Jimmy Breslin met Rosemary Dattolico while he was a copy boy at the Long Island Press in Jamaica, Queens. Jimmy knew right out of the gate that he was going to write a column for a newspaper in this city. “Rage is the only quality which has kept me or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.” JB
Jimmy and Rosemary started out in Richmond Hill Queens. They knew the key to getting a column was “legwork.” Going out day and night, all over the city they loved, looking to the other side of the street for a story. “If you gather a lot of stuff, then you write it, write in scenes with dialogue. Somewhere in the middle, rising from all this research like strong metal towers, is your opinions.”JB
Their lives centered around constant deadlines. Rosemary drove as Jimmy feverishly scribbled what he saw and heard. “Journalism should be truthful and entertaining. You know, with news and important facts you can entertain people too, have a little humor. Life isn’t all that deadly all the time, but while you’re having fun, tell the truth. If every word of a column is deadly serious, I can’t read it. It makes me throw up. “ JB
Rosemary was his superhuman partner. Before computers, faxes, and texts, she stood right next to him as he pounded the keys of his Hermes Standard Typewriter. Rosemary would grab the copy and quickly dial the city desk, meticulously enunciating,” new paragraph, capital, period, close quote.” The editors were a bundle of nerves holding the paper’s printing to the very last second.
Literary magnificence was made from a Queen’s kitchen. Rosemary and Jimmy believed some young person will be the next great writer with a voice in this city. “Look out...some kid is going to come out of nowhere and be big.” JB The Jimmy and Rosemary Breslin “American Writer Award” is to honor future writers and all their tomorrows.
“Anything that isn’t writing is easy.” JB