Timeless sagas and ancient legends, recounted and sung, over the ages, in oral history and traditional poetics, recount extraordinary feats, performed by men of remarkable courage and god-like strength, eternally established as man’s Heroes. Some, relatedly, were physically bigger and fiercer, than usual, like Beowulf or Hercules, other great heroes, more commonplace, like Robin Hood, of Arthurian Legend, or the Biblical, David.
It is our confident expectation that future eras will, in similar fashion, celebrate the heroic exploits, of our protagonist, Elliot Louis Siddleheimer, with deservedly, equal heroic reverence. His moniker, in his Brooklyn neighborhood, was “L Sid,” being somewhat more expeditious than “Elliot Louis Siddleheimer.” His street name, is not to be compared or confused, (as to name, but not as to great valor and heroic exploits,) with the 2nd Century, Castilian General, and Warlord, called, “El Cid.,”). L Sid was born in a City Hospital to parents, anxious for the reason that as an infant, he presented a worrisome appearance, tiny, thin and listless. Future years were destined, however, despite his modest size, to reveal, great, soft spoken, heroism, admirable prowess, and god-like calm under great duress.
You may remember Sid, as the young child, who, (referred to in an earlier note on East New York, Brooklyn) when untimely and embarrassingly, called to lunch, by his Mother, from their fourth floor, tenement window, in the midst of a decisive marble game, who reacted in a swift, courageous and ingenious fashion in order to quickly, return to the game. As previously related, when his mother was out of the room, he stealthily unscrewed the back of the 1940’s radio (those days, covering wires and heated radio tubes) and, quickly and decisively, inserted therein, his (tuna fish, tomato and lettuce, mayonnaise) sandwich. He left the empty plate as apparent evidence of faithful performance, and returned to the marble game, in less than 11 minutes. The backstory on the condition and status of the inside of the radio, is not known; however, it is memorably related, that after such epic, decisive, and courageous action, our modest, understated hero is famously remembered, coolly, to have said, “I hate tuna fish.”
An IRT subway ride cost, in those days, ten cents. A dime, inserted in the slot, mechanically initiated the turning of a revolving wooden turnstile, or a large wooden revolving door, permitting entry. Sid and his buddy, Selwin, were quickly returning from the neighborhood pool, following swimming, each possessing, only, the ten cents required for the train ride home. As they left the public pool, they noticed a lemon ices vendor with a wagon advertising the price, “ten cents.” They looked at each other, woefully, until our hero got the heroic idea of buying one small cup of lemon ices to both share, and taking their chances with the wooden turnstile, at the far end of the train station, which was normally unattended. After sharing the melting and disappointing ices, they now felt desperation and great remorse, having only one time for both of them. Our resourceful hero, put the dime in the slot, told Selwin to mount upon his shoulders, intending thus, to both going through the revolving wooden door. Selwin mounted up on Sid’s shoulders, but his weight was too much for diminutive Sid to sustain him, and the latter jumped off. They tried it the other way, but the revolving door did not budge, and they were both stuck, Sid sitting upon Selwin’s shoulders, both forlorn and stuck, in the locked turnstile. L Sid, undaunted, and, after two unsuccessful attempts, was, heroically, able to raise his body, keeping his hands flat on Selwin’s shoulders, in an attempt to use the strength of his arms to jump off, in a forward direction. He failed in that attempt, however, both boys were caused to fall forward and, luckily, through, hearing the turnstile click. Selwin, unheroically, took some time getting up, but Sid, a natural born hero, jumped up, immediately, stating, apocryphally, in his heroically calm voice, “We should have bought coconut, I hate lemon ices.”
In the era of L Sid, (the 1940’s), in addition to the more recent advent of cars and trucks, there were still extant, horse drawn wagon vendors, for example, milk, fruits and vegetables, old clothes and knife sharpening. These already outdated, but still operating, vendors would tour the Brooklyn streets, hawking their respective wares or services. It was not unusual for Sid and his contemporaries, during playtime to hear an Italian vegetable vendor, sing out, “Watemello!” or see a milk wagon horse knowingly stop, without direction of the driver, at the apartment houses of its customers, or hear the cowbell of the Jewish dealer in old clothes, and his shout, “alte Sachen (trans. “old clothes”).
It was on a Wednesday, after school, at approximately 4:pm, L. Sid, was walking down his block, bouncing a basketball, on his way to meet his friends, Selwin, “Geenzee” (Sherwin) and the Moose (Morris) at the nearest City playground, basketball courts. As he was humming and bouncing his basketball, he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, his Mother’s friend and neighbor, with a stroller containing her toddler, holding her poodle’s leash and speaking, earnestly, to a shopkeeper. The conversation seemed to be a somewhat, serious one, the neighbor complaining about something to the contentious shopkeeper. Sid barely noticed, the altercation, but he did notice a horse drawn wagon, and heard the vendor’s announced proclamation. He dropped his basketball as he saw the little poodle, break free of his mistresses’ grip and run, excitedly, toward the horse, barking angrily. Sid immediately ran and heroically, restrained the excited poodle, possibly preventing its injury from an annoyed horse’s hoof. The neighbor, expressed her heartfelt thanks at the safe return of her poodle, now quieted down. Among his typically terse, modest, and memorable fashion, our hero, L Sid, is reported to have stated, “I hate little dogs.”
Future generations will know and laud, the heroic exploits of our courageous and mild spoken hero, L. Sid, and romantically, recount his courageous deeds, in song and legend, for the ages.