The Boy from Harlem

Born in Harlem, New York City

As big as you want it to be.

I was a turkey baby; sometimes my birthday falls on Thanksgiving—seven times so far. I was born at Woman's Hospital and born with a chemical imbalance in my brain. Yet everything came easy to me at first. To consume and learn; I was there, mentally.

I went to preschool on 129th Street—it was a lot of fun. I moved to and fro in the Big Apple, and I learned how to get around all the boroughs of the City at a young age, but mainly in Harlem. I lived in the Bronx, Staten Island and in Brooklyn. Always going somewhere, but getting nowhere.

I remember the Harlem River and the Harlem River Drive, and also shining shoes at a corner on Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx. And I remember seeing JFK campaigning for the presidency.

Just around the corner, my friends and I used to sneak into the movies. Up the street was the Police Athletic League, which sent me and my brothers and sisters to camp.

I always loved the arts, drawing and painting. I did my first painting of Lassie by the numbers. Then I did a freehand painting of a barn in the woods. I also made a wooden airplane that rested on a pedestal.

But music was my first real love. At two years of age, I remember my grandfather playing the violin and piano. He went around tuning pianos for people. He also played the mandolin very well. I fell in love with music right away.

For me, the arts are like being in step with time and space.

I did some acting in grammar school: The Christmas Story. I also helped by painting the props.

My teacher loved all my work very much. I forget his name. Maybe it was Pacino. He was an excellent painter and artist.

I can't tell you all of it, just that there's a lot of love in me for the arts.