John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

I, Mort, A short story by John William Tuohy

All great masters are chiefly distinguished by the power of adding a second a third and perhaps a fourth step in a continuous line. Many a man had taken the first step. With every additional step you enhance immensely the value of your first. Emerson

300 quotes from Emerson To view more Emerson quotes or read a life background on Emerson please visit the books blog spot. We update the blog bi-monthly  emersonsaidit.blogspot.com

What Love is…..
Don't ever criticize yourself. Don't go around all day long thinking, 'I'm unattractive, I'm slow, I'm not as smart as my brother.' God wasn't having a bad day when he made you... If you don't love yourself in the right way, you can't love your neighbour. You can't be as good as you are supposed to be. Joel Osteen 

I, Mort

A short story by John William Tuohy

 “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle”- Philo of Alexandria

     For as long as he could remember, Morty always had a problem with Jesus. He recalled Rabbi-Parent day down at the temple when his parent, Mary and Jospeh listened to Gafelt the Elder counsel them, in all his wisdom, on the failings their eldest son, Morty.
    “The kid is dreck, a huck, a klutz and a nudnik” Gafelt the Elder said with a wary eye on Morty “Now Jesus,” he added as he visibly sparked up “Jesus, on the other, there’s a boy to be proud of!” he beamed rising an index finger in the air.
     “So tell me something I don’t know” Mary shrugged which caused Morty to peel a suspicious eye toward Jesus and sum him up. While Morty, like his parents, was short, squat and, well, hairy, Jesus was tall, handsome and had that instant likability thing going for him, a trait so desperately disliked by those who lack it.
     “He’s adopted you know” Morty whined in his nasally voice, pointing to Jesus. “Different Father, you said so yourself” he reminded Mary. Embarrassed, Mary shrugged “I don’t where he gets these things” and then mouthed the word “Meshuga” to Gafelt the elder who nodded solemn in agreement.
     And so, over the decades, it came to pass that Morty, son of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth who were of the tribe of David and the tribe of Abraham married Deborah the Large, the daughter of Abbie and Goldie, who ran a previously owned chariot place over in Cana.
     At the wedding Morty planned to make his big announcement. With the help of his in-laws, he had leased a nice commercial space where he would open his deli, his lifelong dream, sometime that fall. He had also forgotten to send Jesus an invitation to the wedding. This was would be, Morty told himself, his moment, the moment of Morty.
     Standing gracefully from his chair at the main table after the ceremony, Morty strolled happily to the podium. All eyes were on him and he loved it.
     “I want to apologize” he told the guests “for running out of wine so early...you people can really pack it away.” he chuckled “Anyway, I have an announcement to make, a big event in my life. I want to announce...”
     At that moment, a guest stuck his head in to the room and shouted “Hey everybody! Jesus just turned water into wine!” The room emptied, of course. Even Deborah the Large bounced off to regale at the endless wonders of her brother-in-law. And that was how it went over the next few years. When Morty’s pain in the Toches Mother-in-Law died, Jesus brought her back to life and then there was the day when Morty’s kids told their father that when they grew up they wanted to be “Just like Uncle Jesus!”
     And so it was that one day, Morty, who was still schlepping as a salesman in his Father-in-Laws lot came upon Jesus preaching by the sea before a crowd of five thousand.
     Luke came to Jesus and said “This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat”
     There was a long silence and Jesus said “In English” and Luke snapped “The crowds getting ugly because their hungry and you haven’t pulled any rabbits out of your hat”
     “I don’t wear a hat,” Jesus snapped again.
     “It’s an expression,” added Mathew
     “You think I don’t know from expression?” Jesus barked and then, regrouping, he added “Sorry dude, it’s the hunger talking” and he then converted five loaves a bread and two fish into enough food to feed the entire crowd.
     Seeing this, Morty’s head spun. When the day was done, he pulled Jesus aside and spoke to him. “Look, you know I’m opening a deli right?” Morty whispered as he leaned in very close to Jesus. “Here’ what I’m thinkin. We move out of this burg and up to Rome.   
     We rent a small place, you know, keep overhead low.” Slinging his hairy stubby arm across Jesus shoulders and gazing dreamily skywards he said, “Morty’s Fish & Loafs” that’s what we’ll call the place. He waved a hand majestically across the sky “I see dozens of them, hundreds of them, all over Rome, each one exactly like the other like a ...” he groped for the word “A...chain....or sorts” and then added as an afterthought “The Romans are big on chains”
     He turned and placed his open palms on Jesus’ chest “We put Ma behind the counter, Pop on the register and you in the quote ‘kitchen’” he said with a sly wink “And I figure, first year, we pull in, what? A half million denarius, easy”
     Jesus didn’t like it. For one thing, he always got top billing. But Mort didn’t care “I guess we’ll need a dishwasher.” He said more to himself than anyone else “No, maybe not. We’ll just throw the dirty ones away” and then dramatically stopping himself he stared at Jesus with wide eyes “ You can dishes appear, right?”
     “Look, Morty..” Jesus started
     “And we’ll need forks. Napkins, Salt.” And then added quickly “Not that your fish and loafs needs salt, I mean don’t get me wrong, you’re a good cook”
     “I cannot do this,” Jesus replied staring off into the clouds” For I must do my father’s work. I must descend into the fire of hell for forty days and then die painfully upon the cross”
     “You know Jesus” Morty said “You only think of yourself”
     “Do not” Jesus said
     “Do to” Morty countered
     “Do not” Jesus said
     “Whacko” Morty hissed
     “Don’t call me that” Jesus warned
     “Whacko” Mort said again, which is when Jesus slapped him and then slapped him again on his other check. Morty grabbed a handful of Jesus’ hair but the Apostils were on him in seconds and kicked his ankles and stepped on his exposed toes until Mary, the Blessed Mother, leaped between and commanded “Morty! Leave your brother alone!”
     They didn’t speak to each other for a few years after that, and Morty opened a small deli, Mort’s Place in a heavily Jewish neighbor Bethany, a suburb of Jerusalem just outside the walls of the Old City. The hand chiseled sign outside read “Mort’s Deli. Try our Knish! Bar Mitzvahs a specialty!” Otherwise, Mort’s Place was the usual ancient Israeli deli, tile floors; Formica topped tables and signed pictures from various celebrities who were regulars like Ezekiel, Ruth, Solomon and Pontius Pilate, whose picture was signed simply “To Morty, all the best. Poncho”. Each of these people had a menu item named after them including the John the Baptist Hot Brisket that boasted, “You’ll lose your head over this one!”. There was also the meatloaf platter, which had been renamed from its original Dead Man’s Meatloaf Surprise to the Lazarus special.
     Life was pleasant for Morty and his deli until one evening on the day of Passover, just before closing time, Morty was seated comfortably at his spot in the kitchen, studying the returns from the days camel races; when he heard a commotion out in the dining room and went to investigate. It was Jesus and his boys.
     “Who told you guys you could shove all those tables together?” and sweeping his arm across the empty deli “I got other customers you know”
     “We’ll put them back when we have finished” Jesus replied with a slightly strained smile
     “You bet your ass you will” Mort said wagging his chubby finger under his brother’s nose.
     “I said we would” Jesus replied, his smile becoming slightly more frozen to lips.
     “I’m not gonna schlep around here doing your work” Mort counted placing just a little too much emphases, Jesus thought, on the word work.
     “I said we would put them back” Jesus said slowly “Make sure you do”
     “I think you’re belaboring the point” Jesus said
     “I run a respectable place here,” Morty said “I can’t have you and your little hoodlum friends screw’n it up on me” and in the same breath he added “Why doesn’t that guy have a beard?” he asked pointing at John who was using a handkerchief to clean off his chair.
     “Him?” Jesus whispered “Him, we’re not sure, Morty”
     “Well, wadda have?” Mort asked
     “Give me” Jesus said spying the menu “11 house specials and one diet plate”
     “I can give you a nice deal,” Morty said as he scribbled a few figures together
     “Let’s say...uh...twelve denarius”
     “Twelve denarius!” Jesus yelled “What are you, nuts?! Jesus H. Christ. Get outa here with twelve denarius”
     “Listen, kolboynik, it’s Passover.” Mort yelled back “You’re lucky I’m open at all, for Gods sakes ”
     From the back of the room, in the general direction of Paul the Apostle the word “Gonif” filtered into the air causing Mort to jab at the numbers on his estimate.
     “Gonif! I got 11 Bust Your Borsht Belt Specials with slaw and potato salad on the side with a kosher dell with egg malted, and one diet special for Mister Money Bags here.” He said pointing to Jesus “Right there...you nudnik...is six denarius, toss in your 90% Roman tax, overhead...I’m losing my shirt here. I’m giv’n this away, over here. I’m a yutz!”
     “What’s a shirt?” somebody yelled from the back
     “You should be ashamed!” Peter roared as he pulled out his dagger.
     “And you should go hungry, you shlub!” Mort replied “You don’t like it? Go to the Roman joint down the street...pastrami with mayonnaise!”
     There was a momentary silence.
     “We can live with that!” John shouted and the others mumbled agreement.
     “Yeah” Mort retorted “but on white bread?”
     The apostles mulled it over and Simon-Peter said to Jesus “The yutz has a got a point”
     “Thank you Peter” Jesus said raising two fingers above the disciples head.
     “It’s Simon-Peter” Simon-Peter replied and pointed to regular Peter “He’s Peter. I’m Simon –Peter”
     Jesus sighed dramatically and threw his hands in the air and replied sharply “It would kill you get a new name? With the Peter’s and Simon’s. You can’t go with a just Simon?”
     “We already got a Simon,” Simon said from the back
     “Ouy” Jesus mumbled as he rubbed his temples
     “I’m sorry,” Simon-Peter said sorrowfully.
     Jesus patted Simon-Peter on the back “No, no, Dude. It’s the hunger talking. I’m sorry”
     “Well maybe” Mort said turning his gaze to the ceiling “If a certain somebody had a steady income instead of wandering around the desert all day, this would not be an issue”
     Jesus face flushed red and pointed a finger an inch from Mort’s face “Don’t start with me, Morty”
     “I’m just say’n” Mort shrugged
     “Alright, Shmendrik...”Jesus spat between clenched teeth “Drop the Bust Your Borsht Belt Specials and bring us 12 diet plates”
    “Shmendrik?” Mort replied, tossing his dishrag over his shoulder.
     “But I really I had my heart set on a nice pastrami” John whined with the other nodding in agreement
     “Think of the future, you yutz!” Jesus snapped, “I can’t be holding up a freak’n pastrami on rye with a malted saying ‘take this pastrami and eat it, this is my body!”
     “Why not?” Mort countered deeply offended “You say’n there’s something wrong with my pastrami?”
     “I’m saying” Jesus growled “I don’t want to turn the entire Christian world into” and then he screamed out the last words “A race of diabetics!” and then calming himself with a long, deep breath, Jesus looked at Mort and said “This is all over your ‘Ma loves you more than me thing’ isn’t it?
     “Don’t pull that Freudian crap with me you schnook” Mort hissed “Its twelve denarius, take it or leave it!”
     “Woe to the man” Jesus continued, punctuating each word with a jab of his finger into Mort’s chest. “Who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born!”
     “What? Are you, threatening me? Is that some sort of whacko threat?” Mort said as he stepped into Jesus’ space.
     “Who’s Freud?” somebody asked from the back
     “I’m just say’n,” Jesus said pushing Mort back a few steps “And don’t call me a whacko”
     “Whacko” Mort taunted
     “Stop calling me that” Jesus said
     “Whacko. Whacko whacko whacko”
     “Stop it”
     On the last whacko, Jesus grabbed Mort and put him in a headlock. Mort countered with a leg lock and they both tumbled to the floor, fists flaying. Peter pulled out a knife and started jabbing at Mort’s ears as the Apostles pulled them apart. Judas shouted “I got a thirty pieces of silver on Morty!”
     Separated, out of breath and seated in chairs at either end of the room, Jesus and Morty glared at each other.
    “I was root’n for Jesus” Judas lied
     Panting and touching his nose for signs of blood, Jesus asked “Where’d you get thirty pieces of silver?”
     Before Judas could answer, John took the floor and, pointing dramatically at Jesus and Mort he said “Love thy brother as thy self!” to which Jesus said “Ah shut up and sit down!”
     Jesus and the Apostles huddled together in a corner and watched Jesus count their collective coins. “five...six...what’s this? Jesus said holding up a small ball of lint “Who gave me lint?” causing the apostles to look at their feet and the ceiling fan.
     “Six lousy denarius! That’s all we got between us?” Jesus raised his eyes to the ceiling and then continued, “Remember that little talk we all had about how somebody had to get a regular job. Does anyone recall that?”
     The apostles stared at their sandals. No one answered. Jesus tossed the money to Morty
     “Here! ya Shvantz!” Jesus spat “What can we get for that?
     “Six denarius?” Mort shrugged “Loaf of bread, jug a wine and on that, I’m taking a beating”
     Jesus looked at his watch and snapped, “I don’t have time for this. Just bring the food”
     One evening, a few days later, again just before closing time, while Morty sat at his place in the kitchen reading that day’s camel returns, Jesus, floating on a brilliantly lit white cloud, suddenly appeared to me.
     “Morty” Jesus whispered
     Looking up from his paper, Morty stared at Jesus and then lowered his chin to chest and breath “Ouy”
     Pointing to the cloud and brilliant bright glow that surrounded him, Jesus smiled and “How’s that for entrance?”
     “I thought you died” Morty said flatly
     “I did. I came back to life” Jesus replied in a way obviously meant to impress.
     Morty threw up his arms in disgust “Why I am not surprised?” he sighed, “So wadda want with me?”
     “I didn’t want to leave without getting things straight between you and me,” Jesus said softly as he lifted two fingers in the air.
     Morty rolled his eyes “Okay. Go ahead. But make it snappy. I gotta lock up
     Disgusted, Jesus darted his eyes quickly left and murmured either the word Luck or Smuck, Morty wasn’t sure. And then resuming the smile on his face, Jesus said, “Morty, you’re a kind, generous man with a good heart”
     Morty put the newspaper down and, slightly choked with emotion asked “Really?”
     After a pause, Jesus said, “Well, no, not really but ah...um...but you do have many fine attributes. I have always said that”
     “Really?” Mort asked with a gentle smile “Like what?”
     Jesus shrugged. He groped for something else nice to say about his brother but nothing
     Came to him. There was a very long pause and the smile started to freeze on Morty’s lips.
     “Like what?” he asked again.
     Jesus held up one finger and said “Hold on, I’m thinking about it”
      After another very long pause, Jesus snapped his fingers “I got it! You make good deli food”
     “Really?” Morty asked again
     “Of course some would ask, how would I know?” Jesus shrugged “You wouldn’t give me any! Your own brother...bread and water I get!
     “Don’t start with me Jesus, I swear to God”
     “Your own brother” Jesus moaned “bread and water I get!
     “You’re lucky you got that!” Morty yelled and then grasping at his chest “Look, don’t get me worked up, I blood sugar”
     “Blood sugar!” Jesus mocked
     “Yeah, wise guy, blood sugar!”
     “Blood sugar” Jesus whispered and then cupped his hands to his mouth and shouted, “I got nailed to a cross!”
     “So, this is my problem?” Morty shrugged “You know those fercockt Romans charged Ma for the cost of the cross. I hope you’re happy. I had to pick up the tab”
     Jesus had no reply and after several uneasy seconds, Morty, realizing he had gone too far, pulled an empty chair to the table. “Why don’t you sit before you run out of rocket fuel” he said softly. And Jesus sat. They did not speak for several minutes, each staring off into their own thoughts until finally Jesus asked sheepishly “You and me okay?”
     Without lifting his eyes from the table, Morty threw one of his hairy, beefy arms around his brother’s neck and said “We always were” and then he added, “So, you’re hungry?”
     “I could eat” Jesus shrugged
     And so it came to pass that evening that Jesus and Morty, sons of Joseph of and Mary of Nazareth who were of the tribe of David and the tribe of Abraham, shared a hot pastrami and a malted and all was well between them

 I’m trying to teach myself Spanish and this is what I learned today......................

Invernadero: greenhouse
Example sentence: El efecto invernadero preocupa a los científicos.
Sentence meaning: Scientists worry about the Greenhouse Effect.

The Story behind the photo

In what can only be described as one of the most iconic photos of World War II, a lone man, August Landmesser, is seen refusing to be caught up in tha nationalistic Nazi fervor, as he stands with his arms crossed, stone faced, as the rest of the crowd engages in the mandatory “seig heil” salute.
The salute, meaning hail victory, was an exhibition of loyalty to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, and was mandatory for all German citizens.
The photo was taken in Hamburg, Germany on June 13, 1936 at the launch of a naval training vessel. Landmesser can be seen as the lone man pictured refusing to demonstrate his loyalty by saluting.
Although the photo itself has become an internet sensation, as it’s represents those very few people who are willing to think outside of the box into which they have been indoctrinated, few people are aware of the story behind the iconic picture.
Landmesser joined the ranks of the Nazi party in 1931 with anticipation of it creating employment opportunities for him, as the climate in Germany was such that if one wanted to find gainful employment being a party member could be very advantageous.
Eventually he was expelled from the party in 1935, after becoming engaged to a Jewish woman, Irma Eckler. The couple was engaged to marry, but enactment of the Nuremberg Laws would prevent that from taking place. The couple’s first daughter was born on October 29, 1935.
This series of events fully explains the lack of respect shown by Landmesser, to the Nazi regime, as displayed by his refusal to salute in the iconic photo.
But what happened after the picture was taken?
With Eckler pregnant again, the couple decided to flee Nazi Germany for Denmark in 1937, but were caught by the Nazis. Landmesser was subsequently charged with”dishonoring the race” under Nazi race laws.
The couple claimed that neither of them were aware that Eckler was fully Jewish, with the couple being acquitted for lack of evidence, but with a warning that any subsequent violations would result in prison time.
Even under threat of prison Landmesser and Eckler’s love reigned supreme, with the couple publicly continuing their relationship.
In July of 1938, Landmesser was arrested again, this time being sentenced to two and a half years in the Börgermoor concentration camp. Eckler was taken by the Gestapo to Fuhlsbüttel prison, where she gave birth to her and Landmesser’s second child.
Eckler was sent to numerous different concentration camps, with a few letters being received from Irma Eckler until roughly January 1942. It’s believed that she was taken to the Bernburg Euthanasia Centre in February 1942, where she was among the more than 14,000 killed.
Landmesser was released from custody in January 1941, working as a foreman. He was eventually drafted into a penal battalion in February of 1944 and was reportedly killed while fighting in Croatia in October of that year.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has previously been published on BenSwann.com and WeAreChange.org. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.

Good Words to Have……………

Mesmerize   \MEZ-muh-ryze\ 1: to subject to mesmerism; also: hypnotize 2 : spellbind. Experts can't agree on whether Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815) was a quack or a genius, but all concede that the late 18th-century physician's name is the source of the word mesmerize. In his day, Mesmer was the toast of Paris, where he enjoyed the support of notables including Queen Marie Antoinette. He treated patients with a force he termed animal magnetism. Many believe that what he actually used was what we now call hypnotism. Mesmer's name was first applied to a technique for inducing hypnosis by one of his students in 1784.

The Poetry Room in the US Capitol (Below) serves as the official office of the U.S. Poet Laureate.

 Moderation Is Not A Negation of Intensity, But Helps Avoid Monotony
 by John Tagliabue

Will you stop for a while, stop trying to pull yourself
for some clear "meaning" - some momentary summary?
     no one
can have poetry or dances, prayers or climaxes all day;
     the ordinary
blankness of little dramatic consciousness is good for the
     health sometimes,
only Dostoevsky can be Dostoevskian at such long
     long tumultuous stretches;
look what that intensity did to poor great Van Gogh!;
     linger, lunge,
scrounge and be stupid, that doesn't take much centering
     of one's forces;
as wise Whitman said "lounge and invite the soul."  Get
     enough sleep;
and not only because (as Cocteau said) "poetry is the
     literature of sleep";
be a dumb bell for a few minutes at least; we don't want
     Sunday church bells
     ringing constantly.

John Tagliabue was born in Cantu, Italy, in 1923, and came to America with his family at age 4, growing up in New Jersey. A 1997 profile in The Bates Student described Tagliabue the child “as a wanderer” who enjoyed taking the 42nd Street ferry to New York City, where he said he would “walk all day” on the city streets.
He attended Columbia University, where he was encouraged to write by the poet Mark Van Doren. He also pursued dance. “The most natural actions for me are dancing and writing poetry,” he once said. “Otherwise I feel a little awkward.”
After graduating from Columbia in 1944, he taught at the American University in Beirut. He subsequently studied in Florence, and won a Fulbright grant to teach at the University of Pisa (it was one of several Fulbrights, his final one coming in 1993-94 to lecture and give readings in Indonesia). He later would teach in Tokyo and at Fudan University, in Shanghai. Prior to his appointment to the Bates faculty, he taught at the State College of Washington and Alfred University.
At Bates, he taught “Cultural Heritage,” “World Literature” (which introduced Asian literature into the Bates curriculum), “The Short Story” and “Writing on the Maine Scene,” as well as courses focusing on Shakespeare, major American writers and modern poetry. Of his generous spirit with his students, Tagliabue once said, “I love to sound off with praise…a way of lifting the self and the world…as if it’s a holiday.” He welcomed students into his and Grace’s home regularly, hosting what became known as “United Nations of Poetry” gatherings of students who read their poetry.
He published thousands of poems, and he once called his poetry “on-the-spot lyicism. My poetry is not sedentary or academic ¬¬— there’s a lot of song and dance to it.” As there was in his Bates career. In 2003, upon the dedication of the John Tagliabue Prize in Creative Writing, fellow poet Rob Farnsworth noted Tagliabue’s “passionate dedication…to his writing and to his teaching, as well as the example of his omniverous imagination, by which all his travels, in body and mind, come together in praises wry and joyful, ecstatic and generous.” Tagliabue elicited laughter by replying, “Oh, Rob, you know how I love to be loved.”
Tagliabue studied at Columbia alongside Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, yet pursued a much different style than those Beat Generation peers. Ginsberg, a friend of Tagliabue’s, “tried to get me into that group,” he told The Bates Student in 1997. More inclined to hang out with friends in the dance community in Greenwich Village, Tagliabue would decline. “I instinctively wasn’t interested,” he said. Tagliabue’s poetry, Booklist noted, “demonstrates a certain eclecticism in his approach, uniting an almost old-fashioned technicality…with Eastern philosophy and culture, and an acute interest in and absorption of the natural world.” His poems “are often graceful, fluid and lyrical, while simultaneously exploring the boundaries of thought and poetic structure.”
He was something of a poet of record for Bates, composing and sharing many poems reflecting campus or personal milestones, or events in the lives of friends. He would say, of his poetry written during times of controversy, “All art is political. All art reveals values.” When John Kennedy was assassinated, a Tagliabue poem, “Cortege / 1963,” was published in the Student:
The shadow of the horseless rider in the sun;
the casket drawn slowly; over the face of the dead Hero
the stars; in the memory of the lovers the stars.
He was a frequent visitor back to Bates, and at Reunion 2004 he joined a writers’ discussion with poet Pam Alexander ’70 and novelist Elizabeth Strout ’77. After his visit, he sent this poem to Bates Magazine:
Of course
they made the most of it in Italian Operas,
extended repetitions
of Addio, Addio, Farewell repetitions with
varied trills,
sustained narcissism of farewell, I give my
body away, to
air, earth, to sea, to God knows What;
whatever you do
do it with undulations of song, comedy if
possible, coughing
or snorting or if fortunate cavorting.
I adore you, Sing
O audiences, former students who are former
keep paying for my upkeep, keep my company
Shakespeare, Blake, Farewell, my Fancy (Whitman);
Fare Well,
my sailing or flying or ambling poems, Fare Well
with fanfare of cadenzas, my future readers of poems,
keep the
dialogue lushly operatic; Rejoice Rejoice, extend
and again
extend the many undulating Performances, O Partners
in the Arias.


In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.

John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.

Contact John:

From Professor William Anthony Connolly

This incredible memoir, No Time to Say Goodbye, tells of entertaining angels, dancing with devils, and of the abandoned children many viewed simply as raining manna from some lesser god.
The young and unfortunate lives of the Tuohy bruins—sometimes Irish, sometimes Jewish, often Catholic, rambunctious, but all imbued with Lion’s hearts— is told here with brutal honesty leavened with humor and laudable introspective forgiveness.
The memoir will have you falling to your knees thanking that benevolent Irish cop in the sky, your lucky stars, or hugging the oxygen out of your own kids the fate foisted upon Johnny and his siblings does not and did not befall your own brood.
 John William Tuohy, a nationally-recognized authority on organized crime and Irish levity, is your trusted guide through the weeds the decades of neglect ensnared he and his brothers and sisters, all suffering for the impersonal and often mercenary taint of the foster care system.
Theirs, and Tuohy’s, story is not at all figures of speech as this review might suggest, but all too real and all too sad, and maddening. I wanted to scream. I wanted to get into a time machine, go back and adopt every last one of them. I was angry. I was captivated.
The requisite damning verities of foster care are all here, regretfully, but what sets this story above others is its beating heart, even a bruised and broken one, still willing to forgive and understand, and continue to aid its walking wounded. I cannot recommend this book enough

Quotes from “No time to say goodbye: memoirs of a life in foster care” by John William Tuohy.

On sale now at Amazon.Com, Border Books and direct from LLR Books.Com

 “I am here because I worked too hard and too long not to be here. But although I told the university that I would walk across the stage to take my diploma, I won’t. At age fifty-seven, I’m too damned old, and I’d look ridiculous in this crowd. From where I’m standing in the back of the hall, I can see that I am at least two decades older than most of the parents of these kids in their black caps and gowns.
So I’ll graduate with this class, but I won’t walk across the stage and collect my diploma with them; I’ll have the school send it to my house. I only want to hear my name called. I’ll imagine what the rest would have been like. When you’ve had a life like mine, you learn to do that, to imagine the good things.
The ceremony is about to begin. It’s a warm June day and a hallway of glass doors leading to the parking lot are open, the dignitaries march onto the stage, a janitor slams the doors shut, one after the other.
That banging sound.
It’s Christmas Day 1961 and three Waterbury cops are throwing their bulk against our sorely overmatched front door. They are wearing their long woolen blue coats and white gloves and they swear at the cold.
They’ve finally come for us, in the dead of night, to take us away, just as our mother said they would.”
“Otherwise, there were no long goodbyes or emotional scenes. That isn’t part of foster care. You just leave and you just die a little bit. Just a little bit because a little bit more of you understands that this is the way it’s going to be. And you grow hard around the edges, just a little bit. Not in some big way, but just a little bit because you have to, because if you don’t it only hurts worse the next time and a little bit more of you will die. And you don’t want that because you know that if enough little bits of you die enough times, a part of you leaves. Do you know what I mean? You’re still there, but a part of you leaves until you stand on the sidelines of life, simply watching, like a ghost that everyone can see and no one is bothered by. You become the saddest thing there is: a child of God who has given .”


“As I said, you die a little bit in foster care, but I spose we all die a little bit in our daily lives, no matter what path God has chosen for us. But there is always a balance to that sadness; there’s always a balance. You only have to look for it. And if you look for it, you’ll see it. I saw it in a well-meaning nun who wanted to share the joy of her life’s work with us. I saw it in an old man in a garden who shared the beauty of the soil and the joy he took in art, and I saw it in the simple decency and kindness of an underpaid nurse’s aide. Yeah. Great things rain  on us. The magnificence of life’s affirmations are all around us, every day, everywhere. They usually go unnoticed because they seldom arrive with the drama and heartbreak of those hundreds of negative things that drain our souls. But yeah, it’s there, the good stuff, the stuff worth living for. You only have to look for it and when you see it, carry it around right there at the of your heart so it’s always there when you need it. And you’ll need it a lot, because life is hard.”
“As sad as I so often was, and I was often overwhelmed with sadness, I never admitted it, and I don’t recall ever having said aloud that I was sad. I tried not to think about it, about all the sad things, because I had this feeling that if I started to think about it, that was all I would ever think of again. I often had a nightmare of falling  into a deep dark well that I could never climb out of. But then there was the other part of me that honestly believed I wasn’t sad at all, and I had little compassion for those who dwelled in sadness. Strange how that works. You would think that it would be the other way around.”


 “In late October of 1962, it was our turn to go. Miss Hanrahan appeared in her state Ford Rambler, which, by that point, seemed more like a hearse than a nice lady’s car. Our belongings were packed in a brown bags. The ladies in the kitchen, familiar with our love of food, made us twelve fried-fish sandwiches each large enough to feed eight grown men and wrapped them in tinfoil for the ride ahead of us. Miss Louisa, drenched with tears, walked us to the car and before she let go of my hand she said, “When you a big, grown man, you come back and see Miss Louisa, you hear?”
“But,” I said, “you won’t know who I am. I’ll be big.”
“No, child,” she said as she gave me her last hug, “you always know forever the peoples you love. They with you forever. They don’t never leave you.”
She was right, of course. Those we love never leave us because we carry them with us in our hearts and a piece of us is within them. They change with us and they grow old with us and with time, they are a part of us, and thank God for that.”


 “One day at the library I found a stack of record albums. I was hoping I’d find ta Beatles album, but it was all classical music so I reached for the first name I knew, Beethoven. I checked it out his Sixth Symphony and walked home. I didn’t own a record player and I don’t know why I took it out. I had Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony but nothing to play it on.”


 “The next day, when I came home from the library, there was a small, used red record player in my room. I found my mother in the kitchen and spotted a bandage taped to her arm.
“Ma,” I asked. “Where did you get the money for the record player?”
“I had it saved,” she lied.
My father lived well, had a large house and an expensive imported car, wanted for little, and gave nothing. My mother lived on welfare in a slum and sold her blood to the Red Cross to get me a record player.
“Education is everything, Johnny,” she said, as she headed for the refrigerator to get me food. “You get smart like regular people and you don’t have to live like this no more.”
She and I were not hugging types, but I put my hand on her shoulder as she washed the dishes with her back to me and she said, in best Brooklynese, “So go and enjoy, already.” My father always said I was my mother’s son and I was proud of that. On her good days, she was a good and noble thing to be a part of.
That evening, I plugged in the red record player and placed it by the window. My mother and I took the kitchen chairs out to the porch and listened to Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony from beginning to end, as we watched the oil-stained waters of the Mad River roll by. It was a good night, another good night, one of many that have blessed my life.”


“The next day I was driven to New York City to take the physical. It was one of the strangest things I’d ever seen. Several hundred young men, maybe even a thousand, in their skivvies, walking around an enormous room, all of us lost, dazed, and confused.
Some of these guys had dodged the draft and were there under the watchful eyes of dozens of federal marshals lined  against one of the walls. After eight hours of being poked, prodded, stuck, and poked again, I was given a large red envelope. I had been rejected. I had the respiratory problems of an old man, high blood pressure, partial loss of hearing, very bad teeth, very flat, very wide feet and I tested positive for tuberculosis.
“Frankly,” the doctor said, “I don’t know how the hell you’re even standing ,” and that was when the sergeant told me that if they bottled everything that was wrong with me “we could take over the world without a shot.”

“I had decided that I wanted to earn my living as a writer and the only place in Waterbury where they paid you for writing was at the local newspaper. My opportunity came when the paper had an opening for a night janitor. Opportunities are easy to miss, because they don’t always show  in their best clothes. Sometimes opportunities look like beggars in rags. After an eight-hour shift in the shop tossing thirty-pound crates I hustled  to the newspaper building and cleaned toilets, with a vague plan that it would somehow lead to a reporter’s .”


“One Friday afternoon at the close of the working day the idiot bosses in their fucking ties and suit coats came  and handed out pink slips to every other person on the floor. I got one. They were firing us. Then they turned and, without a word, went back to their offices. Corporate pricks.”


“There is a sense of danger in leaving what you know, even if what you know isn’t much. These mill towns with their narrow lanes and often narrow minds were all I really knew and I feared that if I left it behind, I would lose it and not find anything to replace it. The other reason I didn’t want to go was because I wanted to be the kind of person who stays, who builds a stable and predictable life. But I wasn’t one of the people, nor would I ever be.
I had a vision for my life. It wasn’t clear, but it was beautiful and involved leaving my history and my poverty behind me. I wasn’t happy about who I was or where I was, but I didn’t worry about it. It didn’t define me. We’re always in the making. God always has us on his anvil, melting, bending and shaping us for another purpose.
It was time to change, to find a new purpose.”


“I was tired of fighting the windstorm I was tossed into, and instead I would let go and ride with the winds of change. How bad could it be, compared to the life I knew? I was living life as if it were a rehearsal for the real thing. Another beginning might be rough at first, but any place worth getting to is going to have some problems. I wanted the good life, the life well lived, and you can’t buy that or marry into it. It’s there to be found, and it can be taken by those who want it and have the resolve to make it happen for themselves.”


“Imagine being beaten  every day for something you didn’t do and yet, when it’s over, you keep on smiling. That’s what every day of Donald’s life was like. His death was a small death. No one mourned his passing; they merely agreed it was for the best that he be forgotten as quickly as possible, since his was a life misspent.”


“Then there are all of those children, the ones who aren’t resilient. The ones who slowly, quietly die. I think the difference is that the kids who bounce back learn to bear a little bit more than they thought they could, and they soon understand that the secret to surviving foster care is to accept finite disappointments while never losing infinite hope. I think that was how Donald survived as long as he did, by never losing his faith in the wish that tomorrow would be better. But as time went by, day after day, the tomorrows never got better; they got worse, and he simply gave . In the way he saw the world, pain was inevitable, but no one ever explained to him that suffering was optional.”


“In foster care it’s easier to measure what you’ve lost over what you have gained, because it there aren’t many gains in that life and you are a prisoner to someone else’s plans for your life.”


“I developed an interest in major league baseball and the 1960s were, as far as I’m concerned (with a nod to the Babe Ruth era of the 1920s), the Golden Age of Baseball. Like most people in the valley, I was a diehard Yankees fan and, in a pinch, a Mets fan. They were New York teams, and most New Englanders rooted for the Boston Red Sox, but our end of Connecticut was geographically and culturally closer to New York than Boston, and that’s where our loyalties went.
And what was not to love? The Yankees ruled the earth in those days. The great Roger Maris set one Major League record after another and even he was almost always one hit shy of Mickey Mantle, God on High of the Green Diamond.”

“For the first time in my life, I was eating well and from plates—glass plates, no less, not out of the frying pan because somebody lost all the plates in the last move. Now when we ate, we sat at a fine round oak table in sturdy chairs that matched. No one rushed through the meal or argued over who got the biggest portion, and we ate three times a day.”


 “The single greatest influence in our lives was the church. The Catholic Church in the 1960s differs from what it is today, especially in the Naugatuck Valley, in those days an overwhelmingly conservative Catholic place.
I was part of what might have been the last generation of American Catholic children who completely and unquestioningly accepted the sernatural as real. Miracles happened. Virgin birth and transubstantiation made perfect sense. Mere humans did in fact, become saints. There was a Holy Ghost. Guardian angels walked beside us and our patron saints really did put in a good word for us every now and then.”


“Henry read it and said, “A story has to have three things. They are a beginning, a middle and an end. They don’t have to be in that order. You can start a story at the end or end it in the middle. There are no rules on that except where you, the author, decide to put all three parts. Your story has a beginning and an end. But it’s good. Go put in a middle and bring it back to me.”
I went away encouraged, rewrote the story and returned it to him two days later. Again he looked it over and said, “It’s a good story but it lacks a bullet-between-the-eyes opening. Your stories should always have a knock-’em-dead opening.” Then, looking with exaggerated suspicion around the crime-prone denizens of the room with an exaggerated suspicion, he said loudly, “I don’t mean that literally.”


“A few days after I began my short story, I returned to his desk and handed him my dates. He pushed his wire-rimmed reading glasses way  on his nose and focused on the two pages. “Okay, you got a beginning; you got yourself a middle and an end. You got a wing-dinger opening line. But you don’t have an establishing paragraph. Do you know what that is?”
He didn’t wait for me to answer.
“It’s kinda like an outdated road map for the reader,” he said. “It gives the reader a general idea of where you’re taking him, but doesn’t tell him exactly how you intend to get there, which is all he needs to know.”

“I don’t know’,” he said. “Those three words from a willing soul are the start of a grand and magnificent voyage.” And with that he began a discourse that lasted for several weeks, covering scene-setting, establishing conflict, plot twists, and first- and third-person narration. [ I learned in these rapid-fire mini-dissertations that like most literature lovers I would come to know, Henry was a book snob. He assumed that if a current author was popular and widely enjoyed, then he or she had no merit. He made a few exceptions, such as Kurt Vonnegut, although that was mostly because Vonnegut lived on Cape Cod and so he probably had some merits as a human being, if not as a writer.
I think that the way Henry saw it was that he was not being a snob. In fact I would venture that in his view of things, snobbery had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was a matter of standards. It was bout quality in the author’s craftsmanship.”


 “The foundries were vast, dark castles built for efficiency, not comfort. Even in the mild New England summers, when the warm air combined with the stagnant heat from the machines or open flames in the huge melting rooms where the iron was cast, the effects were overwhelming. The heat came in unrelenting waves and sucked the soul from your body. In the winter, the enormous factories were impossible to heat and frigid New England air reigned sreme in the long halls.
The work was difficult, noisy, mind-numbing, sometimes dangerous and highly regulated. Bathroom and lunch breaks were scheduled  to the second. There was no place to make a private phone call. Company guards, dressed in drab uniforms straight out of a James Cagney prison film [those films were in black and white, notoriously tough, weren’t there to guard company property. They were there to keep an eye on us.
No one entered or the left the building without punching in or out on a clock, because the doors were locked and opened electronically from the main office.”


 “So he sings,” he continued as if Denny had said nothing. “His solo mio, that with her in his life he is rich because she is so beautiful that she makes the sun more beautiful, you understand?” And at that he dropped the hoe, closed his eyes and spread out his arms wide and with the fading sun shining on his handsome face he sang:
Che bella cosa è na jurnata 'e sole
n'aria serena doppo na tempesta!
Pe' ll'aria fresca pare già na festa
Che bella cosa e' na jurnata 'e sole
Ma n'atu sole,
cchiù bello, oi ne'
'O sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
'O sole, 'o sole mio
sta 'nfronte a te!
sta 'nfronte a te!
It looked like fun. We dropped our tools and joined him, belting out something that sounded remarkably like Napolitano. We sang as loud as we could, holding on to each note as long as we could before we ran out of breath, and then we sang again, occasionally dropping to one knee, holding our hands over our hearts with exaggerated looks of deep pain. Although we made the words , we sang with the deepest passion, with the best that we had, with all of our hearts, and that made us artists, great artists, for in that song, we had made all that art is: the creation of something from nothing, fashioned with all of the soul, born from joy.
And as that beautiful summer sun set over Waterbury, the Brass City, the City of Churches, our voices floated above the wonderful aromas of the garden, across the red sky and joined the spirits in eternity.”


“It didn’t last long. Not many good things in a foster kid’s life last long. One day, Maura was gone. Her few things were packed in paper bags and a tearful Miss Louisa carried her out to Miss Hanrahan’s black state-owned Ford sedan with the state emblem on the door, and she was gone. The state had found a foster home that would take a little girl but couldn’t take the rest of us. There were no long goodbyes. She was just gone. I remember having an enormous sense of helplessness when they took her. Maura didn’t know where she were going or long she would be there. She was just gone”


“After another second had passed I added, “But you’re pretty, pretty,” and as soon as I said it I thought, “Pretty, pretty? John, you’re an idiot.” But she squeezed my hand and when I looked at her I saw her entire lovely face was aglow with a wonderful smile, the kind of smile you get when you have won something.
“Why do you rub your fingers together all the time?” she asked me, and I felt the breath leave my body and gasped for air. She had seen me do my crazy finger thing, my affliction. I clenched my teeth while I searched for a long, exaggerated lie to tell her about why I did what I did. I didn’t want to be the crazy kid with tics, I wanted to be James Bond 007, so slick ice avoided me.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I bite my nails, see?” and she showed me the backs of her hands. Her finger nails were painted a color I later learned was puce.
“My Dad, he blinks all the time, he doesn’t know why either,” she continued. She looked  her feet and said, “I shouldn’t have asked you that. I’m really nervous and I say stid things when I’m nervous. I’m a girl and this is my first date, and for girls this really is a very big deal.”
I understood completely. I was so nervous I couldn’t feel my toes, so I started moving them  and  to make sure they were still there.
“It’s all right,” I said. “I don’t know why I do that with my fingers; it’s a thing I do.”
“Well, you’re really cute when you do it,” she said.
“I know,” I said, and I don’t know why I said it, but I did.”


“So began my love affair with books. Years later, as a college student, I remember having a choice between a few slices of pizza that would have held me over for a day or a copy of On the Road. I bought the book. I would have forgotten what the pizza tasted like, but I still remember Kerouac.
The world was mine for the reading. I traveled with my books. I was there on a tramp steamer in the North Atlantic with the Hardy Boys, piecing together an unsolvable crime. I rode into the Valley of Death with the six hundred and I stood at the graves of Uncas and Cora and listened to the mournful song of the Lenni Linape. Although I braved a frozen death at Valley Forge and felt the spin of a hundred bullets at Shiloh, I was never afraid. I was there as much as you are where you are, right this second. I smelled the gunsmoke and tasted the frost. And it was good to be there. No one could harm me there. No one could punch me, slap me, call me stid, or pretend I wasn’t in the room. The other kids raced through books so they could get the completion stamp on their library card. I didn’t care about that stid completion stamp. I didn’t want to race through books. I wanted books to walk slowly through me, stop, and touch my brain and my memory. If a book couldn’t do that, it probably wasn’t a very good book. Besides, it isn’t how much you read, it’s what you read.
What I learned from books, from young Ben Franklin’s anger at his brother to Anne Frank’s longing for the way her life used to be, was that I wasn’t alone in my pain. All that caused me such anguish affected others, too, and that connected me to them and that connected me to my books. I loved everything about books. I loved that odd sensation of turning the final page, realizing the story had ended, and feeling that I was saying a last goodbye to a new friend.”


“I had developed a very complicated and little-understood disorder called misophonia, which means “hatred of sound.” Certain sounds act as triggers that turn me from a Teddy bear into an agitated grizzly bear. People with misophonia are annoyed, sometimes to the point of rage, by ordinary sounds such as people eating, breathing, sniffing, or coughing, certain consonants, or repetitive sounds. Those triggers, and there are dozens of them, set off anxiety and avoidant behaviors.
What is a mild irritation for most people -- the person who keeps sniffling, a buzzing fly in a closed room—those are major irritants to people with misophonia because we have virtually no ability to ignore those sounds, and life can be a near constant bombardment of noises that bother us. I figured out that the best way to cope was to avoid the triggers. So I turned off the television at certain sounds and avoided loud people. All of these things gave me a reputation as a high-strung, moody and difficult child. I knew my overreactions weren’t normal. My playmates knew it”


“Sometimes in the midst of our darkest moments it’s easy to forget that it’s  to us to turn on the light, but that’s what I did. I switched on the light, the light of cognizance.”


 “I don’t know what I would have done if they had hugged me. I probably would have frozen in place, become stiff. It took most of my life to overcome my distaste for physical contact and not to stiffen when I was touched, or flinch, twitch, fidget, and eventually figure out how to move away. I learned to accept being hugged by my children when they were infants. Their joy at seeing me enter a room was real and filled with true love and affection and it showed in their embraces. Like a convert, when I learned the joy and comfort of being hugged by and hugging those I loved, I became a regular practitioner.”


“Most people don’t understand how mighty the power of touch is, how mighty a kind word can be, how important a listening ear is, or how giving an honest compliment can move the child who has not known those things, only watched them from afar. As insignificant as they can be, they have the power to change a life.”

 “They were no better than common thieves. They stole our childhood. But even with that, I was heartbroken that I would not know the Wozniaks anymore, the only people who came close to being parents to me. I would be conscious of their absence for the rest of my life. I needed them. You know, if you think about it, we all need each other. But even with all of the evidence against the Wozniaks, I had conflicted emotions about them, then and now. They were the closest I had to a real family and real parents.
But now I was bankrt of any feelings at all towards them at all.
I felt then, and feel now, a great sense of loss. I felt as if I were burying them. when I never really had them to lose in the first place. Disillusioned is probably a better word. In fact the very definition of disillusionment is a sense of loss for something you never had. When you are disillusioned and disappointed enough times, you shoping. That’s what happens to many foster kids. We become loners, not because we enjoy the solitude, but because we let people into our lives and they disappoint us. So we close  and travel alone. Even in a crowd, we’re alone.
Because I survived, I was one of the lucky ones. Why is it so hard to articulate love, yet so easy to express disappointment?”


“My first and lasting impression of the Connecticut River Valley is its serene beauty, especially in the autumn months. Deep River was a near picture-perfect New England village. When I arrived there, the town was a typical working-class place, nothing like the trendy per-income enclave it became. The town center had a cluster of shops, a movie theater open only on weekends, several white-steepled churches (none of them Catholic), the town hall, and a Victorian library. It was small, even by Ansonia standards.”


 “While I may not have been a bastion of good mental health, many of these boys were on their way to becoming crazier than they already were. Most couldn’t relate to other people socially at all, because they only dealt inappropriately with other people or didn’t respond to overtures of friendship or even engage in basic conversations.
Some became too familiar with you too fast, following their new, latest friend everywhere, including the showers, insisting on giving you items that were dear to them and sharing everything else. They also had the awful habit of touching other people, putting their hands on you as a sign of affection or friendship, and for people like myself, with my affliction and disdain for being touched unless I wanted to be touched, these guys were a nightmare. It was often difficult to get word in edgewise with these kids, and when I did, they interrted me—not in some obnoxious way, but because they wanted to be included in every single aspect of everything you did.
The other ones, the stone-cold silent ones, reacted with deep suspicion toward even the slightest attempt to befriend them or the smallest show of kindness. If you touched some of these children, even accidentally, they would warn you to back away. They didn’t care what others thought of them or anything else, and almost all their talk concerned punching and hurting and maiming.
I noticed that most of these kids, the ones who were truly damaged, were eventually filtered out of St. John’s to who knows where. Institutions have a way of protecting themselves from future problems.”


“Jesus,” I prayed silently, “please fix it so that my turn to read won’t come around.”
And then the nun called my name, but before I stood I thought, “I’ll bet you think this is funny, huh, Jesus?”
I stood and stared at the sentence assigned to me and believed that, through some miracle, I would suddenly be able to read it and not be humiliated. I stood there and stared at it until the children started giggling and snickering and Sister told me to sit.”


 “My affliction decided to join us, forcing me to push my toes on the floor as though I were trying to eject myself from the chair. I prayed she didn’t notice what the affliction was making me do. I half expected to be eaten alive or murdered and buried out back in the school yard.
“I’m not afraid of you, ya know,” I said, although I was terrified of her. The words hurt her, but that wasn’t my intent. She turned her face and looked out the window into North Cliff Street. She knew what her face and twisted body looked like, and she probably knew what the kids said about her. It was probably an open wound for her and I had just tossed salt into it.
I was instantly ashamed of what I done and tried to correct myself. I didn’t mean to be hurtful, because I knew what it was like to be ridiculed for something that was beyond one’s control, such as my affliction, and how it made me afraid to touch the chalk because the feel of chalk to people like me is overwhelming. If I had to write on the blackboard, I held the chalk with the cuff of my shirt and the class laughed.
“You look good in a nun’s suit,” I said. It was a stid thing to say, but I meant well by it. She looked  at the black robe as if she were seeing it for the first time.”


“Jews were a frequent topic of conversation with all of the Wozniaks, which was surprising, since none of them had any contact at all with anything even remotely Jewish.
While watching television, Walter would point out who was and who was not Jewish and Helen’s frequent comment when watching the television news was, “And won’t the Jews be happy about that!” To bargain with a merchant for a lower price was to “Jew him ,” and that sort of thing.
Walter’s mother and father were far worse. They despised the Jews and blamed them for everything from the start of World War I to the Kennedy assassination to the rising price of beef.
I didn’t pay much heed to any of this. It wasn’t my problem, and if I were to think through all the ethnic, racial and religious barbs the Wozniaks threw out in the course of a week, I’d think about nothing else.
After being told about a part of my mother’s heritage, the Wozniaks began their verbal and cultural assault against us. As odd as it sounds, they might not always have intended to be mean.”


“Explaining the Jews in a Catholic school when you’re Irish is like having to explain your country’s foreign policy while on a vacation in France. You don’t know what you’re talking about and no matter what you say, they’re not going to like it anyway.”


 “You could read the story of his entire life on his face in one glance.”


 “As interesting as that was, it didn’t inspire me. What did was that here was a Jew who was tough with his fists, a Jew who fought back. The only Jews I had ever heard of surrendered or were beaten by the Romans, the Egyptians, or the Nazis. You name it, it seemed like everyone on earth at some point had taken their turn slapping the Jews around. But not Benny Leonard. I figured you’d have to kill Benny Leonard before he surrendered.”


“One afternoon Walter brought Izzy to the house for lunch and, pointing to me, he said to Izzy, “He’s one of your tribe.”
Dobkins lifted his head to look at me and after a few seconds said, “I don’t see it.”
“The mother’s a Jew,” Walter answered, as if he were describing the breeding of a mongrel dog.
“Then you are a Jew,” Izzy said, and sort of blessed me with his salami sandwich.”


“Sometimes a man must stand for what is right and sometimes you must simply walk away and suffer the babblings of weak-minded fools or try to change their minds. It’s like teachin’ a pig to sing. It is a waste of your time and it annoys the pig.”


 “Father, I can’t take this,” I said.
“Why not?”
“Because you’re a priest, Father.”
“And my money’s no good because of it? What are you? A member of the Masonic Lodge?”
“Naw, Father,” I said. “I just feel guilty taking money from you.”
“Well, you’re Irish and Jewish. You have to feel guilty over somethin’, don’t ya? Take the money and be happy ye have it.”
― John William Tuohy, No time to say goodbye: memoirs of a life n foster care


 “I caddied—more accurately, I drove the golf cart—for Father O’Leary and his friends throughout most of the summer of that year. I was a good caddie because I saw nothing when they passed the bottle of whiskey and turned a deaf ear to yet another colorful reinvention of the words “motherless son of a bitch from hell” when the golf ball betrayed them.”


“Weeks turned into months and a year passed, but I didn’t miss my parents. I missed the memory of them. I assumed that part of my life was over. I didn’t understand that I was required to have an attachment to them, to these people I barely knew. Rather, it was my understanding that I was sposed to switch my attachment to my foster parents. So I acted on that notion and no one corrected me, so I assumed that what I was doing was good and healthy.”


“I felt empty a lot and I sometimes had a sense—and I know this sounds strange—that I really had no existence as my own person, that I could disappear and no one would notice or remember that I had ever existed. It is a terrifying thing to live with. I kept myself busy to avoid that feeling, because somehow being busy made me feel less empty.”


“Denny thought our parents needed a combination of material goods and temperamental changes before he could return home.
“If Dad buys Ma a car, then she’ll love him, and they’ll get back together and she won’t be all crazy anymore,” he said. For years he held out the possibility that those things would happen and all would change. “If we had more things, like stoves and cars,” he told me at night in our bedroom, “and Ma wasn’t like she is, we could go home.”


 “Because we were raised in a bigoted and hate-filled home, we simply assumed that calling someone a “cheap Jew” or saying someone “Jewed him ” were perfectly acceptable ways to communicate. Or at least we did until the day came when I called one of the cousins, a Neanderthal DeRosa boy, “a little Jew,” and he told me he wasn’t the Jew, that I was the Jew, and he even got Helen and Nana to confirm it for him.
It came as a shock to me to find out we were a part of this obviously terrible tribe of skinflint, trouble-making, double-dealing, shrewdly smart desert people. When Denny found out, he was crestfallen because he had assumed that being Jewish meant, according to what his former foster family the Skodiens had taught him, a life behind a desk crunching numbers. “And I hate math,” he said, shaking his head.
So here we were, accused Jews living in a hotbed of anti-Semitism. Not a good situation. Walter’s father was the worst. Learning about our few drops of Jewish blood seemed to ignite a special, long-held hatred in him. He became vile over nothing, finding any excuse to deride the Jews in front of us until Helen made him stop. We didn’t know what to make of it, except to write it off as another case of Wozniak-inspired insanity, but as young as we were, we could tell that at some point in his life he had crossed swords with a Jew someplace and came out on the losing end and we were going to pay for it. But because we really didn’t feel ourselves to be Jews, it didn’t sink in that he intended to hurt us with his crazy tirades. As I said, it’s hard to insult somebody when they don’t understand the insult, and it’s equally hard to insult them when they out and out refuse to be insulted.
Word got around quickly.”


“I hit him for every single thing that was wrong in my life and kicked him in a fierce fury of madness as he sobbed and covered his face and screamed. I hit him because Walter hit me and I hit him because I hated my life and I hit him because I just wanted to go home and I hit him because I didn’t know where home was.”

 “I also told him about the dramatic, vivid verbal picture of God that the nuns drew for us—an enormous, slightly dangerous and very touchy guy with white hair and a long white beard.
“It’s all the talk of feeble minds,” he whispered to me in confidence. “Those nuns know as much about prayer as they do about sex. Listen to me, now. God is everywhere and alive in everything, while them nuns figured God is as good as dead, a recluse in a permanently bad mood. Well, I refuse to believe that to my God, my maker and creator, my life is little more than a dice game.” He stopped and turned and looked at me and said, “Never believe that a life full of sin puts you on a direct route to hell. Even if you only know a little bit about God, you learn pretty quick that he’s big on U-turns, dead stops and starting over again.”
As each day passes and my memories of Father O’Leary and Sister Emmarentia fade, and I can no longer recall their faces or the sounds of their voices as clearly as I could a decade ago, what remains, clear and uncluttered, are the lessons I took from them.”


 “Eventually, many years later, I came to see him the way everyone else saw him—a nice guy who, despite all the damage he did to us, wasn’t a bad man, not inherently bad, anyway. He just wasn’t very bright, and was in over his head on almost every level of life. He was capable of only so much and not a drop more, and because he seemed so harmless and lost, people not only liked him, they protected him.
My mother, despite her poverty, left the opposite impression. She left no doubt that she was psychologically tough and mentally sharp, and because of that the Wozniaks disliked her.
And that was another difference between my mother and father. My father was a whiner, a complainer, a perpetually unhappy man unable to comprehend the simple fact that sometimes life is unfair. My mother never complained, and yet her poverty-stricken life was miserable. She never carried on about the early death of her raging alcoholic mother, or the father who raped her, or of a diet dictated by the restrictions of food stamps.”

In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.


John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."

His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.

His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.

Contact John:

From Professor William Anthony Connolly:

This incredible memoir, No Time to Say Goodbye, tells of entertaining angels, dancing with devils, and of the abandoned children many viewed simply as raining manna from some lesser god.
The young and unfortunate lives of the Tuohy bruins—sometimes Irish, sometimes Jewish, often Catholic, rambunctious, but all imbued with Lion’s hearts— is told here with brutal honesty leavened with humor and laudable introspective forgiveness.
The memoir will have you falling to your knees thanking that benevolent Irish cop in the sky, your lucky stars, or hugging the oxygen out of your own kids the fate foisted upon Johnny and his siblings does not and did not befall your own brood.
 John William Tuohy, a nationally-recognized authority on organized crime and Irish levity, is your trusted guide through the weeds the decades of neglect ensnared he and his brothers and sisters, all suffering for the impersonal and often mercenary taint of the foster care system.
Theirs, and Tuohy’s, story is not at all figures of speech as this review might suggest, but all too real and all too sad, and maddening. I wanted to scream. I wanted to get into a time machine, go back and adopt every last one of them. I was angry. I was captivated.
The requisite damning verities of foster care are all here, regretfully, but what sets this story above others is its beating heart, even a bruised and broken one, still willing to forgive and understand, and continue to aid its walking wounded. I cannot recommend this book enough

Skeptics and supernatural believers

Belief was a positive development for the evolution of our species, and we haven’t evolved beyond it. According to a May Gallup poll, 86 percent of Americans believe in God. The question now becomes: Why doesn’t everyone believe in God?

Many researchers have asked this same question. Some studies suggest that a skeptical brain works differently than a believing brain.  One example is a 2012 study titled “Is it Just a Brick Wall or a Sign From the Universe: An fMRI Study of Supernatural Believers and Skeptics.” In this experiment, the participants’ brain activity was monitored while they read a scenario, then looked at a picture. They were asked what thoughts that image would evoke if they were in that scenario, then saw that picture on a poster as they were walking down the street.
For example, imagine you just had a job interview. You walk down the street, and see a poster of a business suit. How would that make you feel? What does that poster mean? The supernaturally inclined were more likely to see it as a meaningful omen, a sign that they would get the job. The skeptics in the group did not see any significance in the image.
The researchers found that one region of the brain (the right inferior frontal gyrus) “was activated more strongly in skeptics than in supernatural believers.” The more active that part of the brain, the less likely participants were to find supernatural meaning in the images. The researchers think this is because the active region of the brain is associated with cognitive inhibition.

Cognitive inhibition is the mind’s ability to stop or override a certain mental process — the ability to stop unwanted thoughts, for example, or to weed out irrelevant information. One example of where cognitive inhibition is useful is in overcoming prejudice. If people want to avoid discriminating, they need to inhibit or suppress any negative stereotypes they might have toward a certain group of people.

Sculpture created with the charred remains of a predominantly African-American church.

14 Ways Positive People Separate Themselves From Negative Energy

Communication Motivation by Oskar Nowik

Negative energy can be found almost everywhere. There are people complaining about life constantly, practicing bad habits and bringing you down. The emotions they spread influence your thoughts and actions in a bad way so avoiding the sources of negative energy is obligatory if you want to be more successful. Everyone can be easily affected by negative emotions and the only exceptions are people who learned how to deal with it. These 14 Ways will show you how positive people handle negativity so you can apply it to your life.

1. They create happiness from within.
Happy people don’t base their happiness on external stimulations. They realize once the stimulant is gone, their mood would be ruined. Instead, they look for internal sources of positive energy and practice mindfulness.

2. They practice positive thinking.
Thoughts influence your actions, so, if you think negatively, there’s no bright future ahead of you. Positive people don’t believe in the excuses their minds come up with. Through positive affirmations and finding the good side of any problem, they make sure they are mentally set up for success.

3. They look for reasons to believe in themselves.
“Never let the negativity get to you. There are gonna be a lot of people you have to plow through, but as long you believe in yourself, that’s all that matters.” – Becky G.
There are endless reasons to believe in yourself even if you feel completely helpless and worthless. These negative thoughts are temporary obstacles and most of the time, they are made-up.

4. They cut off negative people.
Your surroundings have a tremendous impact on yourself. If you spend time with positive people, you are more likely to be happy and content. On the other hand, if you are too close to naysayers and complainers, you will have a hard time removing the negativity from your life.

5. They train regularly.
Physical training is associated with releasing endorphins which are responsible for “feeling good.” Treating your body the right way pays off and results in reduced stress and boosted happiness. On the other hand, if you ignore your body’s needs, it will let you experience the negative consequences soon enough.

6. They spend time in the nature.
Being in the nature clears your mind and relaxes your body. Positive people dedicate a part of their day to get outside and admire the beauty of our planet. It’s a great way to load your batteries!

7. They avoid impulsive spending.
Nowadays, extra deals and sales fight for your attention, so it’s easy to end up lost in the buying mode. Whereas excessive buying may make you feel better instantly, from a long-term perspective, it’s an unhealthy habit positive people avoid at all costs. They would rather invest in experiences to discover the world and create some great memories.

8. They accept failure.
Positive people embrace failure as they realize it’s the only way to learn and grow. Whenever they collapse, they work hard to get at the top again instead of giving up. Even though a failure brings negative emotions, they comprehend these are brief and will fade away quickly. To accelerate the process, they keep thinking positively.

9. They take full responsibility.
Positive people always give themselves the responsibility for what happens in their lives. Whether it’s a success or failure, it’s always an effect of their actions and thoughts. A positive person will never blame external factors and focus on things within the reach that could be improved. By doing that, they pursue being better and experience constant progress instead of getting frustrated by things out of their control.

10. They learn to control their thoughts.
A mind can be easily brought out of control by sudden negative thoughts. Positive individuals know if they don’t control their thoughts, they will lose control over their actions and behaviors. For this reason, they practice mind control, for example through meditation.

11. They devote some time to relax.
Instead of trying to be perfect, positive people realize sometimes you need to slow down, make your goals and ambitions secondary and simply loosen up. By doing this, they avoid burning out which would cause unnecessary negative energy.
In a nutshell, they take a step back to move further the next day.

12. They believe there’s always a solution.
Sometimes, life hits you hopelessly hard. At these moments, you tend to doubt your abilities to solve the current problem. The fact is, there’s always a way to overcome an obstacle and positive people keep that in mind. Even if they reach rock bottom, they believe it happens so they can get to the top even stronger.

13. They know when to say no.
The value of saying ‘no’ and ‘yes’ at the right moment is priceless. Opposed to misconceptions, these two words have an immense power and how you use them dictates what happens in your life. Positive people focus on their priorities instead pleasing others. That’s why they know there are many things you don’t need to say yes to.

14. They don’t look for anyone’s approval.
If you let others’ opinions paralyze you, you will have a hard time feeling good and happy. Many people are afraid of not getting validation and being criticized. Positive individuals think and act quite the opposite. They use disapproval as an indicator of being authentic and true. The fact is, there are countless things you don’t need anyone’s approval for though you think you do.

"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”


Compiled by

John William Tuohy

Medically Mispoken

"Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year."

"On the 2nd day the knee was better and on the 3rd day it disappeared completely."

"The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1993."

"Discharge status: Alive but without permission."

"Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful."

"The patient refused an autopsy."

"The patient has no past history of suicides."

"Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital."

"Patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days."

"Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch."

"She has had no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night."

"She is numb from her toes down."

"While in the ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home."

"The skin was moist and dry."

"Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches."

"Patient was alert and unresponsive."

"She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce."

"I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy."

"The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as a stockbroker instead."

"Patient has two teenage children but no other abnormalities."

"Skin: Somewhat pale but present."

"Patient was seen in consultation by Dr. Blank, who felt we should sit on the abdomen, and I agree."

"By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart stopped, and he was feeling better."

"The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed."

"When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room."

"Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing."

"The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. Blank to dispose of him."

"The patient expired on the floor uneventfully."

The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.

The baby was delivered, the cord clamped and cut, and handed to the pediatrician, who breathed and cried immediately.

Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life until 1989 when she got a divorce.

The patient was in his usual state of good health until his airplane ran out of gas and crashed.

Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid. (Long fingers?)

Between you and me, we ought to be able to get this lady pregnant.

A midsystolic ejaculation murmur heard over the mitral area.

The patient lives at home with his mother, father, and pet turtle, who is presently enrolled in day care three times a week.

Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.

She is numb from her toes down.

Exam of genitalia was completely negative except for the right foot.

The patient was to have a bowel resection. However, he took a job as stockbroker instead.

When she fainted, her eyes rolled around the room.

Examination reveals a well-developed male lying in bed with his family in no distress.

She has no rigors or chills but her husband says she was very hot in bed last night.

She can't get pregnant with her husband, so I will work her up.

Whilst in Casualty she was examined, X-rated and sent home.

The patient states there is a burning pain in his penis which goes to his feet.

On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.

The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1983.

I will be happy to go into her GI system, she seems ready and anxious.

Patient was released to outpatient department without dressing.

I have suggested that he loosen his pants before standing, and then, when he stands with the help of his wife, they should fall to the floor.

The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

The patient will need disposition, and therefore we will get Dr. Blank to dispose of him.

Healthy-appearing, decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

The patient has no past history of suicides.

The patient expired on the floor uneventfully.

Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.

Patient was becoming more demented with urinary frequency.

The patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions in early December.

The patient experienced sudden onset of severe shortness of breath with a picture of acute pulmonary oedema at home while having sex which gradually deteriorated in the emergency room.

Patient has chest pains if she lies on her left side for over a year.

He had a left-toe amputation one month ago. He also had a left-knee amputation last year.

By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling much better.

The patient is a 79-year-old widow who no longer lives with her husband.

The patient refused an autopsy.

Many years ago the patient had frostbite of the right shoe.

The patient left the hospital feeling much better except for her original complaints.

Emergency Room Patients' Sign-In Complaints

"Sore trout."




Architecture for the blog of it

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The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)

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Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)

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On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film

Absolutely blogalicious

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Aging out of the system

Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system

Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System

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Whatever you do, don't laugh

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We Only Kill Each Other

Early Gangsters of New York City

Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man

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Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland

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The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)

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The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)

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