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A Life of Dates

     If you are interested in purchasing a copy of my first book, A Life of Dates, simply click here.

 Here is the Foreword to A Life of Dates:

     To the best of my knowledge, everything that follows is true. Truth, of course, being subjective. The other people who were involved in these events may have completely different recollections of when, how, where and even whether, they occurred. But this is how I remember things.

     I didn’t really set out to write this. For a long time, I had wanted to see if I could create a timeline of my life, trying to see if I could piece together what I was doing on each and every day from the day I was born. I imagined a wall covered with calendars from 1954 on, with each block filled in with what I was doing on that date. That, of course, would be impossible. How could I possibly know whether I was in second grade class at Strawbridge School on February 21, 1962, for example? I was supposed to be there, but was I absent because I was sick? Was it a school holiday? Were we on a field trip? Not to mention that I've been alive for nearly 25,000 days. So, the idea morphed into recounting specific events that I could recall, figuring out when and where they happened, and letting the memories of those dates take me wherever they went.

     Memory is a wonderful, mysterious thing. Do I really remember something as it actually happened, or only because I saw a picture or heard a story about it? Did it really happen on that date, or at some other time? Do I truly remember which people were involved, or am I simply surmising who they were? Some of the things that I thought I remembered quite clearly have been contradicted by people with quite different recollections.

     I have relied on many sources in addition to simply my memory in writing this. A diary or journal would have been an enormous help, but I have never kept either. The internet is great for finding calendars and dates and historical events and pictures, and I have used it for all of those things. I have kept, or inherited, a lot of papers, pictures, movies, documents and miscellaneous stuff, which have been invaluable in piecing together this timeline. How else would I know who my mother’s fourth grade teacher was without her name being signed to a report card? Even simple things like bank or E-ZPass statements and receipts help. I have talked to, or emailed, some of the people involved to ask for their recollections and to provide detail and context. Nancy and Dylan have filled in some blanks, although their recollections often differ from mine. Surprisingly, I have been able to attach specific dates and, in some cases, even times, for hundreds of events.

     This is most definitely not a list of everything that I have done or that has happened to me over 67 years, nor do I want it to be. Many things that I clearly recall are omitted, mainly because I simply don’t want to write about them, but also because I have been unable to weave them into the story. Entire swaths of my life are excluded. This is not intended to be an  autobiography, although it is autobiographical. An autobiography seems a little presumptuous, really. And if an autobiography seems a little presumptuous, a memoir sounds even more so, since there really is no overall theme or focus or story arc leading to some momentous insight or life lesson learned. Nor is it even a timeline, since much of it is not in chronological order. It is more of a stream of consciousness, with memories of events and people triggered by what happened on certain dates, places and times. I make no pretext of objectivity.

     Above all else, this is not about any universal truths or great insights into life that I have learned and want to pass on. First, I’m not sure that there are any universal truths. Second, if there are, I think that I’m probably too young and witless to have discovered them yet. Third, even if I have stumbled upon any great insights into life, I’m not one to give advice without being asked. And no one asked. Most of my insights are into more practical things, like not climbing on roofs or not pulling out poison ivy with bare hands, anyway.

     What this is mostly about is people. People who have been friends seemingly forever, people who were once friends but have disappeared from my life, people who made a difference to me without even knowing it, and most of all, family. In the end, it has been a perfectly average life, yet filled with moments of great joy, overwhelming sadness, and some extraordinary people. Every memory has led to another and another and another. Most things will be of absolutely no interest to anyone except me. I’m OK with that.


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Although specific to one man's life, anyone born in the 40's, 50's, or 60's can relate to this episodic, folksy, personal jaunt through a half century+ life told in a personal one-to-one, Jean Shepard-esque style that will leave one in a humorous, thoughtful reverie & mood after reading. - Rich B.

Funny, poignant and entertaining. I found myself thinking “Hey, I did that too “ or “ I’ve been there “ The author sounds like a guy you’d want to sit and have a couple of beers with! Highly recommended. - Paul M.

The author details an amusing introspective of his life as a Baby Boomer in middle class suburbia. Lots of the experiences ring true, so the book is highly relatable as well as entertaining. Growing up he appeared to be a delightful mix of JD Salinger's Holden Caulfield and Abbie Hoffman, but still conventional in his pursuits as a frustrated jock in recreational old man softball leagues. The author details a hilarious episode as a scruffy, flannel-wearing long shot candidate in a Student Council election where he ran on a platform of abolishing the Student Council. His victory in the contest over the straight Big Man on Campus was a perfect metaphor for the turbulent times of the late 60's/early 70's, Vietnam, Nixon and student unrest. Highly recommend this book for folks who lived through that era from someone who related the experience with self-effacing humor and nostalgia. - John F.

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