Archive for January, 2010




The horror continues….

Necrology Shorts has just published The Horror at Lake Harmony.

I hope you enjoy my offering.


January 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm Leave a comment




Necrology Shorts has published another one of my stories, Balance.

The story involves good becoming evil.  Have you ever notice that it never goes the opposite way?

I hope you enjoy the story I offer.


January 14, 2010 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment



Here is a new listing entitled WALT’S LATEST PUBLICATION.

This is the first story I have had published since beginning this blog, hence the new title.

I hope you, my reluctant readers, enjoy it. There is a famous author that calls his readers constant readers. I have not reached that summit, but there may be someone out there that checks my blog on a semi constant basis. To you, I say, “Thanks”.


January 10, 2010 at 9:24 pm Leave a comment




My father’s mother and father lived only a few miles from us in Hillside, New Jersey. But driving from Newark to their house was like entering a different world.
They came to this country from Czechoslovakia, although my father’s birth certificate listed his parent’s home country as Hungary. The boarders of European countries frequently changed in the beginning of the twentieth century thanks to World War I. They brought with them one daughter and first settled in Newark and then moved to Hillside, which was where my father was raised.
Hillside is a quiet community composed of one and two family houses giving it a less dense population than my area of Newark. It had some industry, Bristol Myers had a plant located along the main street of this small community, but for the most part it was a quiet place to live. And even though my grandparent’s street ran perpendicular to the Bristol Myers location, there was very little through traffic. It was a quiet street and to me a place of refuge.
My grandparents owned a double lot with a small house on one side and a garden and lawn on the other. My grandmother loved flowers, especially roses. I recall two long rows of flowers with space between for tending and weeding. The garden area facing the street was where the rose bushes grew. She had a large assortment of types and whenever we visited we usually came away with a bouquet of roses.
We would visit on summer evenings after we were finished with supper. After driving for ten or fifteen minutes, we would be parked in front of their house. Now, in reality, we would be visiting only my grandmother for my grandfather would be fast asleep. Every day of the year, for as long as I could remember, he would be in bed by five o’clock. He would have an early dinner then go into the cellar for his one cigarette and his one bottle of beer for the day, then off to bed. When we arrived, we would pull out the chairs stored under the back stairs and talk with my grandmother, watching the evening approach and looking out at the lightning bugs.
Life was slow-paced there. You didn’t feel the underlying tenseness that you felt many times while walking Newark’s streets. Even as a young boy I could feel the relaxation coming on as we entered Hillside.
When I was perhaps ten years old, I started going to my grandparents for summer vacations. I was the only child in my family to do this. I would pack my things and spend a week in Hillside, an oasis to me, a change of pace from the city life in Newark.
There were a few boys my age that lived on my grandparent’s street. My first few summers there I spent in the garden catching butterflies by day and lightning bugs at night. During the summer, even in Newark, the bathroom window would be crammed with jars full of various insects and spiders – all for the study of a pre teenage boy. But after a couple of years catching insects in my grandparent’s yard, I ventured out onto their street and made friends with a couple of the other kids in the neighborhood. Then one summer I spent most of my week on the other kid’s front porches, just hanging out, talking and spitting. For some reason they all spit a lot and I acquired the habit.
Another favorite pastime of my vacations in Hillside was walks with my grandfather. We would set out for long walks in the neighborhood or sometimes we would walk to Weequahic Park, more than a mile away, so this was a real adventure. He must have been in his 70’s by then. He always seemed to be rather formally dressed for walks with dark pants and dress shirts, no shorts and tee shirts for grandpa. And he always wore high-topped shoes that would crunch small stones on the sidewalk, for some reason that crunching sound has stayed with me all these years, the confident step of an elderly man who knew the way, and allowed me to follow. His eyesight was poor, the result of his profession, an engraver. He also had this way of clearing his throat whenever he was about to say something
On our long walks we would talk, but I never got to know my grandfather, not really know him, he never talked about himself. This was long before men were supposed to bear their souls, beat drums and hug. The same was true of my father, never really talked much about what was important to him in his own life, and to some extent the same is true with me. Many times, when there is something really important to me I tend not to discuss it; although I’m sure my children would agree that I can beat a subject to death over dinner. But sometimes the overwhelming daily grind and my personality get in the way of really communicating. So looking back on those walks and my life with my father, I am truly their grandson and son.



Roses were her love,

Great flowing rainbows of pink, red and white.

Her children, their children would come

And each take home

A fist full of gaily-colored affection.

Roses were her love,

And when rest had finally come from roses

Roses were hers,

Elegant creations of empty colors

Looking out on empty eyes.

Roses were her love,

And now her small garden

Has yet to discover

A rose.

January 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment




On the far eastern edge of Newark, tucked between the Jersey City and New York City bound bridges, stood the Newark Drive In. The drive in was directly under the flight path of nearby Newark Airport, which tended to make listening to the movie something of a challenge. When approaching the drive in, you were greeted by the swampy, musty smell of Newark Bay. A resident of ‘The Dumps’ (what the locals called the area surrounding the theater) added to the odors of its refineries and sewage treatment plants to the ambiance of the area.
The drive in was surrounded by a tall wooden fence marking its boundaries with a total lack of landscaping of any kind, being true to the Newark life style – bare essentials is all that you get.
On warm summer nights my family would pack into the old Chevy with food and pillows and head to the drive in. The smaller kids would already be in their pajamas in anticipation of not making it to the second movie of the double feature. Being the oldest, I was given the opportunity to sit up front and in those days of front seats being bench seats, providing plenty of room.
Arriving at the drive in just before dusk, my dad paid and was given the PIC and off we would go. PIC was an insect repellent product. It was a flat spiral affair. You lit the end and it would give off a pungent aroma daring mosquitoes to venture near. I really don’t know if it worked because we would also douse ourselves with insect repellent to ward off the visitors from the nearby swamps.
During this period, mosquito-borne encephalitis (sleeping sickness) was a constant threat. On summer nights in Newark, trucks would go through the city streets emitting clouds of insect repellent.
On these same summer nights in our flat, ineffective screens would keep all but the largest and dumbest insects out of our house. When all were in bed, my mother would walk the length of our flat spraying insect repellent while telling all of us to close our eyes. As we lay in bed, you could feel the particles of spray falling on your body.
Once in the theater, we’d find our spot and park the car at just the right angle on the mound that ran the length of the theater to get a perfect view of the screen for everyone. The smaller kids, in their pajamas, would head for the playground and run around till they couldn’t see what they were doing which also indicated that it was time for the movie to begin.
One movie I recall seeing was entitled Macabre. The movie was supposed to be so scary that you were issued a life insurance policy when you entered the drive in. It was good for the length of the movie and if you should be unlucky enough to die of a fright-induced heart attack during the movie you collected, or you next of kin anyway. The movie was a real bomb; the cartoon was scarier. I wondered though what would have happened if someone would have dropped dead of your usual run-of-the-mill heart attacks.
There was always an intermission between movies, time to advertise the goodies available at the snack bar. The screen would be full of dancing hot dogs and talking cups of soda all counting down the fifteen minutes till the next show. The audience was your typical Newark crowd, the women in their smocks and the dads in their handlebar tee shirts. They thrived on meat and potatoes, with hot dogs and sodas would be your typical snack. But one snack that was advertised every time I went to the drive in was Flavo Shrimp Rolls. The only place you could buy a Flavo Shrimp Roll was at the drive in, they did not exist outside their gates. I’m sure you could get other shrimp rolls someplace else in Newark, maybe in the small China Town on Mulberry Street, but I don’t think your typical Newark crowd ate many shrimp rolls. But up there on the screen, after the hot dogs had danced off you could see the cartoon characters lining up for their Flavo Shrimp Rolls. I think we actually bought one once, only once. It was a deep-fried affair running in grease. I would wonder who looked at the crowd coming into the drive in and said to himself, “These people will buy up Flavo Shrimp Rolls like there’s no tomorrow.”
The Newark Drive In is gone now, long gone. Last I heard, a movie theater stands where the drive in once existed. And I’m sure with the demise of the drive in went the opportunity for anyone to buy a Flavo Shrimp Roll.

January 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment


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