When I was living in New York City back in the 90’s, I used to go through some serious bouts of homesickness for ol’ Crabtown. I would videotape episodes of “Homicide: Life on the Streets”, I would re-watch my Orioles “Miracles on 33rdSt” video over and over again and often I would visit the Borders Bookstore in the World Trade Center and buy copies of the Baltimore Sun. I think they would only stock the Sunday Sun, but it was good for me, ‘ya know?
Luckily for me, my friend, Liz Cullen, who went on to marry my best friend, Mike Raab(Hi guys!) understood my melancholic need for anything coming from the Land of Pleasant Living.
She sent me a copy of “Hometown Boy” by Sun reporter, Rafael Alvarez. It was the perfect antidote for what was ailing me. I even wrote Rafael a letter, courtesy of the Sun and he wrote back, sending me a copy of his book, “Orlo and Leini” Ain’t that cool?
Even cooler was when I mentioned this to my friend, Dean Dalfonzo. Dean, at the time, was a graphic illustrator for the Sun and he’s all like, “Rafael’s a friend of mine, you wanna meet him?” Next time I was back home, Dean called him and we just went over to his house on Macon Street in Highlandtown.
Makes sense, right? Baltimore is Smalltimore, of course, Dean knew him and of course we could just stop by. So over the years now, I occasionally see Rafael and we get to catch up for a bit.
Now to add to the whole Smalltimore thing, my wife, Anna went to school with Rafael’s daughter, Amelia. Amelia has a burgeoning career as an actor and that’s completely awesome in its’ own right. A few years back, we were attending the Stoop Storytelling series at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and ran into Rafael and he took this photo of us and sent it to us in the mail. Super wonderful man!
Suffice it to say, that my love of one “Baltimore book” has rippled out to make my life a much cooler thing. Thanks to Rafael and his wonderful writing! Get yourself a copy of “Hometown Boy” and revel in his memories and reporting.