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Mark Blickley

A Milkman’s Serenade

I am so proud and grateful to have been an urban Milkman.  Come on, don’t tell me you don’t remember the Milkman when you were a kid living in an apartment building.   You’ve got to remember.  Think—-it’d be dark and cold and you couldn’t sleep because of the draft from the window or a dream would turn ugly or you had to pee but couldn’t find the strength to kick off the covers.  So you laid there, shivering, trying to work up the courage to make a run through the dark and into the bathroom.

That’s when you would hear the truck pull up and the door slide open and the rattling of glass, and you’d be a little less scared—even a little excited.  There would be footsteps scraping up the stairs, heading towards your floor.  And you’d smile because you knew this guy was out there, looking after you, wearing a suit as white as God’s, clinking bottles that sounded sweeter than anything you’ve heard since.  And sometimes, if you were good for the entire week, he’d lift a note out of your front door milk box written by your mother, and a lower a bottle of chocolate milk inside.

I knew it was a privilege to have been that guy.  I was the Milkman, and don’t think I didn’t know about all the smiles and sighs of relief behind those locked doors.  I’d rattle those bottles, shake them like I was a goddamned medicine man driving away evil spirits!


About the writer:
Mark Blickley grew up within walking distance of the Bronx Zoo. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and PEN American Center and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Scholarship Award for Drama. His latest book is the text-based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams.

About the performer:
Robert Funaro is a New York-based actor best known for his work as a regular in The Sopranos where he created the role of Eugene Pontecorvo. Recent credits include The Irishman directed by Martin Scorsese and a recurring role as Lt. Bricker on the hit Showtime series Ray Donovan. Film credits include American Gangster directed by Ridley Scott and Not Fade Away directed by David Chase

About the producer/director:
Joe John Battista has been involved in over 100 plays and musicals as an actor, musician, songwriter, and director. As a professional photographer, he covered the United States Wheel Chair Team at the Special Olympics in Korea. For six years he was Artistic Director at New York City’s 13th Street Repertory Theater. Since the recent closing of that historic theater, Joe has assumed leadership of the 13th Street Repertory Company.

Image/Video: Excerpt from Small Milk Plant Operations, 1946, archived industry documentary with licensing available from Global Image Works. By permission.

Image: New Orleans milkcart. Postcard. Photograph by unknown artist. Between 1910 and 1920. Public domain.

Musical Score: Musetta’s Waltz from the opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccinni which premiered in 1896. Music here is from a recording in the public domain by a performance group not specified by the source.


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