|6" x 9", 118 pp., $10.00 paperback|
Spunky is a good read. It is also quick and entertaining. It is the story of what we would call in my family an ornery kid growing up in World War II in the coal country town of New Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Spunky is the author's nickname from back in the day ... a boy of "boundless energy in a constant quest for adventure." The memoir covers the years from 1942 to 1950, taking Spunky from a little kid to a big kid, from a kid with a nickname to a kid who drops it.
For the cautious parents of the twenty-first century, this will be a hair raising read. The opening chapter sets the scene and is titled "The Cat Caper and the Devil's Hole: Spring 1942" and it truly sets the scene for what is to come. The adventures are wonderful, the kid games will take some of you back to the day, and the really stupid stuff to use the author's terms will remind you ruefully of the ridiculous and truly dangerous things you did as a kid and survived ... even when you had no right to do so!
This story will take you from Beer Street's (Water Street renamed for the number of bars along it) watering holes to the big and little kid's baseball fields (the big kids had it much better in terms of quality), to the Cats swimming hole with water as yellow as the clay it floated over. Discover the day when the girls and their moms invaded the all boy Cats skinny dipping session, wonder at the dump wars and their burning fortifications, come along for a game of tag among the coal bunkers, find the stairway to heaven, and ride three on a sled. Through it all, Spunky and his pals remained a close band of adventurers. There are also tensions in the town discussed, which keeps the story grounded.
It's a great read for a rainy afternoon. But you might want to keep it away from your little kids. Oh the ideas they might get!
You can get your own copy through Barnes and Nobles and Amazon. It's a ten dollar book in paperback, but the electronic version is considerably less. It's worth it. Trust me.