I’ll make my own sandwiches

Shade (black and white photograph)
Shade (black and white photograph) by Paul Politis), 2020
Shade (black and white photograph)
Shade (black and white photograph) by Paul Politis), 2020

Sands Point, Port Washington, was a prosperous, upper-middle-class community. The ethnic boy from the city [Cassavetes] was uncomfortable there. The town’s conservatism was alien and oppressive. He felt out of place and different.

I had no society by which I lived. I was free to do whatever I wanted to, and to express myself the way I wanted to. But the Port Washington kids were afraid. We would go by these sand-pits – they had the largest sand-pits on Long Island out in Port Washington – and they didn’t want to go near the edge. They didn’t want to take chances. They had to be home at a certain hour. They had a society that they were living by at the age of ten, twelve, fourteen. It irritated me that the kids had no freedom.

When they went to school, their parents packed a lunch the same way with the same things – the apple in the basket – and they’d drive us to school in this little town. And the talk – I noticed that one of the husbands would give his wife an allowance. Now, my father never gave my mother an allowance. I saw these things and they bothered me. I never could really fit into that kind of thing. Though I got along with the kids, I never could get along with the parents. I’d walk into the house and they’d say, ‘Do you want a sandwich?’ and I’d say to myself, ‘I don’t want a sandwich like that. I’ll make my own sandwiches.’

I saw the kids having their lives planned. They were going to go to certain universities and they’d work for that. Most of them aimed for Princeton or Yale. Their whole lives were mapped out before they began. They had no chance to say, ‘This is what I want to be.’”

Cassavetes on Cassavetes, John Cassavetes, Ray Carney (editor)

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