(Crystal, Minn.) – They are a long way from Yorkville, but as twin brothers Joe and John Gindele share their memories growing up with immigrant parents in New York City with their present-day neighbors in Minnesota, it doesn’t take much to get the crowd laughing.
“Our German father was a baker and he knew how to make his dough,” said John Gindele.
“Our Czech mother was gregarious. She loved and trusted everyone; everyone loved her,” said Joe. “She even trusted the newspapers. She would say to us, ‘Newspapers don’t print lies.’”
It has been more than 50 years since Joe and John left Yorkville, but their memories of growing up in a railroad flat on New York’s Upper East Side are as fresh today as they were when they were kids.
“I remember watching the Three Stooges, Hopalong Cassidy and The Roy Rogers Show on TV,” said John.
“I remember how on real hot days the kids on the block would open up the fire hydrant in front of Frank’s Bar using a stick of wood and a wire as a makeshift wrench, while a sentry was perched on the fire escape watching for cops,” said Joe.
Of course John and Joe were together whenever anything interesting happened. The brothers, who are now in their late 60s, have always lived together with the exception of a year spent apart during college. They are so close, in fact, they can finish each other’s sentences.
After both making the decision to take early retirement from the Robbinsdale, Minn., school district in 1999 and 2000 respectively, the brothers did some traveling then started work on a project they had always wanted to do.
“For decades when something unique would happen to me or Joe we would write it down on a scrap of paper, a napkin, whatever was handy and we’d throw it into a box,” said John.
“Over the years that box got pretty full,” said Joe. One day John said, “You know, let’s write an autobiography because we have so many interesting experiences to talk about.”
Six years later the autobiography is finished but still needs to be edited. The twins decided to get their second book published first. Yorkville Twins: Hilarious Adventures Growing Up in New York City, 1944 -1962 (Golden Valley Publishing LLC, 2012, $19.95) is a memoir of their early years growing up during the 1940s, 50s and 60s. It reflects on the historical, social and cultural conditions of the time.
Though most of the content comes from memory, the Gindele twins spent a lot of time at the library doing research to make sure their memories of music, television shows and world events were accurate. From beginning to end the book is very detail oriented.
“We are especially proud of the 200 interactive Internet search terms and websites in Appendix C that complement each chapter,” said Joe. “We are teachers. I figure one day we’re going to be gone. As long as our book is out there we’re still going to be teaching. The world is our classroom.”
“Our memories are history being preserved,” added John. “We did this out of a burning desire to tell our story and to honor our parents and the immigrants who were searching for a better life.”
Authors Joe and John Gindele are available for presentations and signings, and can be contacted through their website, www.YorkvilleTwinsBook.com. Autographed books can be purchased directly from the publisher at Golden Valley Publishing LLC, 8014 Olson Memorial Highway #243, Golden Valley, MN 55427, or through the website. Unsigned books can be purchased on www.Amazon.com or www.BarnesandNoble.com. Readers’ comments can be viewed on all three websites.