Although I grew up in a New Jersey suburb during the 60’s, I like to think my childhood was not too dissimilar to the tales of Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer. For instance, here is a story of young boys and fireworks:
Surrounding our newly built neighborhood of cookie-cutter, split-level homes with perfectly manicured lawns were the yet undeveloped areas of dense woods, brown-water creeks and bug-infested wetlands. My friends and I would collect cattails –or ‘punks’- from the banks of the local swamp and bring them home to dry out before using them as slow burning fuse lighters for our arsenal of scavenged fireworks. One particular hot summer day, after setting off a round of firecrackers at the home of one friend whose parents were never home, we retired poolside at my house to cool down and revel in the mastery of our pyrotechnic skills. It was then that my mother appeared at the back door and commented that she had heard some fireworks earlier. Well, like most neighborhoods, there was always a family whose trouble-maker children were useful scapegoats whenever blame needed shifting. “I think it must have been those Elmers boys again!”, I exclaimed while pointing in the direction of their house, which -as luck would have it- was next door to my latch-key friend. My mother was clearly not convinced adding”…it is curious that the fireworks stop whenever you are back here taking a swim”. My friends feared the jig was up but I quickly hatched a plan and soon we returned to my friend’s place and our stash of miniature explosives. Carefully tying the fuses of several firecrackers at staggered lengths along the cattails, we created a time-delayed volley of powdered-sulfur noise. Minutes later we were back at the pool and it wasn’t long before my Mom reappeared, demanding an explanation for the lack of explosions now that we were once again swimming. No sooner had my mother uttered the last accusatory word -and with timing usually only seen in the movies- a series of firecracker pops broke the summer silence.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm  Comments (7)  


An antique cameo-cut souvenir shell lampshade. During the late 19th century, cameos became a popular souvenir of middle class tourists of the Grand Tour. Many examples from Naples were cut with scenes of an erupting Vesuvius, conjuring a romantic vision of Pompeii in its final hours.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm  Comments (3)  


Spring is a time for gardening and hopes of a bountiful yield.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm  Comments (11)  


With an intention to deceive, forgers miss the inspiration of the artists that had created the original.

Published in: Uncategorized on March 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm  Comments (7)