“Finally September arrives, and I enter the High School of Music and Art, with an attitude that could only be described as “Bronx Bravado,” with a little nerd thrown in. I admit I’m not very intimidating, with my big horn — rimmed glasses, neatly pressed striped cotton shirt, “good pants” and my shiny book bag, but I’m a tiger on the inside… at least in my own mirror!

I get to ride a bus and a subway to and from school everyday, then climb one of the highest hills in Manhattan to the top of St. Nicholas Terrace in Harlem, where the High School of Music and Art proudly stands.

I guess I always knew that a brush with a star could bring instant neighborhood fame. I am sorta looked up to because I went to Sunday school with James Merchant, who sings with Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (“Why Do Fools Fall In Love?”).

After attending my first day of classes, I become aware real fast that I’m no longer in the ethnic majority. I also realize quickly, how financially-challenged I am, compared to my more affluent Jewish classmates. While they make fun of the meals served in the lunch room, I really enjoy them. They are more diverse and tastier than what I’m used to and I can’t wait for lunch period to come around!

Every day something really cool in the cafeteria happens about ten minutes before the bell rings for the next class. A group of five African-American and Hispanic guys sing doo-wop songs that sound as good as the records! “In The Still Of The Night,” “Gloria,” and “Speedo.”

Occasionally, one of the upper classmen, Jimmy Castor, who co-wrote “I Promise To Remember” for Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, sings lead with the group. Jimmy is drooled over by the girls and admired by the guys — a position I wanted to be in. I know that I’ve come to the right place. I can barely keep up with the other kids — who actually learned something in their old neighborhood schools. I get by with a B — average that at least keeps me from being thrown out of this sanctuary!”

“! was a freshman and Jimmy Castor was a senior and we never spoke a word to each other, but to be around him from time to time, made me feel like one of the guys.”

for the next 50 years, I followed his career and was proud to say I went to school him, then FACEBOOK came along, which I call the “Great Equalizer”. I sent him a friend request along with a paragraph about our shared history, and he confirmed me. I’ll never know if he ever really remembered me, but I’ll never forget him and his eternal funkiness!.


Respectfully, Artie Wayne 

COPYRIGHT 2012 BY ARTIE WAYNE https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

 From my new book, “I DID IT FOR A SONG” now available at AT AMAZON or Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords


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