Monday, January 4, 2010

Mike & Charles in NYC

The stories you are about to read are true.  I am not capable of making this stuff up!!!

1)  Mike Mercadante and Charles Freedle joined us on one of our New York trips in the early 199o's.  Among the many other memorable people on this trip was a young man from Yadkinville, NC named Josh.  Yadkinville is a small, rural town in the foothills of NC, and Josh was a stereotypical citizen.  He spoke "Yadkinese" (a dialect that even the rest of us with southern accents have trouble interpreting!), was a little shy, and was a family oriented young man (Mama's Boy!).  We discovered on the long bus ride to NYC that he was a huge fan of TV, and that is his humble opinion Full House was the best show ever and one of its characters, Kimmy Gibler, was the most beautiful woman on TV.  Josh was ready to go home before we ever got out of the Lincoln Tunnel; New York scared him to death.  He was about to get the most terrifying news of all- he was rooming with Mike and Charles at the Milford Plaza Hotel!

Our days started early on those trips, and the first morning our shy, frightened young Josh was first in the shower.  He took quite a long shower, and it began to be close to time for everyone to meet in the lobby to head out for the day.   Finally, Charles could take no more.  He grabbed a towel, stripped naked, entered the bathroom, pulled back the shower curtain and announced to Josh "You can stay or you can go, but I'm coming in!"  Josh left, of course, and within minutes I had a call from a woman from his church saying Josh wanted to go home, or at least get a new room.  I calmed her down, and (laughing hysterically as she told me the story) kept them together all week.  I heard years later that Josh was the Mayor of Yadkinville (or some small town in that same county).  I guess he survived his close call of a shower with the mighty Freedle!

2)  The students on that trip got to attend a taping of The Faith Daniels Show which featured the cast of Saved By the Bell.  During a Q & A session with the studio audience, Faith gave Charles a chance to ask the stars a question. His query?  "How old are all ya'll anyway?"  His accent was so thick you could almost see the grits flying our of his mouth!  Hilarious stuff.

3)  The Milford Plaza Hotel is at 45th and 8th, in the heart of Manhattan only a block from Times Square.  Every group that travelled with me in those days would receive the same warning about leaving the hotel through the main entrance on 8th Avenue.  Turn right and you will be fine.  Turn left, and danger awaits.  Drug dealers.  Hookers.  Lots of people selling lots of stolen merchandise.  So immediately after our arrival, Mike and Charles went out- and turned left.  They encountered a man selling fake I.D. cards, and they began to ask him how much and how it worked.  He gave them a price and showed them his "goods" and then asked for the sale.  When they told him they were really not interested, he was not pleased that they had wasted his time.  He reached out, grabbed the chain around Mike's neck, and ripped it off!  They came running back to the Milford, and in the lobby the first person they saw was my wife Marilyn.  They hid behind her as they told her what had happened.  Mike's neck was bleeding just a little.  As word got out and people called home, we discovered that the story was growing.  Mike and Charles had been mugged, and Mike had been cut with a knife!  It wasn't that bad, but it did shake them up a bit.  Marilyn was their hero!  I used that story for the rest of the years I took groups to NYC to let kids know I was serious about not turning left...

Come back for more Mike and Charles tomorrow!

Because of Jesus,


  1. Cheryl Deal Meadows1/04/2010

    Oh my, Carl. I laughed so hard at this post. I could hear Charles' voice as I read it. I can't wait to hear more of your memories of those two um....charachters is putting it

  2. Charles Freedle1/05/2010

    Yes indeed, what great times they were. I do wish I could have thought of a better question for the Saved By the Bell cast but at least it made for a good story!!!!

  3. Charles Freedle1/05/2010

    I'm guessing Mayor Josh replaced his previous City Flag with one emblazoned with Kimmie Gibler's image as his first order of business.


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