I just opened an email from an old friend, Gene Tognacci. When we met, he was 16 or 17 and I was closer to 20. He was working at getting through high school. I was working at a local radio station.
Actually, that’s a story unto itself. The station was WMUM/WQXT (That’s a postcard of the station when it was WWPG – mailed 22 years before I got there. The next picture down is the view from our front door.). We were at 3000 South Ocean Blvd in Palm Beach, FL. Our building fronted the parking lot at the Lake Worth, FL Municipal Beach.
That’s right – I was 20 and working as a disk jockey on the beach at one of America’s swankiest resorts. All day long there were girls in bathing suits strolling by my front door.
Trust me, I was oblivious to any ‘good life’ implication that imparted. I was 20. I wasn’t too bright.
Anyway, Gene was a high school student who hung around the station. I think he even did janitorial work for us. He really wanted to be in the business¹.
It’s funny what you remember.
Gene had a 90cc (in other words puny) motorcycle. It turned out to be the focal point of one dayI still remember.
One day I borrowed the cycle and drove up and back on Route A1A. As I returned to the station, it began to rain. I didn’t know what to do, so I attempted to pick up the bike and put it on the porch, out of the rain.
I was soon at the hospital emergency room!
The photo on the left, of a soaked and hurting Geoff, was taken at Good Samaritan Hospital by another mutual friend, whose name has faded into the mist.
Like all good friends, Gene and I once had a dispute. I lent him some money, the root of most arguments!
It probably wasn’t a lot – though in those days with me making $130 a week, the threshold for ‘a lot’ was much lower. Gene hadn’t paid me back and I was steamed. I have no recollection how long this had been going on, or if I had been fair to Gene. Who knows? I was no bargain myself back then.
I’ll let Gene describe what went on next:
And, you may recall, I had been dodging your requests for payment (being equally broke) for weeks and it wasn