Yesterday afternoon, an episode of Escape to the Country came on the BBC. In the background, we heard one of the househunting couple's children's names: "Hatcher." With that, the fun began: • Me: "There must be an American in this couple. Boys names in the U.S. have become ridiculous in recent years. Only an American … Continue reading What Happened To Bobby?
Going through those old family photos on Sunday, we also found a large envelope. It had been sent in the 1920s to London by ancestors of my wife who were living in California. I noticed the stamps - and the prices: "Whoa," I said to my wife. "Andrew Jackson and John Tyler stamps? 17 cents … Continue reading Presidential Stamps
Yesterday, at my in-laws, my wife and I went through old family photos and letters. We did so at the request of a distant relation. She believed some snaps of her close relatives might have been scattered in among them. She thought so because the stash had been held by my father-in-law's aunt. That aunt … Continue reading History Stuffed In A Drawer
On Wednesday, before I left Pennsylvania, I emailed my wife the 80 percent finished sequel manuscript. "I just want you to have a copy," I messaged her. I didn't say it in so many words, but she guessed why. We nodded to it after I returned. I'd had a chill. If anything had happened to … Continue reading Death and Social Media
So I've left my Dad in recovery in Pennsylvania from his August 9 heart failure. After two weeks there, it was time to leave: I could do no more, and I couldn't stay forever of course. He looks excellent, and is in the (now calmer) hands of my mother and my sister. Having flown into … Continue reading An Airport Welcome
Recuperating, my Dad found The Winds of War mini-series on Netflix. Couldn't resist it. We sat and watched the first two episodes together yesterday afternoon and evening. Based on Herman Wouk's 1971 novel about Americans in Europe before Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into World War II, it was shown originally in February 1983. … Continue reading “Byron, have you ever been to Warsaw?”
In the spring of 1824, Washington Irving finished his Tales of a Traveller. While proofing it, he wrote to his friend Tom Moore. Here's the opening part of the letter: Brighton, August 14, 1824. My boat is on the shore, And my bark is on the sea. I forget how the song ends, but here … Continue reading .@WashingtonIrving You Stink!
I discovered a little while ago via Facebook that my 12 year old nephew in Britain wants me to dump ice water over my head. I'm disappointed. By now, surely he knows his uncle would prefer the Patrick Stewart approach: However, it's just a bit too early in the day to pour a drink here … Continue reading Here’s A Cheque/Check
With my Dad doing better than we'd expected, Sunday afternoon I took an opportunity to venture up to the Catskills to check our house, and use Monday to mow the lawn and deal with anything else that may have needed dealing with. I admit I could also have called it my "24 hours of tranquility" … Continue reading “Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane”
While proofreading it last year, one of my Passports story "checkers" had noticed the novel's "friendships" undertone, and told me: These girls are so close and fond of each other.... It was excellent she caught that, because I framed that deliberately. It applies to men too. Friends as central in our lives is an important … Continue reading “She didn’t mean to pull a knife on you….”
As you may know, I've been visiting with my parents in Pennsylvania after my father's "heart failure." Things have been very tense, of course, at times, over concern for his health. But at other times I've also found myself (thankfully) in what borders on a comedy: • Dad: "God, I'm getting out of breath explaining … Continue reading The Doctor’s Office
I watched this on the plane over to the U.S. last week. Thoroughly entertaining, it even made me laugh out loud several times (embarrassing on a plane), and took my Dad's illness - which was why I was flying to the States - off of my mind for a little while. As such, it deserves … Continue reading Quai d’Orsay
Look who decided to stroll nonchalantly through my parents' backyard during (our) dinner: At the table, my mother immediately announced: "I'm outta here! Back to Long Island!"
Ernie Pyle was embedded with U.S. forces on Iejima, Okinawa, in 1945, where he would be killed by Japanese machine-gun fire. Photographer Robert Capa landed on Omaha Beach with U.S. troops in the second wave on D-Day. A decade later, traveling with French forces, he would die in Indochina after stepping on a mine. ABC's … Continue reading An Incredibly Dangerous Job
Blending historical events and "real time" into and around the lives of my fictional characters is one of the enjoyable aspects of writing these novels. Naturally I hope readers become immersed in that melding too. I also love working in stealthy references to prominent people of those mid-1990s and before: ....While James walked ahead of … Continue reading “A biography of….”