A Medley of Legends,Memoirs, and Myths.
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Here are a few excerpts, from this collection of Short Stories
From Me and Thom, how I helped Mr. Jefferson to Write the Declaration of Independence.
I have always been a city kid. I like all of the hustle and bustle of a real city, not like those little towns up north, like Boston and New York.
Some people say that there are nearly 40,000 people living in Philadelphia now, and some days it sure seems like it, with all of the garbage in the streets. Lately, there seems to be more Catholics than Quakers. Modern times, I guess. You just have to go with it.
I live on Filbert Street, which has plenty of bustle, what with the tavern and all. But as a young man of the city, I like that.
I started working over there at Carpenter’s Hall a year or so before everything got interesting, what with the work that Thom and me did on that declaration and all.
My mother told me that it was time for me to get busy and earn my own way, what with me being fifteen and all. She was always comparing me to those Bacon kids. I never really liked any of them, they always seemed kind of snooty to me, what with their two sets of clothes and all.
Sometimes, there is work that a man can get at the print shops, or down at the docks, so I tried them first. The docks need burly men compared to what I am, so they told me to go home and send my father. I couldn’t send him on account of his recent death, and when I explained that, they told me to send my big brother, which I explained to them that I never had, except for Silas, who only lived for a week or so.
So, even if he is my big brother, it didn’t do them any good.
I tried to make them understand that a fifteen year old has responsibilities to the family if he is the eldest, which they said doesn’t matter if you are “scrawny as an imp.” I’m not sure about imps, but they way that they said it made it sound bad.
So, I tried the printing houses.
That’s when I met Dr. Franklin. His name is really Benjamin; Ben is what some people called him. He liked to be called Dr. Franklin though, so that’s what I did.
Dr. Franklin is some guy, that’s for sure. Two things I can tell you about him are this. He sure likes the women, particularly young ones compared to him, plus, he had gas all the time. I never heard anybody fart like that, and not laugh. That’s what my friend’s did anyways. He always blamed it on the beer, and he could be right about that. He sure liked his beer.
From The Belfast to Dublin Train
It was a Saturday. I sat in my apartment, reading the local paper. Local, that is, to the people of Glendun, Ireland. That is where I was born, and where I lived until I was thirteen. But it is not my home. My home is in Boston, in a section of the south side that people would call “upscale.” As a boy, I was a “Southie.” Being a Southie, is a proud moniker for many, but it is not upscale.
Glendun is in the North of Ireland, in the six counties that the English have managed to keep as their own. When I was a boy, and for countless years prior, Northern Ireland was a place of fear, unrest, and violence, particularly around Belfast. My home was in an area that is called the Nine Glens. Nine beautiful places along the seacoast, where the cliffs stop, and you can walk a sandy shore to the ocean. Glendun is a tiny village, in county Antrim, and not so far from the ocean that you don’t feel it around you every day.
Today, through the wonders of the Internet, you can read the local paper from just about anywhere. Every so often, I would check in to see what life was like in a place that has become distant in my memory, my home village in Ireland. The news was usually small, as the centuries of violence seemed to end with the Good Friday Accords.
It was not always so peaceful, particularly not when you are a Catholic boy growing up in the North of Ireland. I learned prejudice at a young age, because it was flung at me, and I was taught to fling it back.
My name is Frankie Dunn. It was Francis, not Frankie, when I was a boy, and it was Doneghy, not Dunn, when I lived in Ireland. When I came to America, I became Frankie Dunn. In Boston, Dunn had become the family name. When I was reluctant, at first, to give up my name, they wore me down with insistence. Why Dunn, I asked? “Ellis Island spelling,” was all that they said. In those days, an immigrant boy coming to America was often told what his name was, and it was accepted. Dunn was the name of my aunts, uncles, and cousins.
From March 31, 1985
On March 31, 1985, Leon Moser took the hunting rifle from his car, and murdered his two daughters and his ex-wife, in the parking lot of the family church. He did so, immediately following Palm Sunday services.
His own words, from various notes, seem to indicate that he had planned to kill only his daughters, then himself.
But when the thing was done, his daughters, Donna and Joanne were dead, and so was Linda, his ex-wife.
Leon was alive, lying sideways in the parking lot, holding the gun.
As one person described it, Leon was “playing possum.”
In the following week, and months, the words “how could this happen?” or some close variation of them, were said many times, and within my hearing, by the good people of St. James Episcopal Church, in Evansburg, Pennsylvania.
How indeed. How could this happen?
It has been more than twenty years since then.
As I begin to write, I am aware of the several sharp memories that I have. The sorts of memories where you can recall the images, with absolute clarity, simply by closing your eyes.
From Entitled to Mind Your Own Business
A friend recently made an interesting point. He said that he used to love to go out for dinner. Along with that, he liked to have a few drinks, and a smoke afterwards. That seems like an OK plan to me. However, he no longer goes out for dinner, because of the opinions that others have about drinking and smoking. That seems sad to me. Rude and mean fit nicely also.
He went on to say that he had a long conversation with someone who lectured him on their rights when they dine out, about those foul smokers. The lecture continued with their entitlement to drive on highways free of people that have had two glasses of wine with dinner, which could potentially endanger them.
He made a wise point, in response. He said, “Just wait until they start taking your stuff away.”