Ray Shasho's Reviews > Check the GS: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business

Check the GS by Ray Shasho
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's review
Apr 29, 2011

(Review from the author)
it was amazing
Read in May, 2011

Ray Shasho has quite a memory, especially when it comes to what songs played on the radio during important times throughout his youth. Combining his nostalgic recant of Billboard’s Top 100, like some infomercial for a Time-Life Oldies CD collector’s set, along with his detailed whimsical recollections while growing up, and you have the “soundtrack ” for a truly enjoyable story called Check the Gs: The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business.
Spiraling like a 33 rpm vinyl record around his father’s retail gift store in Washington DC, a block away from the White House, Ray began his career at the age of 6 (going on 16), when he put down the Windex and paper towels to sell a pair of shades to his first customer. “Ale-Say,”Pig Latin for “sale,” was said by the guy’s comical and secretive comments hollered around the store owned by his dad and his uncle ~ both identical twins. Between Cuban slang, Spanish, mathematical pricing algorithms, made up words, and yes, “Ig-Pay Atin-Lay,” the atmosphere in the store was as clouded with unrevealed slang to thwart customers’ understanding the pricing of merchandise as the perpetual second-hand smoke laid a fog from the owner’s cigars. What a tumultuous time in this country’s history. The babies were booming, the racial tensions post Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King’s assassinations threw the USA into a riot driven
country. However the dollar had value. The store had radios, TVs, cameras, binoculars, rings and jewelry, souvenirs and “you name it” all stocked behind sparkling clean glass cabinets, with shelves higher than can be reached without a ladder and items displayed in the front window precisely as a masterpiece of jigsaw placement.
Ray, raised by a Cuban Catholic mother and a Syrian Jewish father was 100% street smart. What impressed me most was when Ray was older, so did his style of writing change into a more mature written voice. For example, his early years, the first third of Check the Gs, had observations as seen through a kid’s perspective. I actually felt a kid was narrating the story in first person! Yet as Ray matured, his storytelling had more to do with his meeting all sorts of people, falling in love, but still selling gadgets, and making a PR (profit).
Ray Shasho is a product of the second half of the 20th century, made in the USA from parts around the world, and within him is every trend in music, television, politics and culture contributing to his philosophical and comically analytical reflections collected in his fine book of memories. I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray. So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book! It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are. ... By Pacific Book Review

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