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Monday, May 29, 2017

A Memorial Day Memory.

He was a member of our greatest generation.
Although I'm pretty sure he never served his country in any capacity.
He was somewhat older than my parents, and I only knew him when I was a child.
He lived on the same floor as we did at our apartment building in the Bronx in the 1950s.
He was named Joseph Pullman, and was known by all that knew him as "Yussel".
What set Yussel apart from most others was that Yussel was a dwarf, or a midget.
I'm not sure which term was more appropriate.
But he was maybe 4 feet tall.
There was no mistaking him for a normal sized person.
He was easily the most interesting and colorful person in the Bronx in the 1950s.
And everybody seemed to know him.
He would often invite my parents to come to his apartment to look at "French Pictures".
When I was a little kid, Yussel adored me.
He would call me "MisterMarkRothman", running the names together like that.
It was Yussel who first exposed me to alcohol.
He had an open bar in his living room and he was always offering me a "highball".
It was a cherry coke with just a little bit of sherry in it, but it made me feel like just a little bit
more of an adult.
And my parents were fine with it.
When I would occasionally try to ask my parents what Yussel did for a living, they would fumpher and do whatever they could to change the subject.
It wasn't until many years later that they would confess to me that Yussel was a very successful pimp.
It certainly fit.
What else would he have been?
His apartment had a terrace.
Ours didn't.
In the warmer months,  Yussel could often be seen parading on his terrace in his bathing suit, in tribute to the fact that we all had rent-controlled apartments, and yelling "Do you know how much I pay for this place every month?  Fifty-five pennenas!  Fifty-five shmulliattas!!  He said this with great pride.
To this day, whenever my wife and I refer to money denominations, it's always in terms of shmulliattas.  Yussel was not without influence.
Yussel also carried around a very large portable radio, which was the only kind they had in 1956, and always brought it with him when he went to the local beach club, where all the women played
mah-jonng, and adored Yussel.  And the radio was covered with risqué sayings.
Not quite dirty, but not quite clean either.
Then in one day in 1957, it all changed.
That was the day that I had grown taller than Yussel.
And Yussel then completely lost interest in me.
I felt like I had lost a little brother.
According to my parents, this was a  pattern with him.
He loved kids, until they outgrew him.
We shortly thereafter moved to Queens, leaving Yussel behind.
I'm glad he didn't see what happened.
I got very tall, very quickly.
He couldn't have taken it.
I had no reason to want to shatter Yussel.
Anyway, Happy Memorial Day to you all, and particularly to Yussel wherever you are.


My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.,
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at
And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



  1. Fumpher....nice!
    A word my mother uses.

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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."