The Story of IF and the Synchronicity of Time

If I hadn’t gone to Tomkins Square Park in 1968 to take pick-up photos for a book publisher’s edition on inner-city teenage gangs

If he hadn’t been in the park at exactly the same time when I was in danger from the gang

If he hadn’t been within eyeshot to see my imminent danger

If I hadn’t seen him dressed in black from head to toe, hair to his shoulders and his foot in a cast, looking like another gang member

If he hadn’t approached me and said, “leave with me before they kill you”

If he hadn’t told me that the gang feared him because they knew he was good with a knife

If I hadn’t walked out of the park with him

If I didn’t follow him back to the front steps of the tenement building where he and his wife lived

If he hadn’t offered me a beer

If I didn’t tell him I wanted to park my motorcycle for safety in front of his building instead of around the corner

If he hadn’t told me he had exactly the same motorcycle

If, in conversation, we didn’t realize we had the same birthday

If I hadn’t told him I had a summer cottage in the pre-festival town of Woodstock, north of New York City

If, two months later, his wife hadn’t asked him to get out of the apartment, take a ride and give her solitude to study for a university exam

If he hadn’t decided to head up the thruway to Woodstock on happen-chance to find me

If I hadn’t noticed another motorcycle coming in the opposite direction on country back road

If I hadn’t looked over my shoulder and he hadn’t done the same

If it wasn’t him on the opposing motorcycle and had he not recognized me

If we didn’t go back to my place and smoked a joint

If he hadn’t told me he was working as a photo assistant in a New York commercial photo studio

If he hadn’t asked me how to become a full time photographer

If I hadn’t told him the best way to achieve his goal was to attend the legendary Rochester Institute of Photography

If he hadn’t followed my advise, he and his wife, wouldn’t have packed up and moved to Rochester

If he hadn’t earned a degree of Master Of Fine Arts

If he hadn’t taken a position as professor at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago

If I hadn’t moved to Canada and was recruited for a managerial position at Nikon Canada Inc.

If I hadn’t needed a qualified photographer to co-present the Nikon School of Photography with me

If I wasn’t able to move him and his wife from the USA to Toronto

If he didn’t presently live within walking distance from my home

If we weren’t able to con-celebrate birthdays

If we weren’t able to sip cappuccinos in his perfect back yard

If we often didn’t reminisce and reflect on our fortuitous crossing of paths back in Tomkins Square Park, East Village, New York City

If this didn’t happen because of imperfect synchronicity of time and place, he and I wouldn’t be here to celebrate fifty-two years of perfect friendship and brotherhood

Lucky us


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