Gene’s Story: “Leaving this City Is Hard, Real Hard… “

Gene’s Story:  “Leaving this City Is Hard, Real Hard… “

“If you tell a true story, you can’t be wrong.”
– Jack Kerouac

Gene’s Road Out Is Our Road In

Gene Rorawitz was a little kid growing up in a Freedomport housing project when he discovered there might be more to life than stealing cans from the neighbor’s patio at night. As the housing projects went from picturesque to dangerous, Gene made his way to The Rocky City News where he became a proofreader, and later a professional photojournalist by happenstance instead of investing in an education.

Photojournalists wallowed in a haze of alcohol, hookers and raunchy behavior, but it never stopped them from delivering photos that made the paper tantalizing and engaging every day. Gene realized he was another naïf trapped in a khaki-pants-and-white-shirt world. He struggled to adapt.  Gene often dreamed of leaving the city, and complained about it to all of his artist friends whenever he could.

“Everytime I wanted to leave, a close family member would need me or die.  Most of the time I helped them get sober,” said Rorawitz. “I have family in Beloit, Chemung and Pecatonica;  I mean, how could I just pick up and go? Who’s going to help sober my family up when I’m gone? Leaving this city is hard, real hard… ,” says Rorawitz, tears hanging on the corners of his eyes.  They wait for him to blink, but he stares on telling us a little more to think about.

“Staying in one place and never leaving always produces one thing, depression. A depressing day is a day wasted, just like not petting a cat or licking a sucker. One depressive thought can rape you of strength and motivation for an entire week.. hell, maybe, even a month. As long as we live, we will have things that will go really horribly wrong, and we will miss opportunities; and we will make so many more mistakes along the way. Given enough time, or the ability to make a flux capacitor and travel back in time, anyone can make things perfect. But in reality, time is limited; it is always going faster than you need it to– even when it goes to “plaid,” you will lose it either way! That’s really cray-cray, you know?  Remember, there are usually no real opportunities or dreams around the corner, but you have to keep your eyes open and hope that someday, you will at least get a glimpse.”

– Jay Vannigan



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gene rorawitzleaving is hard

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