Jack Mohedano Jr., 61
McCarren Park handball court, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Mon Jul 26 2010
Photograph: Jay Muhlin
Last time I played handball, it involved getting pegged. [Laughs] When I was a kid, if you didn't get the ball, you had to walk up to the wall and they aimed for your booty.
Are you from Brooklyn? Yeah, I'm originally from Williamsburg—the Marcy Avenue projects.
How do you feel about all the guys with facial hair and tattoos who moved into your 'hood? No problem. I just hope that they don't think it was a mistake—you know, the tattoos. I was once thinking about getting one when I was in the service. I was in the Marine Corps. If I put down anything, I woulda put down USMC, which stands for the University of Science, Music and Culture. [Laughs] I'm only kidding.
Lots of art in the Marine Corps, huh? Nah. I was in Vietnam 13 months. My father was a marine. I just wanted to be a marine. I was only 18, not too political-minded. I was a rifleman, a grunt. I'm glad I served my country, but it's my belief that we shouldn't have gone there.
What do you do now? I'm a retired MTA bus driver.
You smile too much to be an MTA bus driver. [Laughs] Everybody says that! I had one passenger that used to call me Smiley. If I can help someone, I will. I feel good about stuff.
More from Jack
"I met my wife on the bus. I used to take her to work. She sat in what we call the No. 1 seat, and every day it felt like a date. That was about 33 years ago, and we've been together ever since."
"My wife and I babysit our grandson, Ray Ray. I have other grandkids, but this one I'm enjoying because I'm retired. He's gonna know handball; he's gonna know everything."
"I was injured in Vietnam. I got hit in my forearm. I remember my squad leader was putting my bandage on, and it says clearly on the bandage THIS SIDE UP. And he put the other side up. And I said to him, 'You got the wrong side up!' [Laughs] We had a little chuckle in the middle of the firefight."