Last Revised: March 04, 2014 || Quick index: Author's Copies People Books Miscellany
Sure, it's a bit of a long shot--after all, it's not as though this site is logging a hundred thousand hits a day. But maybe, just maybe, you're exactly the right person to help me find someone or something I've been looking for. It's happened several times already, and it always brightens my day.
Most of what follows has very little to do with what I do for a living, but rather a lot about my checkered past and my idiosyncratic interests. There's an E-mail link at the bottom of the page, just in case this is my lucky day. And thanks in advance for keeping your eyes open.
Sometimes we are the last to know--especially when foreign rights are controlled by a book packager or a publisher, rather than by the writer's agent. If you can help me find copies in good condition of any of the following editions for my brag shelf, please E-mail me! (And if you happen to know of any editions not listed on my Novels or Short Fiction bibliographies, please tell me!)
RAYMOND POSEY, LeROY EARNEST, DONALD LANGE - friends from Fairview days. I have no idea if I'd have anything in common with any of them now, but the remaining memories are fond enough that I would like to know something about the roads they travelled--rough or smooth, dark or bright, even uphill both ways.
DONALD was the son of Fairview's Baptist minister. His family moved to somewhere in New England after the fourth or fifth grade. I can't remember his house (on Sumpter or Essex Road, I think, near the Leiters), so we must have been mostly playground friends. I remember him as athletic, popular, and cheerful.
(Roy Earnest in recital garb, about 1965)
|LeROY and I had a longer history together. He
lived on North Collings near Ironsides, just a few houses
west of Yorkship School. Memory tells me that he lived
alone with his older sister, under circumstances I was
never privy to. I remember being invited over to dinner
and how anxious she was that the dinner turn out all
right, as if it were something she hadn't done often.
LeRoy was, like me, very interested in science--of all my
friends then, he was the one I could always talk with
about space flight or the latest Popular Science/Popular
Mechanics gee-whiz that had caught my attention. Roy was
another of Miss Richards' strings students--I think he
played violin. He had the look and habits of mind which
said that he'd end up in a laboratory some day. We played
chess instead of Monopoly, and flew balsa airplanes
instead of playing basketball. I remember our attempts to
build model rockets., and that he burned the tip of his
nose with the fumes from a prospective rocket fuel he was
concocting in the basement (why didn't we know about
Estes? we'd have had a blast). LeRoy disappeared abruptly
from my life sometime before the 8th grade; I never heard
from him or knew where he and his sister had gone.
RAY was another of my music friends. He lived on Wasp Road at Kansas, and my memories of that house seem to be summer memories. I think he was another violin student; he was the only boy I knew who'd taken piano lessons long enough to be considered a pianist (I was never more than a piano player). Ray shows up in photos of "the guys" that I took outside Yorkship in the last weeks of eighth grade, but I have no clear memory of where he went to high school, except that he didn't go on to St. Joe's with me. A nagging memory suggests that his family moved in Vineland or other parts south (Jersey).
Ray Posey (left) and Tom Weiss (right), 1968
Found 6/12/2001! Many thanks to Michael J. Ruiz. THOMAS WEISS - (Nickname: Tom) My best friend from the street where I grew up--Cushing Road, in Yorkship Village, aka Fairview Village, a section of Camden NJ. I lost track of Tom more than twelve years ago, sometime shortly before I moved to Michigan from Indiana; I remember a phone call with a lot of talk about marriage and relationships, circa 1985-86, which was probably the last contact. Wherever he's gotten to, he's likely to be making music, even if only for the pleasure of it--he played trumpet for several years before making himself into a fine keyboard player with a fondness for Chick Corea-style jazz. In the late 70s and early 80s, Tom was in working bands in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area.
A fix of Taylor
Pork Roll, Habersett's Scrapple, Hires Root Beer or Birch
Beer, my favorite Tastykakes, and/or Charles's Barbecue
Detail: New Jersey soul food (mostly borrowed from Pennsylvania). My palate has been deprived of these other regional delicacies for most of my adult life, and things have recently gotten worse here in exile--I can no longer get birch beer from the local party store, and the local Kroger no longer carries any Tastykakes. (Yes, I know you can get Tastykakes from their Web site, but unfortunately not my favorites.) If it wasn't for one deli that sells Lebanon bologna, I'd be completely out of luck. The one bright spot: an old friend and classmate nearly-anonymously arranged to send me a case of Herr's Barbecue Chips last year. Donations cheerfully accepted, but I'd gladly pay or trade books for a CARE package from the auld country. (But the prices at the "Taste of Philadelphia" Web site are too dear for me--if I could afford that kind of tariff, I'd have been back to visit more often.)
*Update 6/12/2001: There's more and more niche marketing via the Web, and hurrah for it. Taylor Pork Roll is now available at a much more reasonable price from a little two-New-Jersey-housewives Web startup called www.porkrollxpress.com; I was very happy with the service on my first order. However, I have begun to wonder if my memory is deceiving me about Hires Draft Birch Beer being served up on the Ocean City boardwalk and in the snack bar at Sears. If it ever existed, though, it's apparently no longer made. DPSU (Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up) owns Hires Root Beer now, and markets it as a regional brand (DPSU's national root beer is A&W). There are other birch beers, thank goodness, and I am again in the debt of my old friend and classmate Michael Panelli (who has been kinder to me than I deserve) for sending me two six-packs of Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer this spring, along with some music to enjoy with them. So I'd have something to munch with the birch beer, I treated myself to some Charles' Barbecue Chips ($4.25 a bag plus shipping) from eSnacks.com, but, alas, not only could I not get them in the traditional tin can, they didn't live up to memory--too sweet. Either they've changed, or I have (were Charles' chips always honey BBQ? I didn't remember them that way). Tastykakes remain a challenge, despite the not-terribly-overpriced company store at www.tastykake.com; a case is just too many (not enough freezer space or mouths available), and there's no option to build your own smaller assortment. Still working on a viable scrapple strategy, as well. (What a kick it was when visiting Pennsylvania and Delaware in '99 to find scrapple on some restaurants' breakfast menus.) Meanwhile, the availability of real white American cheese continues to be spotty around here--are all the little Pennsylvania dairies being squeezed out of the market by the Microsoft of cheese, Kraft? We're lucky to find anything better than Land o' Lakes, even in a deli. And, alas, the Steak Express in the local mall's food court--which served up a reasonable facsimile of a Philly cheese steak--has bit the big one, along with Chicago Hot Dog, the only place nearby where I could get a decent corn dog (at least, outside of county fair season). But that's another story...
or photos/illustrations of the S.S. Hamburg, the
Jane Glidden, the Amity, and the S.S.
Detail: These are four of my family's "emigration ships," according to the available records. The Amity and Jane Glidden are 19th Century sail or sail-and-steam ships which brought some of my relations across from Germany and the British Isles; the Hamburg and Finland are early 20th Century steamers which brought some of my wife's relations across from Poland.
If you have a lead on any of the above, please E-mail me with the details.
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