Unsent Letters: November 1979: Dear Carole

  • Saturday / August 25, 2018

Unsent Letters: November 1979: Dear Carole

Was hunting for a letter from an school buddy today. In my search I turned up my “unsent letters” file folder. It consisted of several unsent letter to various friends. Why they were never sent may still be a mystery. But this particular letter was chock full of ancient history tidbits of what seems more like a past-life. A good many of the events “had left the building” I call my mind. But upon rereading the letter, they were brought back to the fore. These events occurred circa November-ish 1979, which would have been my third(?) semester attending CW Post Center of Long Island University as a communications major. I was twenty-two years old, in a four year program, working towards a BA in communications. I wanted to be a DJ or work in Radio or TV … or so I thought at the time.

I was always a “man of letters”. Sometimes nauseatingly long letters. I think Jack Kerouac would have appreciated their —at times— off-the-wall, stream of un-conscious babelogue nature. Many times the artful packaging of the letter was as equally important as the letters themselves. These letters were pre Internet, pre eMail. This particular letter was handwritten on notebook paper. Though after a while many of my later letters were banged out at my trusty typewriter—especially after befriending (a few semesters later) fellow Post student, Geoff Hoover.

This letter was one I had intended to send to my new-ish friend Carole Herscheit. I met Carole at Lucky Leo’s record stand in Seaside Heights, NJ, one evenning with another fellow Post student, Tom Quinlaven, during the beginning of summer 1979. Carole was blasting Springsteen from the soundsystem and the rest was history. A week later I took a job working weekends at Lucky Leo’s too. We became lifelong friends. So why this letter never got out the door will remain a mystery. Hope she doesn’t mind the late delivery.

I’ve added photos to this version of the letter, sheerly for illustration. There were none in the original. Any items in [brackets] are comments on my part during the wwriting of this post, not in the original letter.

Dear Carole,

I’m sorry it took so long to write but I’ve been going crazy with school. A lot of things are happening and I don’t know where to start. School has been a real drag but I’m finally getting my head above water. I’ve been so behind in work in all my classes I decided to get the lead out of my ass and get things finished. This letter is long overdue! Since the last time I talk to you I’ve been doing a lot of work for the A’s. As a matter of fact I’m shooting their next album cover. Richard (the singer for the band) called me last week and told me he had some ideas for the cover that he wanted to kick around with me. We are doing the photos right after they finished the album. That will be sometime in mid January. I’m freaking out!!

A's Fanclub ButtonI just finished coordinating the design for their first “Official” Fan club button, it looks really neat! Their managers are giving me more and more work to do they want to buy copies of my concert photos for their fan club. I stared out with ideas but the final artwork was done by Steven Orant, my friend Dorothy’s brother. Some “A–mazing” things have happened and are happening. I’ve been busy running back and forth to Philly with photos and roughs for the button. I’ve also been busy working on the CW Post concert committee, where I am now the vice president of the. I help the president book groups, put up posters, and other assorted things. At the beginning of the semester we booked da The Tower Theater Philadelphia, PARamones. It was a great show. It was lots of fun running around backstage and talking to this bunch of “cretans”. We just booked David Sancious (ex Springsteen keyboard player) and Larry Coryell. The show will be November 30. If I get a chance, or the opportunity, I want to interview and photograph Sancious for Thunder Road Magazine. I’m working on this! I’ve included a copy of latest Thunder Road Magazine. I would have sent you Springsteen buttons like I said I would but I never had the pictures printed. I haven’t had the money. All my money is invested in more A’s photos.

As a matter of fact the A’s played with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes at the Tower Theater in Philly. The Jukes were great! It was the first time I ever saw the Jukes (with Johnny). They were so dynamic they really impressed me. They came very close to a Springsteen concert, in quality … and for me to say that about the Jukes … they had to be good!
  

 

Talking about good bands, I just saw a lady named Carolyne Mas, and I’m telling you she’s a female Bruce! Her band was so tight. They just added a sax player to round out the sound. The make-up is very close to Bruce’s: sax, keyboards, she plays rhythm, and has a lead player that just blew me away. If you get the chance—see her! She’s really good!! This show was one of the fringe benefits of working on the concert committee. When other schools in the area have a show, we trade tickets with them so those schools can send their people to our shows. One hand washes the other. I’m telling you, I miss you guys so much! What have you and Sue been up to? What’s it like over there? [Holland] Have you seen any shows over there?

My Father's Place - Roslyn - Long Insland - NYI just saw the Police about 2 weeks ago [October2, 1979] at “My Father’s Place“. [Roslyn, Long Island] They were great! I’m going to see them again next week (Nov 29). For three people they really kick ass live! The first time I saw them they played with a band called Fàshiön. They are a fine British white-boy reggae band. Loved them too!

What kind of music are you listening to while you’re there? What are the radio stations like?

I’ve been writing this letter while I’ve been in my “Radio Station Management” class. This class is boring!! While I’m sitting here … there is a band that we booked called “So What!” playing at the Top Of The Commons (the bar that is located on the top floor of the commons building on campus). By all rights I should be there, but last week I cut this class, so I could see the A’s at Emerald City in Cherry Hill (NJ). This class is a once-a-week night class. It’s the pits, but I couldn’t afford to cut it two weeks in a row. The band is a jazz-fusion band. They are really good. They remind me of the Pat Metheney Group. But that’s the price one must pay—I guess.

WCWP Radio StationThere is this girl named Cande sitting next to me and she’s bugging the piss out of me! Excuse me while I write on her face! This class sucks! The guy next to her is strangling himself with Cande’s scarf. This place is a zoo!

[Cande Writes] “And Streeni is the king chimpanzee.”

 

[Cande Writes: in the left margin] “He really likes me though – it’s my next door neighbor that craps out!”[I Answer: in the left margin] Don’t mind her. She’s just delirious. She must have taken mass quantities of drugs!

See I can’t even sit here and write this damn letter without all these clowns:
A: Distracting me.
B: Bothering me.
C: Being a pain in the ass.
D: Being delightful.
E: None of the above
— Choose One —
[Cande Writes] “Choose E it’s the only way to fly!”

Joe Streno @ WCWP Radio Station

I can’t even hold onto my own pen to write.
[Cande Writes] “That’s a lie he made me write these things!”
This is getting out of hand! (no pun intended)
[Cande Writes] “I agree! (no pun intended)”
Sick! I’m at a loss for words. These people are similar to drugs: they fuck you up!
[Cande Writes] “Not true! It’s not the drugs that fuck you up. Should I tell her what it is? Yes. It’s the buttons he makes. He eats them and becomes them! What a fine button.

There is no help for this poor girl. This class is almost over and this turkey is going to give us an assignment because we won’t meet next week. Now Cande wants money from me. When will it ever end? Soon. Very soon! Say good-bye Cande.

[Cande Writes] “Good-bye Cande!”

As you might have guessed the class is over. It’s now 10:30 PM … I’ll continue later.

 

Well … it’s later—much later. It’s about 1:55 AM. I’ve been hanging in the room for the past five minutes debating wether or not to go to bed, but decided to stay up and write a little more. My roommate Tony is “tossing and urning” in his bed. We just got in from “The Top Of The Commons” it’s the bar on top of the community center here at Post. It’s where “So What!” were playing. They are pretty talented musicians. They played all instrumental originals. They sounded like a cross between Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea and Return To Forever. They were a good jazz-fusion band. What I should be doing right now is a script for a ten minute talk show that is due tomorrow, but I’ll do it in the morning. It seems like this whole letter has been about music and concerts. But then again … is there really anything more to life? (joke)

I’m pretty buzzed right now. When I got back from class a bunch of friends stopped over and we smoked mass amounts of illegal and illicit drugs. On to bigger and better things!

Joe @ Post In Leather JacketI’ve hardly been home [New Jersey] since I moved back to Long Island. I miss Seaside. I miss the empty boardwalk. Now that I work as a dishwasher at Renaissance Country Club on the weekends, I’ve hardly enough time to myself. The only thing good about the job: the food is free and I don’t have to worry about eating on the weekends. That saves a few bucks. But it doesn’t make up for the fact that I miss out on the great feeling of inner peace I get when I stand out by the bay at night in the cold crisp air. The place is so quiet and the air is alive with the smell of oak wood burning. I can just see the moonlight dancing on the water. It’s such a beautiful sight to behold. God i love the Jersey shore! I think I’m flipping out! I tell you, it does me good to write to you. I wrote you once before but I never mailed the letter. That letter is still sitting in my desk drawer. One of these days I’ll let you read it. I was very depressed when I wrote it. It will be good for a laugh

My roommate is still tossin’ and turnin’. Maybe it’s all the coke he snorted tonight. You never know with him!

Talking about coke, I wonder what’s keeping me up? My pen forges on! You have a profound effect on my sleeping habits. Amazing! This letter is getting to epic proportions. I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that I’m a communications major communicating with a good receiver?

 

Are we still putting a band together? I haven’t been able to afford The Guitar Study Center yet, but I’ve been practicing as much as I can, which in reality is not much time as I’d like to be spending. But then again I AM at school! And this place S-U-C-K-S!

Have you heard from Bill or anybody else from Seaside? I’m at a loss for words again. Maybe it’s because it’s now 3:00 AM. I think I’ll bail out here for tonight, and I’ll pick up again in Political Science class tomorrow! Good night!

Yawn … Good morning. It’s about 10:35 AM and I just got up about five minutes ago and rean to class. I can’s afford to miss Poli Sci anymore. I’ve already cut this class about ten times … and that’s pretty bad.

I’s pretty cold outside, and the wind is whipping around, and I’m still not use to the cold yet. It’s been months since it’s been warm out, and I’m still not use to the cold. I don’t think I’ll ever get use to it. What’s the weather like over there?

Did you ever send those lyrics to your English professor? I really don’t remember if I did the second side. Tell me if I did or didn’t. If I didn’t I’ll do them and get them in the mail to you.

When will you and Sue leave Holland and tour Europe? Will it be before Christmas? I hope this letter reaches you before you leave.

Last night after class I told you some friends came over. One of them was a girl named Ellen. Ellen is the one who went out and bought tickets to see the Police for the 29th. When she came over she fell in love with some of my A’s shirts and buttons. I ended up paying her in buttons for my ticket. That’s pretty good, and was very unexpected! My button collection is growing unbelievably. I’ve found this import record store called Metro Records that has the best selection of import albums, and really dynamite buttons. Whatever spare money I get is used to buy albums and buttons. Spare money doesn’t come often, and when it does, I go straight to Metro and buy what I can. Sometimes that only means one album, but at least I haven’t stopped buying and adding to my collection. At last count it was up around 900 albums. Last semester I brought ALL my albums to school, but I did not make that mistake this time. I only brought a few hundred.

 

When I get out of class I’ll have to walk over to the bookstore and get an envelope for this letter, and then walk over to the library and write the script that i didn’t do last night. If I’ve learned nothing else this semester, I’ve learned how to procrastinate. Class is over already and I’m in the Library. Wasn’t that quick?

Well … I could carry this letter on for five more pages, but I’ll cut you a break. This is long enough!

Springsteen E Ticketletters - WinterlandFor some reason this thought just popped into my head and I thought you might like to know. I’ve picked up some more Springsteen bootlegs. And they are FINE! Once called “E” Ticket” which almost sounds like a studio album, and another three album set “Winterland 1978”. They are both really great!! Just like you and Sue!!

Well … enough is enough! Please write back soon. I can’t wait to hear from you two! Maybe next time I’ll send a letter on cassette tape. Tell me if you have the means to play it back. Good-bye for now.

Love ya,
Joe
 
 
 
 

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Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rocky & rose & living to tell tales about it

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