Tag Archives: 1950s

“Suitcase Charlie” by John Guzlowski

Kasva Press. 328 Pages. Trade Paperback $14.99.

Review by Philip K. Jason

John Guzlowski beautifully conjures up the seamy side of the allegedly innocent 1950s with a thrilling serial murder mystery featuring two boozehound detectives. For Detective Hank  Purcell, memories of World War II, now ten years distant, invade with regularity. Both he and his Jewish partner, Marvin Bondarowicz, have been known to break the rules. Both men are survivors of the mean streets, appealing in their humorous repartee and in their willingness to seek justice, even if insubordination is part of their means to that end. 

Guzlowski

The case Hank and Marvin are on requires an answer to this question: Who cruelly dismembered a young boy and stuffed his body into a suitcase left on the sidewalk, no doubt meant to be discovered? What is the motive for such cruelty? Hank can’t help but remember the Nazi butchery he witnessed firsthand. Has it found its way to 1956 Chicago?

Soon after the detectives undertake their investigation, several parallel incidents occur; it’s unclear if this is a crime spree by one perpetrator, or if these are independent copycat murders. What will the effects of these horrendous crimes be in the neighborhoods where the suitcases turn up? Why these neighborhoods? Why are the soles of the victims’ feet sliced in an isosceles triangle pattern? To represent, when placed together, the Star of David?

Slowly but surely, the author builds credible references to anti-Semitism and its consequences. Leads appear that Hank would like to pursue, but Marvin, who now announces himself a defender of his people – in fact, makes it clear that their persecution had been his motive for becoming a cop – turns Hank away from pursuing the anti-Semitic possibility. After all, the victims in the suitcases are not Jews. . . .

To read the full review, as it appears on the Jewish Book Council site, click here: Suitcase Charlie

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Love is the hero of novel partly set in 1950s Naples

Seagrape Sands, by Jessie Allen Chesser. CreateSpace [Amazon]. 184 pages. $16.00.

This romantic, uplifting tale brings into view the charms of two attractive settings. One of these is Naples, Florida in the 1950s when it was not much more than a fishing village. The other, which we get to a bit later and visit through the 1960s and well into the 1970s, is St. John, the smallest of the U. S. Virgin Islands.  Along with the fictional characters who reside in these places before the intrusion of large-scale development, we enjoy the largely unspoiled beauty and the easy-going lifestyles of these communities.  SeagrapeSands

And what better surroundings within which to follow the paths of two lovers who fall for one another at first glance and live together with the most ideal blend of passion and consideration? 

A masonry contractor for a big project in Naples sends a crew down from Venice. When Sam Johnson and his friends on the crew look for after-hours entertainment in the sleepy town, recent high school graduate Lillie and her friends help them get acquainted. Before long, Sam and Lillie are mutually smitten. Ms. Chesser portrays their blossoming romance with flair, getting into the emotions and concerns of each and conveying the tension of eagerness and caution as they move toward becoming a devoted couple.

Lillie decides to move in with Sam. Marriage isn’t even under discussion until cohabitation makes them more and more certain of a shared destiny. The couple moves out of Florida and then out of mainland U.S.A., as Sam sees business opportunities and a new lifestyle on St. John. Though Lillie’s parents and sisters first question her decisions, they come to accept and admire Sam. No one is enamored with the separation that Lillie’s adventurous life entails, but they make the best of it, visiting when they can – particularly on special occasions.

JChesserphoto

Sam builds the homestead of Seagrape Sands: it is a lovely place, part residence and part resort investment. Sam’s enterprises (dive shop, etc.) make Lillie and him integral parts of their new home territory. Author Chesser underscores how this couple can create powerful bonds with others. Friendships old and new run deep. In fact, friends quickly and permanently become extended family.

“Seagrape Sands” is filled with larger and smaller adventures, most often uplifting ones, that dot the courtship and married life of Sam and Lillie. Many of these take place in the wilder natural settings of Southwest Florida or on St. John. However, not all of the episodes in this book are so uplifting. When pregnant Lillie loses her first child after a bad fall, she is thoroughly despondent and the healing process – physical and spiritual – is difficult and extended. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the March 7, 2013 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly and the March 14 Bonitia Springs edition, click here:

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Butterfly Dress

from BOOKBINDERS: FIVE RECOLLECTIONS

[Originally published in WordWrights, Fall/Winter 1997.]

Bookbinder is my mother’s family name. Thus it has become the secret code word when I call up for information on my bank accounts. Even before she married Grandpa Jake, Grandma Ida’s family name was Bookbinder. I was one of those early 20th century European matches of not-too-distant cousins. Grandma’s relations had lots of children, many of them sons, so there were many New York Jewish Bookbinder children and grandchildren to whom I was related. In the 1950s, Bookbinder cousins drifted to Miami and elsewhere. Some went into the restaurant business.

Jacob and Ida had five offspring: Esther, Shirley, Frieda, Sam, and Emma. In this branch of the family, women took over and the Bookbinder name got lost. Esther, my mother, was 29 when I was born just 18 days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. These Bookbinders, her family, made a strong impression on me when I was a young boy, and even later. As you will see, they were characters. Here are some pieces of their stories – and mine.

Butterfly Dress

Aunt Emma, my mother’s youngest sibling, was still a teenager when I was a toddler. She was – and is – my favorite relative from that side of my family. My first babysitter, she was also the person who introduced me to many things that were important to my boyhood. Cheerful and generous, she would invariably wear her smart-looking dress with the butterfly print whenever she took me from our suburban Long Island home into the city for an adventure. In later years, the butterfly dress became a family joke, but when I was a boy it was a field of wings that would carry me to magical places.

As a young woman in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Aunt Emma had a spirit of adventure that infected me. Our “dates” were exciting and romantic. She loved music and musical theater, and she opened my eyes and ears to the wonders of live performances. I can’t thank her enough for these gifts of time and attention, gifts more lasting and vital than any toy or piece of clothing. When I became an adult and wrestled with raising my own children, I thought back and marveled at her patience with me, the oldest of her several nieces and nephews. I think I was special to her then. Though neither of us could know it, she provided those early glimpses of the creative life that years later became part of my way of being.

She took me to the Young People’s Concerts of the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall. Having me go to this series (in 1948-49) was my parents’ idea, as I was a violin student at the time. But I remember that it was Aunt Emma who most often went with me. On at least one occasion, Leopold Stokowski conducted.

She took me to a rodeo and to circuses at Madison Square Garden. She took me to powerhouse revues like Lend an Ear, in which Carol Channing had a part, and New Faces of 1952, a show that helped make Eartha Kitt a major star. She also took me to South Pacific, the original with Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin. From the beginning, I was in on the joke about “Sam and Janet Evening.”

Aunt Emma would negotiate our journey from Oceanside, or my father would take me into town, or I would spend a weekend at Grandma Ida’s (on Fulton Avenue in the Bronx) where Emma still lived. Then, most likely in that butterfly dress, she would be my older sister and older woman and priestess, floating me into enchanted realms where people spoke in music and lights danced. Before or after, we’d sit in elegant Manhattan restaurants where obsequious waiters made me feel very special, no doubt taking their cue from the delightful young woman who was paying the bill.

These were mysterious and thrilling times, especially as I turned 11 and 12. Looking and feeling less like a little kid now, I was teased and petted by Aunt Emma’s girl friends, who sometimes joined us. Their heavy perfumes and the soft hissing of their satiny dresses dazzled me.

In Aunt Emma’s room and on Grandma Ida’s coffee table there were always copies of the magazines, quite popular then, that printed the lyrics of the latest hit tunes. Emma loved to sing and wanted to have the words down cold, and often I’d join her, magazine in hand, through a number that was featured on Your Hit Parade. She seemed like such a free spirit, though life eventually brought her the usual mix of sorrows and joys, with more restraints than flights. But when I was a boy, she was a gay butterfly and we sang duets against the rattle of the elevated train just a few blocks away from Fulton Avenue.

Actually, even while telling this story, I think that something is wrong. The butterfly dress was real. I have photos of her wearing it. But I believe it belonged to an earlier time, before I was ready for Broadway rhythms. Maybe whatever Aunt Emma would wear on those special days when she took me up into the clouds became a butterfly dress. At any rate, that’s how I see her: luminescent wings against the dark, a beautiful spirit self-created in a poor and dingy corner of the city, lifting me up, lighting my way.

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Dixie Lids and 3D Comix

The late 1940s and early 1950s are years that don’t hold a lot of memories for me, and it’s hard to figure out why certain things linger in memory while all else has vanished. Why do I remember Mrs. Aranow, my second grade teacher at Oceanside School #5 (below), but not any of my other grade school teachers? Why is sixth grade totally wiped from my memory? I can remember visiting Billy Markland, my friend and neighbor, in the late 1940s soon after television made its appearance. The Marklands had the first television on our block – Billy’s father – a guard for Grumman or Republic Aviation – built it from a kit. Once I was so eager to streak across the street to Billy’s that I forgot to look both ways and got run over by a car. Miraculously, my young bones suffered no damage.

O School 5

 I don’t remember what programs we watched at first, say about 1947, but soon it was “Howdy Doody” and then couple of years later I used to go over and watch “Captain Video” and other early fare for kids. I guess we were about eight years old by then. Billy had polio, and he was housebound for quite a while. Incidentally, local legend had it that the actor who played Captain Video’s nemesis, Dr. Pauli, lived in Oceanside. His house had been pointed out by the older boys, and we crept by it cautiously, trying to get a glimpse of the villain. Sometimes the house was egged. We also heard that Ray Heatherton, the star of the groundbreaking children’s television show “The Merry Mailman,” lived nearby. By the time we got our own set, “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” was all the rage.

This transition from watching radio to watching television was something I underwent with enthusiasm. I didn’t realize what was being lost in the process. Yes, I said “watching radio,” because that’s what we did. We sat in our knotty pine dinette and stared at the glowing yellow dial on the radio console. Often it was the only light in the room. The scripts and sound effects and performances were so engaging that our minds’ eyes were full of images. Truly we seemed to watch Jack Benny and Tom Mix and The Second Mrs. Burton. Like the poet says, we half-create what we perceive.

Nonetheless, early television lodged itself in my memory. In particular, glimpses of the shows I wasn’t supposed to watch, like “Broadway Open House” with the voluptuous Dagmar, remain stored in my neural archive.

Oceanside is on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. From there, my father commuted into Manhattan to his job as a studio engineer for the Voice of America. Because the VOA offices overlooked part of the route for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I had the good fortune of a great view for that annual festivity. Though television was already bringing the parade a national audience, I was just thrilled to see it in person.

 Even though the balloon floats were designed to be seen from below, it was great to be eye-level with many of them rather than craning my neck upward. Unforgettable, being up there with the floats – almost as if I, too, were floating.

Other vivid memories include going with my friends on strenuous (and unapproved) bike rides to the North Shore, hearing the coal rumbling into the coal bin on delivery days, fishing with Grandpa Jake off of a little bridge on the way to Long Beach, and seeing the anxious looks on the faces of customers when I delivered Newsday the day after Stalin died. I also remember the sign outside of an imposing old church down the block from our house announcing its founding at a time when the town was called Christian Hook. As a sensitive young Jewish boy, this attribution always made me feel a bit uncomfortable. And I can’t ever forget Major, the stray mutt that we took in as our own for about a year until my mother insisted that we get rid of him. He is memorialized sixty years later as the answer to security questions on my various online accounts. Talk about immortality!

I can recall with little effort those summer days when I set up, on an orange crate, my lemonade stand. My mother encouraged this entrepreneurial streak – and so when 3D comic books became available I was even more adventurous. A tremendous fan of this short-lived fad, I collected aggressively – Mighty Mouse and the rest – and launched a 3D comic book lending library for the less fortunate kids in the neighborhood. These anaglyphic works, the kind with the overlapping lines in red and blue that required special glasses with red and blue cellophane lenses, created impressive three-dimensional effects. MM 3-DI don’t know that I made any money. I didn’t have an enforcer to bring back those overdue comics, and so my inventory slowly dwindled.

I had lots of other collections. My father encouraged the stamps and coins and electric trains. These educational enterprises kept me occupied, but not really enthralled. No, it was those Dixie Cup ice cream lids that became a true addiction. For a while, I had shoe boxes and cigar boxes filled not only with the usual sports-related cards that came packaged with bubble gum, but also with these circular disks bearing the blue-tinted likenesses of Hollywood starlets. Rhonda Fleming, Veronica Lake, and even Wanda Hendrix were slowly revealed as I licked the ice cream from each Dixie lid. Yum!

Oddly, I also hoarded the lids from milk bottles. I don’t think these had anything printed on them. They were useless. Perhaps we used them in games requiring something like coins or poker chips.

Towers Funeral Home still stands. Its owner and director is Robert E. Towers. Now in his later sixties, he is the grown up version of the Bobby Towers I played with as a boy. When we were kids, the funeral home was the scene of secretive and scary doings. We’d sneak around the building that stored coffins, and Bobby would lead us through the spaces where embalmings were performed. What a place for hide-and-seek! I didn’t know it at the time, but the funeral home and surrounding land was once the estate of Ziegfield Follies dancer Gilda Gray.

Towers Photo

Of all the smells of memory – the sunshine, the South Shore salt air, the blended aromas of seafood and hot dogs inside of the Roadside Rest, the coal dust in the basement, the lemonade, the exhaust from the 1936 Buick before we got the 1950 Plymouth, the incredibly sweet lilac blooms in our back yard at 14 Amos Avenue – the most pungent and lasting is the smell of the formaldehyde from the innards of the funeral home. So strong, it lingers still as the preservative, the elixir, of these memories.

In the summer of 1954, we moved from Oceanside to Silver Spring, Maryland because the Voice of America headquarters moved from New York to Washington, D.C. That’s why these memories are so odd and precious. They are discontinuous with my later experiences of boyhood and young adulthood. Oceanside ends for me at the age of 12½. A complex web of place and friendships and daily routines was severed. Slowly, another took root.

I have no plan to return, to be a ghostly voyeur spying on my childhood self. But as I imaginatively breathe in those years, bordered by Kindergarten and 8th grade, I can’t help but ask myself the unanswerable what if?

Towers Map

[The few blocks from Amos Avenue — on the lower right — to Towers Funeral Home. The Church refered to is at the corner of Amos Avenue and Oceanside Road.]

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Vacant Lots – a Memoir

When I was growing up in Oceanside, Long Island in the late 1940s and early 1950s, our spiritual addresses were vacant lots. Small-town housing developments then were frequently unnamed spurts of fifteen or twenty houses, just a block or two, and there was always a buffer zone of one or more empty lots between layers of development. Life outside of school and home-the life of childhood play-was situated for me in one or another of three vacant lots within a few minutes walk or run from home. There were plenty of other vacant lots, but these three had un­dergone colonization by us neighborhood kids. They had character. Although someone owned them, they seemed to be our property and were treated accordingly. The Bamboo Lot, the Deep Woods, and one that was not then named but which I’ll call the Baseball Lot took us in and embraced us. Each had a separate function.

The Bamboo Lot, a double-sized undeveloped corner lot, was, as the name suggests, a thick tangle of bamboo. Though hard to penetrate, it succumbed to our stubborn efforts and suffered sev­eral worn paths and a few small clearings. In the Bamboo Lot, we could quite easily get lost from roadside view. This lot, just a few houses away from my home, was basically for just getting to­gether and for imaginative talk, often about getting even with Mrs. Schaeffer, the neighborhood scold. Here, we’d trade baseball cards, play marbles and mumbledypeg, and develop our cursing skills. So quickly sheltered from passing cars and prying adults, we made wild plans, sneaked smokes, and poked at snakes and other creatures.

Of course, the Bamboo Lot provided the raw material for stickball bats, unneeded walking sticks, fishing poles, flutes and whistles, and the weaponry of our war games, which rarely took place there but rather in the Deep Woods. The lot was a gen­erous and inexhaustible provider. We all practiced our skill with knives on the bamboo stalks and shoots, and singly and together we fashioned marvelous things, often joining bamboo lengths with wrappings made of vines or pliant reeds. Judy Leathers, who played with us there when we all still looked like boys, was the best at devising these fastenings.

The Bamboo Lot stood for several years, somehow resistant to development while other empty lots in the neighborhood were built on. Maybe the dense bamboo itself made the corner inhospitable. Eventually, though, it was tamed and a large house with an ele­gant yard claimed the space. We never got along well with the new family who took our Bamboo Lot away. Treating their children as usurpers, spoilers, we called them names, tripped them in the hallways at school, and generally made them miserable. After a while we just ignored them. They stayed on their property and we stayed off it. They were trapped in what we had lost.

The Deep Woods, a much larger undeveloped area a few blocks further to the east, was several lots wide and very deep; I don’t think we ever walked all the way through it to whatever road was its distant border. It was the typical wild space of the coastal mid-Atlantic, densely green with many large, overhanging trees that provided shade and kept in check the low-lying scrub and grasses. Wild berry trees provided color as well as snacks, and they also provided projectiles for small arms fire.

A clearing in the Deep Woods held our fort. Actually, it wasn’t ours: its basic design and construction predated our gen­eration of kids. Nonetheless, we had taken it over and improved it. The basic structure of the fort had been formed by nature. Two large trees, only about eight feet apart, had been half-sev­ered and bent over about four feet up from the ground. We be­lieved they had been hit by lightening. Their toppled upper trunks stretched out in the same direction, with the distance be­tween them narrowing to about four feet where they rested on the ground. The length of these upper trunks, from the point where they angled down from the place of fracture to the ground, was twelve or fourteen feet. All the tree limbs had been chopped off by our predecessors, as had the narrowing (once topmost) part of the trunks that rested on the ground and had once carried the trees’ crowns.

Upon this sturdy sloping frame we built or rebuilt platforms by placing odds and ends of “discovered” lumber and the stripped trunks of smaller fallen trees. And upon these platforms we erected further fortifications-not quite walls, but barriers against intruders and rests for our bamboo spears and other de­fensive weapons. The fort was always in progress. From its var­ious heights and appurtenances, we could jump, swing, and other­wise risk our necks. Coming back from the Deep Woods, we often wore bloody knees and elbows. Every now and then, a defense of the fort resulted in a trip to the hospital.

After a few years, the near, roadside width of the Deep Woods was developed with several houses, including the one Arnold Tucker’s family built. Because the Tuckers let us cross their property to reach the diminished Woods, Arnold quickly became one of the gang. But in another year or two our visits became less frequent. We spent more time at the candy store and other places where there were girls around. Arnold and Judy Leathers were the first to have anything like a date. Younger kids clamored over our fort. Occasionally, there were signs that hoboes had stopped by.

The Baseball Lot was really a large sweep of undeveloped but largely cleared lots that ran from in back of our house to the intersection about six houses west, fronting on the street behind us. At the far end of this stretch, the older kids in the neigh­borhood had worn in a rough baseball diamond. The baseball field backed onto the property line of Mrs. Schaeffer and one other neighbor whose name I forget.

From the first warm days of spring until school let out, late afternoons would find us in the Baseball Lot. Once school was out for the summer, we would gather there at almost any pre­arranged time to start a four- or five-inning game. My friends’ older brothers would get things going, picking captains and choosing up sides from their teenage peers down to the fledgling players: Billy Markland, Scudder Black, Howie Schleich, and my­self. While there was clearly a pecking order, everyone got to play. Limitations were accepted. I usually played second base to minimize the disadvantage of a weak throwing arm.

Although Little League and other organized leagues existed, most of us spent our game time on the Baseball Lot in informal but hotly contested competitions. We managed without umpires or coaches, though sometimes the girls served as line judges, call­ing balls fair and foul. Their participation was more a matter of friendly help than officiating, though in Judy’s case we knew that something else was going on. Our parents did not show up, we had no uniforms, and some of us didn’t have baseball gloves. We were grooming ourselves for absolutely nothing, and yet we played all out. There were no slackers. The early spring games ended at sundown. Later on, games were discontinued when two or three of us got called home for supper, then they might resume on full bellies to conclusion or nightfall.

The ball field of the Baseball Lot was still thriving when we left Oceanside in 1954, but the several subdivision lots to its east, including the one behind our house, had been built on. Mrs. Schaeffer remained miffed about the foul balls that would end up in her yard, causing us to trample through her garden, or the occasional one that would bounce off her house or break a window. However, she never called the police (though she con­stantly threatened such action) and our parents were always quick to offer payment for damages and warn us to be more careful, which we were. Diehard players at war and marbles and baseball, our energy knew boundaries. We lived in a time of civility.

When I returned to visit the neighborhood years later, the old baseball field and most of the other vacant lots were gone. Kids had well-groomed, well-lighted parks to play in and communi­ty centers with backstopped baseball diamonds. Lists of organized activities and team calendars covered the bulletin boards, and scores and schedules filled the local weekly newspaper. By the 1960s, parents had taken over as well as hired program directors, and play was not the same thing anymore. In more recent years, parents have pushed neighbor umpires into court over bad calls. Kids have shot each other dead over inside pitches under the blaring lights of civic stadiums where we once roamed free, wild only in our imaginations, in vacant lots.

 [“Vacant Lots” originally appeared in the WordWrights No. 20, Nov.-Dec. 2000]

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BOOK BEAT 61 – G. P. Walmsley

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   January 2-8, 2008

by Philip K. Jason

Neapolitan G. P. Walmsley provides a racy, colorful entertainment with his first novel, “The Virtuoso: A Love Story in Scarlet.” The story takes readers through about three decades, tracing the life of John (or “Jack”) Dupree from his days as a wartime New Orleans street kid of eleven through his ups and downs as a musician, friend, lover, and human being. The part of the portrait that illumines Jack’s coming of age in the 1950s, a section that includes his service in the Korean War, is even better at capturing the feel of a decade than the delineation of the other periods – and this sense of time and place (including St. Louis and New York) is always keen.  

Jack’s early education takes place in the saloons and jazz clubs of his native city, and his passion for jazz, still mainly the province of black musicians, is matched only by his passion for women. His sexual experience begins early, and it continues to define him through the decades the follow. Walmsley draws this formative New Orleans milieu quite convincingly, and along the way he probes the racial tensions of the times. He also probes the dynamics by which racial barriers give way to mutual respect among dedicated, skilled musicians in the world of blues and jazz.

The world of nightclubs, whether sleazy or posh, is interwoven with the world of prostitution. Jack lives in that world as well. When his mother dies, Jack moves on to live with an aunt who is a madam in St. Louis. Soon enough, he meets her friend Sophia, also in that trade, with whom he has a most passionate and complex relationship. Sophia supports, marries, and occasionally torments the much younger hero, helping him to realize his dreams of becoming a top-level musician. Along the way, Jack is transformed into John, and he temporarily puts aside the jazz clarinet for the classical piano. Private tutors, Julliard, minor league competitions and concerts, and an ambitious agent-manager bring Dupree to the threshold of fame and fortune.

Though Sophia tries to bury her past and develops a successful Manhattan boutique, criminal prosecutions for prostitution and tax evasion threaten her – and thus threaten her husband’s chance at the gold ring. In part for this reason, they decide to divorce, but the reader learns of other motives as well.  Incidentally, Walmsley’s background in law enforcement adds credibility to several aspects of his plot.

As much as he cares for Sophia, Jack/John Dupree is tempted by other women, and he strays. Sophia has secrets as well, which I’ll leave for readers to discover.

What Walmsley does best is project the ecstatic moments of creative release – those times when an artist achieves a transcendent state. Both implicitly and explicitly, Walmsley likens this ultimate euphoria to sexual release. There’s nothing new in this comparison, but the author evokes it with skill and force.

He also does a fine job in creating a rich collection of minor characters, including Cotton Blanchard, a wise, caring black musician who becomes Dupree’s mentor and father figure. Dupree’s Aunt Clara is also well-drawn, as is Sophia’s lawyer and a young female violinist named Laura.

What does not serve Walmsley or the reader well is the extremely high proportion of technical errors in the writing: misused words, faulty punctuation, words and phrases set in italics for no good reason, and grammatical lapses of all kinds riddle the narrative and almost undermine Walmsley’s accomplishment as a story-teller. I say “almost” because the vigor of the work and the appeal of his characters and plot line somehow rise above these frequent distractions. It is unintentionally ironic that G. P. Walmsley actually offers thanks for editorial assistance. If only he had received skilled professional help, “The Virtuoso” could have been so much better. The patient, forgiving reader can still enjoy a sexy, high-powered thrill ride with rich nostalgia for decades past.

“The Virtuoso” is available from online book dealers, including the publisher authorhouse.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference and Authors & Books Festival presented by the Naples Press Club.

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