to have reefer, you don’t have to have, you don’t have to get yourself blotto drunk. If you like someone, if you want to go talk to that girl, go talk to her. Don’t be afraid. Or whatever it is, you know? And so, you know, he’s kind of, hopefully he’s getting there, but that whole generation of his they used to just, what, chill. They used to chill, get high and chill. Since the age of thirteen, that’s not a good sign. Because I’ve seen girls working in stores that are so slow that I know that they, all they did was just you know, get hammered everyday. And they can’t function. Because I went to Stagecoach coffee, and the woman, Mary, who’s in her forties, she was multi-tasking, she was doing five different things. (Archie leaves the house. Good-byes are exchanged between Archie, Mr. Keck, and interviewer.)
AK:
Five different things and the girl was like a bobbing head. You know, and she, and I gave her some money for the thing, and took like about a half a minute to count out the change. I mean she was cooked. You know, she was cooked. And you could see it, and she had gone down, obviously myopically in her own mind and it didn’t even know the difference. You could see it, I mean, cause all her friends were cooked. And that’s the scary part, they’re all, they’re all, if your little coterie of friends are all cooked and you’re all kind of like uhhh like that, no one’s
[START OF TRACK 16, 0:00]
going to like (snaps fingers), there’s no contrast for evaluation, for yourself. You know, and luckily I’ve had that in my life. When I smoke, I came to Cooperstown took up smoking, went back to Brooklyn, tried to do the same run I’d done as a kid, could only run one block, gave up smoking that day.
CB:
That’s good.
AK:
That day. Well, that’s because I’d taken a year to get to that level, and I made myself do it, and I was very proud of myself that I could do it. You know, three blocks to my house running from the Borough Hall stop in Brooklyn. I don’t know if you know the stores, the stops in the-
CB:
No, not Brooklyn.
AK:
Not Brooklyn?
CB:
No, I don’t know Brooklyn well.
AK:
Okay, well Brooklyn has a stop in Borough Hall. And I would run home and I’d get there, non-stop I trained myself. And then when I came up here and started smoking with these guys I could only run like, you know, a hundred feet and then my head was pounding, and I felt like throwing up. And that was it. (Answering machine plays message. Some friend of his. Laughs.) These guys are characters. But the, so that’s really what I’m dealing with. I’m, I try to get the kids right now a little more aware of really what will be expected of them in life. How to enjoy life without feeling a need to fit into some other kind of thing. You know, put your energy into ascendance rather than fitting in. You know, if I could get some kid just to think that that’s what he’s got to do. Not so worried about, you know, cause I see these kids man, an inordinate amount of time, you know worrying about fitting in. And my friend Ritchie Abbate says, “The only thing you gotta fit into, is your pants.” And that’s what I told my son, you know. Don’t worry about fitting in, just fit into your pants. You ascend, you ascend, develop yourself and your skills, come out with skills. You will find your friends along the way. People that respect you, and respect is a much better, okay, ingredient, for a relationship, mutual respect, than you know, fear of being different. You know what I mean? So, I walk around, I do this little preach to the kids. Laughs. No really, I do.
CB:
Laughs. It’s a good, it’s a good, it’s a good schpeil.
AK:
It is a good schpeil. It’s deep within, too. Because I see, I see it. When you get to a certain age, you got to have a schpeil. If you love the kids, and you do love your kid and you want him you know, because you see people, you know. I want to tell you half the kids in the first class of mine are dead. How you think that makes me feel? And I know how they died.
CB:
Not good.
AK:
Not too good. You know? It didn’t make a difference who was president for these kids. I hate to tell you, it didn’t. It made a difference though, if somebody got in their ear and into their brain and told them some important values about how to handle life. About what to care about, what was important, and what really isn’t that important, you know? And if someone gets it, and I’m not saying I did, because you know, I wish I had, more often, you know made that difference with them, I gave them skills. But now, if I were teaching them now, I would schpeil them more. Definitely, I would schpeil them more. Because, these are twists and turns, you know. I look at my whole life, how critical little twists and turns are. And you don’t even know it, until you’re looking back five years later. You just think that just happened because, dah dah dah, but if you didn’t know this person and that person, and you didn’t and you right now, taking a class, you may just find that one teacher, that kicks you over, you just bang yeah, and find that thing and then go over there to find a thing, and then go into that and find someone, you know or something, or a group of people, that are just right and go from there. You know I mean, that’s the different thing. I mean when you look at your life and how you went, and the different things that you click with or didn’t click. You know it’s it’s, you make choices, but a lot of it, man is very, very, tentative. And it you know, you’d like to attribute it to some great choices on your part, but the fact that you find yourself in situations, the fact that you have enough brains to assess the quality of those situations, and the people within them, determines you know a lot about your life. You know, unless you’re very hard headed, and you say, at seventeen, I said that at seventeen and now at thirty-four I’m still doing it. Well then I mean if you’re that hard headed, well that’s not so good. You know, I mean hopefully you’d made a few transitions from seventeen to
[START OF TRACK 17, 0:00]
thirty-four and you know, you’ve modified or moderated even your goal you know. But it’s important to have, what I’m saying, it’s all it’s very happenstancial. You know, you don’t think that it is, but it is. You work with people, just happenstancially. In that office, with them at that time, on that shift, bang. Those are people, they bring ingredients into your life and you bring ingredients into theirs. You may have a relationship with them. You may marry one. Good god. And then you get into that realm, that family is now yours. You know what I’m saying. And all that learning that goes on. So I’ll say, it’s all, it’s all pretty good. But, I think you know, looking back at my kids that were in my classroom, if I could have just, if I could have just said more things to them, because I don’t think black or white, I think people have the same tendencies and needs, black or white. Puerto Rican, Chinese, I don’t think, you know they may have little idiosyncratic cultural differences, but I think basically they need to have a feeling of self-respect, you know they need to give love have love. You know they need all these things, they need to have to feel good about what they’re up to, you know and if they don’t. And then after they start getting into denial and escapism. And that can happen at any level, economic level too. You start getting in denial and escapism, guess what? Bad habit. And my own mother, Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar, got into escapism, with alcohol. And no one in the family will even admit it but me. And I’ll only admit it because I took out the vodka bottles. And I try to tell them, listen kids you know you’re trying to start blah, blah, blah blah, but I’m going to tell you the truth. You know, because she was in a lot of pain about what, little things that happened in her youth, that she couldn’t let go of? Things that may have happened between her and my father that weren’t of her you know, dream. Because basically I think they had a good relationship most of the time, but it wasn’t you know without flaw. So, it’s interesting. How do you handle that? Laughs.
CB:
Laughs. I don’t know.
AK:
I tell ya, how you handle it, listen to an old man. How you handle it, is you handle it, you go through it. And I will tell you why, you don’t take alcohol, you don’t take cigarettes or drugs, let me tell you why, you go through it, just staying with it. And I’m telling you, you go through, you’ll make it through, okay? This is me to you.
CB:
Okay.
AK:
You’ll make it through. And I’ll tell you something else, next time it comes your way you will be able to handle it. Cause you will have been through it, no, you know phony apparatus, no dodge ‘em bullets. You went, you go through it, you went through it, okay. That went down, bang. You grow with it, trust me. I believe it, I believe in it.
CB:
That’s good advice.
AK:
Yeah, it puts, it’s like lifting weights, you know? I mean it’s tough, you know but it’ll make you stronger. And I told this to a little girl. Aw, and this is the mind games that when, this is the one bad thing that happened to me in the fire department. I went, and I’m almost finished, and I went. My one bad thing that happened. I went, there was a little girl who was throwing a breakfast, or maybe it was, yeah it was a breakfast. Cause I used to, and I used to be always helping people do the breakfast, because I want to keep it at a certain level. And uh, one of the girls, woman who works at the schools told me Wednesday night, and the breakfast is Sunday, and I, I was no longer President. “Listen, they’re expecting you to be there Sunday.” I said nobody, and this is Wednesday night, and this is talking about Sunday morning. Nobody has, nobody has even approached me to ask me if I’d be there. I mean I would say that I would try to be there, just out of the kindness of my heart. But I would, you know prefer to have someone at least come to me with more, giving me more time. You’re telling me this, I say but I mean, it’s crazy to come to me so late and ask me to, can I be there? Cause it means making the salad, it means you know being there three hours Sunday, my wife likes to go to church, all these different things. So I went down and told this little girl this, you know. Who was in charge of this particular affair. And I went up to her, and I said, and I went into the school, cause I didn’t you know feel I had anything to hide. You know and I went up to her, and I said you know, if in the future, and I said it like this, cause I wasn’t hot cause it
[START OF TRACK 18,0:00]
you know, I was just trying to makes sense with the kid. If you want me to work with you, just let me know a little ahead of time. I mean I can work with you this weekend. But if you want me to do it again, just give me a little more advanced notice. You know, I’d appreciate it. And she started to cry. And I’m saying to myself, wow. She started to cry. And I’m saying well, you know I don’t look at the soap operas, but you know that’s a dodge ‘em technique. You know, because I wasn’t doing anything, I wasn’t saying anything but adult, a friendly adult council for the next time. I wasn’t yelling about it, I wasn’t gonna do it. I said, I would do it. Plus next time you want me to come, give me a little more lead-time. Now I’m looking at her crying, I’m saying listen, don’t worry about it, you know whatever is going on, whatever you think you’re going through, when you finish going through it, I promise you, you will come out stronger, you’ll be better for it. That’s all I told her. And then I left. And her mother was after my ass for harassing her daughter and making her cry. The principal called me up from the school, okay. All this mess went down. I wrote her an apology, I wrote her said, I had no intention of making you cry, you know when I talked to you. And I’m sorry and I apologize if I did, you know but that was not my intent. And, but I’m just saying, that shows you what you’re up against. Me what I’m up against. You’re up against people who are in denial of any kind of responsibility when anyone who’s clear and true comes to them with a comment they learn to divert. You see what I mean, it’s like soap opera crap. They learn to divert and then it becomes crying because somebody said something to me I didn’t want to hear, and then it’s harassment, and then you’re on the school grounds. See, I’m just saying you’re dealing as a human being, it’s really what you represent. Because you’ll be going out in life and you’ll be seeing all sorts of behaviors. And that little girl at her age had learned a pretty sophisticated head game, for just avoiding a one on one straight dialogue with an adult about something that had gone down. And managed to convince her teacher, you know or whomever, that that’s what happened, that I had harassed her. Thank god the woman who told me about it was sitting right there, cause she’s the monitor, and knew that I never raised my voice at this girl, I just went to, cause she was there right when I went in there, she was right there at the desk. So I talked to her, cause I just did it as one the things I was doing like an errand. But I’m just telling you, that’s one thing is I, you know you go out in good faith, but you realize not everyone wants to operate in good faith.
CB:
How old was that girl?
AK:
Probably sixteen or seventeen.
CB:
Strange. That’s quite a story.

AK:
Isn’t it?
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
Thank you.
CB:
Well, I’m glad that it worked out well in the end, I suppose. Right?
AK:
Well, I think if you ask that girl three or four or five years from now what went down, she’s probably game enough to tell you, “Nothing.” But her mother jumped on it, and you know scapegoated whatever problems she’s having in life on it and really tried to you know, make a mountain out of it, which was nuts.
CB:
Yeah.
AK:
Because then I saw the girl again, on Saturday, and I said, you’re feeling better now? And she said, yea. And I said, that’s good. And then that was translated as I was being sarcastic and baiting her. See so, there again, you see? It’s all perception and frame of mind. And this is what I , you know even as an old man, I mean I get I get my, I get my comeuppance even at the age of you know, sixty-four sixty-five. Because people, and this is one thing I love about life though, I love about the diversity of how people operate. I mean I love that about people. Laughs. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. And so I can take that all into the into that thing, but kids you know are particularly important how you train them to handle life. And I’ll end on that. Laughs.
CB:
Laughs. Okay. Thank you very much.
AK:
Your welcome. It was fun.
CB:
Yeah, it was really great. It was really fun.
AK:
I didn’t say one thing about Cooperstown much, did I? Oh yea that little story at the end.
CB:
Yeah, that little story just now? Laughs. That’s, I don’t think you had to talk about Cooperstown, that’s not the thing.
AK:
Oh that’s good.
CB:
You just had to talk about you.
AK:
I’m so glad I didn’t have to talk about
[START OF TRACK 19, 0:00]
Cooperstown.
CB:
Yeah, you didn’t.
AK:
That’s good.
CB:
I’m going to stop this, I’m going to stop this now, okay.

Files

Citation

Cara Bramson, “Albert Keck, November 19, 2008,” CGP Community Stories, accessed August 19, 2018, http://cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/4.