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Living In The Backup Plan: Part 1

drawers and mirror 8-3-16 finishedWhy am I on a stool in this bar, Danie thought staring into her G&T in the East End London? Why she was drinking a Gin and Tonic was easy. It was the go-to drink of her favorite detective character by B. C. Beaton. And she supposed this travel to London England was too, in a way. One of the planes leaving out of Philadelphia heading away from her life was to England. Agatha Raisin’s England. Britain or Italy were the choices having ancestors from both countries.
The pub was in a centuries-old darkish building with a wooden beamed low ceiling and yet the candlelit lamps around the room gave it an attractive atmosphere. The place was crowded with thirtysomethings occupying both ends of the bar with her in the middle fitting right in being four years younger. Some of the tables had the seventies and counting ups crowd at them with a few tables sporting the in-between generations. She didn’t want to talk. Luckily the woman dressed for the kill and covered in jewelry on her left gave Danie her back as she was engaged with making a score with a guy in perfect business attired.
The large guy on her right wearing a shirt with a multi-color grid necktie tried chatting with her using an unusual line. “Where’d you get those clothes, sweetheart?”
Danie glanced down at her 1960’s ensemble; vintage white short leather jacket, Lambskin black Mod cap, black and white mini skirt and go-go boots. Bought in a retro boutique near Spitalfields Market while doing her own walking tour her guide book in hand. She was trying to obliterate her life from her mind by absorbing the amalgamation of cultures around. She had to admit, it didn’t work.
“This is the twenty-first century, sweetheart!” the man was saying, an open mouth grin on his face.”And your hair is all wrong. It’s too straight for that time frame. Are those dark roots?” he leaned in for a closer look. “Your blonde color isn’t really blonde, is it?”
Danie got rid of Mr. Notmytype when she said using a posh accent, “Piss off, dear.”
He turned away and Dannie sighed, maybe I’ll travel to the Cotswolds and buy a house like Agatha’s. That was followed by the thought she should get back to the hotel and hide out. Be alone.
Forgetting Mr. Notmytype she pictured her father as she remembered him. Then pictures of her mother going through her illness floored back followed by her brothers as she said bye to them in the courthouse. She was weary; worn out yet she felt the tears that come behind seeing all their faces once more. Danie’s body sagged as she leaned forward and put her head on her hands.
Movement next to her made Danie glance around. Mr. Notmytype was getting up and headed for the door. The two men were standing behind her talking. What was said make her glance at them?
The deep voice of one said, “Wait outside. When she leaves you go with her.”
Danie frowned, what’s that about? She eyed both men. One was thick set in a dark jacket, light pants, and a cap. The man who talked moved into the vacated stool on her right. He was in a dark suit, had a full head of dark hair going gray. From his voice Danie knew he was an American.
He turned to look at her. Danie quickly opened her purse and searched inside for a tissue. She closed her purse and wiped at her eyes with the tissue. She picked up her drink only to sit it down again.
GOD knows what will become of her two younger brothers. Forced to be divided and each moving in with a greedy aunt, their mother’s two sisters, who lied to the court. Her mother’s will giving them custody and power over both her brother’s money. They denied that they had promised their dying sister her last wish to disregard the will and let the boys stay with Danie living in their own home until they were of age and the estate would go to them directly. Danie told her mother she wouldn’t need more money than what she already had been given after the death of their father three years earlier.
Danie had run from the courthouse unable to bare the total ending of her family. It was all gone. Yes, hugs and kisses were sparse at home but that wasn’t all there is to love. There was kindness and lots of it.
A quick good-bye to the boys at the end of court she drove to Ben’s house. She ran from the hurt like escaping from an abusive lover. A place unknown to her other than what she knew from tv shows she saw and books she read. Some of them were places she’d like to see before making a final decision. All her belongings were packed in Ben’s car since he would drive Danie to the airport and sell her own car for her. He was already caring for her black lab, Reilly and would send him on to her once she found a place she could live. She was going to start over in the backup plan she had worked out.
Her brothers Skylar, age seventeen and Leland, fourteen, told her they would miss her but reassured her they would be okay since there was nothing any of them could do to change the situation. Skylar added they would think of it as a new adventure after all the sadness. They would still have their friends, a few cousins their own age and be in the same school. They were just trying to comfort her, she knew. The three of them spent the night before the final court hearing talking and making arrangements to keep in touch by texting and skyping.
Danie swiped at her eyes again, not caring that her smudged makeup was being totally swiped away.
“You’re not doing very well at drowning your sorrows,” the man now sitting in Mr. Notmytype’s seat said.
Danie looked his way. He was sitting facing her. She glanced at the half-full glass in front of her. “That’s not wise I’ve been told,” she remarked, liking the sound of her own British accent.
He kept glimpsing across the room at a table where a couple was having an engrossing conversation.”No, it’s not,” he said tilting his head to one side and meeting her brown eyes.
Danie hurriedly looked away slightly flustered and took a sipped from her drink.
“You live around here?” he was asking.
“No, I’m staying at the hotel next door,” she said darting a look his way.
But he was looking at that couple again.
“Your girlfriend? Why are you watching them?” she queried, now supposing that was the case and he was stalking the woman.
He turned to Danie and gave her a smile. “No, she’s not. I’m Joe. Joe Graydon. What’s your name?”
“Danie people call me.”
“Short for Danielle?” he pressed while once more surveying the couple across the room.
She studied his profile. “No,” she retorted, not liking his presumption. “That’s what everyone thinks! You didn’t answer my question.”
“About what?” he said transferring his gaze back to her. He scrutinized her not missing a thing.
“She’s not your girlfriend so why are you watching them?” Danie questioned, now with a strong interest.
Joe shrugged and the chuckled. “Let’s say I’m doing a job. Nothing more.”
“If your a spy you need to work on your technique,” she remarked.
His mouth fell open. “Really!”
“Unless you are trying to be obvious. Then you have it down pat. I heard cops sometimes do an open tail.”
He was looking across the room again. Danie did the same.
He said laughing out loud, “You get that phrase from a tv show?”
Danie blinked and focused on finishing her drink to cover her red face.
“I’m a detective of sorts,” Joe added and held out his hand.
There was that quick smile of his. Danie didn’t hesitate and shook his hand. This time his grin turned into a quick laugh then back to that smile that said he was listening. She stared at their interlocked hands. “I’m Geordana Torerelli.”
“Like another drink?” Joe asked.
“No, I should get back,” Danie said, taking out her wallet. She frowned thinking she didn’t really have any reason to go.
Joe was disappointed. He was enjoying the light exchange they were having. “I like your outfit. I remember…” he stopped, glancing from her to the couple and then back.
Danie looked too. The man was looking their way.
“You remember from the 1960s,” she said finishing his thought.
“Hardly,” he quipped with a raise of an eyebrow. “I was going to say I remember seeing pictures with your style of dress from then. I’m probably not much older than you.”
“Sorry. I saw your hair and…” She motioned for the bartender, to hid her screwup. She should go back to the hotel thinking she needed to be alone.
But Joe said, his money in hand, “I’ve had gray in my hair since I was sixteen. I’ll get the bill.”
“Thanks, you don’t have to,” Danie said, her emotions swirling. She did like him; his face, his great smile and the lull of his deep-set voice.
As the barman took the money Joe demanded, “Hey, what’s happened to your accent. It vanished. You’re an American or Canadian. Where are you from?”
Danie gave a little laugh. “New Jersey, USA,” she told him and looked across the room, “You aren’t watching your couple anymore. They’re leaving. You didn’t detect that!”
“You’re a funny person, I see. I saw what I needed,” he said.
Danie nodded and stood. “Thanks for the drink Mr. Gumshoeman.”
“You’re welcome. Will you be here long?” Joe asked.
“I don’t know. No, I guess. I have to find a place soon. My dog is going to be shipped over so I need to get a place for him and me.”
Joe nodded and reached into his suit jacket. He pulled out a business card. “Here’s my card. While you’re here call me if you like. Hope I see you around, Danie.”
Danie took it and said goodbye. Walking to the door she read the card.
‘Rimble’s Detective Service. Joe Graydon.’ On the back was a cell number and Kramer Road, Nottinghill. She tucked the card into her jacket pocket and realized she’d stopped crying some time ago.
As Danie went out the door Joe stood and watched her go fighting an inner battle to go after her. There was no denying, Danie was something special.

Joe put his phone away. A call from HQ out of the blue never sat well with Joe. He wasn’t sure what was happening but something was up. His jobs came from the head of the Europe station: Stan Wright; another rat in the pack. In the best of times, Morton Caminski was squirrelly. Lately even more so. Joe sensed a difference in the running of the Company in Washington and it started when Caminski took over.
Turning onto Kramer from Pembridge Joe went to the Victorian-style townhouse that Rimble used for the Detective business and turned the key in the lock. He walked through the entrance way to the hall with the crimson wood trim that permeated the entire house.
Searle Jones came from his office. “How’d it go?”
“She did what she was supposed to. Simon and Moreley can take it from here, ” Joe informed his trusted friend. “I’m off in the morning to France. I’m meeting with Wright and Koler. Something’s up. I’m wondering what Caminski has up his sleeve. He phone a few minutes ago.”
“Oh,” Searle mouthed startled, all to mindful of the consequences that could mean coming from CIA headquarters.
He took the stairs two at a time heading for his apartment on the third floor. The second-floor being Searle’s rooms and their ‘safe house’ if one is needed. Halfway up, Joe stopped, “Searle?”
Searle halted on the threshold to his office. “Yes, boss?”
“Find out what you can about a Geordana Torderelli from New Jersey, USA. Danie to her friends, mid-twenties, blonde hair, brown eyes,” Joe said continuing up the stairs.
“Anything, in particular, you want to know?” Searle called.
“Anything. And everything,” Joe exclaimed, reaching the second-floor landing.

~Copyright 2019 J.D. Holiday

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THANK YOU, Fran Lewis for the Wonderful Review of SIMPLE THINGS!

Simple Things: J.D. Holiday
Review by Fran LewisImagine what would happen if there was a world where young teens or middle school children got along. Imagine what would happen
if kindness, understanding and true friendship weighed heavily above greed, material gain and bullying. Author J. D. Holiday introduces us to the Cameron children and their friend Carlos. Meeting them will endear you to the
entire family, including a special dog named Mitch. What happens when a young girl named Trisha comes into their lives? Magic, love, helpfulness and the true meaning of Christmas just might win out when presents take a backstage to help someone in need.
When a Trisha Johnson finds herself all alone when the only person caring for her dies, the events that follow will warm your heart to a group of teens that show kindness, understanding and true friendship an orphan named Trisha. Taking all the money that her Uncle John had before he died, learning about his death from the nurses in the hospital, Trisha is on the street with her dog, Mitch. Tying him to a pole to go into the mission, she comes out to learn he was stolen. Trisha is now all alone in this world, but miracles can happen in many ways as she becomes friends with the Cameron children and events might change it all. Hoping to find Mitch, her dog by going back into the mission and asking for help leaves her nowhere.
While this is happening Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and their friend Carlo are watching for a delivery van hoping it will bring them their Christmas gifts. But someone hits the driver and hijacks the van and the gifts or whatever was in the van is gone. Vic is cruel, hurts his dog and does not care about anything or anyone. Daring anyone to try and
stop his reign of terror little does he know he is about to come up against this feisty girl. Watching him pull and tug at his dog, somehow, they manage to get Bates and bring him safely to their home.

But their Gram seems to think that Vic can do no wrong so what will happen if they ask her for help with Trisha, to find her dog or should they call the police? But Trisha pleads with them not to phone the police because she realizes that shemight be in trouble with child services and be placed in a foster home. Hoping to find her real father and with a note from her mother that arms her with what she needs, she meets Phoebe and her brothers and immediately they bond, but daring, zealous and highly intelligent as each one comes up a plan or part of a plan to help Trisha find Mitch and have a haven in their home.
Gram learns about Mitch as her grandchildren tell her about Vic and something happens where they learn more about other missing dogs and the possibility of illegal dog fights as Trisha spots Mitch and other dogs in the back of a truck but she’s too late to rescue him.
What is important to most children at holiday time is receiving gifts and namely the ones that they want. Some people in Santa while others become jaded and think he does not really exist. However, believing in something is what makes the holidays
come alive and special for kids and even adults.
Vic is dangerous and as the reader and the kids get to know him and watch him with Bates and his actions with others, you come to realize that Gram has been blindsided
and does not want to face the truth about him. But, will this ever change, and will she come to terms with who he really is and help Trisha find her dog and act against him for his other deeds?
Gram did not want to believe that Vic was as dangerous as they were saying and then Trisha saw a sidebar on the news on the net stating that there was a dogfighting ring the police suspected operation in their city, leading her to believe that somehow
her dog might be in danger and that Bates the dog really meant BATE.
Things spiral out of control, but first, the author introduces us to Tom Frankel and something about him sends a flare in Trisha’s mind and could
this man be someone she needs to know if so why?
When the truth behind why Tom is interested in her comes out things take on a different and dangerous turn for all the children as they are determined to stop what someone
has put in place. Presents are important to everyone during the holidays and things spiraled out of control when the children asked to go shopping with their mother and the truth behind their reasons might have costed them
more than they ever would expect.
Betrayals, deceptions and a family and several friends that ban together to help one young girl, find the clues and reason for the dog’s being taken and hopefully restore their
faith in friendship, hope, understanding and family as the Cameron children teach everyone the true meaning of friendship and the spirit of the holiday season. But, what about Gran and her faith in someone? The intelligence
and ingenuity of the Cameron children and the faith they have in each other this book could lead to a series having them solve other mysteries and adding in Trisha and more about her and Tom. Characters that are well developed
and realistic and a plot that will keep younger teens and middle school children wanting to learn more about these children and even deciding in discussion groups how they would have handled helping Trisha and taking down
the dog fighting ring, this book teaches lessons in understanding, forgiveness, friendship, loyalty and love.
The future of many are at stake, but the one thing that I really loved is how author J.D. Holiday makes us all realize that it’s not riches, jewels, expensive cars and items that are important it is just plain and SIMPLE THINGS.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, textReview FRAN LEWIS can be found at: 

HER Books and MJ Magazine:

https://www.amazon.com/Fran-Lewis/e/B002F8Z87U

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Simple Things Book Trailer and Excerpt

 

Excerpt from Chapter 1:

              A tied-up Christmas tree leaned against the wall on the back porch where Uncle John left it. The two of them were going to put it up last night. But things have changed for Trisha Frankel.

               With Mitch, her black Labrador Retriever, on his leash behind her, Trisha closed and locked the door of the apartment. She lived here with her uncle for the past nine years in the mainly African-American neighborhood. People would soon be looking for her if they were not already. Before Trisha talked to anybody else she needed to do something.

               She stuck a note under her upstairs neighbor Nell Galock’s door saying, “she needed to see someone, and would come back later.” Last night she was surprised Nell let her sleep alone with just Mitch for company in her own apartment. During the waking hours of the night, she made her plans. She knew she couldn’t stay long with Nell who was scheduled to move to a nursing home soon. Everyone worried about her failing health. Nell’s daughter came around to bring food and take her to appointments since the elderly woman fell last summer. Trisha saw Nell like a frail bird with a broken wing hopping along the ground out of its comfort zone.

              Wearing her backpack stuffed with food and carrying a duffle bag in case she didn’t return Trisha and Mitch kept a steady pace. They walked the long route along the snowy streets over the Seventh Street bridge passing many factories to River Street. Here and there someone shoveled a path on their long trek to the city. Stores were busy on Main Street and they jostled with holiday shoppers while avoiding mounds of dirty snow piles here and there. Trisha and Mitch waited to cross through the narrow path at a red light.

               After almost an hour in the warm sun, Trisha took off her hat and scarf. The storm yesterday dropped ten inches of snow. Though the wind driven air felt cold, the ice and snow on the sidewalks and streets started melting. Snow began slipping off slanted rooftops with a thud.

               Trisha realized they were almost there. After all, she knew the area a little. She and Uncle John would take a bus to Twentieth Avenue on weekends and then go to the Mart walking many blocks to get there. A schoolhouse at one time, someone converted the Mart into a sort of mini-mall or small department store. It was not far from there to her father’s neighborhood, she believed. A long time ago her mother, Anne, wrote the address down on the envelope Trisha kept with her.

On those trips with her Uncle John, she bought books at the Bookstand Bookstore. Uncle John would get a newspaper or crossword book and they would read at the cafe drinking cocoa.

              She and Mitch finally got to the street. Trisha glanced at the torn and smudged envelope. Her name was written on the front, along with the address and inside a letter from her mother. The other contents of the envelope were photos. Trisha treasured them. They were all that was left of her family. Pictures of her parents together, some of herself and a few of Uncle John.

              Mitch sat on the sidewalk, his tongue hanging out while Trisha sorted through some of the pictures. She came to one of her parents together. In it they were young. It was taken about fifteen years earlier. Trisha had no memory of her mother. In the picture, Anne was in a pink summer dress and sandals, her hair combed back off her face. Trying not to cry Trisha studied the boy in jeans and a T-shirt with short dark hair his arm around Anne. He was her father.

              Putting the envelope back in her coat pocket, Trisha sighed. “Come on, Mitch. If nothing else we’ll see what his house looks like,” she said heading down the block.

 At the address, she was looking for they stopped. No one was around so Trisha turned back and stood in front. The slender two-story home appeared to have an apartment on both floors and looked recently painted a light green. Sandwiched between its neighbors with narrow alleys, a closed metal gate on one side led down a cracked sidewalk. She stared at it trying to decide what she should do.

              She heard people talking and turned. In the middle of the block stood a large red brick building that looked like a restaurant with large front windows. On the shoveled sidewalk in front three men talked.

 Trisha decided to walk by them. One of them might be him, she thought. But then two of the men went inside the building and the third, a white man, walked past her. At the doorway, Trisha read the sign over the double doors, Day Mission.

              The doors opened and a woman walked out and passed her. Trisha glanced inside the door. Making her mind up, Trisha put down her duffle bag and tied Mitch to the drainpipe at the corner of the building. A beat-up orange truck pulled up and parked in front of the house next to the mission. A lean-built man with spiky short brown hair got out.               

              Turning to go inside she stopped when the man came over and stared down at Mitch. “That’s a nice dog,” he said.

              “Thanks,” Trisha said. Without glancing at her the man went down the alley between the mission and the house.

              “I’ll go in and get some water. If I get up the nerve I’ll ask if anyone knows him. After all, he lives on this street. When I come out we’ll have a snack. You be a good boy,” Trisha said to Mitch as she went into the building.

              Mixed smells permeated the large room. She recognized coffee and some kind of cleaner. People were waiting in lines getting food or eating at long tables that filled the sizable room. She roamed around until she saw a table along the wall where a large coffee pot, bottles of water and stacks of cups were organized. She took one bottle and a cup while looking around the room. No one resembled the young man plus fifteen years in the photo. She was about to leave when an older, stocky woman with puffed up cherry colored hair came up to her. The deep wrinkles around the woman’s mouth and eyes were more noticeable as she smiled. She asked Trisha, “Can I help you?”

              Trisha busied herself with slipping the bottled water and cup into her coat pockets. “I was looking for somebody but they’re not here,” She mumbled.

              “Who are you looking for? Maybe I know them,” the woman asked.

               Trisha met her eyes for a moment. She seemed kind, but Trisha just wanted to leave. “No, I see he’s not here,” Trisha said again a little sharper.

              She nearly ran from the building only to stop when she saw that Mitch was no longer tied where she left him.

               Her legs shook and her voice grew shrill as she called his name thinking that Mitch might have run out into the traffic. Trisha looked down the street, but she saw no trace of him. She rushed to the busy intersection. At the corner, Trisha strained to see him. But Mitch was nowhere in sight. Mitch never ran away and he always stayed where she told him to. Many times she tied him outside the food market on Seventh street.

              Horrible thoughts raced through her mind. The traffic on the street rushed past her. Not used to streets quite this busy, the noise and traffic might have frightened him enough for him to run.

              People stared, but she did not care. Trisha asked a few of them if they saw him. Those that answered said no.

               She ran back to the mission to look again. She almost expected him to be wagging his tail there waiting for her. But he wasn’t. Her duffle bag sat on the sidewalk by itself. A couple of people passed by going into the mission. She noticed that the orange truck was out front double-parked. Trisha went down the snowy side alley between the mission and a square three-story house next to it. She called Mitch’s name and whistling for him even though his paw prints were not in the snow. In the back, there were seven cars in the parking area behind the building. The doors to the garage behind the house stood ajar and the snow in front of it was ice encrusted. Mitch would come if he heard her, but Trisha picked her way over the ice to look inside the garage anyway.

              A man came down the alley. He was the same one who got out of the orange truck and spoke to her about Mitch earlier. Then she remembered. When she came out of the mission his truck was gone.

Seeing her in the yard he stopped. “What do you want?” he sneered. “This is my yard.”

              “You remember my dog earlier?” Trisha asked, pointing toward the street. “I tied him outside the mission. He’s missing now.”

               From the street, car horns began blasting. The man smirked at her. She noticed him closely now, with his rumpled clothes, and unshaven face, but his sarcastic demeanor gave Trisha the creeps.

              “No,” he murmured, turning to go into the house. “Your dog isn’t here.”

              “Well, my dog was tied out front. You and your truck were there when I went in. Did you see what happened to him?” Trisha said slowly, trying to sound calm.

              “No,” he snarled and went into the house.

              Trisha looked around at the cars in the parking lot. Then the man came out again nearly dragging a dirty looking beige dog struggling on a leash.

              He stopped and glared at her, laughing, “Does this dog look like yours?”

              He continued going down the alley toward the street all the while the small dog struggled, it’s head twisting, tail down. A sick feeling engulfed Trisha. Some tears ran down her face. Trisha wiped at them and hurried after the man. Thoughts were beginning to make a picture in her mind. That man’s truck had been moved when she found Mitch missing. Mitch was small for his breed and did not bite. This guy could pick Mitch up and throw him in that truck, she reasoned.

               At the truck, the man turned and noticed Trisha following him. She met his stare and waited for him to open the back of the truck. She wanted to see inside it.

              He gave the leash several hard pulls then grabbed the small dog’s collar and through clenched teeth, he said to the dog, “Get over here.”

              “Leave that dog alone,” Trisha shouted.

~J.D. Holiday http://jdholiday.blogspot.com

author, Cereal Authors, JD Holiday, Life, Truth, As Strange As Fiction, writer's life

Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Life In Riverside

Image result for 1960s pictures of paterson nj
The Great Falls of Paterson, NJ

Riverside is a larger neighborhood in Paterson, New Jersey. Its bordered on three sides by the Passaic River, hence its name. My husband Angelo grew up in Riverside on Fifth Avenue. Everyone in the neighborhood was familiar with the mob’s management style learned from fearful whispers. From the 60s through the 70s the mob was in control of this Italian neighborhood. Like other ‘families’ in other places, in Riverside, the mob owned most everything. They owned many types of businesses. Among them oil and textile, dozens of factories that had seen better days, the local lumberyard, a couple of bars and a few restaurants. Even the local laundromat and a whole lot of real estate – many run-down houses which crammed the city streets. It was far from an upscale area.

Image result for 196 5th ave paterson nj
This is what the house Angelo grew us it looks like today.

Random crime was not done in Riverside without the perpetrator facing retaliation to set an example. And the only killings, shootings and stabbings, were handled by the ‘family.’

Between the police presence and the mob it was safe to walk the streets. Joseph D. Pistone aka FBi undercover agent ‘Donnie Brasco,’ said that growing up in Paterson he learned how local mobsters acted as he saw them hanging around, gambling, doing ”the basic things that wise guys do.”

The street rules were, don’t meet their eyes if you could help it, or if you did, look away as quick as you can. And if spoken to, be polite. You could see them at their local hangout in the back booth and a nearby table in the pizzeria on River Street talking, smoking and reading newspapers or the daily racing forms.

During the race riots that followed the death of a great uniter Martin Luther King (1968) the Riverside area stayed untouched for this very reason. While Riverside escaped the turmoil, my part of town near Madison Avenue and Market Street wasn’t so luck. The riots brought nightly looting and fires to the businesses. We kept our doors locked and shades down through the curfewed nights. Each morning we’d wake and feeling jittery head out for school once the seven AM road barricades lifted.

National Guard lined the streets and manned the barriers while their military tanks (this was my first time seeing tanks) and jeeps parked nearby. My dad drove me to St. Joseph’s High School through these narrow cobblestone back roads. We meandered along those street to avoid any lingering problem passed an unkempt park. This whole area was hundreds of years old. I asked my dad how he knew about these street. They were new to me. He smiled. In his college days, he said he attended William Paterson college then located on twenty-third Ave and worked for a beer distributor. He would deliver beer weekly to the St. Joe’s rectory for the priest’s Friday night deliver on these very roads.

Any murders in Riverside were not gangland killings, those between mob families over turf. But of anyone who betrayed or inform on the mob. Their bodies left in the open over night as an example to others. A few major cases were of a guy knifed on Fifth Avenue and left at the bus stop for the morning commute. Another was a man shoot threw the windshield and his car backed into a parking space in the A&P lot, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company-an extinct grocery stores chain. The third happened at 1:30 AM on October of 1966. A neighbor of Gabriel ‘Johnny the Walk’ DeFranco, (known for a limp when he walked), looked out and saw three men assail DeFranco on his apartment porch at the corner of Madison and 5th Avenues. DeFranco answered his doorbell to his killers. They beat DeFranco before slashing his throat. His killing would be later connected to an earlier murder of a young married woman shot twice in the head in February of that year. Her body dumped in a Garden State Parkway gully not far from her home. Her car was found in Newark doused with gas and on fire. Both murders were later connected to a wife-swapping club, amateur porno shoots, and counterfeiting. Angelo was paper boy in the early 60s in the neighborhood and DeFranco was his best tipping customer.

Angelo rode his bike to do his paper route after school. One time a couple of mob guys stopped him. They ask him to take a bag and ride down a block and throw it into the open window of a black sedan. Angelo murmured, “I got to get home,” and rode off. He knew not to do anything of that source.

Angelo and I married in 1970 and for a time we lived with my in-laws. (More on that in a future post.) Shortly we moved next door with our baby to the first floor apartment of the corner house. Both my parents had died sixteen months apart and the rest of my family imploded in the squabbling aftermath. For me, my father was the glue. When he died my mother slipped away from the rest of the cracking paste which crumbled after her.

The mob boss drove himself around in a Cadillac. He would stop by for the rent money from my mother-in-law first of every month and have coffee with her. My husband’s family paid sixty-five dollars a month for as long as they lived there while most renters paid one hundred-fifty dollars and had to go to the lumber yard to pay it. If my father-in-law had a few drinks he would say the landlord was sweet on her. She got us the apartment next door.

I only met the mob boss twice and remembered all the rules of engagement barely looking at him while greeting him with a smile.  I couldn’t have described him if someone paid me.

Both meetings were in my mother-in-law’s unattractive aqua colored kitchen. All the rooms were the same color. That included the walls, woodwork and ceilings of this early nineteen hundreds house remodeled for the 1960s.

Near the end of the four years we lived in Riverside Angelo begun interning as a nuclear medical tech. He was now lived near that Pennsylvania hospital. So it was up to me to walk around to the lumber yard where renters paid there rent on the first of the month. Lumber of all sizes laid around in neat stacks lining the driveway you had to walk down. I don’t think lumber in the yard or at else from those stacks ever moved. I would write the check out at home to be able to get in and out of the office fast. You didn’t know who would be in the office. Usually a few men hung around a water cooler off to the side of the front counter giving you the eye. But it you were luck it would just be the one nice guy there was working the office. He wasn’t much older than me and he was always respectful. Only once did one of the wise guys try to chat me up as I nervously looked away. But Mr. Nice Guy told him, “She’s married and a young mother,” to him and a smile for me.

Image result for 200 5th ave paterson nj
THIS is the house we rented in the 1970s. This is what it looks like today.

Soon a new reasons to leave arose. By this time muggings and worse began devastating the area. The neighborhood schools continued the down hill spiral they’d been on for years. My daughter was now a four year old and this was on our minds heading into the future. On weekday mornings I would feed my daughter, get ready for work and then get her dressed for another day with her grandmother. This one day, she couldn’t find her pink bow headband. It was a favorite for the moment, so I joined in her search. Earlier, she was playing on the couch in front of the TV. Thinking that was the best place to start, I moved a cushion and put my hand around it feeling to the beloved headband but pulled out a warm died baby rat. I knew mice from rats. I dropped it and drew my daughter away from the couch, leashed the puppy we took in after someone had dumped it in our backyard and ran to my in-laws. The lumber yard sent a couple of men right over in answer to my frantic phone call where I was told, “Yeah, we are have that problem in the area right now.” They gave me the all clear the next day, but that was it for us. While we packed to move we found huge lifeless relatives of the baby rat in the yard. We saw our future elsewhere now. The old Riverside mob was beginning to lose its grip and the younger guys, now heavily into the drug trade and the crimes that it brought with it. No more ‘safety’ from the horrors of life. 

Copyright 2019 ~JD Holiday http://jdholiday.blogspot.com

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Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Truth, what is it?

fightingTruth, what is it really?  I don’t know that we would know the truth about anything anymore.

In William Bradford’s journey (William Bradford* 1590 – 1657 passenger on the Mayflower in 1620) you would find that the two groups, pilgrims and the Indians had a mutual friendship. The Indians did show them how to plant corn and after their second year pilgrims held a feast and invited their friends to it. The story that the Indian saved the pilgrims their first winter is not true, yet this has made it into the history books and is told to our children as truth.

If the movie A Few Good Men were done today, Jack Nickolson could easily say, You wouldn’t know the truth! instead of You can’t handled the it.

Whatever the truth was in the past today has become anything anyone says almost literally.

 Once there were rumors and the truth. Many people, not all of course, would have judged others on their own. How another treated them, they would do in kind.

Sure, there were always followers – there has always been those who consign their thoughts to others – those willing to have one or two people do their thinking for them.

Now it seems people just believe what they read or hear based on others opinions as if its fact and not one side of a story taking it on as the truth. I don’t find that fact-checkers on one side or another cuts it.

Then there’s condemning others. Its one thing to indict those who have been convicted of a crime in a court but condemn people with no proof using half truths and innuendo is another. To damn someone or a group on hearsay just because they don’t believe as you do or don’t agree on something you want them to would have been considered wrong not that long ago. There are those will use this tactic to cover up something they don’t want others to know about themselves or about what they believe in by ridiculing those on the other side of the argument, and the way they see it, lying is the answer. All the more if others think and repeat it for them. I seen this over and over again.

Sadly, this is where we are here in the U S of A today. What use to be decent can be made indecent in a flash. One person not agreeing with the other is a crime.

If someone says something you disagree with why not dismiss it and walk away instead of confront them? After all, not one of us is more important (or godlike) than the other.

fighting1

~JD Holiday

JD’s site: https://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

* William Bradford, 1590 – 1657 passenger on the Mayflower in 1620. He travelled to the New World to live in religious freedom. He became the second Governor of Plymouth Colony and served for over 30 years. Bradford kept a journal of the history of the early life in Plymouth Colony. It is called Of Plymouth Plantation https://www.amazon.com/Plymouth-Plantation-Pilgrims-Mayflower-Establishment-ebook/dp/B06XWVTP6F

 

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Character Quote from SIMPLE THINGS

jd-Simple Things ad-downsized_large“We do say our prayers at night and the whole family goes to church on Sundays but we’ve come to think of Christmas as just a time to get gifts, kind of forgetting that it’s to remember Jesus and what HE said to do for others. You know, to help other people. People in situations where they don’t have anything at all. Some of them probably only think about having simple things that we have. And those are things that my family don’t give a thought to not having. Christmas is really a time to really think about all the people in need and to remember that those of us that have everything are lucky. I forgot that stuff,” Phoebe finished and looked over at Trisha who was sound asleep. ~

8d95e-STCover2BJPGPhoebe to Trisha from SIMPLE THINGS by J.D. Holiday 

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SIMPLE THINGS by JD Holiday

SIMPLE THINGS, written and published by JD Holiday,


AMAZON

is a Christian, Christmas middle-grade novel. This story is about realizing what is truly important in the lives of others and knowing when to put those interests ahead of your own. 
 ISimple Things, the Cameron children worried they will not get the toys they asked
for this Christmas because their mother is a last minute shopper. The
uncle Trisha Frankel lived with most of her life has died. The only
option she has is to find the father she does not know. Trisha takes
her dog, Mitch to search out her father. Along the way, her dog is
stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man
connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe,
Kirby and Tucker Cameron are busy trying to figure out if their
Christmas gifts will arrive. Helping Trisha makes them realize
sometimes the problems of others are more important than their own
interests.

 

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Truth, As Strange As Fiction: A Troubled Reflection

A Troubled Reflection 

One evening when I came home for dinner after hanging out with my friends around the ten block area we called our neighborhood I found that a murder had taken place having to do with the nursing school across the street from us and my family was very disturbed about it.

The eighteen year old young woman, just four years older than me, didn’t go to Alys obtschool there but she attending classes at the nursing school located behind the then Paterson General Hospital. It was also a dormitory where many of the girls lived while going to school there.

One of my mother’s sisters who lived next door to us in the block of row homes on Madison Avenue stood on their front porch talking to my father who sat in one of the two Adirondack chairs on ours. My younger brothers Ike and Dave where also there, sitting on the steps while and one of my older cousins stood at their doorway, and other neighbors along the block were also outside all watching the large commotions going on at the school.

When I came around the corner of twenty-third Street onto Madison, I saw a group of car, a few double parked, in front of the school even with the usual city traffic trying to get by. Two or three of them vehicles with Police. A lot of girls, some in the nurses uniforms, others in street clothes on the wide stone bifurcated staircase leading up to the Nursing School’s wide white columned porch. All appeared to be crying as they stood or sat some in pairs, a few in a group hugging one another. The next day we learned that the police flashed pictures of the dead woman at them which sent them out of the school in tears.

As I walked up the walkway to the house we rented for the last two years my younger brother Ike said, “A girl’s been murdered yesterday.”

Like most of my reactions in my young life to everything I heard for the first time seemed to stun me into silence. This was the first time someone in my sphere, though not someone I knew was murdered. City sounds drowned out from around me as a dumbfound silence filled my head.

Looking back on this event to me my mind froze as my brain moved along each words I heard before they jellied into one blurry image since I’d never pictured a person murder before. It still produced a hideous picture cloaking me into continued silence, almost as if I never learned to talk at all.

So I just listened to the talk around me. My mom came out of the front door with beer for her and my dad and sat in the other chair. She joined the conversation with her sister and my dad about what happen.

obit AysFor weeks the girl’s murder was covered as it was big news for our area in northern Jersey, a thirteen miles drive to the George Washington Bridge. There were two local papers in Paterson, the Morning Call and The Evening news.

My parents read all about it and what was reported about it on the TV and radio. Some times the reporting would be contradictory. The story change depending on where you got your news either from the TV or print. So the facts were hard to follow.

One account saying she was beaten and raped, and others making it clear that she wasn’t raped but her clothes were in disarray and that she was stabbed either eighteen times or up to sixty times. Another problem was the contradictory report that there was a dog in the house that did not bark so the dog must have known the murderer, to there was no dog in the house and still no barking. And then it was said it was a crime of passion but she could have stumbled into a home burglary of her house. Some said she told her school she was leaving early to go to a funeral for her great aunt’s funeral in New York with her father and were to meet at their house for the journey, her mother having got ahead. And another account mentioned she didn’t tell the school she was leaving. But a few things that reminded constant thorough out; that it was a chase and a fight thorough the house ended in the dining room in front of the French style doors to the family’s back patio in her Fair Lawn home.

A fact that haunted me was that her father was the main suspect. It seemed the police questioned why the father had her cremated within days of her murder. This was unimaginable to me and frighten. I knew my Dad. And that made it clear to me, in my young mind, this had to be an impossibility. They just had to be wrong. Of course, it time I would learn that almost anything is possible with humans.

Was it her father? A stranger? Or someone else she knew? Alys Eberhardt

I waited for months for a conclusion with none coming and the girl’s life slipped from many memories. For years this murder has got unsolved. It’s not often but once in a while I remember this sad event.

For me I settled on that it was an intruder, possible someone she knew from somewhere or around her neighborhood, there, to rob the house. But he or she turned into a murderer when recognized and it was a vicious killing because they had to wrestling her to death.

She graduated from high school in June of that year and entered nursing school two weeks before her murder. She had an interests in music and liked to ski. Her name was Alys Jean Eberhardt.

Copyright 2018 by JD Holiday  https://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

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Character Quotes: from Simple Things by JD

         Simple Things

by J.D. Holiday, a Christian Middle Grade Novel.

Simple Things cover DONE copy church in it  Kirby craned his neck as the truck drove down the street. Then the Speedy Delivery driver limped down their front stairs shouting, “Hey! Hey!”

Shaking his head, Kirby went to the front door wondering what to say to Gram. She would not believe this.

The doorbell started ringing as his grandmother came into the living room. Her cherry color hair bobbed and her bony arms outstretched while wiping her hands on a dish towel.

The bell rang again as Gram reached it. At the door, Kirby stood to one side while she opened it. The deliveryman leaned against the doorjamb and holding his head. “Someone stole my truck,” he said.  Kirby winced thinking this will not end well.

 

Dedicated to my parents, Ira and Ruth Day,  Simple Things is about the Cameron children worried that they will not get the toys they asked for for Christmas because their mother is a last minute shopper. The uncle that Trisha Frankel has lived with most of her life with has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know, even though her uncle said, “He was no good.” Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father and find out what he is like for herself. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby are busy trying to figure out if their Christmas gifts will arrive. But helping Trisha makes them realize that sometimes the lives of others are more important than their own interests, especially at Christmas time.

More on the book:

http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/p/latest-middle-grade-novel.html

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Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Betsy Wetsy

betsey wetseyThe Authors Words: Betsy Wetsy – The Back story for Simple Things by JD Holiday

The Christmas in 1956 a truck delivering gifts from the Spiegel catalog company caught fire on route to New Jersey the week before the holiday. My parents ordered the toys from it that year. Once informed by mail that the accident occurred my parents must have been in a panic. After all, they spent all the money they had allotted for Christmas on that order. But Spiegel, one of an American  direct order catalog company at that time founded in 1865, assured them they would make good on their delivery, even if some of the items would not be exactly what was ordered.

The Spiegel along with the Sears catalogs consisted of numerous pages devoted to toys for the Christmas season which us kids poured over from the time the catalogs arrived in the mail thorough the Christmas season until that wonderful Christmas morning. My parents, to make the excitement last for us, or maybe them, they liked sharing the season’s enthusiastic passion with us. For the whole month of November up until my parent acquire the expected toys would take us to the 2 or 3 local toy stores several times to observe the items we fancied. They would either go back and buy what we liked or order from either the or SEARS catalogs. I wanted the Betsy Wetsy doll that drink and wet, bottle and diapers included! The Betsy Wetsy dolls were originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1934. It “drink-and-wet,” and was one of the most popular dolls of its kind in the Post–World War II baby boom era.

We were about to get ready for bed Christmas eve when commotion began outside the single family home we rented in Totowa, New Jersey on the same block a the town cemetery. The surprise of this intrusion changed the nightly routine. The family was sitting around our living room as people did in the 1950s just to watch the beauty of our decorated and lit tree. The door bell rang to the front porch of the house. My father got up and went to look. “No one look out the window,” he commanded.

He was clearly expecting something to happen. We would learn much later that he and my mother were not so sure the toys would actually make it by truck from the companies headquarters in Chicago.

My father closed the door behind him as he went out onto the porch where muffled voices began followed by a lot of bumping and crashing sounds.

Our mother scurried to get us upstairs to our rooms and into bed leaving us children unsure of what was occurring.

Christmas morning, I was thrilled to see all the wonderful looking packages under the tree. That is until I ripped open the box to see my Betsy Wetsy doll. But it wasn’t her. It was a doll I haven’t seen before. I received a knockoff.

I cried throwing the baby doll to the floor, “It’s not her!”

But she’s a baby,” my father said, with a sympathetic facial expression for the rubber baby. He bent down and picked up the doll and rocked it while holding it tenderly.

I don’t want her. I want Betsy,” I told him.

But look. I think the baby’s hurt,” he said, mocking more sadness.

I looked over his arms to see the baby’s face. She didn’t seem to be hurt, but just so cute. I took her from him and hugged her. My Betsy. I was five.

©2018  J.D. Holiday https://jdholiday.blogspot.com/