America Dream – Chapter 1

Chapter 1

 If this is the American Dream , please wake me up. According to the dictionary, the American Dream is the notion that the American, social,economic and political system makes success possible for every individual , Now in laymen’s terms , it is an ideal connoting hope for prosperity and happiness, symbolized particularly by having a home of one own. This was first applied to the hopes of immigrants, however now it has been diluted and seemingly applied to all except the very rich and suggests a confident hope that one’s children’s economic and social condition will be better than one’s own.

I was born on a seasonably cool day in the Spring of 1966. Like most kids of that era, my parents were just kids themselves. They got married at the ripe old age of 18. Boy was I in trouble.

Reflecting on one’s life is an interesting process, because ultimately this is only one sided, this represents my truth. Additionally who can truly remember the beginnings of their thoughts and experiences. I kinda view life as a circle; when you are born you don’t remember and when you die it will be the same. i would love to have the conviction that their is a heaven and you would get to see all of the loved ones you lost along the way, but i am yet to be convinced of that. However, I am embarrassed that they can see all of my intimate, secretive moments.

I was born in Brookdale Hospital . Brookdale is located in a neighborhood that I wouldn’t set foot into today if I had a choice. Back then it was a progressive Health Care facility. I would have to say i was lucky, because i was born premature, I weighed a mere 4lbs. 2 ounces. Today I am 55 x’s that. I often think , how did I survive? why did i survive? What is my purpose, what will I offer to the American Dream.

My grandfather on my mother’s side, Irving Cohen always boasted ” I am so important and I have so much money, I was able to arrange the special Kennedy baby incubator for you.” If true, that was probably the only decent thing that man ever did that affected me positively. I must explain the family in greater detail as no person can be who they are today without being affected by those who touched their lives , positively or negatively. Irving Cohen was a true megalomaniac. He had an obscene vision of his own self importance. I don’t know much about Irving’s childhood but I am sure it was dismal. Irving’s parents were immigrants from eastern Europe and he grew up in the rough and tumble streets of New York City. When he was young he got a job sweeping the floors in the cutting rooms of the garment district. Looking through my perspective today, I would say he was a lackey an envious wannabe. He must have made some good choices, whether legal or not who would know. He never experienced trouble with the law, but he did have the American Dream; he worked his way up from sweeper to owning a piece of a dress design company, that serviced the likes of Betty Ford, The Potamkin’s of Cadillac Fame, etc. I truly think he was an ass. Irving married Shirley Garfman , my wonderful absent minded Grandmother.

Shirley’s father my great grandfather was an interesting man. I bet you think that I mean that in a good way. As a tween-age kid, he was funny to me, in a sick twisted way. George Garfman was an original Good Humor Ice Cream man. In the 1920’s George drove a Good Humor Ice Cream truck around the streets of Pitkin Ave Brooklyn. It wasn’t because he liked children, it was his cover for running a book making operation. He was a degenerate gambler and a womanizer. I am only going by family legend, I am sure it was dramatized for effect. All i remember is an old man who survived prostate cancer for the last 18 years of his life. His medicine, cigarettes and beer.

Irving and Shirley were married and from the pictures I saw, Shirley was a beautiful woman when she was young. In many ways , she was ahead of Irving’s circle. As the story goes Irving began to make a way for himself, but Shirley still treated him with no respect. How could she treat him any other way , her own father never instilled in her the love, comfort and kindness from a male figure. Irving grew tired of this and as my parents were preparing to get married , he was having a torrid affair with one of the models who worked a the dress designing company. It’s funny to say torrid and cheapen it, because he married that model ; her name was Shireen Cohen . I will explain more about her later, but she was a piece of work. A real C**T. So Shirley limped away a licked her wounds, she really had no one to blame but herself, and Irving deluded himself for being so special. They both caused lots of emotional damage on the family, how could they over come.

Mind you I do not carry any grudges or burdens against anyone. I accepted all of my family members with an interested curiosity and understanding that they were just people ; living and breathing and making all of the same mistakes that other make. The only person I will never forgive is Irving Cohen, as to his legacy; it should die with me and his life should never be remembered. He was a Vampire of emotions.

My father’s side was a little more stable , but everyone has issues in their past . I have heard amazing stories about my father’s side of the family. My great uncle’s were in the Entertainment Business. The most famous were Bert Granet and Irving Glassberg. Bert has a long fruitful life, he was my great grandmother’s brother. He  had an illustrious resume. (see below).

The Intruders(TV movie) (executive producer)

1963-1964Twilight Zone(TV series) (producer – 18 episodes)

Stopover in a Quiet Town(1964) (producer)
The Masks(1964) (producer)
Spur of the Moment(1964) (producer)
Night Call(1964) (producer)
1963The Great Adventure(TV series) (executive producer – 8 episodes)

The Treasure Train of Jefferson Davis(1963) (executive producer)
The Great Diamond Mountain(1963) (executive producer)
Go Down, Moses(1963) (executive producer)
The Story of Nathan Hale(1963) (executive producer)
Six Wagons to the Sea(1963) (executive producer)
1958-1960Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse(TV series) (executive producer – 54 episodes)

Murder Is a Private Affair(1960) (executive producer)
City in Bondage(1960) (executive producer)
The Man in the Funny Suit(1960) (executive producer)
Circle of Evil(1960) (executive producer)
Thunder in the Night(1960) (executive producer)
1957-1960The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour(TV series) (producer – 13 episodes)

Lucy Meets the Mustache(1960) (producer)
The Ricardos Go to Japan(1959) (producer)
Lucy’s Summer Vacation(1959) (producer)
Lucy Wants a Career(1959) (producer)
1959The Untouchables(TV series) (producer)

1959The Scarface Mob(TV movie) (executive producer)

1957-1958The Walter Winchell File(TV series) (producer – 5 episodes)

The Stop-over(1958) (producer)
Silent City(1958) (producer)
The Steep Hill(1957) (producer)
The Law and Aaron Benjamin(1957) (producer)
The Boy from Mason City(1957) (producer)
1957Those Whiting Girls(TV series) (producer – 7 episodes)

Margaret Whiting’s Sister(1957) (producer)
What Price Publicity?(1957) (producer)
The Old Clunker(1957) (producer)
Eleanor’s Romance(1957) (producer)
The Jingle(1957) (producer)
1955-1956The Loretta Young Show(TV series) (producer – 3 episodes)

Tightwad Millionaire(1956) (producer)
The Pearl(1956) (producer)
Week-End in Winnetka(1955) (producer)
1952The Marrying Kind(producer)

1950The Torch(producer)

1948Berlin Express(producer)

1946The Locket(producer)

1945Sing Your Way Home(producer)

My uncle from Sam Glassberg ( My Grandfather ) was Irving Glassberg, below is his Wikipedia profile

Irving Glassberg A.S.C. (19 October 1906 – 9 September 1958) was a Polish-American cinematographer, who worked on many Universal International Pictures during the forties and fifties. Glassberg, along with Arthur Lubin was responsible for getting Clint Eastwood into the movies.[1]

His list of credits were:

1959 Cry Tough (1959 film)
The Rabbit Trap
1958 Twilight for the Gods
The Big Beat
Day of the Bad Man
The Lady Takes a Flyer
The Tarnished Angels
1957 Joe Butterfly
Four Girls in Town
1956 Showdown at Abilene
Outside the Law
Backlash (1956 film)
The Price of Fear
1955 The Rawhide Years
The Purple Mask
Captain Lightfoot
1954 The Black Shield of Falworth
Francis Joins the WACS
Ride Clear of Diablo
Border River
1953 Walking My Baby Back Home
The Mississippi Gambler
The Lawless Breed
1952 The Black Castle
The Duel at Silver Creek
Sally and Saint Anne
Flesh and Fury
Here Come the Nelsons
Bend of the River
1951 The Strange Door
Cave of Outlaws
The Prince Who Was a Thief
The Fat Man
Francis Goes to the Races
1950 Kansas Raiders
Shakedown (film)
Spy Hunt
I Was a Shoplifter
Francis (film)
Outside the Wall
1949 Undertow (film)
The Story of Molly X
Sword in the Desert
Arctic Manhunt
Yes Sir That’s My Baby
Calamity Jane and Sam Bass
Red Canyon
1948 Larceny
Feudin’, Fussin’ and A-Fightin
River Lady (film)
Casbah (film)
Black Bart (1948 film)
1947 The Web

What an amazing thought, Is it secretly in my genetic makeup to want to write. Were these family members the impetus for my obsession to write this story. I would have to summise , maybe.

Some historical  data states that my family comes from Poland . However I have performed some research on several ancestor sites and all of the documentation through ellis island and the early census , say we came from Russia. Both may very well be true depending on who was in control of what parcel of land at that time.

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