Posts Tagged ‘demensia’

Some memories never leave you

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2014 at 7:51 am


By Antonio Garceffo

When I visited my Pop in a fulltime care facility at Christmas, 2013, he didn’t remember who I was, straight away. My brother had to introduce me to him about every twenty minutes or so. He would remember for a while, and then ask again, who I was. My Pop is a Korean War era veteran, who served in the Air Force when the Air Force was only a few years old. He did his boot camp at Mitchel Air Force Base, the same place Charles Lindbergh took off from, when he made his historic solo flight across the Atlantic. After the base was closed, it became Nassau Community College, the first college I ever attended. When I went to school there, my dad was pleased that one of the original buildings had been converted to a Student Union hall. When I was a young kid and my Pop would tell me about his time in the military, he always sang the song “Waking up on Lollipop Hill.” Apparently his barracks was located on Lollipop Hill, and this was a marching song that the recruits sang. When you visit someone who is more or less demented and who doesn’t get out much, you run out of things to talk about, rather quickly. So, for no particular reason at all, I sang the one line of the song, which I remembered, “Waking up on Lollipop Hill.” My Pop instantly joined in and sang the next several lines. Boot camp is such a pivotal event in the lives of most young men, that even 60 years later, the memories were clear.


Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at

See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on



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