The story begins with two children, Tom and Cara, who live with their foster parents on a 12-acre farm in South Jersey. They are taught to help out around the farm – weeding and watering the garden, feeding the pigs, chickens, and the turkeys. Occasionally the kids were late for school for a good reason – the pigs got loose. Though wide in girth, pigs are quick on their feet and slippery skinned from rolling in the mud. Then, the children move to the North Shore of Staten Island with their birth parents – adjusting to parents with different rules and different values, making new friends, and learning urban street games like punchball, stickball, and jump rope. Their dad’s occasional drinking binges presents a new problem for Tom and Cara, who like most children, are highly adaptable.
Interspersed in the narrative are sketches of important people and events of that era – Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, Jonas Salk, Billy Graham, Bill Wilson (AA), Dick Clark John Lindsay, the Korean and Vietnam wars. 1950s-1960s Fable is a fast-moving, upbeat story which is funny, sad, and optimistic, with larger-than-life characters who do not fret over life’s misfortunes. The book is about conflict, endurance, and growth during an idealistic time in American history.
About The Author
I recall growing up in Elm Park during the late 1950s where dads worked in Wallerstein’s factory and moms worked in lower Manhattan as clerks. The buses ran every 15 to 20 minutes around the clock. The #3 bus took a meandering route mostly along Castleton Avenue, ending with the St. George ferry. The public schools provided a sound education in which students mastered the times tables, English grammar, and read books by Twain, Poe, Dickens, Doyle, Melville, Fitzgerald, Joyce, Wolfe, and Hemingway. The boys played stickball in the street with a Spalding and a broomstick bat, while the girls played jacks and jump rope on the sidewalk.
In the winter, we’d bring a shovel to P. S. 21 playground to clear the snow from the basketball court in
order to play basketball. In the summer, we’d organize softball games with the paved infield and grassy outfield. This was before the current age of computers in which kids now sit in front of a screen all weekend. Maybe that’s why the current epidemic childhood obesity was rare in bygone days. Every adult on your block acted as a quasi-parent, so kids didn’t get into trouble when their parents weren’t around. Children had rules – living a balanced life with time allocated between school, play, and chores, and reading. Once our TV broke and my mom said it would stay broke. She said our grades would improve and we’d read more. She was right of course.
I went to Port Richmond High School where I took academic courses (Regents track) which included four years of math and Latin, plus chemistry, physics, history, and English. I went to CCNY for my bachelor’s degree, Johns Hopkins for an MAT degree, back to CCNY for a second master’s degree, and finally to New York University for a PhD in education. I taught NYC high school and New Jersey junior college physics and math for a total of 50 years.
I didn’t start writing fiction until I was near retirement. I did write a couple of math textbooks while teaching – one of which was a cutting-edge books combining reading and math .My five novels are: 1950s-1960s Fable, 1960s-1970s Fable, The Mariners Harbor Messiah, Blue Collar Folks, and The Pulaski Prowler. Along the way, I also wrote a Brief Guide to Philosophy, which surveys western philosophy for the man in the street.