My House Across the Road
One Man's Odyssey
A rebellious boy from the post-WWII streets of Brooklyn gains maturity in military service, embraces the charms of the Orient and thrives in an modest role in a secret war. This book relates his Odyssey: The stages of life, rites of passage, adventures and evolution of beliefs.
In the years following WWII, America was the Colossus. The reigning capitol of the world was New York City. The soul of The City was Brooklyn and the heart of Brooklyn was Flatbush. It was a time and place where middle-class values were rewarded. Any man willing to give an honest day's work could support his family with dignity. It was a tough culture, though, kids were competitive and prone to have a problem with authority. These traits were indelible.
College was a different world. Clarkson University 400 miles north of NYC had a student body mostly of WASPs rather than the overwhelming majority of Jews and Catholic Irish or Italians in the 'hood, and far more affluent. The education stimulated a curious mind and provided a foundation for a successful career.
A young man with a powerful wanderlust and need to defy convention was compelled to become a military officer. The regimentation and discipline of USAF Officer Training School were daunting challenges but failure was not an option. The day came, as they say, "An officer by choice, a gentleman by an act of Congress".
The demands of military challenges under the intense pressure of war (Vietnam) breeds a sense of self-reliance and esteem rarely replicated by any other path to maturity.
The Odyssey led to an embrace of the Orient, culminating in the secret CIA war in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Even in an innocuous role life was a series of places, escapades and people that are beyond the imagination of any creator of fiction. It is not difficult to recall what happened because it is not possible to really leave the place where you belong, even though it no longer exists.
Excerpts of My House Across the Road is available at http://tinyurl.com/ExcerptsMyHouseAcrossTheRoad
- SilverSmith Book Club, February 2013
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