Growing up in St. Albans, Queens watching kids from neighboring Hollis become Big Star’s with the music we loved. This small, family-oriented nook in a far east corner of Queens was the childhood home for everyone from Russell Simmons to Jam Master Jay to LL Cool J to Ja Rule. All those stars played here, went to school here and, even now, return to visit every so often. The trio Run-DMC — which includes Russell’s brother Joseph — played their first concerts in Hollis Park, starting a sound that would give hip hop its first platinum breakthrough. Daily News, Oct 4, 2010. But with these success examples, beats and music in our heart, we in Queens all set out each to find our own way: for me, in addition to the stick ball games we played on the street, I loved building things like the small wooden remote-control model airplanes I flew every weekend with my Uncle John at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, I also liked word play, reading, writing and knowing the all rules of any games played, better than anyone else, and winning the rule arguments when others disagreed. I also liked science and working with numbers. Oh yeah, I l…o…v…e…d “MATH.”
With a passion for both math and word play, what did I view my path forward? Well, in school I studied hard and decided to go to law school that could lead to almost anywhere, with hopes, like many kids, of making a lot of money. I was even fortunate enough to get into Yale Law School, one of the best in the Nation. But law study still left something missing in this boy from New York. I missed the model airplane building fun, and the teammates I played with on the streets of the City all dreaming some day to make it big, and sharing the joy with each other as we struggled together to succeed. So in addition to my law work, I started to tinker with computers, which were then just introduced by Radio Shack and Apple. Robotics became my side hobby, whenever I could find the time and scrape up some coin for spare parts to build components I could.
I also was able to steal time away from my law studies to work in the streets of New Haven to build relations with the town community on projects promoting all sorts of youth advancement and achievement. This effort continued throughout my many years of law practice in Hartford. founded a scholarship fund, worked on field games for kids left at home in the projects during the long summer days with no planned activity or achievement challenges to take on and do. I also formed the BClub which rewarded store discounts to all students achieving a B grade average or better.
All was then going well with all that I enjoyed, but then later on I returned home one evening to find that all my earlier computer work was gone, my apartment building had developed a fire that destroyed everything that I had been building, including the earlier laptops I had used, which still had the old files, and so many records of what I had achieved in computer science in the early days.
It all went up in smoke!