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Roberta Gale

Born in Newark, New Jersey into the family dry-cleaning business. My grandfather became a laundry man after emigrating to the US, so I guess my dad had to raise the bar and become a bit more high-tech. I was one of those six year olds you see behind the cash register. Cops and firemen got free dry-cleaning. So did celebrity clients like two of the Three Stooges and James Brown, who often played the crumbling vaudeville houses across the street. Summers were spent working at the store, yanking condoms and dried vomit out of the pockets of gold-flecked jackets, dumping loads of cleaning into pre-EPA machines full of perchloroethylene, and "go-fer" ing pepper and egg sandwiches for the Italian tailors who worked in the back. My free time was spent wandering through Macy's, (coveting toys like Crackers the Talking Parrot), reading the old black and white National Enquirers, and inhaling the scent of air conditioning and alcohol while sipping Shirley Temples (with extra cherries) at my dad's friend's bar. At the start of the '67 riots, I dutifully helped my father write "Soul Brother" on his boarded up windows in the hope his store wouldn't be hit. Then, off to our suburban Jersey home, navigating sniper fire and National Guard tanks along the way.

Moved to Cincinnati at 12 after dad died. The story "Thirty Years On" is a thumbnail sketch of my high school years. Massive debauchery ensued during my college years. I don't believe in revisionist history, I was into some really weird sexual and emotional stuff in my late teens and 20s, but it helped create what I am today. (And when I find out what the hell that is, I'll let you know!)

Roberta GaleBA/Communications, MA/Journalism, University of Arizona. Two decades criss-crossing the country as on-air radio "talent" (an employment term rather than a subjective one) Tucson. Cleveland. Miami. Atlanta. Baltimore. San Francisco. Washington DC. Philadelphia. New York. Chucked the radio thing, moved back to Tucson to get too much sun and too little money. It takes me 45 minutes to change my address for an electric bill, because I have a habit of becoming intimate buddies with customer service reps. I must miss being a talk radio host.

Loud Voice. Low thrill threshold. Finely honed bullshit detector. Simultaneously cynical and romantic. Never too busy to laugh. Never too rich to be thrifty. Born with two uteri (I'm twice the woman you are!) Husband. Stepson. Two dogs. Sister. Brother. Mother. Nephew. Family discount on anti-depressants.

Feature reportage, opinion, and/or poetry published in The Arizona Republic, The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Citizen, Tucson Magazine, The Tucson Weekly, The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Family, Talkers Magazine, Radio and Records, The Jewish Post, and Catholic Vision. Some deluded folks at the Baltimore Writer's Alliance handed me First and Second place awards for poetry sometime in the near past.

Tawk to me, honey! bertagale@yahoo.com.

Roberta Gale's writing on Conversely

Listed from the most recent.

Thirty Years On
Now his lips are sealed. Three decades later, Roberta recalls what it feels like to not have taken a chance. Date: 08/1/02

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