1977 versus 1978


When I noted that I could remember specific years in my past, someone wanted to know how. As it pertains to 1977 versus 1978, it was easy. The first year was terrible, and the second year was pretty great. Not that 1977 was ALL bad.

I should start with the autumn of 1976. Ostensibly, I had graduated from SUNY New Paltz. By that, I mean I had enough credits to graduate, but I still had a course I was supposed to finish.

The Financial Council, the student government entity, hired me to sell concert tickets. While it was fun, and I got to attend some concerts for free, it didn’t pay enough to live on.

So, I must have called my parents in Charlotte, NC, and asked if I could live with them for a bit. I don’t remember the conversation, but I ended up there. My father had only moved down there in the spring of 1974, and my mom and baby sister in the autumn of that year. In January 1975, my other sister and I kidnapped our maternal grandmother and brought her to Queen City as well. So, my family didn’t have a lot of history there.

I’d help my parents sell costume jewelry. For many reasons, I hated it, except for the Kansas incident.

The big hassle about the city was that it was extremely difficult to get around. Most of the buses routed through the intersection of Trade and Tryon. If you wanted to go from Miami to NYC or LA to Seattle, imagine going via St.Louis. I did go to the library and saw the movie Gaslight, which was a small highlight. My family also watched the miniseries Roots, except we missed the first half hour of the penultimate night.

Skyscrapers and everything

By May 1977, I’d made my way to the apartment of my sister Leslie and her then-husband Eric in Jackson Heights, Queens. At least I had a semblance of a job: selling renewals of TV Guide magazines and the annuals of the Encyclopedia Americana or Brittanica.

I knew how to get around the Big Apple. Five days a week, I took the #7 train to the E train to Manhattan and back.

It wasn’t all bad. I met my friend Deborah, whose wedding I attended in May 2023 in France.

But the place was a bit unsettling. It was the NYC of the Bronx Zoo and the Son of Sam. Right before I left, I voted for Mario Cuomo for mayor over Ed Koch in the Democratic primary. Of course, the incumbent Koch won.

Back to the Paltz

I left there to go to my old college town. Crashing on my friend Lynn’s sofa, I tutored freshmen taking political science courses. They didn’t understand the three parts of the federal government; their real shortcomings were that they didn’t bother to read the books.

While I  got to hang out with some old friends and met a new friend, Judy, I wasn’t getting enough hours.

The Capital District

I migrated up the Thruway to Schenectady, staying with Uthaclena and his then-wife. After Christmas,  she suggested I  apply for a job as a teller at Albany Savings Bank in downtown Albany. It seemed to be in my skill set, so I did. At the beginning of February, I got the job. However, I knew I would not love this career, even during the training process conducted by an excellent teller but a subpar instructor.

It turned out that Pam, the Innovative Studies coordinator at New Paltz, had also migrated north. Her beau, Paul, was in charge of a program operated by the Schenectady Arts Council, funded by federal grant money.  I would be the bookkeeper. Moreover, I would make $8,200 per year, far more than the six grand I would be making at ASB; I had more money in my drawer at the beginning of the day than I was making annually. It became an easy decision when I spent an hour trying (and failing) to find a nickel shortfall in my drawer.

I started working at the Schenectady Arts Council. Immediately, my primary task was to contact businesses to see if they’d like to advertise for an event designed to help renovate Proctors Theatre. This old vaudeville venue had seen better days.

I also ran a biweekly Artisans Arcade; sang with Susan, the secretary, at nursing homes; was a partner with Darlene, the choreographer, when she taught dance to school kids; and served as the acting director when Paul went on vacation. I generally loved the job.

Although the funding suddenly disappeared on January 23, 1979, and it was greatly disappointing, it got me to where I needed to be.

“Get Your Passport, Kid”

global warming became climate change

Get Your Passport, Kid is a paper my daughter wrote about me for a class during the autumn 2023 semester. I am using it with her permission. I have changed nothing substantial. I added a couple of commas, and I did create some subheads. Oh, and subsequently, she HAS applied for her passport, and received it less than a month later!

I recently had a conversation with Mr. Roger Green, my father. I chose him because he has lived a long life (70 years!), he is my eldest living family member who still has a reliable memory, and because he has a blog(!), so if there’s anything he’s a bit foggy on, he can look back at his own ramblings and re-enlighten himself. Both of us, plus my mother, also tend to agree that my father and I are very similar. I hope to channel his long-time blogger energy into my writings.

We had planned an hour-and-a-half Zoom meeting one afternoon, but he ended up accidentally pocket-dialing me a few minutes early on Facebook Messenger while he walked home from the bus stop. When he finally heard me, he took out his phone and showed me his walk past my elementary school in the neighborhood I grew up in, back to the house I lived in my whole life until coming to college here. It was a nice reminder of the place I call home, and I got to talk to my cats.


My father was born in Binghamton, New York, which, like most upstate New York cities, has fairly temperate weather with hot summers and cold winters. Roger went to SUNY New Paltz for his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, having him relocated to another upstate city, New Paltz, New York with the same subtle climate. And later he moved to Albany, New York, his third upstate city and final destination, where he settled down and lived for the past 40 years since attending SUNY Albany for his Master of Library Science degree. Having lived in three similar cities his whole life, none of which had much extreme weather -hot or cold- I asked him to focus on the landscape, architecture, and his environment.

Starting off my uber-professional interview with Roger I ask him about where it all began: Binghamton’s First Ward, 1953. Roger lived with his mother and father and two younger sisters in a two-family house with his paternal grandparents living on the top floor, in a home owned by his maternal grandmother. His maternal grandmother lived a few blocks away on Prospect Hill, the home he and his sisters would walk to for lunch break during school since their mother was out working. Their neighborhood was filled with big, old, multi-family houses near the banks of both the Chenango and the Susquehanna Rivers. Roger and his sisters would often walk by the Spring Forest Cemetery, where many of their relatives were buried. The Trinity AME Zion church my father’s family attended was located on Lydia St., a name that would come up again when it was time to name his first and only child. 

Being black in the hometown

I wanted to know if being a black family affected how they experienced their landscape as well. Surprisingly to me, Roger seemed to feel that even though they grew up in a predominantly white area, he and his siblings didn’t encounter significant interpersonal racist interactions, as it was a somewhat progressive neighborhood. However, their race, or more specifically, perceived race, made their family unable to buy or rent their own house. Roger’s mother, while black, was very fair-skinned and was often unintentionally white-passing, while his father was dark-skinned and unambiguously black. This reality caused Roger’s parents to be viewed as an interracial couple, and in the 1950s and ‘60s, this meant no one wanted to sell or rent to them. Homeownership is, in my opinion, one of the first steps in building generational wealth, and if they did want to move, making that happen was unattainable at the time. Knowing Roger’s family wasn’t well off, it’s fair to assume that that affected how they went about their business. He tells me their vacations were never very far away. Sometimes, he, his sister, and their father would sing as their family group at the campsites they frequented rather than having to pay.


I did want to swing back around to the weather topic, and as I predicted, he didn’t have immediate terrible weather memories, but here are some unusual weather moments he could think of:

  • Albany’s worst snowstorm (in Roger’s lifetime), October 4th, 1987 – not heavy but early in the season, and with leaves still on the trees, many branches were brought down, and thousands were without power for days.
  • Bad snowstorm, March 1993 – 20+ inches of snow
  • May snow, May 18th, 2002 – my mother’s college graduation ceremony was moved to an indoor venue because of the unexpected spring snow
  • Hot, hot, hot, early 2000s – sent home from work because of the heat, and the company didn’t want to pay for all that air conditioning.
  • Valentine’s Day snowstorm, February 14th, 2007 – The buses stopped running early, and Roger barely made it home. The Albany area got 1-3 feet of snow, which froze over the next day.
The bus

Next, I asked Roger what changes he has made due to climate change. Roger is a Capital District Transit Authority (CDTA) bus rider, which of course I knew since I lived with him for 18 years, and the man can’t drive, what else would he do? But I didn’t know how much of a CDTA advocate he was. He attended CDTA town halls and responded to their surveys. He is always willing to help people figure out what route or bus stop they need, how to secure their bike to the front bike rack on the bus, how to get a Navigator (refillable bus pass), and whatever people need to feel comfortable using the CDTA. Roger has also signed petitions to create safer bike lanes in Albany. 

I was somewhat excited to get to our interview’s climate change talk section. I knew some of my dad’s fundamental beliefs and that he’s left-leaning, but since I haven’t lived at home in a bit, we hadn’t had the random world/political conversations I was used to in middle and high school. 


Question: What are the causes and effects of climate change?

Answer: “Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes hot things hotter and leads to biodiversity loss; sea animals move differently because of warmer water, and islands will disappear due to rising waters.”

Question: Who do you usually talk to about climate change?

Answer: Like-minded people, friends, political allies, liberals.

Question: Do you follow climate news?

Answer: “Yes, liberal and conservative.”

Question: Are you involved in community groups that deal with climate change?

Answer: “No, not really. (What about the church and the library?) “Well, yes, I am part of groups that support climate action but not part of groups that specifically address climate change.”

Question: When did you start hearing about climate change or global warming?

Answer: “I heard about global warming in the ‘70s. It became climate change into the ‘80s because that was ‘less offensive.’ You’d have one colder-than-usual day, and all the global warming deniers would come out. So they changed it to ‘climate change.’ But overall, if you look at the data, “the globe is getting warmer; climate change is a wussy term!”

The librarian questions

Question: You worked with SBDC and SUNY Research Foundation. People would call you, and you’d answer their questions. Did you get any global warming questions?

Answer: “Later on. I was there for 26 years (1992 – 2019). In the first 15, absolutely not. In probably the last 10 or 12 years, yes. It’d be like, ‘What are the best fuels we should use to do what we want to do?’ Or finding the energy that would have the least ecological impact. Or taking a substance, like cooking oil, and using it as fuel. I think people’s awareness of it had grown so that people realized that maybe they could do something about it. ‘We can start a business to be more carbon neutral.'” 

Question: What do you think about the climate and the planet’s health?

Answer: “I think we are in desperate straits.”

Question: What are you most worried about in relation to climate change?

Answer: “Mostly denial; it makes me terribly worried. You can’t fix it if you don’t think it’s a problem.” He was the most unnerved and ranty during this section. Climate change and global warming denial is worrying and anti-Christian.


At the end of our interview, I was reading off the post-conversation questions meant for me to answer on my own.  “Did anything surprise you?” I asked myself out loud to get down any notations before they slipped my mind. Roger started to respond, “Well, what did surprise me…” I cut him off, “That’s a question for me, not you,” I responded. “Well, I want to answer it.” Okay, my bad.

“What surprised me was I hadn’t really thought about how limited my geographic parameters had been when I was growing up. Growing up in Binghamton, I think my world experience was encompassed by New York and  Pennsylvania. I don’t think we ever even went to New England or Ohio.” This turned into a lecture about me getting my passport renewed (again). “That’s why I really want you to get your passport and travel when you can. It’s a very enriching experience.” 

Roger and I grew up in and currently live in a small region of the world with his life path is Binghamton, New Paltz, and Albany, and mine is Albany and Amherst. In a later call, I mentioned that my friend and I wanted to study abroad. He was very supportive of that, and he restated his wish for me to get my passport so that I could see more of the world than he did. This aspect has been the most meaningful part of the conversation for me.

1973: the class trip to DC

New Paltz Democratic Club

I intend to finish my 1973 diary recollections by the end of 2023.  Though I found nothing I wanted to share in the first two months, the class trip to DC was particularly noteworthy.

Wed, Mar 7: I was famished that evening and was going to eat. But the Okie said she was going to bring food. Then my parents and my sisters arrived, surprising me near or on my birthday for the second year in a row.

We were about to leave when a car with a little girl barreled down the street in reverse. Dad tried to stop it, but he couldn’t. It rammed into another vehicle. The girl was okay. She was trying to adjust the radio station and released the brake. My family went to a Chinese restaurant called Great Wall.

Tues, Apr 10: I attended, not for the first time, a New Paltz Democratic Club meeting. Ralph Kulseng nominated me to be the acting recording secretary. Someone whispered, “Who’s Roger Green?” I whispered, “I’m Roger Green!”

[I joined the Club after I was allowed to register to vote in the town. The law in New York State at the time was that no one would gain or lose the right to vote by attending college. The Republican registrar was going to deny me the chance to vote there. But the Democrat, noting that the Okie was already registered in Ulster County and that it would be silly for a married couple to have to be registered in different counties.]

I won the election and was given postcards, the membership list, etc.

Sat, Apr 14: I was back in Binghamton. I met a legislative assistant of my Congressman Howard Robison at the Federal Building about war, Watergate, and other issues.

District of Columbia

Sun, May 13: My classmates (Sid, Andi, Ivy, Gary, Jay, Mitch, Stu, Charles, Jerry, Tom, and Linda ) and I drove down to DC for a trip arranged by our professor, Ron Steinberg.  We ate at the Mayflower Diner. Nixon arrived at the Washington Monument grounds by helicopter, causing chaos. We stayed at a hostel.

Mon, May 14: After breakfast at a greasy spoon, we take a bus to the Supreme Court. They ruled 8-1, Rehnquist dissenting, that a servicewoman could claim her husband for benefits as easily as a serviceman could claim his wife. (As I read the case now, it was a bit more nuanced than that.) We talked with chief clerk Rodak, a real PR man, about court caseloads.

At the Justice Department, we talked with Phil Locavara, deputy solicitor general, who was very candid, even about Watergate.

The last day in DC

Tues, May 15: We had a meeting at the EPA with a guy named Stuart, who was very interesting and informative. I got lost going to the Common Cause meeting, seeing an Ethiopian parade en route. Later, the FCC PR man gave us terse, frustratingly evasive answers.

Wed, May 16: Took a bus to the New Senate Office Building. I hated carrying around my duffel bag, which was searched every time I entered there or the Supreme Court. Ron, Sid, and I ate at the NSOB cafeteria. We got Senate passes from the office of Senator James Buckley (C-NY). I went to the Senate on the subway, but only four Senators were on the floor.

We went to the Old Senate Office Building for a meeting with a subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary with two of the staff on Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC).

Then we went to see former Chief Justice Earl Warren. Ron made only an introductory statement and asked the last question over an hour later. )I wrote about this here.)

We all drove back to New Paltz, very tired.

Where would you be if you weren’t where you are?  

that “third place”

Jeanne Beanne, who I know IRL, asked some Ask Roger Anything questions.

Where would you be if you weren’t where you are?  

What a metaphysical query!

Several points in my life are, if not this, then that.  One was made for me, as I’ve mentioned. If my mother didn’t work outside the home at McLean’s in downtown Binghamton, NY, I would have gone to Oak Street Elementary School. So I wouldn’t have met Karen, Carol, Bill, Lois, Bernie, and others, with whom I went to Daniel Dickinson, then Binghamton Central HS, until seventh grade. It would have totally changed the dynamics of our relationships.

I wouldn’t have met Ray at Dickinson until seventh grade and likely wouldn’t have been in Cub Scouts, with Ray’s mom as our den mother. Probably, I wouldn’t have met Dave at all.

If I wasn’t watching JEOPARDY with my great-aunt Deana every day at noontime, I might not have become obsessed with the program so much that I tried out for the show in 1998, made the cut, and won a game.

If I hadn’t attended New Paltz college, I wouldn’t have met Mark, who turned me onto comic books. So we wouldn’t have gone to the Crystal Cave comic book store, where I met Raoul and Tom, who I would later work with at FantaCo in Albany. Also, Mark introduced me to the Okie.

The Wanderer

1977 was pretty chaotic. Still, I met friends Deborah in NYC and Judy in New Paltz. Judy and her friend Jendy would be pivotal in my going to library school at UAlbany in 1990.

And if Mark and MK52 had not moved to Schenectady, I wouldn’t have crashed with them there from December 1977 to  March 1978 and ended up working at the Schenectady Arts Council, whose offices were in the run-down Proctor’s Theatre.

If  I didn’t know Nancy at SAC, I wouldn’t have met Shazrak, with whom I moved to Albany, in 1979. In May 1980, I worked at FantaCo.

I’ve mentioned this before, but FantaCo was that “third place”  –  not just a retail store, mail order place, publisher, and comic book convention purveyor, but a gathering place of people interested in art, music, and popular culture. Besides Raoul and Tom, there was Mitch, Hank, Rocco, Marky, Augustus, Sinisa,  Mayor, Peter, and one other, who bears special mention.

I met artists and writers like Fred, Bill, Steve B, the Pinis, and members of the band Blotto. I’m still friends with at least one of the customers, ADD, and others still remember me from the place.

I met Debby through Mitch. She introduced me to lots of other people. Though she didn’t play, she was indirectly responsible for my playing racquetball from 1983 to 2010 at the YMCA, where I met even more folks.

Walter, a customer turned FantaCo employee, was even more of a person who interacted with many others, many of whom I know today. He was also the epicenter of the hearts game.


Being in Albany meant going to church in Albany and all the connections I made at church #1, then church #2. I wrote about the drama and trauma of leaving church #1  here.

I could write much more about other jobs and volunteer organizations and their impact.

Then there are the romantic relationships, which would take several book chapters. Suffice it to say that there were things said or left unsaid, things done or should have been done, that altered that trajectory in many ways.

Three things that manifested in your life that you did not expect.

Comic books, JEOPARDY, and being a librarian. Being a dad was a “well, maybe, if…” thing.

How have they changed your path? And purpose?

They’ve definitely changed my path. I don’t know that my purpose, which to be, for lack a better word, useful, has fundamentally changed, even when the circumstances did.

Coke or Pepsi?  Lol

Diet cherry Pepsi.

Not running for office

Vote in New York for school budgets on May 17

First, I should make it crystal clear that I am NOT planning to run for office. I found this question on Quora asking people to show the Presidential electoral college map based on the states they had visited.

I should define “visited”, I suppose. Almost every blue state I have slept in, except two: Delaware and South Carolina. But I have eaten in both of them. Delaware was a stop to and/or from some antiwar demonstration in DC. Re: South Carolina, my father went there in order to sell stuff when he used to sell at flea markets.

Mississippi I was in very briefly c. 1970 on a trip with a bunch of teens from my high school. We went to either Shelby or Fayette County, Tennessee, described to us as one of the poorest counties in the United States at the time. We were walking down this dirt road and crossed into Mississippi, went a short distance, then decided it may not be that safe for a bunch of young integrated Northerners.

At some level, when I was much younger, I suppose I thought I would someday consider running for public office. I was president of the student government in my high school. Someone signing my high school yearbook anticipated that I would be president of the United States one day!

When I ran for the Financial Council at SUNY New Paltz, it was a discouraging process. For one thing, there was quite likely voter fraud. Also, there were members of the Council who were… not as scrupulous as they might have been.


But mostly, I just hate campaigning. I’ve carried petitions in 1974 for a Congressional candidate named Matt McHugh, who won. But I really hate getting folks to sign papers, though I’ve done so four other times.

There was a time in this century when I did actually consider running for office. There was a guy who ran MULTIPLE times for Albany Public Library trustee. How do I say this politely? OK, he was a neo-Nazi. And if he were likely to get elected – if there were only two slots and he was one of two candidates, I would have scurried to get on the ballot. And if I were too late, I would have run a write-in campaign. Fortunately, this never happened.

In fact, this year for the library board, I understand that there were 17 people carrying petitions for the four slots open. And I know two of them personally. “The library budget vote and trustee election are held in conjunction with the City School District of Albany budget vote.” The vote is on May 17; the polling places are NOT always the same as the primary and general election sites.

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