Anthony Logan now aged 66, lives alone on New York Avenue near Pacific Street with a disability that was the result of a stroke about ten years ago. His is the story of a person filled with potential and good qualities who had trouble bringing his positive attributes together in a way that would give him the life he wished for. Take for example his education. In his apartment Tony has two of his report cards side by side in a frame. One is from the Catholic school St. Mary of the Angels dated 1963 when Tony was eleven. Everything looks fine – all the grades are in the 80's and 90's and Tony is progressing well. However, a the card to the left from Junior High 117 dated 1965 tells a different story – math, needs improvement; reading, needs improvement; attendance, excessive absences. The word “promotion” has a question mark after it. Tony did go on to Boy's High School but dropped out in the 10th grade. Clearly he was smart and could do well in the right setting but it slipped away. In the 1980's Tony got a placement in the Law Department of an agency and learned to be paralegal. He liked the work and was eventually hired by the law firm Samuel Goldstein and Sons on Vesey Street, and he worked there for almost four years. However, that was the longest that Tony held down a job. Eventually he got a GED and after making a partial recovery from his stroke, he took college level courses at TCI – psychology, law, math, and writing, and Tony did well in all of them; he was especially surprised by his performance in math, which previously had been his weakest subject.
Part of the trouble for Tony was his family. Tony was close to his mother, and she was clearly someone who cared for him and tried her best to help him. Another item Tony has framed in his apartment is her death certificate dated 2015, and there are numerous photos of her, but she too had trouble putting the pieces of her life together. Tony never knew his biological father, and when he was about thirty was surprised to find out he had two half sisters he had never heard about before. He grew up with a man who had trouble with alcohol and was at times abusive and violent. Tony wrote in a memoir about his childhood that, “To this day I still can't understand or explain her [his mother's] motive for having my father around all of those years.” However, his presence was disastrous. For one thing Tony's mother would leave the house to stay with her mother as a way of getting relief. The result was that Tony was left alone, and in some ways, he rose to the occasion. He kept the apartment neat and clean. It was another of his positive qualities. He did not like messiness. He kept himself well groomed and dressed, and he was also a sociable person who liked to do things and have friends.
However, without a family to guide him and with his schooling having failed him, Tony took to the street, what he calls “the jungle,” making friends in a situation in which he had no money. Soon he was doing various things to get money – gambling, stealing and dealing with drugs. He was first arrested at age fifteen for robbing a candy store and a year later, while gambling late at night, he was present when a dispute broke out. Tony's partner shot and killed someone. Tony was arrested and spent two years in jail. He was almost eighteen when he got out, and thus began a life of crime and drug addiction. His mother sent him into rehabilitation several times, but he always relapsed when he got out and resumed his criminal activities and then received more jail time. In this grim scene of childhood and youth there had been happy moments suggesting other possibilities. A friend of his mother in the Merchant Marine took Tony for long rides in his car, a trip to Ft. Sumter in South Carolina, another to Virginia, and later a visit to Camden, New Jersey with his mother to stay with her sister; these were all happy experiences. They all involved getting getting away from what Tony called the “tension” of home life.
Later in his life, Tony treasured two trips sponsored by Narcotics Anonymous in the 1990's, one to Mexico and another to the Bahamas. These are recorded in photos in his apartment as well. Also Tony is definitely a romantic about woman; he has long taken pleasure in their company, but in the sometimes confusing circumstances of his his life, he has never married or established a long term relationship, and there have been no children, though his sympathy for them is palpable. In the 1990's Tony became more reflective. He began to write both poetry and autobiographical material. He became more observant of his surroundings and also gained a sense of a religious presence beyond the everyday. Tony has written lots of religious poetry. Most of it falls into two categories: one is praise for god for the beautiful things Tony has found in life, including his own sense that he is basically a good person in need of love and guidance. The second category is made up of prayers to god for help when he feels alone, depressed or fearful. Tony was often in despair after the stroke and is deeply thankful to those who helped him to come back. In his view all his helpers were sent by god. In the another update of this website one can find some examples of Tony's work. Much of his poetry not only has a date attached but a precise time of day when it was composed. They are very much a reports from Tony's day-to-day life in which he tries to connect to the eternal and timeless. It represents a whole new era in Tony's life. He has come far from the reckless and confused street hustler of childhood and youth.