Yorkville Twins: Hilarious Adventures Growing Up in New York City, 1944-1962

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9780983933755: Yorkville Twins: Hilarious Adventures Growing Up in New York City, 1944-1962
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If you want to take a trip down memory lane, and/or live the immigrant experience, this book is for you. It's an endearing collection of stories involving immigrants, survival, growing up, coming of age, and learning what it is to be an American. More than a memoir, it's an experience, a love story of family, friends, neighbors, and the Yorkville of yore!
Twin brothers Joseph and John Gindele spent their first 18 years growing up on the rough streets of Yorkville on Manhattan's ethnic Upper East Side over 60 years ago. This is their story--what the city was like then, how it changed, and how two kids from immigrant parents became accomplished Minnesota schoolteachers with earned doctorate degrees. They and their family succeeded in living the American dream. It s an American tale full of adventures and laughs, sweet memories and sad moments. How did their Czech and German parents and siblings--a family of seven--ever survive living with these guys?
Yorkville Twins has numerous themes that will appeal to wide audiences: (1) Rediscovering childhood memories, (2) Immigrants and immigration (past and present) that enabled our nation to grow, (3) Czech and German families and their descendants, (4) Memories of growing up in New York City in the 1940s, 50s and 60s in the colorful ethnic neighborhood of Yorkville, (5) Historical, cultural and social perspective of the past, and (6) Twins/multiples and their special bonds, many having predictive abilities.
This 328-page memoir contains 100+ period photographs/illustrations, richly annotated resources, and a glossary. Two bonus chapters discuss (1) their undergraduate days in the Midwest, as well as (2) things about twins. People tell us they love the book, and laughed so much reading it. The stories, they say, brought back so many fond memories, memories they only thought they had forgotten.
Yorkville Twins reveals surprises of how different, yet really how similar, childhood experiences were for all of us. Growing up on the East coast, West coast or in the Mid-west, stories of our youth are really pretty much the same. Or are they?

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From the Inside Flap:

"Yorkville Twins . . . is a quirky, chuckle-inducing memoir by authors and twins Joe and John Gindele, who grew up in Yorkville on Manhattan's colorful Upper East Side in the 1940's, 50's, and 60's (eventually moving to Minnesota). Over 100 black-and-white photographs pepper this anthology of anecdotes about a first-generation Czech and German family working hard to realize the American dream. From the special bond they shared as twins (punctuated by moments that can only be describe as psychic), to keeping up in public school, putting one's back into part-time work, the lifetime treasure that is family and friends, and much more, Yorkville Twins is a 'you-are-there' memoir sure to evoke nostalgia and warmth. A quintessential true-life American story, Yorkville Twins is highly recommended." --Carl Logan's Bookshelf, The Midwest Book Review "Twins Grow Up In An Exciting, Post-WWII New York City "If there were more books like Yorkville Twins we would have a clearer picture and better understanding of what it was like for the everyday existence of ordinary people living in Manhattan in post-war New York City. Twins Joseph G. Gindele and John F. Gindele, weave funny, touching and poignant stories of growing up in Yorkville on the upper east side of Manhattan from 1944-1962 with their three siblings and immigrant parents."Unlike many New York memoirs written by famous or infamous personages who lay their memories of privileged upbringings or Dickensian struggles in print, the Gindele’s recount the daily experiences of middle class family life in a New York that has now largely vanished. This is the New York of cobblestone paved streets where the milkman and the iceman made deliveries with horse drawn wagons. Pushcarts sold vegetables and kids played with erector and chemistry sets and took the time to cut out the backs of cereal boxes and redeem them in the mail for prizes."John and his brother Joe take turns narrating the chapters and describe their parents humble backgrounds as immigrants from Germany and Czechoslovakia."Their father Otto Gindele Sr. worked his way up from a variety of  jobs such as dishwasher, porter and cook to a long stint as a baker in some of the city’s better bakeries. Their mother Marie did laundry, cleaning and housework in apartments."Otto was so thrifty that for over twenty years he got all of his shoes for free--from friends or relatives who died. If the shoes were a little too large he stuffed cardboard into them to achieve a perfect fit."The Gindele's parents hard work and frugal ways enabled them to have an apartment on East 81st Street just off of First Avenue, when the Yorkville neighborhood, unlike today with its million dollar apartments, was an enclave for many immigrant groups including Germans, Irish, Czechs, Hungarians, Jews and Italians. Each block in Yorkville had its own distinct personality. The twins describe how their own block had a bad reputation and some children would never tread its sidewalks because there were gangs of boys who were “looking for trouble.” The kids on 81st Street would routinely fight their mortal and eternal enemies on 80th Street using broomsticks and metallic garbage can covers as shields, just like Vikings."The Gindele's discuss their loving, but firm upbringing, and give details about a myriad of subjects including school life, the games they played, amusements, traveling and long vacations. They excel at capturing a time fifty to sixty years ago that is not so distant, but we will likely never see again."When the twins were in shop class at Commerce High School the students were asked what they wanted to build. The consensus was gun racks to store and display their weapons because the school had a rifle range in the building! "On hot summer nights children would often cool off by being allowed to sleep on the fire escape. Today child endangerment would be charged against a family if someone spotted a kid sleeping on a fire escape."The buildings the family lived in during the twins childhood one at 410, the other at 420 East 81st Street and the homes of many of their relatives and friends in the neighborhood were generally railroad style apartments with antiquated windows; electric; heat and plumbing facilities. Surprisingly they describe that there were some apartments in the 1940’s and 1950’s that did not have their own toilet, requiring residents to use communal toilets on each floor."The book is peppered with stories of simple pleasures such as doing well in school, playing stickball and building their own radio sets."Filled with photographs and anecdotes Yorkville Twins provides a unique window into a time when New Yorker’s knew their neighbors and every block was filled with its own set of independent stores that catered to a cadre of loyal shoppers."The book takes readers through the Gindele’s college years in Minnesota and concludes with appendixes of relatives and friends, period TV shows, amusements and a list of resources for further reading both online and in print."Joseph and John Gindele have done a fine job telling their stories. They have written a book that has portrayed real events and memories of a time that has passed without slogging through nostalgia."Yorkville Twins is not just a good read for residents of the Yorkville section of Manhattan. The experiences described will probably strike a chord of familiarity for anyone who grew up during the same time period in any of the many distinct neighborhoods in any of the boroughs."--B. P., A not so random collection of observations about things you should care about. Source: Stuff nobody cares about "This funny tender memoir recaptures the essence of a mid-century NYC childhood beautifully. . . . A terrific memoir . . . a good read . . . a wonderful book." --Thomas R. Pryor, author of I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood. [Endorsement on Front Cover of our book. Pryor is a Yorkville memoirist, NY Times contributing writer, born in and current resident of Yorkville. Ten years younger than the twins, he writes about growing up in Yorkville the 1960s. The twins write about growing up in Yorkville in the 1950s.] "I loved your book. It is heart-warming and inspiring—a tribute to your dedication and commitment. The twins have has an interesting life growing up with good family, good values, and hard work." --Raymond W. Scallen, M.D. (twin, married to a twin) "Good, really good. I laughed out loud, which I normally don't do. A treasure—history will be lost without works like this." --Loretta Rohwer, M.S. teacher "Joe and John are survivors. They think and work outside of the box. In doing so, they succeeded and lived the American dream with passion and competitiveness. Their book is refreshing, engaging, and informative, full of exciting relationships, hilarious and entertaining (yet also tragic and sobering). It's highly energized and loaded with hundreds of insightful and inspiring anecdotes. Their fascinating journey teaches us what it was like to be a twin with predictive experiences, growing up with immigrant parents in a family of seven over a half-century ago, in the greatest city on earth. A captivating book with rich annotated resources. Hollywood should make a movie about their lives. Grab hold of your seat and hang on tightly. Here comes trouble." --Richard Maus, author of Lucky One: Making It Past Polio and Despair "The book should have been titled, The Yorkville Twins—Princes of Shenanigans! The book moves at a fast clip like the staccato shots from a B-B gun. It is a series of quick sketches of real life happenings. It's such an interesting and endearing . . . and fun . . . history lesson of New York past. Enjoy this rollicking read." --Peggy Keener, author of Potato in a Rice Bowl "If you are old enough and remember Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, then get set from a blast from your past. Joe and John Gindele will take you through dozens of moments you only thought you’d forgotten. For the younger who never watched Amos 'n' Andy, enjoy a unique lesson in American history. Imagine yourself to be twelve and growing up in the world's largest city. Hold your breath."Who are these guys? Joe and John Gindele are two of the most interesting blokes you are likely to meet. Yorkville Twins recounts their memories of what gave rise to that uniqueness. In it we follow the boys through playgrounds and schoolrooms and family dinners. We meet their Czech and German families and friends who immerse them in colorful childhood escapades. Being twins seems to more than double their memories of precious details of outlandish adventures."Their stories clearly reveal answers to specific questions such as 'Why have Joe and John led such interesting and successful lives?' But they also tackle much larger topics, too, such as 'What is it to be an American?' At this time when aspects of immigration are bothersome to many, Yorkville Twins reminds us how vital and important that experience has been to the growth of our nation."For Easterners the tales of growing up in Manhattan in the 1940s, 50s and 60s will bring warm nostalgia. For those like me who grew up in quiet Midwestern towns, they reveal surprises of how different, and yet really how similar, childhood experiences can be."For a real hoot, spend an afternoon with Joe and John Gindele. Not possible? Then enjoy a romp with them in Yorkville Twins." --Jim Olson, author of Boomer "I grew up in that Manhattan neighborhood known as Yorkville around the same time as Joe and John. In fact, we lived just a few blocks apart. I was mildly acquainted with a couple of kids from their block. I didn’t know Joe and John, but that was typical of the neighborhood. It was simply teeming with kids, and each block was a mini-neighborhood that you ventured into at your own risk."Growing up in Yorkville during the 40s, 50s and 60s was an unforgettable experience. As I read Yorkville Twins I was suddenly transported back iThe authors' special relationship as twins is very evident in these experiences. It is intertwined with the fabric of their stories, and is one that can only be shared by twins. This book was a thoroughly enjoyable read."--Andrew M. Miller, executive director, Twins Days Festival/Twins Days, Inc. (twin, married to a twin) The authors' special relationship as twins is very evident in these experiences. It is intertwined with the fabric of their stories, and is one that can only be shared by twins. This book was a thoroughly enjoyable read."--Andrew M. Miller, executive director, Twins Days Festival/Twins Days, Inc. (twin, married to a twin) Tas built on. Their humorous recollections were refreshing and sparked so many memories of the stories my grandparents used to share. Their detailed descriptions within these stories allowed me to get lost in a period of this country when life was simpler. My father’s side of the family is Czech and I could really relate to some of these stories."

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9780983933762: Yorkville Twins: Growing Up in New York City in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s

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