News From Queens

6-20-08 6:20 am

Where to begin? The last time I wrote in my journal was right after the funeral of Joonhong Min, an 8th grader from PS122. I didn’t post that because it seems to personal and tragic, though I should celebrate his life.

Now, today, I’ve got a couple of months worth of recollections to catch up with. On Thursday (or was it Wednesday?) Sunnyside afterschool gave its spring show. Mason was not to be seen in any of the acts (I’m sad that he gave up on breakdancing, who did a hip-hop version of Grease). Lennox’s class did the Mexican hat dance, sang La Cucaracha and sang “I’m moving up.” There was a multi-culti spin to these proceedings when the kindergarteners from other countries came in their native dress. I was particularly moved by the Tibetan costume modified to fit a 6-year-old (it was very authentic and she sweltered in the wool costume twice her size) and the Romanian girl who, with a voice like a bell,sang the Romanian version of some common song about “friends” and “moving up.” (I miss Walter Schell)

Mason’s graduation was yesterday. It was a big deal at PS150, because the school (built in 1930) only goes to 6th grade, so the big kids, most of whom have always attended PS150, are leaving. When you go to the school they are the ones who have a constrained sence of ownership and entitlement because they have been there for half their lives. I say constrained because they are still only 11 or 12, and they really are still kids. The ones who have adopted “adult ways” are avoided by the majority (or at least Mason and the kids he hangs out with).

After graduation Osman’s family had an after party for some of the boys (Boys only I think?). Osman’s dad owns the Turkish Deli on 46th and 43rd ave (best chocolate, Feta, Olive Spread and handballs) which is more like a dominican bodega with Turkish Products. At their house he played “Turkish Hide-and-seek” and ran all around the neighborhood barefoot (if the stories can be believed). When Mason was first invited I was confused because Iw as asked in spanish if Mason could go to this party? I apologized for my “espanol debil” and was re-exlained to in Broken English. While I knew that Hamdi and Osman’s families had owned this deli, I never knew that Osman’s mom was Latina. These boys were part of the Sunnyside afterschool soccer mafia who would play in the concrete park at 43rd and skillman in Turkish jerseys with slightly older Turks as often as possible. Last year, when Mason would leave the house and go to the park by himself, it was with them and Stefan the Romanian boy (Stefan tested into Baccalaureate like Mason, hooray!).

At the party Ali, Osman’s dad, was watching the Turkey game in the EURO CUP 2008, and Mason came home and didn’t tell me the result, other than that he thought “it’s not recorded long enough” (he was right, which told me a lot).  After I watched as much as we had (one playoff period) Mason told me, breathlessly, about how exciting it was to watch the penalty kicks (croation misses, turkish goals, an incredible Turkish save [which is more impressive since their #1 goalie was red-carded in the previous match]).  After a long 6th grade narrative Mason added: “and to watch that in a house with your Turkish friends and their friends and family: priceless!”

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One response to “News From Queens

  1. Pingback: PS150Q Kindergarten « todaysphotograph

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