Yorkville Memories – Happy Birthday Katie Dougherty – December 18

Katie's Arrival
Katie’s Arrival

At this point in time, I didn’t look that close at the arrival document and found out that Katie’s birth date on this document is February 4, 1900.


Happy Birthday Katie Dougherty. We celebrated your birthday on December 18th every year. You raised three boys in Yorkville which was quite a feat in those days. One, Michael, went onto to Manhattan College and worked as Assistant manager of the Grand Union on 86th Street. The Other, Paddy Dougherty, tested your patience to the max where you had your husband, Michael (Doherty – some one screwed up the spelling when he arrived in New York City) Dougherty run the streets at times trying to locate the young lad. And, last but not least, the youngest of the brood, Martin, the one who searched the house endlessly for 18 years searching all the draws and cubby-holes that Katie had at her apartment at 324 East 85th Street for all those locks of hair. It took years, but I think that I was finally successful in locating all those locks of hair for that little girl you so dearly wanted and didn’t get but tried to disguise me for a year or two in that attempt.

You did have your hands full on most days because the streets were a bit cruel back in those days. I remember waiting in Carl’s apartment the ground floor while you took Paddy to the hospital because he drank a bit too much beer at the block party and had to have his stomach pumped.

You were always after us for not using fire works and getting in trouble with the police. I remember saving two o dad;’s pack of matches to light the three fire crackers that I found on the street and was anxious to light on the night of July 4th in celebration of Independence Day. I remember rushing down the stairs and standing on the stoop and taking out my first fire crackers. I was so excited when I lit the first fire crackers and sat back as it exploded but was totally surprised when the unmarked police car jumped out from being parked by the fire hydrant and called me over. The fire crackers and I got busted.

They took me for a ride uptown to see where I bought the fire works. We drove up to 113th Street and the neighborhood looked abandoned and I pointed out a vacant building and said that was where I bought my fire works. They seemed happy and took me to 2nd Avenue and stopped a downtown bus and told the driver to give me a free ride home.

As I walked down 85th Street, there was a crowd on the stoop and Katie was not happy. She told my older brother Michael to take me to the movies and make sure that I wasn’t on the street when the fire works started. That ended a noisy night for Marty.

85th Street was not quite during the summers because we were always looking for a way to entertain ourselves. AT an early age, I was always the darling of the young adults on the block and took advantage of the young couples that were just married and looking to have their own children. I gladly accepted an invitation from one couple that took me back to their apartment for ice cream I believe. The only trouble with that was that I didn’t tell Katie of my little adventure and she responded the way any mother would respond when one of their youngest is missing…she called the police.

Well, after a short period of time, I have no idea of how long other than the fact that it was dark when I got home. As they drove me down the street, very little cars on the streets back in those days, but there definitely were a bunch of police cars. I got out of the car and the couple were read the riot act and I made a dash for the house when I saw my father, who told me to get the hell upstairs and that he would deal with me upstairs.

I knew they were not happy puppies and I hid under my brother’s bed and clung to the springs under the bed and my father found me. Well, there was no more running away from the house that year.

Getting back to the summer, the fire hydrant was a tool that we used in the summer to stay refreshed with the gushing water. We turned that puppy on almost every sunny day. if we didn’t get a wrench from dad’s shop downstairs, the fire truck was fair game. At some point, someone would yell that the cops were coming up the street and we all made a mad dash to out stoop or the cellar to hide while the cops turned the pump off. Katie was always on the stoop and you could see the expression on her face as we ran by her to avoid getting caught by the police. She had the patience of a saint.

As we got older, the police cars would at times stop by the house and we got befriended by a local police officer by the of Bill Alexander…I can still see his face as he would stop by at Christmas time for a shot with the old man. Katie was always looking out for our interest.

As we got older, the moments got a little more intense and the streets got a little more wilder. Street gangs were popular and our early teen age years were testing her patience to the max. I think her religion was her release because it did help in those trying times when a knock came to the door and she opened it and the detectives were looking for my brother. Katie’s world was shattered for a time but she survived, expensive but she survived. Thanks to the landlords, Mane and Loeb, the financial burden (due to legal costs) helped erase one problem but left dad lost his dream of a summer home.

Cardinal Hayes High School
Cardinal Hayes High School

My activities were curtailed for a time as I entered my freshman year at Cardinal Hayes High School on the top of OLGC’s school. At least it  was close by and Katie could talk to Brother Julian, the principal at Cardinal Hayes Annex at OLGC about my wayward brother. There was always a lot of prayers being said.

OLGC Cardinal Hayes H S Annex
OLGC Cardinal Hayes H S Annex

Freshmen year was a bummer for me. Freedom came to a virtual halt with all the new activities going on daily with the trips to Brooklyn on a daily basis. I looked forward to the train trips to Brooklyn and sitting in the waiting room while my spoke to her incarcerated young one. I think a lot of money passed hands, small at time, but it did add up after a while when the old man was just making about $50 dollars a week.

It was at this point in time that I started to loose respect for cops and how they were able to take advantage of people at these times. They got rewarded for sneaking in people that wouldn’t normally be allowed to visit my brother. Katie had persistence and continued on despite all the adversity going on ll around her.

I think the event took all the spring out of my mother. I was her companion on the train trips to Brooklyn but was put on a short leash for the time being. When I made big time, my second year was started by taking the Lexington Avenue Express to the Bronx and attend school at the main campus.

My brother’s day in court came and went uneventful. His lawyer, a female lawyer,  got my brother off and even got his file returned to him. He was fortunate to be 15 at the time. It was time for Marty to have some fun on the streets of Yorkville. I was smitten with a little German girl from 78th Street. I think I got her a small present for her birthday and Katie found it in the apartment and wondered if it was for her. Talk about an embarrassing moment.

Well, with the advent of my little girl friend on 78th Street, it didn’t take long for the school work to pay a price. If I remember, I had about six classes on which I was graded and wasn’t doing to good on four of them. And guess who came to the rescue, Katie.

I’m sitting quietly in my seat near the end of classes at the main branch and waiting for the school buzzer to ring for the end of classes and I’d be out for the weekend. Just then, an announcement came over the loud speaker with some small talk and then an announcement that a Martin Dougherty  report to the Fr. Healy, Dean of Studies, immediately after school.

Fr Healy
Fr Healy

It was Friday, and I was anxious to get home for the weekend and I raced down to Fr. Healy’s office in an effort to save the weekend. I was Fr Healy and got his attention right away and he told me to take a seat in the classroom across the hall. The waiting began. I checked the watch and it was 2:45 PM, then it was 3:15 Pm and then 4:00 PM and Fr. Healy returned to his office and called me in and invited me to sit down.

He tells me that he understands that I was interested in a transfer to a city school, Central Commercial. I told Fr Healy that I was not interested in a transfer and said that I was happy here. I got the impression that he was visited by my mother, Katie, whom informed him of a little German girl from this other school and the reason for my bad grades. It was then that I found out how girls can be cruel to each other and I was going to pay a price for the gift for that other woman.

Fr. Healy informed me that since I couldn’t get my homework done at home that he would offer the services of the school for me to finish my studying, and only my studying, and that my written home work would have to be completed when I returned home each evening. So for the next marking period, I was to report each day to Fr Healy upon dismissal from school and into the classroom across the hall which seemed like a life time.

The next report card came out and I was put on regular dismissal with the rest of the students. My only other problem would be with Fr Jablonski and the wallet incident. Take  a look at the face below…do you want to go up against it?

Fr Jablonski
Fr Jablonski

I have to finish this later…….to long to finish now.

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