Saying goodbye to Joe Barbosa
By Jeannie Lieberman
Was the clarion call of frustration emanating from the tennis courts whenever Joe would miss a
Kismet lost one of its icons when we lost Joe Barbosa at age 86 when he died at his home in Florida, but he will leave a vibrant memory as long as his
I first saw Joey who was my neighbor in The late 70’s when he was presiding over
Triple Decker.Even then he was an attention getter as eyebrows were raises
when he gave his mother a share hiring her to clean the house.
His was one of the
louder voices at the early KCA meetings. Not the pleasant garden party events we enjoy today but a highly partisan event in the Inn where issues were discussed at high decibel. They were not for the faint of heart.
Undoubtedly Joey will be remembered for his firm but fair skill in running the annual Kracked Koncrete Kismet tennis tournament. On Labor Day weekend it eclipsed the US Open as crowds cheered on their favorites. It culminated in an awards dinner at the Inn
Joey was the proud father of Daniel and Justin but gave them tough love as he made them work the bicycle rental and repair shop from his deck to keep them humble.
But by far was his kismet column in the Fire Island News.
People were both fearful and flattered to be mentioned. It was truly a creative effort
of fact filled fantasy creating a hierarchy of aliases for his kismet characters.
He named me the Queen because in those days the Inn reigned supreme as no self-respecting Kismetic would be found in the sleazy Green Isle next door. The Inn hosted line dances and a very socially significant hustle contest which made or destroyed couples.
In order to enter the Inn one had to run the gauntlet of onlookers on both sides of a wire fence ( on the market side)
As a newcomer it terrified me and I would use all my dance and theater training to pull myself up and look very regal.
To my delight and surprise it worked very well and Joey anointed me the Queen but heavy sat the crown as it soon inspired Joey to create whole entourages: the
Pretender to the Crown of Thorns and a bevy of newcomers he named QITs (wanna be queens in training).
This is but one minor example of the myriad of characters he devised. If one is lucky one can find the few existing copies of his columns among long term residents.
These were received with a variety of responses.
Like him or not Joey was never dull or predicable.
Fabulous and flawed he was our Joey
...and he will