This blog is made up of of many stories, It is about a city that I was born into in February 23, 1944. I work in this city as a landlord, manager, mechanic of many and master of none. These are stories of peoples on their path from somewhere and someplace and moving toward their dreams as we all want to do. Some are and were tenants, some are strangers, some a blur in time and some learning to be real in a real tough but dynamic city. Camden, NJ has held the distinction of being the poorest and highest crime city in the country. I heard that it has, for its size, more warrants for arrest than anywhere else. I even get them on occasion. It is in in some ways J. Conrade’s “Heart of Darkness”. It is also a city of comedy, heart evoking, mean and a sometime distrustful place with acts of murder, confusion, theft, lies and ignorance. Sounds like many places on this planet. Despite this horn of plenty, it is vibrant with love, hope, joy and expectations. Children, spirituality, wonder, nature…and always full of dreams and magic. And it is an opportunity to learn about cooperation with each other. Uncle Gus tells me once in a while that man can do anything in this world except get along with his neighbor. Well he still lives in this city :-). Here I will recount some of the Camden chronicles as I as they happened and happen. John A Gialuco
In a response to my friend Bill Tomaszewski, living in England, a few days before Xmas: You are so right Bill. I had to remember the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence in 6th or 7th grade in current events class. I hope I don’t get memory loss as I grow older… we are led into confusion so much today. I really can feel tears inside. Bill you wouldn’t know but my father, John Sr. had one brother, Louis. Well Louis had three daughters… 2 twins Margie and Laura, and Patti was the third daughter. I found out last night that Margie died of ovarian cancer. I hadn’t seen them for close to 60 years or more. This is what I wrote to her daughter Mary-Lou Profera …
Mary-Lou. I feel a great loss for one of my only cousins who tried to teach me to dance when I was only 8 or so. Margie, Lolly and Patti were untouchable jewels to my little self. They were 3 vivacious balls of energy to my father’s only brother…Uncle Louie. As an only child of my parents, Evelyn & John Gialuco.. the 3 of them were a magical mystery that has always stuck to me since a child. A huge xmas tree and a burning fireplace in a secure living room in Fairview Village where we all grew up. The 3 girls taught me to believe and trust women for the rest of my life. I am very grateful for their love and playfulness which the feminine energy constantly nourishes mankind. I share your loss with all of my heart in this time of your life. You were born into a great family. Love and Loss John
That being said I am really feeling confused and a great loss. Only Patti is left of the 3 girls and her health is not great. I will try to see Patti and Margi’s daughter after the holidays. This has been very moving for me Bill. It throws me back to a time of safety and affection that I have grown out of decades ago. It is almost painful to feel the memory stir my 72 year old ‘John’. It is within my reach but not quite my grasp…. Very, very moving. I just have no idea what I am feeling now. I almost feel a bit crazy. Really.
Thanks for listening Bill.
Lately I can’t imagine life without Amy. We have no children and we feel this. I sense a lot of desperation in a last few days. It is very un-nerving. John
“In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person — Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates — ask them five questions: ‘What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?’ If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.” Anthony Wedgwood Benn, RIP
A Historian on Donald Trump
Thanks to Bill Tomaszewski
Camden is a city, is a metaphor, is a filter, is a fear collector, is a stereotype, is a once upon a time maybe some day, is a nightly news story, is a nightmare, is a dream. The motto of the city of Camden was adopted from a line of a Walt Whitman poem from his Leaves of Grass.“I dream’d in a dream I saw a city invincible.”
In late June 2015 one of my tenant’s friends came by at around 3 am and thru a Molotov cocktail into the back door of one of my homes. He intended to burn my tenant and her 4 year old daughter to death while they were sleeping. Fortunately neither my tenant or her daughter were home. My tenant came up to me, at the end of the day and apologized for the home being destroyed AND then asked me when could she get her security deposit BACK!!! I was speechless.
Many people on the block knew who the arsonist was yet no one knew his name. No one knows anything. I am told that he still drives around the neighborhood…to this day. It has been 6 months since the fire Marshall gave me her 10 page report stating the investigation is still pending! It has bee 6 months since the Camden City police department has yet to responded to my queries about the investigation!
My wife and I have had a face to face meeting with the NJ state senator, in her office, for discussion and assistance…no word as of yet! However she did say that the police department would install a ‘eye in the sky’ camera on a telephone pole in front of my shop building. There use to be one there last year but for some unknown reason the camera was removed in October.
I now know what it must feel like when I see, on TV, some person or family who has had their home destroyed by a drone or and madman who wants to kill the inhabitants. If anyone is interested in buying one charbroiled home please contact me. $50K up in smoke. As they often say in Camden…”Thanks Be to Jesus.” Mr. John