Beyond the Books

First Chapter Reveal: On Top of the World (Until the Bell Chimes) by David Lamb

on-top-of-the-worldTitle: ON TOP OF THE WORLD (UNTIL THE BELL CHIMES)
Author: David Lamb
Publisher: Woolly Mammoth Books
Pages: 240
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Contemporary Romance/Multicultural/Humor/Satire

2016 BEST FICTION-Pacific Book Awards. FROM THE FUNNY AND NATURALLY BRILLIANT DAVID LAMB, award-winning playwright of the New York Times celebrated play, Platanos Y Collard Greens, comes a modern spin on Dickens’ classic tale that perfectly combines humor and romance in a story re-imagined for our digital, consumerist age. This version of Scrooge and Belle is familiar, yet unlike any you’ve come across before. Scrooge, or rather Scrooje, is music’s biggest superstar, with one hundred million albums sold, fifteen million devoted YouTube subscribers, two and a half million Facebook likes, and twenty-five million fanatical Twitter followers known as Scroojites. Belle, is a legal shark who gulps down her opposition voraciously and whose beauty and stunning figure causes traffic accidents as she zips through the sidewalks of Manhattan stylishly adorned and taking no prisoners. They never imagined being music’s most powerful couple, but that’s exactly what happened when Belle fell head over heels and gave the Coke-bottle glasses wearing, plaid and stripe attired, scrawny, biggest nerd on her college campus the ultimate makeover, turning him into a fashion impresario whose style sets trends from Milan to NY Fashion Week and who can be seen courtside at the NBA Finals sporting a perfectly-fitted cashmere suit. Then it happens. Belle realizes too late that she’s created a chart-topping monster as Scrooje’s ego explodes and he starts acting a fool. Now, it’s been three years since they ve spoken. But tonight at Hollywood s biggest red carpet event, with the whole world watching, they’ll be given a second chance. Will Scrooje listen to the ghostly-advice of Marley, his best friend since the fourth grade, who at the time of his untimely drowning at his Brazilian poolside birthday bash was as big a star as Scrooje? Will Scrooje finally do right by his number one artist, Cratchit, a genius comedian, who Scrooje invariably rip offs every chance he gets? And with twenty-five million viewers tuned in will Scrooje finally shed his ego, jeopardize his image and declare his love for Belle, the one he betrayed and let slip away? Second chances don’t often come around. Will Belle even give him a chance? Mixing heart, soul, bling and romance in a fresh, original satire about race, class and celebrity worship Lamb establishes himself as one of the most talented and amazing writers today. And leaves no doubt that the Pacific Book Awards chose wisely when they selected On Top Of The World as the year’s Best Fiction.

Purchase Information:

Amazon | iTunes | B&N

First Chapter:

Life’s a Beach; I’m just playing in the sand. I had to thank Lil Wayne for that one. It was my motto. I had it inscribed on the door of my office underneath my crown.

Why did I have a crown?

Because I’m musical royalty. That’s why I’d insisted the government carve my face on Mt. Rushmore. People said I was crazy spending $5 million suing to make it happen. But hey, a king must get his due.

Look, I know the Revolution of 1776 liberated America from the grip of kings. But I was a new kind of king, one who’d created an empire no poor boy had any business ever dreaming of. Yes, Fitty netted $100 million when Coca-Cola gobbled up Vitaminwater, whoop-de-damn-do. And yes, Jigga sold Rocawear to Iconix for $204 million, big damn deal. Peanuts. I had my eyes on the man Forbes proclaimed the richest human being who ever walked the earth—my own handsome ancestor (and one day, DNA tests will prove this), Mansa Musa, the emperor of Mali whose face adorns history’s most famous map, the Catalan Atlas, where he’s pictured seated regally and holding a big-ass gold nugget. The man Forbes estimated to be worth $400 billion.

Now, this wasn’t to say my wealth was in Mansa Musa’s neighborhood (truth be told, I was still trying to reach Diddy’s financial zip code), but no one could deny what I’d achieved. Musical royalty; forty million albums sold; a $100 million concert tour; the hottest-selling clothing lines; and my sneaker sales were on the road to making Air Jordan’s look like chump change.

This was my destiny.

From the moment of my birth, I was enamored with my own distinction. How do you think I was so motivated to beat those millions of others racing for the prize? I guess the blame for what some deride as my massive ego goes to the boisterous celebrations sweeping the country the year I was born. Two hundred and some odd years after the Thirteen Colonies declared independence; I happily broke free from nine months of solitary confinement in my mother’s belly. It was 1984, and once I escaped, I couldn’t wait to get the party started. From the first slap on my bare behind to my first scream that soon followed, I absorbed America’s Olympic celebrations like a sponge. I decided right then and there I wanted my name to live forever.

Okay, so that sounds a little much, but just imagine if you’d grown up a little Black boy named after a Charles Dickens’ character. Your ego might be a little warped, too.

So please, before you judge, hear the whole story. Before I was headlining concerts, people had no idea how to pronounce my name; and even today, most believe it’s my nom de plume, completely unaware that it’s my family’s legacy, the result of an overseer’s bitter attempt at vengeance. How else could I end up with a name like “Scrooʝe?”

Yes, today Dickens is one of the world’s most beloved writers. But that wasn’t always the case. Back in the 1840s, a young Charles Dickens decided to, as the English say, “take a trip across the pond” to see what life was like in America.

When he published his travel memoir, American Notes, nine months later, the excrement hit the fan.

Dickens had unmasked the brutality of what the good folks of the South called “the peculiar institution,” thereby helping spur Britain’s expansion of abolition with the passing of the Indian Slavery Act of 1843, and pissing off slaveholders that Dickens had opened his big fat mouth in the first place.

As fate would have it, in this overheated atmosphere, my great-great-great-grandfather was born on a plantation run by Virginia’s cruelest overseer. Who, according to the family history my grandma passed down to me, was so angry when he learned Dickens had printed one of his runaway slave ads in American Notes, that his face turned red as an apple while he cursed like a sailor. He then promptly ordered “ten Nigras whipped” because Dickens had the gall not to recognize how kind such a fine gentlemen as himself was to the slaves. Not one to take insults lightly, the overseer started a petition to have Dickens’ books banned from the States then tried to sue him for libel. A year and a half later, after having failed on both fronts, he vowed to extract his revenge by naming the next slave born on the plantation after Ebenezer Scrooge. And just to be sure to pour a little extra salt on the wound, he decided to change the order of the names because as he said, “Nigras get everything ass backwards.”

So that was how my great-great-great-grandfather came to be named Scrooge Ebenezer.

Miraculously, despite enduring indescribable brutality on the plantation, Scrooge Ebenezer ultimately triumphed. During Reconstruction, he became one of the first Black congressmen. Since that time, all of his male descendants have been named “Scrooge.” As the decades passed and times changed, my father decided to give the spelling some Ebonics flair.

Now you have to understand, my father (in his youth) had been the embodiment of cool, so much so that he’d once run a marathon at high noon in August in Arizona—without so much as breaking a sweat, all while delivering up-to-the-minute analysis of the race as he ran. Naturally, a man whose magnetism was so strong that college debutantes patiently waited in line to ask to be his high school prom date, wanted to bestow some of his overflowing charisma on his firstborn son. So when Dad came up with his Ebonics-inspired translation, he proudly proclaimed: “Now if that ain’t cool, I don’t know what is.”

Unfortunately for me, it was the first time in my father’s life his cool barometer was off. All of the fallout from Dad’s ill-timed miscalculation fell upon my scrawny shoulders (or more accurately, upon my young ears). On a daily basis, my classmates took unbridled delight in twisting my name into unflattering caricatures.

“Screwed-yuh,” was at the top of the list, but there were plenty of others. “Screw-gee poop” and “Scrooʝenezer” were popular. But “Ebonsneezer” was the hardest to shake because it had a revival every allergy season when I would have sneezing fits so loud and powerful, I felt like I could blow the windows off their hinges. Even my teachers, who weren’t trying to make fun of me, struggled with the pronunciation, mangling my name so many times I lost track. I would cringe every time Mr. Manigold came to my name when he checked attendance. “Scroogie Ebon-eye-zer” was the closest he ever came to getting it right, and that was only after a half-dozen other mess-ups.

As a little boy, I’d lie awake wondering why my father couldn’t have just kept the original spelling. I promised myself that if it were my destiny to be named after a Victorian character then one day the whole world would know my name.

I kept my promise.

Wish my pops were here to see what I’ve done. Sometimes onstage—even with twenty-two thousand people screaming my name—I’d feel all alone and retreat inside the music, letting the rhythmic bass lines invade my soul until I was one with it. Then everything would stop, and I could sense my heart pulsating on the downbeat. I’d close my eyes and imagine I was three years old again, laughing as my father spun me in the air, telling me I could achieve anything.

And it felt beautiful.

 

Guest post: “Let’s Talk About Jane Fonda,” by Robert Wideman, Author of ‘Unexpected Prisoner’

I was a prisoner in North Vietnam for almost six years. I am very familiar with the treatment of POWs in North Vietnam during those six long years. Today most people think that the North Vietnamese tortured me 24/7 for six years. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I describe my treatment as a nightmare for the first two months, a country club for the last three years, and like law school the two and a half years in between, your basic miserable existence.

Jane Fonda visited us during the summer of 1972.  She told the world, “The American POWs are being treated well.” I listened very carefully to what she said. At the time the North Vietnamese treated us better than the Geneva Convention required. We got outside five to six hours a day, we received three meals a day including sweet toast or sweet milk for breakfast, we received water buffalo meat once a week with gravy, we wrote home every month, and we received packages from home every other month.

The POWs called Jane Fonda a liar. Go figure!!

I have tried to tell the whole truth about the treatment of POWs in my book, Unexpected Prisoner. When we first came home, our government and the senior American POWs told the world and the American people that never in the history of warfare have POWs been treated so badly. That was just wrong.

Many senior American military and political leaders knew that the Vietnam War was a loser but said nothing, because they did not want to jeopardize their careers. Instead they preferred to have American boys die on the battlefield. Those same senior military and political leaders ridiculed and demeaned those brave and courageous Americans who opposed the Vietnam War including Jane Fonda.

Thank the Lord for Jane Fonda and those courageous Americans who opposed the Vietnam War. But for them, we would still be in Vietnam.

/////////////////////////////////

cover

Title: UNEXPECTED PRISONER: Memoir of a Vietnam Prisoner of War

Genre: Memoir

Author: Robert Wideman

Website: www.robertwideman.com

Publisher: Graham Publishing Group

Find on Amazon

About the Book:

When Unexpected Prisoner opens, it’s May 6, 1967 and 23-year-old Lieutenant Robert Wideman is flying a Navy A-4 Skyhawk over Vietnam.  At 23, Wideman had already served three and a half years in the Navy—and was only 27 combat days away from heading home to America. But on that cloudless day in May, on a routine bombing run, Wideman’s plane crashed and he fell into enemy hands. Captured and held for six years as a Prisoner of War in Vietnam, Wideman endured the kind of pain that makes people question humanity.  Physical torture, however, was not the biggest challenge he was forced to withstand.  In his candid memoir, Unexpected Prisoner, Wideman details the raw, unvarnished tale of how he came to understand the truth behind Jean-Paul Sartre’s words: “Hell is other people.”

A gripping, first-person account that chronicles the six-year period Wideman spent in captivity as a POW, Unexpected Prisoner plunges readers deep into the heart of one of the most protracted, deadliest conflicts in American history:  the Vietnam War. Wideman, along with acclaimed memoirist Cara Lopez Lee, has crafted a story that is exquisitely engaging, richly detailed, and wholly captivating. Unexpectedly candid and vibrantly vivid, this moving memoir chronicles a POW’s struggle with enemies and comrades, Vietnamese interrogators and American commanders, lost dreams, and ultimately, himself.

With its eye-opening look at a soldier’s life before, during and after captivity, Unexpected Prisoner presents a uniquely human perspective on war and on conflicts both external and internal. An exceptional story exceptionally well-told, Unexpected Prisoner is a powerful, poignant, often provocative tale about struggle, survival, hope, and redemption.

author-photo

About the Author:

Robert Wideman was born in Montreal, grew up in East Aurora, New York, and has dual U.S./Canadian citizenship. During the Vietnam War, he flew 134 missions for the U.S. Navy and spent six years as a prisoner of war. Wideman earned a master’s degree in finance from the Naval Postgraduate School. After retiring from the Navy, he graduated from the University of Florida College of Law, practiced law in Florida and Mississippi, and became a flight instructor. Robert Wideman holds a commercial pilot’s license with an instrument rating, belongs to Veterans Plaza of Northern Colorado, and lives in Ft. Collins near his two sons and six grandchildren.

Connect with the author on the web: Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn

 

 

 

 

How To Eat Your ABC’s Book Blast!

 

Title: HOW TO EAT YOUR ABC’S
Author: Theresa A. McKeown
Publisher: The ABC’s of Everything, LLC
Pages: 30
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
How to Eat your ABC’s” is a cleverly written and illustrated book, which encourages children to get excited about healthy eating, while also developing a genuine love for reading. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a fresh
fruit or vegetable and is narrated by BuzzBee, (a friendly honeybee who adores children). Written entirely in rhyme with a melodic tone, it is meant to be read aloud. Not only will it inspire kids to fall in love with fresh healthy food, but it will also build their vocabulary and phonemic awareness.
“How to Eat Your ABC’s” will instill a healthy, happy, conscious way of looking at life from a young age.
We invite children and parents alike to follow BuzzBee and his friends as they show everyone how to eat their way through the alphabet.

Amazon

Book Excerpt:

Normal
0

MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}

About the Author
Theresa McKeown spent over two decades in the entertainment arena before embracing her true passion of writing children’s books. After producing hundreds of hours of television for a host of cable and network outlets, Theresa is now on the path of what she considers her highest calling.

Theresa and her sisters have created “The ABC’s of Everything, LLC”, a family endeavor solely focused on publishing several series of children’s books, digital content, and educational curriculums. All will be written and produced with an awareness of the true possibilities that children of the 21st century can realize.

As an author, Theresa is dedicated to estimating rather than underestimating the wisdom of children. Her philosophy is that kids are fully adept at understanding nuance and meaning and it’s not necessary to talk down to them. She is dedicated to creating a new paradigm in the children’s book world by introducing work that fully embraces the insightfulness, perception and unlimited intellectual potential of today’s youth.

Her books are meant to plant the seeds of education and awareness early in a child’s development, knowing full well that children will ultimately blossom into the best versions of who they are meant to be.

In her role as producer, Theresa traveled worldwide, filming from locations as diverse as the White House, NORAD, the Pentagon, FBI headquarters, maximum-security prisons and from the top of the World Trade Center. Along the way she “tail-hooked” onto an aircraft carrier in the Pacific, yachted through South America with jet setters and chased bad guys with the LAPD in a helicopter.
Yet, with a background like this, building a community to celebrate children promises to be the most exciting adventure of all

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK

 

Character Interview: Brandi from S.K. Nicholls’ crime romp, ‘Naked Alliances’

nakedalliances_jpegWe’re thrilled to have here today Brandi from S.K. Nicholls’ new crime romp, Naked Alliances, the first volume in the Naked Eye Series.  Brandi is a twenty-nine year old exotic dancer living in Orlando, Florida.

It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Brandi.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

Thank you for having me. Sorry I was late, but there was a Snorlax in my nearby sightings and I found him right around the corner. My author did a wonderful job portraying me in Naked Alliances. The private investigator in our story claims I’m irresponsible, but I saved his butt more than once.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Colorizing is an interesting choice of words. I’m biracial and transgendered. My author took great pains to make certain that I wasn’t stereotyped, but Richard Noggin, a.k.a. Dick Head, P.I., certainly seemed to have some images of me that are stereotypical. I hope we’ve cleared the air on a few of those in the first book, so the author doesn’t have to work so hard in the next. I also appreciate that my author was able to demonstrate that I am quite capable of being a nurturing soul, even if things didn’t start out that way.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I take crap from nobody. Especially not a bumbling P.I. who can’t seem to keep hisself out of trouble. He’s smart man with crummy luck, but I’m no dummy. I’m a former Explosives Ordinance Disposal Specialist in the U.S. Army, and did a brief stint as a cop. Dancing and entertaining men are not the only things I do well. I am highly skilled. And I’m certainly not gonna take any crap from some mastermind of an organized crime ring.

Worse trait?

Admittedly, I have two bad traits. First, I have a horrible fear of guns. It came about after my Army days when I was working as a cop and had a serious incident trying to talk down a woman with a gun. Things didn’t turn out well. And finally, not so much a trait as a habit, but I smoke cigarettes. At least I did when the author wrote the book. But I’ve quit the cigarettes since then and now I vape, make my own e-juice, and wrap my own coils.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

Chablis from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. She’s my heroine. Loved the movie and loved the book by John Berendt. She was not only the heroine in the book, but played herself in the movie. RuPaul has some characters that might do the job well, but I can’t think of one that’s better than me.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

I like to think I’m confident about my sexuality and I have loved. Truth is, I’m recently transitioned, so I’m still sort of struggling with my sexuality and since the book is set in a nudist resort that has a significant population of swingers, I had opportunity to consider my options. I still can’t decide if I’m more attracted to males or females. I’m attracted to both for different reasons. Richard is kinda cute, but with his attitude, I’m not sure we could ever really be more than friends.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

When Richard showed up at the nudist resort all angry at me for leaving our little friend, Cara, alone I thought he was gonna send me on my way. But after finding out what a bad day he’d had, I was able to smooth things over. Then, there was a time when he took off on his own to settle a score and I was really worried.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

Tim Morrison, the former mayor of Orange County and current Administrator of Growth and Development. He plans to run for Governor, but leads a double life. He tries to keep too many secrets. I put it all out there. He’s more sexually confused than I am, and sex-trafficking is rampant in his community. I wouldn’t want his job. Not only did he lose his wife to murder, but he could very likely lose his kids. He’s an unhappy man, and his personal assistant is an arrogant a**hole. I’d fire him in a minute.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I’m glad our author insists on having a satisfying resolution for each book in the series. I want to know what’s going on with everybody in the books, but hate cliff-hangers.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

I really need a new purse. That military green, oversized messenger bag from my Army days holds a lot, but it’s cumbersome, Richard hates it, and it’s just not fashionable.

Thank you for this interview, Brandi.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

I sure hope so. My author is eager to see how well we are received in the reading community with this first book. If everything goes well, and I’m talking reviews here, she’s promised me a starring role in the next book. (As if I wasn’t the star of this one.) She loves to hear from people about what they liked and didn’t like about her work. You can write to her at sknicholls@sknicholls.com. 

This was my most fun interview to date!

///////////////////////////////////

Title: NAKED ALLIANCES

Genre: Mystery

Author: S.K. Nicholls

Website:  www.sknicholls.com

Publisher: Brave Blue Heron Books

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book: In Naked Alliances, novelist S.K. Nicholls takes readers on a witty, wild, wickedly fun romp that exposes a side of Orlando tourists rarely see. The debut release in The Naked Eye Private Investigator Series, Naked Alliances introduces lone wolf P.I. Richard Noggin.

 When a young immigrant woman and an exotic dancer are forced to flee men with guns and have no place to hide, Richard Noggin, P.I., can’t turn his back—even if helping out makes him a target. Richard plans to impress an aspiring politician by taking on a big white-collar case that could take him from the streets to an air-conditioned office. Instead, he’s handed a cold case and quickly finds himself sucked into a shadowy world of sex, secrets and…murder. Marked for a bullet and stretched thin by his investigations, Richard reluctantly teams up with the unlikely, brassy custodian of the young woman on the run. With bodies piling up, Richard and his companion are forced to go undercover in a most unlikely locale: the Leisure Lagoon, a nudist resort.  Going undercover in this instance will mean going uncovered…but lives are at stake—and this Naked Eye will have to juggle to keep his balls in the air and connect the dots before anyone else is murdered. As his pulse-quickening quest for answers leads from the dark corners of Orlando’s Little Saigon to the sunny exposure of the Leisure Lagoon, Richard will be put to the test. Just how much will this Naked Eye have to bear…or bare? The heat is on in this quirky Sunshine State crime thriller.

soft_dsc4762b

About the Author: S.K. Nicholls’ family owns and operates one of the oldest and largest nudist resorts in the nation located in Central Florida, Cypress Cove. Her experience gives her a deep understanding of the lifestyle choice and how it is extremely different from the sex industry, yet harbors clandestine elements of intrigue and fascination. Social issues are at the forefront of her writing. A former sexual assault nurse examiner, she has a special interest in the subject matter of sex-trafficking. A native of Georgia, she lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband, Greg.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sknicholls/

Interview with ‘Wanna’be’s’ Mark Connelly

mark-connellyMark Connelly was born in Philadelphia and grew up in New Jersey.  He received a BA in English from Carroll College in Wisconsin and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  His books include The Diminished Self: Orwell and the Loss of Freedom, Orwell and Gissing, Deadly Closets:  The Fiction of Charles Jackson, and The IRA on Film and Television.  His fiction has appeared in The Ledge, Indiana Review, Cream City Review, Milwaukee Magazine, and Home Planet News.  In 2014 he received an Editor’s Choice Award in The Carve’s Raymond Carver Short Story Contest; in 2015 he received Third Place in Red Savina Review’s Albert Camus Prize for Short Fiction. His novella Fifteen Minutes received the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2005.

Mark’s latest book is the literary fiction/humor/satire, Wanna-be’s.

Connect with Mark on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Book:

With his new girlfriend – a soccer mom with a taste for bondage – urging him to “go condo,” failed screenwriter Winfield Payton needs cash. Accepting a job offer from a college friend, he becomes the lone white employee of a wanna-besblack S&L. As the firm’s token white, he poses as a Mafioso to intimidate skittish investors and woos a wealthy cougar to keep the firm afloat. Figure-skating between the worlds of white and black, gay and straight, male and female, Jew and Gentile, Yuppie and militant, Payton flies higher and higher until the inevitable crash. . .

Praise for Wanna-be’s:

This book right here! What can I say about Winfield Payton…is he the most unlucky pasty or most unlikely fall guy…what a schmuck…I laughed so hard at this,for this guy….with this guy….every character described in this book will immediately remind you of a real life joker in the in the 24 hour news cycle on all of the Major networks and cable television channels regurgitating skewed facts benefiting them and lining their pockets….it’s hip and fresh writing which could easily become a HBO series….or Starz..maybe..anyway get this book….I laughed so hard…almost popping my recent stitches from surgery…Mr. Connelly…thanks for making my recuperation fun…this book is not for the faint of heart..or PC sensitive readers…

— Lynda Garcia Review

For More Information

  • Wanna-be’s is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Mark.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Wanna-be’s is my fourteenth book, but it is the first one I’ve self-published. I have written mostly non-fiction, textbooks and literary criticism, but fiction is my first love.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

My first book was my dissertation about George Orwell.  I sent proposals to several university presses until Duquesne University Press accepted it.  For textbooks and academic books, I usually meet with editors at conventions.  I have published five books with Cengage and three with McFarland.  For fiction, I have relied on entering contests.  I wrote a short novel called Fifteen Minutes that won the Clay Reynolds Novella Award and was published by Texas Review Press ten years ago.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

About a year.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

I was right out of grad school looking for a job, so just typing a book title on my resume was celebration enough.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I gave a series of lectures about George Orwell.  I also developed a mailing list and sent ads to Orwell scholars and college libraries.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I am more attentive to my readers, making sure my ideas come across.  It  led me to edit more carefully.  Too often writers forget that readers can’t read our minds; they only have the words on the page to go by.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I have found it easy to get non-fiction published.  At academic conventions, I meet editors at the book exhibits and get a chance to run ideas past them and within a minute or two I get an invitation to send in a proposal.  Once you publish one book, they are eager for more titles to add to their list.  Fiction, on the other hand, has been tougher.  I have novels that received honorable mentions in several contests but cannot find an agent or an editor willing to consider them.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Seeing your ideas in print.  It’s that simple.  Your name on the cover.  Even when you write an esoteric academic book that sells a few hundred copies, there is a feeling of accomplishment.  I like seeing my book listed in library catalogs around the world.  It makes me feel I have made a measurable contribution in my field.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Don’t fall in love with your stories or write to amuse yourself.  Writing is an exchange.  Think of your readers and how they will react to your ideas, characters, references, and style.

 

 

First Chapter Reveal: Ghost Hampton by Ken McGorry

ghost-hampton

Title: GHOST HAMPTON
Author: Ken McGorry
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 450
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Lyle Hall is a new man since his car accident and spinal injury. The notoriously insensitive Bridgehampton lawyer is now afflicted with an odd sensitivity to other people’s pain. Especially that of a mysterious young girl he encounters outside a long-abandoned Victorian house late one October night. “Jewel” looks about 12. But Lyle knows she’s been dead a hundred years. Jewel wants his help, but it’s unclear how. As if in return, she shows him an appalling vision—his own daughter’s tombstone. If it’s to be believed, Georgie’s last day is four days away. Despite Lyle’s strained relations with his police detective daughter, he’s shocked out of complacent convalescence and back into action in the real world.

But the world now seems surreal to the formerly Scrooge-like real estate lawyer. Lyle’s motion in court enjoining the Town of Southampton from demolishing the old house goes viral because he leaked that it might be haunted. This unleashes a horde of ghost-loving demonstrators and triggers a national media frenzy. Through it all strides Lyle’s new nemesis in high heels: a beautiful, scheming TV reporter known as Silk.

Georgie Hall’s own troubles mount as a campaign of stationhouse pranks takes a disturbing sexual turn. Her very first case is underway and her main suspect is a wannabe drug lord. Meanwhile, Lyle must choose: Repair his relationship with Georgie or succumb to the devious Silk and her exclusive media contract. He tells himself seeing Georgie’s epitaph was just a hallucination. But a few miles away the would-be drug lord is loading his assault rifle. Berto needs to prove himself.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

First Chapter

 

PART ONE

CONDEMNED

  1. Rush Hour

It was the roadwork on Montauk Highway that made Lyle Hall get the electric chair.

Since last winter, he’d made do with the self-propelled kind—his daughter Georgie called it the “Mr. Potter model.” To Lyle, it said temporary. A new electric wheelchair with high-end options would say permanent.

At 55, Lyle was not ready to say that. He’d made good progress over the spring and summer, strength-training his upper body. A perky female physical therapist came to his house in Bridgehampton twice a week; a tattooed trainer guy beat him up on Fridays. Lyle had the stretchy resistance bands and a rack of light dumbbells in embarrassing lavender in the living room. Dangling in the dining room doorway was the “Torquemada”—a sling-like contraption he used to hoist himself up and perform certain torturous routines.

Any strain or discomfort he felt was north of his L4 vertebra. Lyle had no feeling from the lower back down, since killing Elsie Cronk with his stupid Hummer last October. Almost a year now.

Each week he journeyed to Southampton to the spinal-injury clinic where they worked miracles. Lyle fully expected them to make him their next miracle and the team there was so positive and effusive that they kept the dream alive. As professionals, they didn’t hold Elsie Cronk against him, but they knew. Everybody knew. Even though Lyle and Elsie and an old duffer walking his dog were the only witnesses, they knew.

With his SUV piled up on the War Memorial at Bridgehampton’s main intersection, windshield spider-webbed and red, the first-responders, busy trying to free the elderly lady from her big old Ford, initially pronounced him dead. Lyle had a bona fide near-death experience and was comatose for two weeks. But few really cared. Elsie was the tragedy. Elsie had been on her way to her son’s 50th birthday party. Lyle Hall lived.

Lyle’s weekly visits to Southampton included sessions with Dr. Susan Wayne, a therapist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder. Her job was to stave off depression, incrementally step down his benzodiazepine dosage, and provide mechanisms to mitigate survivor guilt. Which Lyle had, though he didn’t admit to it.

It wasn’t his fault that Elsie blundered into his path, 85 years of age and blinded by the setting sun, cautiously making her overly wide right turn onto Montauk Highway— who can’t execute a simple right-on-red?—in her late husband’s aircraft-carrier-size Ford Futura. And everyone guns it a little, not just Lyle, when Bridgehampton’s last traffic light turns yellow. Another damning detail was his destination—a bar in Montauk. Practically everyone believed Lyle was drunk when he collided with Elsie. Incredible how easy it is to believe the worst about somebody. Yeah, he drank. But he wasn’t drunk when he hit the sweet old lady with the fresh-baked birthday cake on the seat beside her. He was on his way to get drunk. Huge difference.

Since last year, Lyle’s had scant contact with people other than medical professionals and service providers. He spends the most quality time with Fred, the MediCab driver who’s been getting him to his appointments since March.

Georgie’s also a professional. Just 30, she’s a newly promoted Southampton police detective. What she’d always wanted. Trouble is, now that she’s thrown herself into her new job, she has this albatross of a dad distracting her. He bluffs that he can do for himself, but that makes things worse. Her solution is surgical strikes—like dropping off prepared meals that Lyle can microwave. And she makes sure to nag him over the phone. Take your meds. Keep up your hygiene. Drink plenty of water. Do your exercises. Shave off that unbecoming beard. Get a damn electric wheelchair, for God’s sake.

Lyle has no one else. Certainly not Dar, his Floridian ex. Her role—play trophy wife to Lyle and wicked stepmother to Georgie during the crucial teenage years following her mom’s death—ended acrimoniously years ago.

So Lyle is Georgie’s cross to bear. And it was Lyle, before the accident, back when he was an important lawyer, who twisted a powerful arm to get her promoted to detective. She is abundantly qualified—a master’s in forensic psychology and all—but she was still considered a girl entering a man’s world. Now she’s in a position where the man who made her challenging job possible is also a big, daily pain in the ass.

Georgie’s nagging inspired Lyle’s spiteful solo excursion. To prove his mettle that day of the roadwork, he took the Long Island Railroad from Bridgehampton to Southampton. Fred merely dropped him at the station. Later, when Lyle returned on the “rush hour” train, one of a half dozen travelers disembarking at Bridgehampton, he was visibly exhausted from the day’s effort. Fred saw Lyle wheel out of the train car and quickly joined him on the platform to help negotiate the handicap-ramp switchbacks leading to the parking area.

The whole point had been to show Georgie that he could “do stuff” on his own, like propelling himself to his appointments in Southampton. The challenge proved otherwise, but Lyle would craftily use his physical meltdown as a cover for making his sudden about-face on the electric chair question. He could withhold the true reason for the new chair.

He’d be unable to withhold what was to follow. The detour took traffic slowly past the abandoned house.

~~~~~~

About the Author

ken-mcgorry

Ken McGorry has been writing since third grade. (He learned in first grade, but waited two years.) He started a school newspaper with friends in seventh grade, but he’s better known for his 23 years as an editor of Post Magazine, a monthly covering television and film production. This century, he took up novel-writing and Ghost Hampton and Smashed are examples. More are in the works, like the promised Ghost Hampton sequel, but he’s kinda slow.

Ken lives on Long Island with his wife and they have two strapping sons. There are dogs. Ken is also a chef (grilled cheese, and only for his sons) and he enjoys boating (if it’s someone else’s boat). He has a band, The Achievements, that plays his songs (try https://soundcloud.com/ken-mcgorry). Back at Manhattan College (English major!), he was a founding member of the venerable Meade Bros. Band. Ken really was an employee of Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons one college summer, and really did mow Dan’s lawn.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

First Chapter Reveal: Save the Last Dance by Eric Johnson & Eva Ungar

save-the-last-danceTitle: Save The Last Dance
Author: Eric Johnson & Eva Ungar
Publisher: Hargrove Press
Pages: 360
Genre: Literary Fiction

A tale of the power and peril of first love rediscovered.

Adam Wolf and Sarah Ross were teenage sweethearts who grew up in Cleveland Heights, Ohio in the late 50’s and early 60’s. They set a wedding date when they turned fifteen. The day came and went. For most of their lives the two were out of contact.

With their 50th high school reunion approaching, Adam and Sarah reconnect. Email exchanges – after the first tentative “hi”, then a deluge- five, ten- by the end of the week twenty emails a day. Soon Sarah admits, “All my life I’ve been looking for someone who loves me as much as you did”.

Written entirely in email and texts, Save the Last Dance allows the reader to eavesdrop on Sarah and Adam’s correspondence as their love reignites. It also permits the reader to witness the reactions of significant others, whose hum-drum lives are abruptly jolted by the sudden intrusion of long-dormant passion. Can Sarah and Adam’s rekindled love withstand the pummeling they’re in for?

For More Information

First Chapter:

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Paul Bishop <Paul.R.Bishop@dewey.com>

March 11, 2014  9:40 pm

Subject: The timeline

 

Paul,

 

I know a little about classical music, a little about film, a little about baseball, hockey and I can recite the presidents, in order, in 15 seconds. But I admit there are things I still don’t understand. Death, for instance.

 

I would like to get your advice on it. Not Death so much as the State of Being Dead. I’m not afraid of death, you know. I’m afraid of being dead. Incidentally, Paul, I don’t happen to believe in transubstantiation.

 

God forbid my parents are waiting for me on that Golden Shore:

 

“So I told you, son, you should have gone to med school. But a disc jockey at a 12-watt station? I don’t know. Why did I ever bother sending you to college?  Now, go get your rest and get cleaned up, son. We’re going to dinner with the Karl Marxes. I’m teaching them to speak English. The only trouble around here – the goddamn Trotskyites.

 

I ask: “Leon Trotsky made it here? How the hell did that happen?”

 

Paul, I don’t feel old. I don’t think I look old. I’m not sick. But lately I picture my marker on the far right of the timeline.

 

One day, when I was 28, alone on a Greyhound, late at night, I couldn’t stop thinking about what it really meant to be dead. I couldn’t shake the idea of being insensate, of not existing. I had a full-fledged panic attack, Paul – heart racing, sweating.  And for whatever reason, my mind reached out to Rick Marsulek, the resident juvenile delinquent from my high school days. My pal. Black leather jacket, complete with the wrench he always carried, in case anyone tried to mess with him. Duck’s ass haircut. Angelic face that could darken instantly. In my panic I called out to him, “Rick, help me.” He materialized and responded with little prompting.

“Fuck it, Adam, by the time you die, say when you’re 70, you’ll be okay with the idea. So stop sweating it.”  It calmed me. The panic dissipated. The advice has followed me all these years, and I learned to push the thoughts of death away.  Until now.

 

Today the announcement for my 50th High School Reunion arrived. And dark thoughts seem to be gathering on the horizon again.  But they’re not just about being dead. They’re about the sensation of being carried along on a conveyor belt.  To Waldheim Cemetery.  Feels as if life has become all predetermined ritual: the ten pills in the morning, the commute to the station, the commute back home, the same forced pleasantries in between, the six pills before bed. Lights out by 9:00.

 

I looked at the list of people on that reunion roster and one name jumped off the page. It conjured a time when death and ritual were far away. When we were free and invincible. When my pulse raced at even the mention of her name.

 

Here’s my question, Paul – Do you think there’s a way off of the conveyor belt or do you think I should just stay on it and go along en route to Waldheim?

 

– Adam

________________________________________________________________

From:  Greg Dillon < g.k.dillon30@comcast.com>

To: Sarah Ross < sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 22, 2014  1:17 pm

Subject: 50th REUNION – JUNE 22nd

 

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah – what’s the matter with you that you won’t let us see you in Cleveland? We have a blast planned. Party Friday, complete with Genelli’s pizza. Dinner dance at the Beachwood Country Club on Sat. night. A tour of Heights High that morning. Pastrami or corned beef lunch, your choice, at Corky and Lenny’s. If only the Indians were playing on Sunday, we’d do that too. Everyone is asking for you. Sherrie, Madeline, Frank, Doug (who still looks good). And, above all, Adam.

(Spoke to him last night. He wondered if he could have your email address. Here’s his – adamwolf1402@gmail.com)

 

Everyone’s coming. You’re the only one letting us down.

 

xoxo

Greg

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross < sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Gabriella Fratelli <gabriella.fratelli@orange.it>

May 22, 2014  7:29 pm

Subject: darling, I am growing older

 

Cara Gabriella –

 

I think of you always, my bastion of sanity, and I always wish you were near again.

 

Gordon pursues me. After these years alone, flattering.  Attention, companionship not to be minimized, I suppose. And I count myself lucky for it. But it’s not like the days with you when my heart leapt with anticipation of our togetherness.

 

It’s so odd. A lot of folks I see around me, my age, even younger, are ready to close up shop, or already have. I’m working hard to stay in life – my painting, the boutique, and a good time now and again. With nice people like Gordon, who don’t need to be wound up in the morning– still fun. It’s such a chore, though, to adjust to age. We become invisible – a shock when you lose your looks. You wouldn’t know. You’re forever young. But one day it happens. You look down and suddenly your dance card is empty. Guys look past you, eyes locked on some chick behind. Just as I was about to open a vein over this fate, the other day a not-bad-looking fellow, younger than I, lured me into one of those lingering eye-to-eye flirtations. Did me good. Remember when I could simply bat the baby blues and charm my way out of a speeding ticket? Now? Even tears don’t work.

 

Tried botox, only once. Maybe I told you already. Bruised my right eye, made the left one droop for weeks. When I first walked into the shop with it, Nicole screamed, thought I had had a stroke.

 

My 50th reunion is coming up. I suppose, if botox had agreed with me, I might be going.

 

My love, my love to you,

Sarah

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross < sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 23, 2014  10:13 am

Subject:

 

 

hi

 

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 23, 2014  11:21 am

Subject:

 

Hi yourself – I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be there in June.

I was looking forward to seeing you. How are you?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 23, 2014  12:46  am

Subject: why I’m not attending reunion

 

It’s been a while hasn’t it? Decades. When was it? 1966? I don’t think I would have had the courage to write to you, after all this time, if Greg hadn’t written me saying you’d like to get in touch. He’s knocking himself out, isn’t he, organizing all those get-togethers. Lucy and Mira too.

 

I’m nudging Greg to arrange a meeting next year for just a few of us: you, Greg, Chris, Gail Krasner, and who else? Ah, me. New York City., Cleveland, Fargo – where doesn’t matter.

 

Forgive me for not attending the reunion. I wasn’t aware you’d be there. But I decided that I couldn’t stand just a glimpse of the people I long to know again.  That’s the fear that keeps me away. (That and the spectacle of Phyllis Mendelson using the occasion to hawk her latest book. What’s this one called?  “Beauty Tips for the Ugly Duckling”? Or something like that.)

 

Can I tentatively begin to ask about you?

 

Your parents? I remember them. Wolf’s Drug, Saturday afternoons, chocolate phosphates, sitting on those ratty red naugahyde stools with rough tears. And your father – formal, wearing his drug-store face – good-natured, though. I remember you used to rail about how fake it was. We always giggled that the smiles were really intended for Ruby in her pink apron.  And don’t you miss jukeboxes?  I remember the song we played over and over on the one jukebox at the drug store. Do you?

 

And of course your mother and her propensity to complain about your father. I found it poignant.

 

Are you okay? Your present family?

 

Me? Lots happened/happening. I’ve been living here in La Jolla for the last twelve years. My friend Nicole and I opened Naughty Niceties in 2010, a French lingerie shop in town. More amusing than lucrative. I’m a widow now. My husband Harold died 4 years ago. No kids. You know, I’m glad I didn’t change my name. It felt wrong to disappear from the face of the earth, from people like you who knew me as Sarah Ross.

 

Adam, if I knew where the cockles of my heart resided, I would say they’re warmed by your being on my radar screen again.

________________________________________________________________

From: Lola Wolf <lola.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 23, 2014  4:14 PM

Subject: Please answer

 

Adam – I’ve tried to call you 10 times already and you, for some reason, decided not to pick up. Please don’t insult me by not answering. If Her Highness still has you tending court, just wrench yourself away for five minutes so you can get back to me.  What if I had an emergency? Adam, could I count on you to answer? I suppose not.

 

Remember the party at the Dorman’s. 8:00. I’ll try to call later cause I know you’re going to forget. Pick up this time.

 

Do you have anything decent to wear? Don’t forget, no late stuff tonight at the station.

 

The way you just left this morning, without a look or a goodbye, or a sign of human recognition, made me sad and angry. Always the same story – that goddamn station. Your needs are first and the only thing that seems to matter to you. I know you’re in your “turmoil” right now about the reunion. So anxious, insufferable. “Will I look ok? What will they think?? Blah blah.” How about giving your wife the same consideration as those people you haven’t talked to in 50 years?

 

Adam, I’m still an attractive woman at age 64, even if you don’t think so. I got compliments at the grocery store this morning. “Mrs. Wolf, we think you’re the most elegant woman who comes into the store.” That’s the woman at the check- out!  I wore my old coat and hardly any makeup and she still thought I was elegant.

________________________________________________________________

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 23, 2014  5:57 pm

Subject: and back to you

 

I don’t know why, but I feel strangely nervous writing to you.

 

Sarah, I knew a little about an opening of a watercolor show and of landscape courses you were giving, I’ve followed you on the internet, so you were in some way already on my “radar screen”. Do you ever get back to Cleveland Heights?

 

My brother David retired from his real estate business, lives in the western suburbs. My mother died back in ’97. My father, the World’s Foremost Druggist, died in 2003 – managed to screw up his meds and had a stroke. I’m sorry, I don’t know whether your parents are alive or not. What I vividly remember was your father’s string quartet sessions on Sunday afternoons at your house – among a million other things. How’s your sister? Is she still in Cleveland Heights? And you? It must have been difficult when your husband died.

 

I’m fine – live in Evanston, remarried since the last time we talked in 1979. I have a son 28, Michael, in IT, now in Houston. When he visits we still go to the batting cages. We swing and miss for half an hour and then pizza and sports talk.

 

I’m now Program Director at WCMQ – 95.2 on your dial – boasting dozens of loyal classical music fans throughout Chicagoland. I still host “Your Classical Coffee Mate” (title’s not mine). We’d have more listeners if only our signal could be picked up beyond the parking lot. The “on the air” gig is the only part of the job I still enjoy. For an hour every day I get to ad lib. I’m considering basing an entire show on composers whose last names begin with “X”?

 

I’ve been here eons. No reason to stay, no reason to leave.

 

The song you challenged me to remember? Save the Last Dance for Me, of course.

 

Can we stay in touch and talk?

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 23, 2014  6:35 pm

Subject: catching up

 

Let’s see – what else? Not that long ago I entered into a relationship with a special man, a retired marine biologist. I think he may be a “keeper”.

 

Esther and Herman still live in Cleveland. I don’t think she’s ever stepped a foot out of Cuyahoga County. She doesn’t think she needs to. I love my sister, but I still can’t stand to be near her. All that yakking about the bargains at Beachwood Place, the envelope licking for the Sisterhood.

 

I’m touched you remember the Hausmusik – so old world. Glad you witnessed it. My father and all his immigrant friends lived for those Sundays. He became remarkably civilized when he played his violin. Perhaps that’s one reason I was attracted to you, Adam. I loved the way you devoted yourself to the piano. Do you still play?

 

My father died in 1987. My mother is 95, in a nursing home near Esther and not doing so well. I try to be back in Cleveland at least once a month to see her, but I’m no longer convinced she can distinguish me from her phlebotomist.

 

I’m touched you’ve been stalking me on the internet. And yes, I’d love to keep on writing, if that’s what you mean by “talking”.  I need to fill in the gaps slowly. But no phoning. Okay? Can we just stay emailing for now? It’s a miraculous way to communicate, isn’t it? Easier than letters – instant gratification, not days between. And somehow I’m less shy, less inhibited just writing. Disembodied I feel emboldened, find it more intimate than the phone, for example.

________________________________________________________________

From: adam.wolf1402@gmail.com

To: sarahross64@gmail.com

May 23, 2014  7:03 pm

Subject: Re:catching up

 

Yes, let’s write for now. You know, I’ve never really carried on a personal email correspondence. My friend Paul, we exchange chapter-length emails once in a while – fantasy film scripts, the escape from the everyday. But this “intimacy” is new. Like you, I’m already discovering the freedom to be myself.  So forgive me if I’m awkward. I think I already messed up. My phrasing about following you on the internet was a little inartful, I admit. “Stalking” is too strong a word I think – more like “curiosity”, then quiet admiration and interest.

 

You know, about 10 years ago I was in La Jolla several times.  I went there with the station owner. We used to go to the West Coast on business. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we don’t take those trips anymore.  If I had known you were there, I would have tried to see you.

 

Tell me more about how you’re doing now. Piano? I dropped Schubert, picked up Cole Porter, some Gershwin. it’s my palliative, but I guess not so much other people’s. So I keep it to myself.

 

Actually I have a thousand more things I want to tell you — if that’s OK. I’ll write again tomorrow if I can–

________________________________________________________________

 

________________________________________________________________

From:Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: S.Gordon Wilson <S.Gordon.Wilson@csulb.edu>

May 24, 2014  8:22 am

Subject: this weekend

 

Sorry I couldn’t get back to you yesterday. Nicole and I didn’t sit down all day. The new line of “amethyst” lace boy shorts and “anthracite” demi-bras brought in a flock of floosies. Do you believe these marketing people? I’d like the job – to invent the irresistible colors du jour. Almost as clever as “Häagen-Daz”.

 

Yes, an afternoon on the new boat would be grand. Sounds relaxing. Believe me, I need that badly right now. How about I pack us a lunch? We can christen (or should I say baptize?) the boat with some Sauvignon Blanc.

________________________________________________________________

From: S.Gordon.Wilson < S.Gordon.Wilson@csulb.edu>

To: Jerome Mahoney <Jerry.Mahoney2028@verizon.net>

May 24, 2014  10:05 am

Subject: THIS AND THATS

 

Hi there, Jerry –

 

Got the new boat! Going to christen her this weekend. Thinking Sarah Ross might like to come along. I invited her and wish you and Mae could come down here and help us celebrate. You and I would have a lot of yucks. Anyway, there’ll be a chance to get together this fall. There’s a conference up your way.

 

Heard a good one I think you’ll appreciate:

 

Why don’t blondes wear miniskirts in San Francisco?

Their balls show.

 

Here’s another one I can tell you, but wouldn’t tell Sarah:

 

What does a Jew with an erection get when he walks into a wall?

A broken nose.

 

Your chum,

Gordon

 

  1. Gordon Wilson, PhD.

Founder and Editor of The Ichthysaurus

Fellow, American Academy of Underwater Sciences

Professor of Biology, Emeritus

California State University, Long Beach

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com

May 24, 2014  9:16 am

Subject:

 

Oh, the trouble with email is that it has no tone of voice. The “stalking” was a jest. Hyperbole R Us. “I’m touched by your curiosity” is a sappier way of saying it, I suppose. And a thousand and one things, by all means – a thing at a time, and back to you. I look forward to it.

 

After college? Your life trajectory?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  9:34 am

Subject: hmmm, my life

 

Trajectory? Mine is sort of like the Challenger spacecraft. Graduated from U of Chicago ’68 and the Cleveland Heights Selective Service Board thrust me into a deferment as a VISTA volunteer. The remains of my Command Module came down in Bluefield, West Virginia. What did I do there? Same as anyone in any community action program – sat around contemplating how to connect with the poor. I sold the idea of a radio show to the public station there. Conducted interviews, sang some folk songs – short-lived – I guess too radical and too Jewish for W. Virginia. Careened back to Chicago in ’69, stringing together occupational deferments – mainly working in psych hospitals. Auditioned unsuccessfully for radio jobs. First classical try-out I screwed up the German. Tripped on the Einführung aus dem Serail.  Then ’83, had success auditioning for this small classical station as the overnight announcer. The owner’s wife, Amanda Schreiber, supervised the audition. Gave me the job and whispered afterward that I was too cute for radio. So here I am, parked in stationary orbit for the past 30 years.

 

Trajectory?  Two marriages. One brief, fling-like. The current one, almost three decades. In neither case am I sure what prompted me to get married. Pretty boring, huh?

______________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  1:29 pm

Subject: don’t be hard on yourself

 

Boring? Never to me. Need to know who you are now. Sounds like an adventure – West Virginia, psych hospitals – can’t wait for the stories. Radio celebrity to boot. Send an autograph. Make it personal and I can get more for it.

 

Do you think there are patterns to mistakes we make in relationships? I’m somehow attracted to men, and they to me, unfortunately, who dislike their mothers.  That’s one of the patterns that repeats. There are others.

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  1:40 pm

Subject: Re: don’t be hard on yourself

 

That’s no pattern. Doesn’t every man tell his girlfriend that he doesn’t like his mother? What other patterns would you mean? Are they patterns that began with us? Was Sandy Chapman part of your pattern?

________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  1:43 pm

Subject: patterns

 

My other patterns?  People who are hypersensitive. Like you were. Smart and funny. Like you were. Prone to jealousy. Like you were. Maybe so, maybe our relationship has always been my template. Yep.

 

Now your turn. I ask again – your patterns?

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  1:46 pm

Subject: Re: patterns

 

My patterns? I can’t think of any. Let me see. Maybe short skirts.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  1:56 pm

Subject: Re:Re: patterns

 

Really? Glad you’re so forthcoming. Come on, Wolfie, fess up. Any patterns that have to do with us?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  2:03 pm

Subject:  who I’ve become

 

A pattern? Okay. I confess. Passivity maybe. But, Sarah, that’s not a pattern that started with us, not what I remember. But me? For many years since us, it’s been different. Pattern: letting myself be pulled into someone’s orbit – then staying put – fearful to disrupt the daily sameness – afraid of being cast off into the cold if I opened my mouth. Could it really be that my last successful relationship was at 15?

 

Incidentally if I really was the template for all your relationships, how the hell did you wind up with Sandy Chapman after we broke up? (Hey, why did we break up anyway?)

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 24, 2014  2:19 pm

Subject: breaking up

 

You mean, how could you ever have broken up with me? Let’s see . . .

 

1) Your raging hormones

 

2) Darlene Cutler’s short skirt

 

and

 

3) My desperate need to be with you every waking hour, which, I’m sure, would have gotten on anyone’s nerves. I never again in my life have been that way. I’ve learned to keep a distance in my relationships. I’ve learned not to be dependent. Have suppressed the desire to be fused to anyone. But I recall I felt amputated without you by my side. Perhaps I became too independent after us. I hope it to be different with Gordon. I would like to be less autonomous, less mistrustful and submit to someone who I think would take care of me. Wish me luck.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  12:04 pm

Subject: Gordon

 

You used the word the word “keeper“ describing your relationship with Gordon. Sounds like partnership with a future.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  12:34 pm

Subject: Re: Gordon

 

I met Gordon a year ago when we co-chaired the fundraiser for the La Jolla Center for the Arts. He’s a strong, comforting presence. An old-fashioned gentleman. And he’s taken me sailing a couple of times. Best of all, he can whip up some of the best bouillabaisse on this planet.  So I made him one of my new best friends. People have begun to think of us as a couple. We’re invited out together. I don’t know how else to summarize my relationship with Gordon except to say we’re comfortable with each other.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  12:48 pm

Subject: Fish Aversion

 

Bouillabaisse on the high seas. I’ve got to confess that’s lost on me. My appetite for seafood is, as always, nil. He could have seasoned the bouillabaisse with Drano, for all I knew, and I would have been none the wiser. The only time in recent memory I had a taste for seafood was on Yom Kippur, late afternoon, when I started eyeing Lola’s fish tank. Last week, you’ll be thrilled to know, I ordered the tuna panini at Arby’s. So, looks like you and Gordon are a good match. I’m happy for you. Incidentally, I would be jealous about the boat, except I get seasick just driving past Red Lobster.

________________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  1:00 pm

Subject: Re:Fish Aversion

 

You inlanders, poor things, don’t know what good fish looks like. Or for that matter, what it smells like. After those obligatory cruises in elementary school on the Cuyahoga River, with the dead fish floating on the scum, and the stench of rotten eggs wafting through the air, it took years before I’d go near anything fishy.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  1:11 pm

Subject: Re:Re: Fish Aversion

 

I’m glad you’re so ichthyologically sophisticated now that you’re with Gordon. Makes sense with a marine biologist. It’s not everyone so lucky that they can eat their work at the end of the day. I’m happy for you. Gordon sounds perfect. Any flaws?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  1:34 pm

Subject: flaws

 

Any flaws? I wouldn’t call them flaws exactly. Just annoyances. Okay, just between us, Adam, he doesn’t make me laugh. If he has humor in his repertoire, I haven’t discovered it yet. Odd, but when he tells jokes, I don’t hear anyone laugh. I guess that’s my most serious criticism. We don’t laugh at the same things. In fact, he has an annoying habit of not laughing and, if there’s something real funny, he’ll just say, “That was very funny”, and never laugh. You know what I mean. It’s hard for him to open up. I don’t want to complain, because for his age, you know, 73, he’s remarkably active and engaged. I think it’s the medication, and not the years, that sometimes make him distant and dispassionate. But he’s a great human being. He says that he’s so lucky to have found me and I tell him the same.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  1:55 pm

Subject: Re: flaws

 

It’s difficult to imagine Sarah Ross with someone humorless. But then no one could make you laugh the way I could. That’s one of the reasons I was crazy about you. Anyway, is there no Sandy Chapman in the wings if you decide to break up with Gordon?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  2:45 pm

Subject: Sandy Chapman?

 

Adam, I never even knew you noticed me with Sandy after the break up. Just happens that last time I was in Cleveland, just this winter, we ran into each other pumping gas at the Shell station on Fairmont. He recognized me. I didn’t him, not at first – grey hair, not much of it. But for 70 doesn’t look bad. He was telling me about his career in engineering (fluid engineer, whatever that is). Anyway I didn’t really understand – something with hydro this or that.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  3:03 pm

Subject: Re: Sandy Chapman?

 

Sandy Chapman? Hydro? Probably something involving hydrocephalics. Sorry, just flashing those days I spotted you with him. In that gaudy red T-bird. Well, anyway, you seemed real happy. I heard you spent weekends with him in Columbus. The older guy.  I wondered who’s teaching her how.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  3:31 pm

Subject: Jealousy

 

Adam, cut it out or I’ll invoke memories of that Cutler slut.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  4:16 pm

Subject: My son Michael

 

Just heard from Michael that he’s coming in for the weekend – new girlfriend in tow. He had a bit of a wild time at Wisconsin as an undergrad – stayed on in Madison for a Masters in Environmental Science. Came back to Chicago and spent a season hunting down microbes in the Des Plaines River. Chased a girl to Houston. He stayed. Girl didn’t. Now with Exxon. An I.T. job I never quite understood. Needless to say, his nascent crusade to Rescue the Environment from Capitalism is officially on hold.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  4:25 pm

Subject: Re: My son Michael

 

If he rails against capitalism, I know he’s your son and Manny Wolf’s grandson. I looked for Michael on the internet. Think I found his Facebook picture – looks so much like you as a young man – beautiful, the curly blonde hair, the angular face, even the Adam’s apple. Ah, to see you again in him!  Makes me think of your broad shoulders and narrow hips. Sigh!

______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  4:40 pm

Subject: Re:Re: My son Michael

 

People do say he looks like me. I can’t see it. Happy you can. I think the shape of his face is more like Lola’s. Not much of a resemblance to me when it comes to classical music. Michael never showed much interest. Lola insisted for years my playing opera for the kid was a hazard to his auditory nerves. Maybe that’s why. But you might like to know he’s good at art. I should send you the link to drawings from his sketchbook. He posts that on Flickr. Just felt pen on scratchpads, the passing scene – likes to capture the world rushing by – some evocative images of workmen at the refineries – filthy, sweating in the sun.

 

Incidentally, what are you doing these days with your art? Or would you rather we talk more about your liaison dangereuse with Chapman?

_______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  5:28 pm

Subject: flash of memory

 

Adam, enough Sandy crap!

 

I love it that Michael and I have art in common. I’m eager to see what he’s doing. As for me, I’m teaching a bit, painting when I can. But you don’t make a real living as an artist (or very few people do).

 

The shop keeps me busy. I’m in there 3x a week. Hate the accounting part, but rather like the income. Meager but it pays my Medicare supplement. Most of all, I love to go to Fashion Week in New York and discover the latest styles, colors. Long leggy models. Lovely to watch them glide unselfconsciously down the runway. Their thongs hugging the groove of their butts so compact that even I could grasp both cheeks with one hand.

 

One of them, when I saw her last fall, had hair so wavy and so wild, someone described it as “storm-tossed”. And I have to admit, I thought of you. The 14 year-old you, your tossled hair and runway thin hips. And not just that image came through – but a passage from Homer, a day in 8th grade English class. I quote this one, when I tell people one of the reasons I fell in love with my first boyfriend. Remember, Adam, we all had to memorize the same damn lines from the beginning of some translation of the Odyssey.

 

Then Tubaugh had us stand at our desks and one by one recite it. Boring. The same damn lines. (All that memorization back then sticks with us, doesn’t it? That’s the fun part.) “Tell of the storm-tossed man, oh Muse, who wandered long after he sacked the sacred citadel of Troy.” Over and over.

 

And then it was your turn: “Tell of the storm-tossed man, oh Muse, who wandered long after he sacked the sacred citadel of Troy, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper .  . . ” and we were all on the floor.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 25, 2014  10:21pm

Subject: Goodnight, my Sarah

 

Pardon me, but I’m a bit preoccupied here – your hand on the model’s rear?

Yes, our days together have always been an anchor, a reference point for me too. Inevitably a phrase, a look, pulls me back to us. Programming Mozart’s early operas, I think of how we inspired ourselves to finish homework by saying Mozart had written 13 symphonies by the time he was our age.

 

Or something as simple someone saying, “Meet my girlfriend”, and I have always thought of you. “Girlfriend” has always meant only one thing to me. It meant Sarah. Isn’t it strange?

 

Do you remember we could carry on entire conversations across a room? I knew what you meant – every wink, twitch and flutter. And I think I still would.

 

I’ve tried it with other people. Amanda (the station owner) and I might have had some moments of primitive non-verbal communication. During a meeting, say, but ultimately it didn’t work. Usually ended up with her shrugging her shoulders, “I don’t know what you meant”. I doubt we’ll ever master it. ________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  9:12 am

Subject: Good morning to you

 

Yes, I only wish other people were as sensitive to me as you were. Then I wouldn’t have to be so blunt. “Blunt” is a good word to describe me, a flaw I’m not proud of. Some people are better than I at being circuitous. Criticism comes easily to me. I struggle, though, with how to couch it nicely. It doesn’t come naturally. The students in my watercolor classes learn a lot, for instance, and I’m enormously patient with those who try. But the grousers, no matter how talented, set my teeth on edge, and I come close to growling at them. Klaus the Stubborn, in particular – retired, red-faced – probably a storm-trooper in his past life. Last week, down by the marina, at the little studio where I hold classes, I thought to mix things up and have the group work with the paper oriented vertically and not in the usual landscape format.  Klaus resisted and resisted until I exploded and told him just to shut up and do it. Turned out to be his best work ever. A composition of lines and arcs – compelling – a sliver of the pier and its masts, as if glimpsed from the edge of a window. Praise for real talent does come easily to me, though. And it made Klaus feel good, I think, to hear me applaud him. The exercise inspired me too. I’ve gone out every day since to capture a slice of life in longitudinal section.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  11:45 am

Subject: Speaking out

 

Stealing a moment on break to be avec toi.

 

I always adored your bluntness and independence back in our day. I never learned to speak out. I remember that I secretly relied on you to speak my feelings when I was angry. In my house it was my role, wasn’t it, to mediate conflicts all the time. Between my parents: “Tell him his supper is ready.” “Tell her I’ll get the window fixed on Saturday.” (My parents once went a full year without talking to each other.)

 

Constant tensions between my father and brother also rode high. Once at the table when David got his first and only B+ on a report card, the usual belittlement got out of hand and before long my brother had my father in a strangle hold. (My mother ran out of the room, of course.) And it was my role to make peace. I stepped in between them, pushed them to their respective chairs. They sat seething. And I interjected myself into the silence by imitating the voice of the Gillette Friday Night Fight’s ringside announcer: “No real damage inflicted in the first round. They’ll be coming back out soon for the second. The Champ seems a bit shaken. The Challenger has put together some brilliant combinations.” Then they would eventually smile and laugh.

 

That was me then and me forever – conciliator, appeaser, mediator. It’s who I am today. I turn away from conflict and equivocate whenever necessary to spare people pain. I needed you. You were the other part of me. Spoke out. Spoke up for me. Spoke my feelings because I couldn’t and because you understood them. I have not had my “other half” since those days.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  12:09 pm

Subject: what you were for me

 

Don’t underestimate the gift for making people laugh. It carried me through some rough times at home, in America. I was mistrustful of people ever since my parents lied to 5-year-old me about leaving Vienna. They told me we were just “going on vacation in the mountains via a big ship this time”. In fact, I landed in an alien country, lost in translation. Eventually you were my verbal, educated, loving and oh so funny protector. AND a real American. I totally trusted you. Needed you.

 

I suspect masking your feelings creates problems. Leads to misunderstandings?  I’m sorry about that, if it’s true.

________________________________________________________________From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  3:28 pm

Subject: My troubles

 

I’m in trouble all the time. Right now I’m not ready to give you all the details of the trouble I’ve created for myself in my old age. Suffice it to say I feel like an outsider in my own life.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  3:50 pm

Subject: let’s hear it for cyberspace

 

Details can wait. But I feel like I should be there to rescue you. Forgive me for staying away so long. You know, Adam, it’s amazing to me how quickly we can confide in each other again. This magical forum – email. I doubt talking or phoning would have brought us together in such an intimate way. I keep marveling at that.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  5:28 pm

Subject: The Cleveland Indians

 

Do you remember how exciting it was to go down to Municipal Stadium together on a summer afternoon? Rocky Colavito? So cute. Tito Francona? You taught me how to fill out a scorecard, how to shout insults at the ump: “His seeing-eye dog could have called that one.”

 

Hey, Adam Wolf, my parents subscribed to the Plain Dealer. But let’s hear it for the old Cleveland Press!! Best reason to have grown up in Cleveland. Get straight A’s, bring down your report card, and we’ll hand you seven sets of tickets to the Tribe’s games. I would have flunked out of school, I’m guessing, if I hadn’t aimed for those tickets. Seven pair!! And two were box seats. Of course you remember. You got them every year. Me? Only in 9th grade – cause I cajoled Mr. Scott to change my B+ in Algebra to an A- because the Indians tickets were on the line.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  5:58 pm

Subject: THE TRIBE

 

Still at work.

 

Can you believe in those days we never thought twice about what an affront Chief Wahoo was? Even worse, he’s still around.

 

But now here’s a question. I’m sure you remember where you were when Kennedy was shot. Or on 9/11. But can you recall exactly where you were the moment you heard that Herb Score had been hit in the eye by a line drive?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  6:30 pm

Subject: Re: THE TRIBE

 

Ah, my dear Adam – you know me for the nerd I was – of course I remember. I was in bed. It was a night game. The Yankees. My radio was tuned to the game. Jimmy Dudley announcing. Herb Score pitching to Gil McDougal. And I recall hearing the crack of McDougal’s bat and the screaming from the crowd. Herb Score. Poor Herb Score! Hit in his eye! Rookie of the Year the year before, right? Oh, I remember a lot of that moment. Early in the season. The Plain Dealer photos of him crumpled on the pitcher’s mound. But did the game continue? Did the Yankees win?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  7:20 pm

Subject: Re:Re: THE TRIBE

 

Home at last.

 

May 7, 1957.  Herb Score still played after that, but was never the same. Became an announcer for the Indians. Aren’t you glad you we didn’t see it on TV, in “living color”?  A most gory sight, they said. McDougal was so distraught, said he’d quit baseball if Score lost his vision.  Hey, Sarah, I love that you love baseball.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  9:44 pm

Subject: sleep tight

 

Just back from dinner. Tuckered out. Off to bed. Goodnight, Adam.

 

Gee, to be with you again, with our set of common experiences – comforting, extremely comforting.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 26, 2014  10:04 pm

Subject: Re: sleep tight

 

Goodnight, my Sarah. I’ll write to you in the morning – as soon as I am conscious.

_____________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  7:32 am

Subject: Familiarity

 

In all the years since us, I must confess, I have never again felt a sense of belonging, the “oneness” we had, Sarah. Strange, huh? As children we experience a kind of love that we then spend 50 years looking for and can never find again. But I shouldn’t speak for you.  I should say that “I” looked for and that “I” could never find again.

_____________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  9:15 am

Subject: Re: Familiarity

 

I’m touched Adam by your memory of us. It’s been mine too, you know. All my life I’ve been looking for someone who loves me as much as you did.

________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Paul Bishop < Paul.R.Bishop@dewey.com>

May 27, 2014  11:36 am

Subject: Reunion Craziness

 

Paul,

 

I hope that crappy weather doesn’t ruin the Baroque Festival for you. Playing outdoors in a driving thunderstorm with a priceless cello might get you some welcome notice. The Asheville Times: “From where I sat, I was unable to hear Mr. Bishop’s interpretation of Telemann over the thunder claps and howling wind, but his fingering technique “wet” my appetite for more.”

 

I need to catch you up on the latest madness with me – not just “50th Reunion Insanity Inc.”, but something else. It involves Sarah, yes, THAT Sarah. I told you about her long ago – the “awakening of love”. We’re in touch again, all brought about by my old high school friend Greg, you know, the chess hustler who used to come to Chicago every summer (hate to remind you). He informed me that Sarah Ross wasn’t coming to the reunion, and wanted to know how I was doing. So that started an email correspondence that’s been clipping along for days and days. Paul, I’m nervous. At first it’s pleasantries, then some innuendoes – although, Jesus Christ on a cracker! she owns a shop in San Diego that specializes in upscale panties. Not married – her husband died – so far, so good.

 

Each word to her I weigh a hundred times – so strange – so exciting. To keep Lola from knowing, I stay at the station til late, writing, waiting for replies. Every night now my heart pounding every second – reading into her language, so tentative. Paul, it’s like on the ice, skating to the corner – you never see the hit coming – you don’t feel it at first –  you’re flying, falling, submitting to the force.

 

I’ll admit I’m insane. Incidentally, I’m going to call my urologist and suggest he return to medical school. He told me I was unlikely to achieve verticality without a pharmaceutical assist. All I have to do now is think of Sarah to prove him wrong.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Esther Lehman <estherlehman88@yahoo.com>

May 27, 2014  11:36 am

Subject: Guess who’s back?

 

Esther, do you believe it? I actually had a real talk with Mom today. She seemed to know who I was. Encouraging. Perhaps the exercise regime really does help.

 

Now for my news – at lunch today Nicole asked me why I looked so, how did she put it, radiant. And I smiled and shrugged and I didn’t answer.  But if you really want to know, it’s because I’ve been in touch with Adam Wolf again. Yep, after all these years. He’s remarried, so don’t worry, it’s all on the up and up. He seems to be interested in staying in touch, and that, I guess, is why the glow is there. Okay, okay, call me mushy. Why not “sappy” or “schmaltzy” while you’re at it? Throw it at me. Tell me to concentrate on Gordon. I will, I will, but for right now I’m buzzing over this back-in-touchness with Adam. I’ve had so many pretend conversations with him over the years that real ones are heady. And when Harold betrayed me, my impulse was to find Adam again and have him reassure me that I was still loveable.

 

But I won’t let him see me because I’m not 21 anymore. I wouldn’t want him to run away in horror. What he’ll get is the disembodied Sarah. We’ll leave it at that, only email, no Skype, certainly no meeting, ever. Let him picture me as I looked then. Much better than the reality of 68. Maybe I can send him a picture of me at 36 and pretend that’s the way I look now.

 

Anyway, hug Mom for me. And hugs to you and Herman too, of course.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  3:29 pm

Subject: Our ESP?

 

Sarah, this may sound loony, but in our day weren’t we able to communicate, to talk to each other telepathically? I remember lying in bed at night hearing your voice and speaking to you. Did it really happen?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  4:00 pm

Subject: Re: Our ESP?

 

Gee, now I do recall attempts at telepathy. But don’t remember its working, though. What do you remember my saying?

 

Will write again in a while. Off to teach a class.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  6:15 pm

Subject:

 

And I’m off to a charity auction. More later.

______________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  9:21 pm

Subject: Telepathy

 

Scored a Wheaties box at the auction – with Sammy Sosa on it. I’ll resell it and retire.

 

Hope your class went well and that Klaus suppressed his Hermann Goering imitation.

 

Up in my room. Can’t bear another second of “Dancing with the Stars” blasting, rattling the mirrors.

 

You asked me before what you said to me telepathically. Oh, just something soothing, comforting, your soft voice, something like, “It’s okay. I’m here.” Or just, “Adam. It’s me.”

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  9:41 pm

Subject: Re: Telepathy

 

Class fine. We worked on still-life drawings. No Klaus.

 

Adam, should we try this telepathy business again? I must confess, some years ago I did have an extraordinarily close friend who moved away to Italy and we seemed to be able to signal each other telepathically. I knew when she needed me. I haven’t seen her in years, but we still correspond – a confidante.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  9:44 pm

Subject: Telepathy Tonight?

 

Sarah, how about 1:15 am your time? I’ll send a message. See if you get it. I’ll ask you tomorrow what it was.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  9:48 pm

Subject: Re:Telepathy Tonight?     

 

Okay, let’s try. I’ll be asleep, deep asleep, but primed to receive you. _____________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  9:55 pm

Subject: Re:Re:Telepathy Tonight?

 

How about a dry run right now? You think of something – a word, a place.

And I’ll tell you what I received.

__________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014 9:59 pm

Subject:

 

Okay. Sent.

_____________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  10:03 pm

Subject:

 

Wait. Wait. I think I got it. A hit. Is it something in Cleveland?

_____________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  10:07 pm

Subject:

 

Gosh, amazing. It is.

_________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  10:16 pm

Subject:

 

Don’t tell me, don’t tell me. Ummm.  It’s about water. Dirty water. Cuyahoga River!

_______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  10:20 pm

Subject:

 

Close. I sent “Corky and Lenny’s Delicatessen”. Their water wasn’t dirty, though, was it?

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  10:28  pm

Subject:

 

See. See! The place started with a “C”.  A little more concentration and we’ll have it perfected. Tonight send some romantic thought. I bet that works.

___________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 27, 2014  10:49 pm

Subject: sweet dreams

 

Goodnight, dear Adam. I’ll do my best.

______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  5:47 am

Subject:

 

I didn’t set the alarm, but somehow woke up at exactly 1:30. Did you receive my romantic thoughts?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  6:47 am

Subject:

 

That one’s easy.  The same as we used to sign our notes to each other, right?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  7:45 am

Subject: exercise

 

Right!

 

I’m getting ready to go to my NIA class. It’s a non-impact aerobic dance/martial arts exercise. Jane, a great teacher. About a 45-min. drive, but worth it.

 

I also take a yoga class 3x a week. What do you do to keep your heart from attacking you?

________________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28, 11:33 am

Subject: Re:exercise

 

What I do for “exercise”? It’s ice hockey. Taught myself to skate about 20 years ago when Michael played youth hockey. Now, about once a month, I play with some younger guys in their 50’s. (Ah, to be 50 again!). Only one injury that needed stitches, only knocked unconscious once. Not as therapeutic as your NIA – only 2 hours of a grueling workout after 60 hours of butt shifting on the way to and from work. I’m likely to end my life stroking out on the ice.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  12:14 pm

Subject: hockey!

 

What a way to go! Dying when wearing sexy tuchis pads, no matter how sweaty? I’d take it. Fun to think of you moving quickly cross the ice – remembering how fast you moved around the track. But hockey? You mean you can stop on a dime and send ice chips flying? Be still my heart!

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28, 1:19 pm

Subject: Re:hockey!

 

Hockey, more humbling than romantic, certainly not sexy. I play with guys who started skating at the age of one and have played hockey every night of their lives since. They tolerate me, the lone Jew among the Catholic rink rats. Actually, by the time I get all my gear on, I’m too tired to play. Some nights I can’t even make it to the first puck drop without begging for a substitute.

 

Even if I’m alone at the net with a wide-open shot, I miss most of the time. I hang around the net a lot, get to know the goalie very well. There ought to be rule that old Jewish players are awarded a point for amusing the opposing goalie. Let’s call it a schtick shot.

 

But I’m a pretty good skater, can skate backwards as quickly as forwards.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  2:21 pm

Subject: Re:Re:hockey!

 

Now you’ve done it! Next I’ll have to ask you what you’re wearing.

_______________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28, 2:45 pm

Subject: What I’m wearing

 

You can ask me what I’m wearing any time you like. Right now I have on my day uniform. It consists of a pale blue broadcloth dress shirt, with yellow stripes, a thin-whaled tan corduroy jacket with leather patches at the elbow, a faded pair of straight-legged Levi’s blue jeans, over pink satin thongs – floral pattern of tulips and peonies appliqued at the crotch, and naturally, a matching bra.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  3:02 pm

Subject: Re:What I’m wearing

 

Adam, don’t you know? These days they don’t have to match.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28,  3:16 pm

Subject: Back to work

 

I’m on the air – covering for someone – playing the Bruckner Fifth – long enough for a quick hi. And bye.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  4:00 pm

Subject: classical music

 

You know, Adam, I can’t imagine a person better at classical programming than you. Even when you were 15 you loved telling me about Vivaldi and Mozart. I trust you would be proud of me now that I’ve embraced Bruckner and Wagner. Gordon, who often indulges me, and does like classical music, declined my invitation to Tristan and Isolde when the San Francisco Opera came to town. He dismissed it as “noise”. We had a fight. I said only people who’ve never bothered to listen to Wagner write him off that way.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28,  5:01 pm

Subject: Re:classical music

 

Yes, I’m always taken aback by people’s dumb-ass response to Wagner. You’re right, Sarah, they’ve never listened. I’m excited you like it. Incidentally, lots of people could do a better job programming classical music than I – like a nine-year-old throwing a dart at the Grove Encyclopedia of Music.

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28,  8:33 pm

Subject: The seats for the blind

 

Long day. Demanding meeting. I was musing on the commute home, thinking about our times. About Cleveland. Do you remember when we went to see Don Giovanni at the Auditorium? My grandmother’s Society for the Blind free tickets when the Met came to town. God forbid anyone should actually pay for tickets. God forbid anyone should ever have taken my grandmother herself. Even for the blind they were bad seats. We sat in that section upstairs against the wall where, when we were lucky, we spotted Leparello smoking a cigarette in the wings waiting for his cue. We never got to see Don Giovanni himself, no matter how much we strained. To this day, despite that, the end of Don Giovanni is still my favorite ending to an opera.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  8:51 pm

Subject: Re:The seats for the blind

 

You bet I remember that excursion. I went again with my mother to see Tosca when the Metropolitan Opera was in town (tickets, yet) from her cousin, the choral director at the Met, Kurt Adler. He must have seen us as his pitiful mishpoche. Wrangled complimentary tickets for us.  ALSO IN THE BLIND SECTION!  Almost got to see Renata Tebaldi. Actually did see her backstage. She looked exhausted after hurling herself off the parapet. An icepack on her ankle.  She was furious. Apparently some stagehand fell asleep on the mattress that was supposed to catch her.

 

Hey, Chicago has a great opera house. Do you ever get there?

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28,  9:07 pm

Subject: The Lyric Opera

 

Actually, the station gets tickets, but I rarely go anymore.

 

For years, back in the 70s, I had a subscription to the Lyric. Went with a man I knew from the old Lincoln Park neighborhood. Let me describe the guy. Good-looking is too bland a word for it. Strikingly handsome. Think Jude Law with a Chicago accent. Wore Armani suits. Tall. Slender. When we walked into the lobby, everyone would turn to look.  Of course both of us were completely heterosexual, but I liked being thought of as his date.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  9:10 pm

Subject: Re:The Lyric Opera

 

Completely heterosexual?  Pity.

________________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28,  9:19  pm

Subject: Re:Re:The Lyric Opera

 

I guess you caught me there. If I were so completely heterosexual, I wouldn’t have had to mention it.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  9:50 pm

Subject: nightie night

 

Off to bed.  Early morning meeting.

 

Goodnight Adam. I’ll compose more emails to you in my sleep.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 28, 2014  10:04 pm

Subject: Re:nightie night

 

Goodnight, my Sarah. I’ll be with you again in my sleep.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 29,  9:10 am

Subject: My novel

 

Thought a lot about opera last night.

 

A few years ago, I wrote a short novel – 25,000 words – and one scene involves a group of opera singers, including Renata Tebaldi, lost in space.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 29,2014  9:25 am

Subject: Re:My novel

 

What became of your novel?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 29, 2014  11:23 am

Subject: Re:Re:My novel

 

Nothing came of it. I’ll never show it to anyone, so don’t ask. I now think it’s dumb.

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 29, 2014  11:56 am

Subject: Please send the book

 

Adam, I’m sure it’s not dumb, and I really do wish to read it. Please. I remember a great novel you wrote when you were only 16. Thought you so brilliant. Trust you still are.

 

A memory flash – your backyard, a Scrabble game, you laid down a word on the triple-score squares – “queue” – a gazillion points in one simple move. I’ll never get over learning the word right then and wondering how it ever got to be pronounced the way it was pronounced. And recall thinking back then how brilliant Adam Wolf was.

 

Just about a month ago, I was back in Cleveland going through the box of my mother’s stuff – the one with my fading report cards and potato-print wrapping paper. And I came across a stash of letters written in study hall from you to me. Most went something like this: “Dear Sarah, I love you, I love you, I love you. The proof to Theorem #6 is . . . ILU, Adam”. And again I remembered thinking how brilliant Adam Wolf was and how lucky I was. (Though now I know, why I didn’t do so well in 10th grade geometry. You did all my homework for me.)

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

May 29, 2014  1:37 pm

Subject: The ILU notes

 

Oh — the notes in study hall, notes after class, before class, during class. When I try thinking about those days it’s like a dream — as though we were lost in the stars.

 

I saved your notes and photos too. I remember putting them in a box and hiding them in the crawlspace behind the rafters in the attic at the Silsby house. I wonder if they’re still there where I left them. I never retrieved them, I’m sorry to say. The house was sold while I was away at college.

 

In the deluge of memories, a constant one for me through all time is a moment somewhere back in a classroom – don’t know where or what day – when I looked at you and you looked back with your sweet quiet smile, touched your finger to your eye, made an “L” with your finger and pointed back at me – ILU – I think other people saw – but I remember that I didn’t care. That was the start of our special sign.

 

I think they did see.  At the reunion before the last one in 1994, I only went to the Fri. evening get-together. Early in the evening, someone (I don’t remember who), a woman who I almost recognized (from English class, I think), very animated said to me, “We’ll always be grateful to Sarah and you. You taught us about love. I just wanted you to know that.”

 

I don’t remember if I responded. All I could think of at the moment was our signal: ILU – ILU2.

 

Sarah, talking to you could go on forever and I wouldn’t miss sleep.

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

May 29, 2014  4:51 pm

Subject: Re:The ILU notes

 

This time we will never stop. I won’t take for granted that you’re near again.

 

Yes, I remember the moment, the first ILU. It’s why I looked forward to English class. I think about what we radiated. It was as if everyone else in the room was a pale shadow and only we were in living color.

 

I’m off to teach my evening class. Then another night out. So I’ll write tomorrow and the next day and the days after that.

________________________________________________________________

From: S.Gordon Wilson <S.Gordon.Wilson@csulb.edu>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 2, 2014  2:22 pm

Subject: get well soon

 

Dear Sarah,

 

I hope you’re feeling better. These summer colds can lay the best of us low.

 

I’m sure you’ll be back in tip-top shape by Saturday. Would you give me the honor of dining with me at the Ocean Terrace that evening?  Please call when you feel up to it.

 

Get better speedily!

 

Yours,

Gordon

 

  1. Gordon Wilson, PhD.

Founder and Editor of The Ichthysaurus

Fellow, American Academy of Underwater Sciences

Professor of Biology, Emeritus

California State University, Long Beach

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  4:51 pm

Subject: remarkable talent

 

Bravo!!!!  A most wonderful novel. I’m so flattered that you entrusted me with it. I was drawn in from the start – absorbed by those characters, especially that piece-of-work Katya. The thought of being trapped in a small spacecraft with her for a year? Makes me want to open a vein.

 

You’re still an astronomy buff, I see. Reading the book, I recalled how you were always oriented to the sky.  How you tried to teach me about outer space. But the stars were too grand for my pea-brain to comprehend. Still are. We were standing by Boulevard School’s playground. It was night. And you pointed to a star and told me how many millions of years it took for the light from it to reach us. You said the star we were looking at probably didn’t even exist anymore. Long gone. Yikes!  I didn’t want you to go on. It felt as if I’d been socked in the stomach.

 

I wonder, though, if we got out in space far enough and had a telescope powerful enough, could we see Adam Wolf and Sarah Ross right there, in Cleveland Heights, July 28, 1960, standing by the playground, looking up? Time-travel. Would you want to go back there?

 

Anyway, a great accomplishment, this novel. I think you might wish to show it to an agent, no?

 

I’m delighted to know you’re still so talented and clever.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  7:12 pm

Subject: Re:remarkable talent

 

Thanks for such a sweet response. I’m so glad you liked the book. But no, no agent. Let this be a secret between us.

 

Time-travel – back to you, to us, Sarah? I’d do it in a flash, but not if parents and curfews and homework came with the territory. Then even the lure of you wouldn’t be enough to draw me there.

 

Well, and thanks for the compliment. I’m glad somebody still thinks I’m smart. But, in truth, I found out I’m not as brilliant as people once thought. Univ. of Chicago was a humbling time and since then I’ve had enough experiences that I’ve learned to accept my limitations.  Anyway, I’ve had people around to remind me of them.

 

Just about daily Lola tells me I’m stupid: “What kind of idiot are you? You went to U of C and you can’t separate recyclable from regular garbage?”

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  7:23 pm

Subject: I’m sorry

 

In the name of domestic tranquility, I won’t comment on Lola’s remarks. But just to say, I hope she doesn’t have a penchant for belittlement.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  7:35 pm

Subject: Re:I’m sorry

 

In the name of full disclosure, Lola actually goes beyond belittlement. More like mortification when she publically wants to put me in my place. She posted a video of the massive snowstorm we had last winter. The video featured me clearing the driveway, then falling flat on my face, and lying there in exhaustion. You could hear her laughing as the camera zoomed in.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  7:41 pm

Subject: Re:Re:I’m sorry

 

Geez!

______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  8:06 pm

Subject: Mo Spiegel

 

And then there’s Maureen Spiegel. Remember her? She and her husband moved to Chicago and we saw each other a couple of times and then not at all. She had landed some big shot position as a vice president at Quaker Oats. The last time I saw them was five years ago at a barbeque at their McMansion in Glencoe. And that’s also the last time I spoke to her. She let me know how limited I was. At the party she took me aside when the others were jabbering – wondered what had happened to me – that I’d been such a “golden boy” in high school – that everyone had great expectations of me. She looked at me pityingly. I saw it coming. “How is it”, she wondered, “that you didn’t amount to more”.

 

When I tried to point out my few accomplishments at the radio station, she shrugged and walked away.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  8:27 pm

Subject: Mo the Ho

 

That sniveling little bitch Mo Spiegel. Lemme me at ‘er! Your work makes people’s lives fuller, gives them a way to transcend the tedium of the everyday. Is that not tremendously valuable? The arts are the oxygen of my life, many people’s lives. What? Quaker’s breakfast mush trumps Beethoven? I don’t think so.

 

Your commie upbringing, I’m guessing, would lead you to avoid corporate America. Anyway, where were you supposed to get the money for grad school? Even if your father ever had a cent, he wouldn’t have sent it your way.

 

Who the hell does little weasly Maureen Spiegel think she is? Feh! Sounds like she’s still part of the Wiley-snob clique, the girls who took greater pleasure flaunting their cashmere sweaters than wearing them. In history class she always enjoyed knocking my books off my desk as she passed. Liked to see me scramble for them. A bully then. A bully now. Just ignore her. Leave it to me to be the one to tear her limb from limb. For old time’s sake. Do you think you’ll have to run into her at the reunion?

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  9:23 pm

Subject: Re: Mo the Ho

 

The more I think about the last reunion, the more hesitant I am about the upcoming one. I debate with myself about it – I’m still a little undecided whether to go. I went to the one 10 years ago and I did enjoy the repartee with Greg and Steve et al. Mostly though I recall people lodging grievances they had harbored for 40 yrs – slights I didn’t intend or remember. It seemed like every 5 mins. someone who I barely remembered would challenge me. Mike Newman asked me if it was true that my father was a Communist and did he raise us as Commies too? Greenblatt remembered how he caught me in the school parking lot, letting air out of the tires on his father’s Caddie. And, oh, whether it was a political statement or something. I told him I didn’t recall it. (I did and it was.)

 

And the strangest thing of all, Ellen Thomas, I think that’s her name, asked me why, when she flirted with me in Chemistry, I never asked her out, etc., etc. When it was over I had a portrait of myself as an arrogant, insensitive asshole – and I guess people wanted me to know that. So I dutifully apologized and they seemed satisfied that I wasn’t the same person they knew.

 

More tomorrow. Goodnight, my Sarah.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 3, 2014  10:43 pm

Subject: spare me reunions

 

These tales of reunion are rather chilling. I can imagine the horror of a list of grievances. It makes me giddy to be not going. I still carry a satchel of grievances myself and would have the impulse to dump them on Janice Price. She always managed to make me feel unwanted in any group.

____________________________________________________________

From: Harold Weinstein <Harold.W.Weinstein9933@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 4 2014  10:55 am

Subject: relocating

 

FYI. Leaving Ashland. Took 1 yr visiting post at St. Olaf’s in Minnesota, beginning Sept.1. New email address to follow. H

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 4, 2014  11:32 am

Subject:Our last telephone call

 

Sarah, this morning I thought about the last time you and I spoke – in 1979.  I don’t know if you remember – you called to tell me that Susan Cantor had died – and as we were speaking my wife (at the time) interrupted me, purposely, on some ruse – and we never finished the conversation. When we do talk to each other again, I promise no interruptions, at least not for the first 4 hours.

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 4, 2014  1:51 pm

Subject: Re:Our last telephone call

 

Yes, I remember the call. Your mother gave me the number – groused about your father, maybe about you, and added that she always thought you and I should have gotten married.  Mothers. . .

I didn’t just call you then to socialize. I was back in Cleveland that week and low – about getting older, about my parents deteriorating. Things were falling apart in my family. Esther was overwhelmed and screaming a lot. I needed comfort and I really needed to talk to someone, actually to you. My mother who, as you know, never recovered from what happened to her family in the War, had just been institutionalized. Went off the rails – listening to the radio, waiting for her name to be called, to be herded “to points East”.  She got better, eventually, somewhat, but that day I longed for a connection to someone who had known me as her child. And no one had known me as well as you.

And Susan Cantor dying on the operating table, so young, so unnecessarily. Too much. But I felt certain that your voice alone could comfort me. It did. But I do recall the painful and abrupt end to the conversation. I took it as a clear message, to stay away. Anyway, from that talk you knew I had dropped out of grad school, that I was married to a literature guy, that I was trying to get pregnant, but couldn’t, that I was working with the Art dept. at San Diego, monotonous work, ordering supplies, making sure enough conté crayon was in stock, that sort of thing.  Didn’t last long. Anyway, you would have heard more if it hadn’t been for that startling interruptus to the conversation.

 

There were things that I might have talked to you about had you stayed on the phone longer

 

1) That I had been held hostage by enemy aliens of the UFO sort, in their mother ship, for the better part of 1969 (or was that the LSD speaking?).

 

2) That after college I had tried going on with painting, on my own, but ripped up all the canvases deciding that I had no talent. Zero. That the only reason I thought I did was because Morris Nolinski at Bennington praised me to the sky, even named a painting (now in MOMA) after me, Buena Sarah I (there was never a II, cause I stopped the affair. Later, I discovered that Amazing Grace I and II, and Katydid I, II and III all lived in my dorm).

 

3) During grad school earned some chump change talking dirty on the dial-a-slut circuit.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 4, 2014  6:35 pm

Subject: Re:Re:Our last telephone call

 

Nothing so arousing here.

 

Thanks for jogging my memory about that call.  Maybe I’ve repressed it. As a matter of fact, I do recall the scene, if not the talk – tethered to a wall phone, the cord one foot long. Brenda, who had answered the phone, so knew it was you, was literally in my face the whole time – challenging me to do anything – mocking every word I said. Needless to say Brenda was insecure. She knew how important you had been to me. All the intensity we felt. You may want to know that our aborted conversation back in ’79 was a kind of turning point for Brenda and me. I was humiliated, enraged – and I snapped – for the first time in our marriage I wasn’t Adam the Conciliator. Things changed after that and I guess I stopped being intimidated by Brenda. We split up six months later.

 

Tell me about Harold if you want. Sorry that you lost him.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 4, 2014  8:13 pm

Subject: Harold?

 

Adam, I had no idea about Brenda. Sorry I got you in trouble, or perhaps I’m not sorry, if it helped extricate you from such a one. Is rescuing Adam Wolf my life’s actual calling?

Let’s see, what can I tell you about life with Harold? The 70’s, first his bucking for tenure, us needing to be pleasant to some boors in the senior ranks of the department.  In particular, one who always greeted me by running his hand down my back and snapping my bra. Geezers. But I pretended to like that frat-boy vulgarity. Full Professors, whiskey-breathed by 9:00 am. For Harold’s sake I had to giggle at their toilet jokes. I hated those years.

The only one of the senior faculty I could stand was Timothy Fielding, an evil sense of humor – once said if Harold got tenure he couldn’t be let go, “even if he buggered a goat on the steps of the post office at high noon”. Harold did get tenure. I don’t believe he ever fucked a goat, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

Well, you see, guess I’m not saying all that much about Sarah Ross in those years. (I still have a hard time talking about myself.) I didn’t feel all that present in those days. It was all about Professor Harold Weinstein, PhD, the smiling, the entertaining. Once he got tenure I needed to get away from that. Quit my job in the Art dept., took fencing lessons, learned to deal blackjack at the Diamond Star Casino. Harold was embarrassed by all of it. He insisted I mention it to no one at the university. And I agreed to cease and desist. Me? I was transmogrified from the feisty Sarah you knew and loved, into the dutiful, robotic faculty wife.

Luckily some consciousness-raising group I joined jolted me back into myself. Began painting again and gave a fuck about dinner parties. Spent some time adventuring in Europe with my best pal. She stayed on in her family’s home in Terni. And I almost did too. So you see, you’re not the only one who’s gotten themselves in trouble. Are you ready to talk more about your troubles?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 4, 2014  9:00 pm

Subject:

 

Wow! Forever the feisty Sarah, the adventurer. I want to hear more, much more, but can’t right now. Duty calls. Lola’s car broke down. I need to go see what’s up. More tomorrow.

Promise.

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 5, 2014  9:55 am

Subject:

 

Happy June 5th, Adam. It hasn’t even been two weeks, but it feels to me as if we’ve never been apart. Odd, don’t you think?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 5, 2014  11:33 am

Subject:

 

Happy June 5th to you too, my Sarah Ross. And it feels as if we’ve never been apart because we haven’t been.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 5, 2014  4:51 pm

Subject:

 

I won’t be able to write at any length until later in the evening. Command performance. Her Royal Highness, A. Schreiber, insists I redo next month’s program schedule by tomorrow. Forgive me.

______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 5, 2014  9:41 pm

Subject: Possessed

 

Now, to get back to what I’ve really been wishing to do all day, schmooze with you. Anyway, the short version of my troubles, as promised.  After Brenda, several years of frenzy, then a thirty year marriage of separate lives, little intimate contact, appeasing and enabling my new wife’s self-destructive impulses. And then the day job – keeping the peace at all, and I mean ALL costs. Accommodating that woman’s professional and personal expectations of me.

 

Whatever happened to you in those years, the Sarah I knew and loved seems to have reemerged in full force. Sure hope Harold also tried consciousness-raising. Still, it must have been difficult for you when he passed away.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 5, 2014  10:21 pm

Subject: how I fell for you

 

“Difficult” is too thin a word for what I went through.  I’d rather not go there.

 

You know, Adam, I think my attraction to Harold in the first place had a lot to do with you. Literature. You planted the passion for that in me. Harold picked up where you left off – explaining Milton and Joyce, to me, the way you had Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.    You liked Russian literature, didn’t you?

 

I need to tell you a story. You were a guru of sorts to me, the literate American who could finally teach me what to read. I was 14. Before you, I had no guide. We had no books in the house, at least no books in English. Before you, I would go to the library and close my eyes and run my hand along the shelf and take out any 5 books my hand landed on. Very funny thinking about it. Roosevelt Jr. High. We had a book report due, one we had to deliver, orally, in Tubaugh’s 8th grade Honors English class. I did my usual five book gambit. Three were geography or history books. The other two? One was Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (which I couldn’t make heads or tails of, of course. Still can’t). The other book, a trifle. See Here, Private Hargrove, an amusing book about a bumbling private in WWII. So I ended up giving a report on it. Afterwards kids laughed at me for picking a stupid book. But what did I know? As I was returning to my desk one whispered, “Ever hear of Mark Twain?” Another, “You could have picked Dickens”. When I tell the story of why I’ve been in love with my first boyfriend, I say he never made fun of me, the way the others did. But two days later gave me a copy of Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath and I was so grateful. I joined a paperback book club, and you helped me select books. It’s there I discovered Nabokov, whose writing still makes me melt.  It is you who made me literary.

 

Goodnight, my Adam. Please, more tomorrow.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 5, 2014  10:25 pm

Subject: Re: how I fell for you

 

What a story! Of course more tomorrow. Goodnight, my dear Sarah. ILU

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  7:10 am

Subject: Steinbeck

 

Up early to be with you and talk.

 

The Steinbeck – that was my father’s. I took it from his shelf. A used book. I was with him when he “bought” it. One Saturday my father spent some rare time with me – not the ball game, no, not my father. We went to the Saint Vincent de Paul thrift shop. He picked the book off the shelf and showed me that the price inside was 10 cents. He winked at me, took out a pencil, carefully erased the 10 cents and neatly wrote 5 cents in its place. And when we got back in the car, he gloated as if he had just pulled off a big Brinks heist.

 

Your memories are so vivid, funny how memory works. Now I remember when I gave you the book your look made my heart leap up. Your smile – hard to describe what happened to me, but it was a trance. The feeling – a profound warmth that surged through my body. Since we started writing I too have been awash in memories – and intense feelings – actually I’ve been unable to concentrate on anything else – nervously waiting for your replies.

________________________________________________________________________

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  7:34 am

Subject: Another flash of the past

 

Sarah, as long as we’re on the topic of memory, can you recall the one time before that 1979 call when we talked?

 

Maybe because today’s the 6th, I do remember the date – June 7th 1968. I can picture exactly where I was standing in that old dumpy apartment of mine on 55th St., by the railroad tracks, staring out the window. And I know I was surprised that you called – and that you told me it was a predetermined day for us to reconnect. I can still feel the emotions. I was about to head off to West Virginia to become a Vista volunteer – kept me out of the draft – so I must have been anxious. And after the call, I had a sense of longing, maybe remorse, but I can’t remember what we said. Can you?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  8:34 am

Subject: June 7th

 

Yes, I do recall phoning you June 7, 1968, missing you terribly. I was about to take off to Europe for the summer. First trip back there since childhood. Exciting!

 

  1. Do you remember, two years earlier, we spent one golden day together? A date. We hadn’t seen each other since high school and we were about to go into our junior year in college. We were 20. It was the last time we ever saw each other.

 

So the call that day in ’68? Before the phone call I had no idea we would stop communicating. After the phone call I chose to go into radio silence – at least for a decade.

 

It’s odd what is coming back to me about that conversation. I now remember telling you I saved your love notes to me, and the childhood pictures you had given me. I felt very close to you that day. And you said you had put my pictures and letters to you in a hiding place in the attic of the Silsby house for safekeeping. (I didn’t believe you, not until now.)

 

I supposed you didn’t like my calling because when I tried to reminisce, you brought up Darlene Cutler and all that she had meant to you. And when I got off the phone I kept muttering to myself something like “Darlene Cutler? Darlene Cutler? That slut?” In the girls’ locker room, we used to have a nickname for her, you know, “The Human Sperm Bank”. I marvel that the call with me meant anything at all to you. I’m very touched to know now that you remember not just the call, but also the date.

______________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  11:18 am

Subject: Re:June 7th

 

I guess I know now why I felt a sense of loss or remorse after that call. Forgive me if you can. What prompted me to push you away and talk about anyone else, I couldn’t know.

 

Tell me what was so special, though, about June 7, 1968.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  11:29 am

Subject: Re:Re: June 7th

 

My diary records that you asked me to marry you on Feb. 15th 1961, when we had just turned 15. And we picked June 7, 1968 as our Wedding Day. ________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  12:25 pm

Subject: Golden day

 

I certainly remember holding you in the sunroom of your parent’s apartment when I proposed to you and we set a date. I just forgot it was that day. Of course, June 7th was and maybe always will be our anniversary. And now too I thought all day about our last time together – that “golden day” all those years ago. I do recall a sweet time, but not many details. Are there more that will trigger my memory?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  1:18 pm       

Subject: Re:Golden day

 

I do have other details, but I’ll wait until I figure out how to formulate them, if that’s okay.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 6, 2014  11:18 pm

Subject: Re:Re:Golden day

 

Okay. I’ll be patient. Long day – business dinner – this time with some potential sponsors. It could have been a nice time, were it not for the talk of politics – Tea Party line – ship immigrants back, they said – perhaps meant to include wetbacks like you, for all I know.

 

Goodnight. ILU

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 7, 2014  4:56 am

Subject: Anniversary

 

Happy Anniversary, my Adam.

 

A sudden flash of that golden day, that last day we were ever together, an experience that’s so private and internal, it won’t jog your memory at all. We spent the day at the Cleveland Art Museum, their 50th anniversary show, 1966. Then we were in the car, at night – the parking lot of our Roosevelt Junior High School. The street lamp the only illumination. I was next to you, with you, intimately. Looking into the side window, I saw my own reflection, but it wasn’t my face I saw, instead it was an amalgam of both our faces – I couldn’t decipher the parts, couldn’t separate one from the other.

 

It’s hard to put such a mystical moment into words. It cheapens it too much. But the vision had temperature, a warmth to it – beatific, glowing, with some interior golden light. Most amazing. It felt so right.

 

I never dreamed I would have a chance to mention it to you.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 7, 2014  8:08 am

Subject: Golden day too

 

Happy Anniversary, Sweets!

In the silence here – I’ve read that message now a dozen times – that vision of us as one – I don’t have words, only now a sensation (of longing I think) that I can’t really describe. When your earlier note said you didn’t know how to put the details of our “golden day” in words, I thought that something ominous had happened or I did or said something unredeemable. How the image stayed with you, Sarah – that image – is making me want to cry – a release of feeling – not sadness.

 

And then there are the years and years in between – all the June 7ths – which, if you wish, I could tell you about later.

  • _______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

  • June 7, 2014 10:19 am
  • Subject: Re:Golden day too

 

Maybe I just need to hold the stillness a while longer. I’m a bit overwhelmed too by the memory – and for the occasion of being able to share it with you – and by my own reaction of tears – streaming tears – a weight off my heart too – and I know I could never have delivered this vision by phone – certainly not in person – so I’m glad we write – it will always stabilize the feelings now – always re-readable – I’m so glad you know now how deeply inside me you have lived.

 

More later, promise

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

  • June 7, 2014 11:01 am
  • Subject:

 

You should know, Adam Wolf, the joy I feel when seeing your name in my inbox. No matter who else wants to get to me, I leap to you.

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 7, 2014  12:54 pm

Subject:

 

I’ve spent the whole morning daydreaming of what I was going to say to you today and tomorrow. I think I would be in your inbox all the time, if I could.

____________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 7, 2014  1:29 pm

Subject: Distracted

 

All along these many years I knew that no one could replace you. The idea of you. The fit. I see now how we fit. I feel the fit and marvel at it. I’m crazy and distracted. Nicole jabbers at me. I pretend to be listening, but I’m itching to get to your emails. I resent having to leave the screen for a customer. Don’t they know I have better things to do with my time? Don’t they know Adam Wolf might be there waiting for me? Fools.

_______________________________________________________________

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

June 7, 2014  2:48 pm

Subject:

 

I’d like to be on the computer for a few hours with you too. But I have to go on the air in a few minutes. Hold that thought. I’ll do a little work and touch your inbox in a while.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 7, 2014  5:17 pm

Subject:

 

Just wondering, Adam, is your email, our correspondence, secure from prying eyes?

 

I won’t be able to write much more today. Gordon’s invited me out to dinner and I better get ready.

_______________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 8, 2014 8:57 am

Subject: Trustworthy

 

To answer your question about our privacy. Sure. Absolutely. No one here would snoop around. I trust them.

 

Does Gordon know we correspond?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 8, 2014  10:48 am

Subject: Re:Trustworthy

 

Yep. I mentioned you and I were in contact. How about Lola? Does she know we’re in touch?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 8, 2014 10:53 am

Subject:Re:Re:Trustworthy

 

No, but she knows who you are.

________________________________________________________________

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 8, 2014  11:02 am

Subject: Amanda?

 

Tell me about Amanda. She scares me. Does she know about us?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 8, 2014 2:14 pm

Subject: Re:Amanda?

 

No, Amanda doesn’t know about us, but she thinks I’ve been acting strange lately. Asks me a dozen times what’s the matter. Keeps suggesting we meet over drinks to talk this over – that we don’t spend enough time together anymore. Forget about it. Nothing to be scared of, Sarah. We just have a long relationship at the station. We’ve travelled together. We’ve worked on the program guide for years and years.

 

Lola has me doing hateful jobs around the house today. But most of my time has been spent chasing a chipmunk out. The cat likes to bring them in as souvenirs for us. You should see me with a wastebasket trying to swoop down on the scurrying, frightened thing. This isn’t the first time. But just now the neighbor stopped over and mentioned that I could get it out by laying a trail of peanuts to the open door. And sure enough, it worked.

 

So I’m back with you, where I really need to be.

________________________________________________________________

 

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 8, 2014  4:23 pm

Subject: Re:Re:Amanda?

 

You do talk about Amanda a lot. “We” this and “we” that. What do you wish me to know about her? Are you trying to tell me something?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 8, 2014 5:28 pm

Subject:Re:Re:Re:Amanda?

 

Nothing to tell. Promise. I guess she’s conditioned me to call it a “we”.

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 8, 2014  7:08 pm

Subject: Off for a week

 

Adam, I may have forgotten to tell you. I’m getting ready for a wonderful vacation, beginning tomorrow. I’m going up to Kennebunkport, Maine – an artist’s retreat, with a teacher I had before. I do especially good work with him, learn a lot. Alas, dear friend, I kind of doubt they have internet there. I’m there until the 14th.

 

I’ll write as soon as I return. Promise.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 8, 2014 8:05 pm

Subject: Re:Off for a week

 

Oh. How come you didn’t tell me? How nice for you. Not so nice for me. How am I supposed to survive even a few days without you? Write if you can, but perhaps the whole point is to concentrate on your painting, uninterrupted.

 

I’ll miss you. Hurry back. Are you going alone?

 

Goodnight dear Sarah. ILU

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 9, 2014  9:17 am

Subject: Re:Re:Off for a week

 

Bye bye, Adam. It just slipped my mind. I’ll miss you too! Remember me. Remind me there’s good reason I’m leaving on this trip. I’ll contact you if I can.

 

Yes, alone.

______________________________________________________________

 

 

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 9, 2014 9:28 am

Subject: Have fun!

 

You’ll have a grand and rejuvenating time. Enjoy yourself. And no worries, I haven’t forgotten you all these years. I’m not about to now. BYE, SARAH. Would you try to get the plane to touch down in Chicago, if only for an hour. I could meet you at O’Hare and we could hoist a few.

______________________________________________________________

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 14, 2014  5:44  pm

Subject: Back from Maine

 

I just walked into the house, Adam, grateful that I can finally be in touch again. Wonderful, productive time. I think it stretched me. I worked with watercolor, pen, pencil on the same page. Maybe I’ll get up the courage to send you some pictures. Pleasant people on the trip. Their critique was gentle, but to the point and constructive. Great fun.

 

How have you been?

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 14, 2014 7:58 pm

Subject: Re:Back from Maine

 

YOU’RE BACK!!! HURRAH. YOU DIDN’T FORGET ME!

 

The blackout was impossible.

 

So glad you had a great time. By all means let me see what you’ve produced!

 

Me? I’ve been okay this week. Same old drudge. My life is not as varied and exciting as yours. I wish I could change that. I spent most of the week longing for you.

 

The reunion’s coming up soon. Text and emails come everyday – an on-going pep rally. People trying to convince me it’s going to be transformative. I’m working myself up to it. Only a week til it’s over with.

 

Welcome home,

 

Your Adam

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

June 14, 2014  9:52 pm

Subject: Re:Re:Back from Maine

 

I just unpacked. I’m not one of those people who can put that off.

Wiped out. A long day. First getting to Boston, and then a 5-hour flight from Logan. I think we might have flown over your house. I should have waved.

 

Good night, dear Adam.

 

As far as I’m concerned, the reunion is already underway. And it IS transformative. And permanent. You and me.

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf < adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 15, 2014 7:56 pm
  • Subject: Back from the future

Sarah, my love, picture this filmic episode:

 

We’re 14 years old. It’s 1960, a late spring afternoon. A path. Cain Park. I’m there waiting for you.

 

The dialogue begins:

 

Sarah: “Adam, where on earth have you been? I’ve been frantic. Your parents have been frantic.”

 

Adam: “Been away, far away. Actually I’ve travelled to the future. Landed in 2014. Guess what? Everybody has air conditioning. Everyone has a phone you can keep in your pocket. Anybody can order movies and watch instantly on their portable televisions.  And, guess what else, my love? Cleveland still hasn’t won a World Series. But most important, you and I are together. What do you say to that?”

_______________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

  • June 15, 2014 8:04 pm
  • Subject: Re:Back from the future

 

I would have said, “You mean we’re together six feet under, in adjoining plots?”

________________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 15, 2014 8:17 pm
  • Subject: Re:Re:Back from the future

I’d tell you to hold on to your hat and not to be upset.

 

I’d say: “Except for one day and two phone calls, we haven’t been together since high school – for most of our lives. Half a century later, though, we’re back together again! Come to the future with me now, Sarah, and we’ll skip the years in between. They’re not worth it anyway.”

 

Sarah, would you have come with me then, into the future? What would you have said?

  • _______________________________________________________________
  • From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

  • June 15, 2014 8:31 pm
  • Subject: Stop pulling my leg

 

No, I certainly would not have come with you. And I would have said, “Okay, Mr. Looney Tunes. Adios. Aufwiedersehen. You’re crazier than I ever guessed. I’m not going with you anywhere, not now, not in the future. I’m going home.”

 

I would have added, “Fess up and tell me the truth now. Where have you really been since Monday afternoon?” That’s what I would have said,

 

And furthermore, I would have thrown in, “Oh, I get it, you’re breaking up with me. Your voo-doo glimpse into the future, HA! Just a cover so you can wander off into the sunset with Claire Carlsen. Yeah, and when you turn old and your girlfriends don’t want you anymore, then you’ll expect me to push you around in your wheelchair, right? No deal.” I would say, “See you, chum!”

_______________________________________________________________

From: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

To: Sarah Ross<sarahross64@gmail.com>

  • June 15, 2014 9:13 pm
  • Subject: Not pulling your leg

 

But I would insist I was telling the truth: “Au contraire, my Sarah. We may be in our late 60s, but not decrepit, not at all. A few ailments, but we avoid doctors, so we don’t dwell on them. Besides you and I have Medicare”. (And you would have asked me what Medicare was.)

 

“Most amazing, Sarah,” I would continue, “I never would have believed it either, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. Two septuagenarians rolling around the bed all night, a blowjob every morning.”

 

What would you have said then, if I had promised you that?

________________________________________________________________

From: Sarah Ross <sarahross64@gmail.com>

To: Adam Wolf <adam.wolf1402@gmail.com>

  • June 15, 2014 9:27 pm
  • Subject: Re:Not pulling your leg

 

1960? I would have asked, “Adam, what’s a blowjob?”

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: