His interest in music continued but earning a living through music was questionable so he tried other things.
He drove a folk lift at Rolland Hand Bags. He liked doing this. At night, he would park the fork lift and turn it off. As he was walking away, it would turn itself on, and follow him. The fork lift was driving itself. He would get back on it, park it again, turn it off and walk away. It again turned itself on and came after him. With great difficulty, he managed to get the fork lift to stay. The fork lift had been modified as part of an experiment of some folks at Cornell University working with artificial intelligence.
Another task at Rolland was to drive a freight train under the Hudson to and from New Jersey, transporting merchandise. He really enjoyed this.
He then worked at Finer Chrome, mostly packing and loading bars onto trucks. One day he was sick. They were supposed to load a 500 lb. wood bar on a truck. The guys he worked with waited for him to come in the next day. When the foreman learned this he fired Mike.
He learned music theory from books in the University of Pennsylvania library stacks. She went every week and selected the ones that "felt" right. He would read them and she returned them the following week, exchanging them for another batch.
He heard about a work shop with Leopold Stokowski [born 4/18/1882]. The workshop was held once a week and cost $5 a session. Leo had all the participants write some music and selected Mike as the person to copy all the music and take it to the printer at Columbus Circle. Stokowski called him "Notes". Notes was unconventional in the way he arranged for the various voices. He would give string parts to brass and horn parts ro strings.
John Sasso, Sunriser horn instructor also attended these workshops.
Leonard Bernstein, Count Bassie and other established musicians also came to some of the sessions.
Stokowski showed Notes how to play a violin which Notes had never had an opportunity to learn.
Leo explained to Notes precisely how to play the violin: how to hold the violin, how to hold the bow, how to caress the strings with the bow. The first time Notes played the violin, he upset the First Chair. She had practiced daily since childhood, had majored in music and Notes played better than she on his first try.
Stokowski had founded the American Symphony Orchestra in 1962 and invited some workshop attendees to join it.
Leo returned to London in May 1972. Notes was called when he died 9/13/77.
He played piano with opposite hands, playing melody with the left hand and chords with right. Took lessons with Irma Valetini [daughter of Leopoldo] once a week for a few months and learned to play conventionally.
One day his wife was running late in leaving for work and asked him to drive her to the "D" train instead of taking the bus as she usually did. On his return, a neighbor asked him to drive her to the train. He did and when the neighbor asked how much he charged, he told her whatever she wanted to pay. Thus began his Taxi Service. Kingsbridge was not serviced by Yellow Cabs but by radio dispatched white cabs. However, it was a major complaint of people in the neighborhood who called them that they never came. So he had lots of customers who were tired of waiting. And the longer they had waited, generally the more they paid him. He was driving a light green 1952 Cadillac. He acted like a professional chauffeur. He would come around the car and open the door for his customers. The man at the auto parts store where he bought his oil gave him a box of umbrellas and on rainy days he gave free umbrellas to his customers.
He never looked for customers but they found him.
When asked what union he belonged to, he had for years said: Local 14 - Villains, Thieves and Scoundrels. However, while accompanying his wife, the Vice-President of Local 2627, Electronic Data Processing Professionals for New York City, he was frequently asked what union he represented and his standard reply became that he was the President of IBOB, When asked what IBOB was, he said: the International Brotherhood of Bums. He had gotten the idea after Mrs. L called him a bum, and used it occasionally even before they moved to Rahway.