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May 22, 2006
Best Craigslist Job Posting Ever?
If you've got a little spare time, check out this job posting I saw over the weekend. I just don't know what else to say about it, except: Ain't Craigslist great?
Update: Well, the listing's already gone, removed by Craigslist for some reason. Or maybe not--I just tried it a third time, and there it is again. In any case, I'm pasting it below, purely for entertainment value....
Financial Backing Sought For Risky Book Idea Project
Reply to: JoeBauer6@aol.com
Date: 2006-05-20, 11:26PM PDT
I am attempting to turn my memoirs of a very unique family/childood experience back in the 50's and 60's into an actual book. And I am in need of start up money to get this off the ground for perhaps a trade of a percentage of potential profits from such book?
This is a true story that I have titled "7 SONS ... AN AMERICAN FREE FOR ALL" I recently submitted some snippets of my rememberances and a general synopsis idea of this story on the L.A. area Craig's list and received well over 100 e-mails from writers of every strata who mostly offered advice and shared their feelings about the potential for this story being written and what it would take to do this.
Almost all however, did say they saw something compelling enough and honest enough in my writings to suggest I pursue this project versus not doing so. And so far 6 lit. agents have gotten back and requested more material ( polished, properly structured and presented of course.) This list is available to serious parties responding to this post.
"7 SONS ... AN AMERICAN FREE FOR ALL" is "not" your typical 50's/60's coming of age story.
Genre: True Life American Family Drama/Comedy
This is a story that at times was sadistically tragic and at other times uniquely and poignantly hilarious. And most of this story took place on the prestigious Monterey Peninsula California which adds some celebrity and stunning natural beauty and interesting historical and film locales to the story ( think Summer Place, Play Misty For Me, Vertigo, Cannery Row and so many others .)
The story has three seperate time frames:
The saga begins:
Mid 1930's to September, 1952:
Poor and innocent 18 year old Iowa farm girl hates the farm life in the 30's. Goes to Chicago and gets naively seduced by a charming, spats wearing ex-small time gangster wanna be. Starts a life on the job-searching run and ends up having 7 unplanned sons ( maybe naive isn't the word here ) by her prolifically potent but only part time providing partner. Desperate 15 year span of constantly shifting struggle ends with these two adults and their 7 sons ( one in dirty diapers) somehow all stiflingly stuffed in a beat up old "Grapes Of Wrath" type plymouth sedan and sputtering into a small town in California ( Pacific Grove ) in 1952 after too many fatiguing, greener-grass-searching misadventures all over the country.
September, 1952 to December, 1960:
Alcoholic father deserts one too many times. Divorce and financial struggle follow and at first threaten to dispurse brothers, but then welfare and befriending old neighbor lady angel help keep mother and sons together as one family. Poor but somewhat full and fun life with 7 sons and single mom goes on for 5 or 6 years and is often teenage boy out-of-control but hormonally hilarious. Eventually exhausted, aging, desperate-for-help and security seeking mother meets and is pressured to marry seemingly great promise making but actually toughest most violent guy between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
December 20th, 1960 to June, 1969:
Immediately after this marriage war begins between step-father and boys. Entire town becomes involved. Almost daily battles of booze, blood and cops with audience of high school classmates constantly parked on our street waiting for most exciting nightly entertainment in town. House known as "The Brunswick Club" as step father looks like bowling pin; bald with big belly on his 6 ft. 3 in. frame.
Entire neighborhood is effected with elderly neighbors having heart attacks, residents moving, hiding, closing window shades, shaking in their homes to blood curdling screams and loud jazz playing all hours of the night. Battles include smashing windows, blood curdling screams, threatening shouts, booby traps and late night chases up and down streets and climbing in house late at night over roof tops and through upstairs windows. Our residential area becomes classic study in Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Reputation extends through out entire community as step father is known and feared and hated as cheapest, meanest guy in town. Stepfather brags, taunts and constantly reminds one local gas station owner that he once tipped him a penny prompting gas station owner to contemplate hiring a hit man to whack stepfather.
Step father is also jazz drummer and plays old jazz standards as loud as possible in middle of late night pitched battles. Surreal scenes of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams and other jazz and vocal greats playing full blast at all hours of night during life and death battles and chases. ( " I Get No Kick From Champagne" and "Back In Your Own Back Yard" ) are two of my favorites.
Children become perverse celebrities at school due to sick gladiator type battles at home while at same time becoming hardened, heart broken and shame feeling warriors on verge of mental breakdowns. Mother keeps sane by getting hooked on Country Club Stout Malt Liquor ( and eventually valium ) and chain smoking Marlboro cigarettes and watching Lawrence Welk, Ed Sullivan, The Honeymooners and other mind numbing TV shows night after night until the fireworks begin. Step-father would stand bug-eyed and rant like crazy about how much he hated Jews, Blacks and Democrats and praise Nixon when ever he watched the evening news. Kind of a cross between Archie Bunker and Frankenstein.
Boys become experts at guerrilla warfare and survival techniques. Spend days planning for each night's battles. Constantly try to find their own unique ways of coping with constant violence and chaos with much humor involved.
Recruitment aged kids eventually leave to join military where they can find an easier, less tense and less dangerous life with some peace and quiet and a good nights sleep.
Years later, wife beating step-father is introduced to marijuana and loves it as it makes his music sound better. He loses his taste for alcohol and ruins local liquor store revenues and transforms miraculously into a nice guy who quits beating our mother and actually told me to keep a nickel in change once after going to the store to get him something.
Intermixed in this general story line are some extremely graphic violence and a couple of sadistic sexual scenes that are hard to read about but true. More prevelant and poignant are the fascinating, more introspective and reflective smaller aspects of typical abused, neglected American children and their inner thoughts, coping mechanisms and feelings and struggles.
Several interesting but brief interactions and stories with local celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Lucious Beebe, Al Geiberger, Joan Baez, Shelley Winters, Herb Miller, Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicklaus, John Denver, John Wayne, Billy Barty. etc. These take place here on the prestigious Monterey Peninsula.
Real American Kid Life In The 50's/60's.
I was raised as one of seven brothers ( no daughters ) in a mostly single parent, welfare type situation. I was the youngest. It was rough. Call us the "Brady Bunch...from hell!"
I thought it was normal to get picked on, ditched and called self-image destroying names every day by my older brothers.
And to have gross tricks constantly played on you like finding someones dirty, stinky socks and underwear lying on your pillow when you woke up.
But it could also be very funny at times.
When our mother would say " okay boys, time to eat." all you saw and heard were arms flailing and reaching, entire bowls of food disappearing in seconds, sounds of knives and forks hitting plates like mini jack hammers, loud gulping of milk and competetive burping and orgasmic sounding gnawing, chewing and swallowing like a pride of voracious lions ripping apart a carcass!
Nope, no fancy/shmancy discussions of the latest news, books and movies at our dining table. Just anxious looks of who was gonna get what first and what was gonna be left over for the weaker scavengers. Even chicken necks got picked clean!
Dessert was usually entire gallons of the cheapest store brand ice milk smothered in generic chocolate sauce or massive cakes made with huge layers of frosting. And this was inhaled and finished off in 2 to 3 minutes.
My mother also used to make us the same school bag lunch every day. Elvis style peanut butter sandwiches with 2 inch thick spreads of the cheapest brand of peanut butter ( the kind that was basically peanut flavored Crisco ) and a banana. Always a banana. I ate this same lunch for years. I also suffered from constant stomach cramps and class disrupting gas at a very young age.
One day I traded my lunch with another student for his cafeteria food. I noticed that before lunch recess was over this kid that had eaten my gigantic Crisco sandwhich was clutching his throat with both hands and grimacing in excrutiating "Oh-My-God" heart burn pain!
Finding time to use our one bathroom required great skill, speed and control. It seemed someone was always pounding on the door while you were trying to do your duty. No privacy at all. And taking a bath was just a once-a-week affair. We were so poor we had to use the same one tub of bath water. Being the youngest I always got the last bath. It was years until I finally figured out why my skin always itched. It was from all that grey, flakey, pubic hair floating water I was forced to bath in? And to think I did the underwater bubble blowing thing like other kids...EGAD! Unlike a lot of other boys I loved the showers when I got into junior high school. I never felt so clean in my life!
And being so young I never understood why the neighbors were so wary of us. I thought the vandalism and other property damaging mischief around the neighborhood was caused by scary outside bad men. It wasn't until my pre-teen years that I discovered that it was my own brothers doing this! Not all of this mayhem was serious however. Once, one of my brothers stole a "We Give S&H Green Stamps" sign and hung it on the bottom of a local Mortuary street sign.
And it seemed like every new laid section of sidewalk cement in our town had at least one of my brothers first names carved into it.
No wonder my mother begged us to join the military as soon as we dropped out or graduated from high school. Thank goodness for welfare, old Dr. Heath and the military option. But to me, it appeared that this was "real" life for half of country's kids back in the 50's and 60's. At least the ones I knew and grew up with. It wasn't an "Ozzie and Harriet", "Leave it to Beaver", "Donna Reed Show" believe me.
Here are a couple of other true little side stories that are part of this "American Free For All" childhood story.
The first one is a short encounter with the famous writer Lucious Beebe.
Years ago in the fifties and early sixties our town had an old train station that had been basically abandoned for 30 years. It was a fascinating step back in time with the old station buildings still standing and with dilapitated platforms and many rock smashed windows. I used to have to walk through here to get home and I would often stop and study the old place and think what it must have been like when it was busy and being used. A few Sand company trains still ran on these tracks by the old station and they had a turn-around track for the train engines and a water tower that still pumped it's hold into the locomotives.
One day I noticed a very interesting and kind of ornate looking old style train car pulled off to one of the side tracks. It was just so different looking than the usual old and weathered cars that made up the train lines that came through once a day. I walked over closer and noticed a couple of large dogs tied to one of the outside railings. At some point I struck up a conversation with "someone" around the car.
I really can't remember who this person said they were or if they did at all. But they told me that this train car belonged to a "Lucious Beebe." I excitedly went home and told my drunk parents about this interesting train car and mentioned this name "Lucious Beebe" to them to which they slurred..."Who?"..."Never heard of em'" After a day or two I never saw the car again. But what an unusual site it was. Made you think of different places and different times.
Another little story that came to me recently ( and I cried while telling it ) was this; At around the age of 12 to 13 I was wandering around town at dusk with no place to go ( certainly didn't want to go home to that war zone ) and I found myself sitting down exhausted on a sidewalk curb ( right next to busy intersection ). As I was feeling so alone and desperate and sad I just broke down from all the stress and started to cry; right there on the curb. Just then a limousine pulled up and stopped at the traffic light in front of me. In the back circular port hole window was Bing Crosby's face with his trade mark pipe. I recognized him immediately as I knew he lived just a few miles away in Pebble Beach. His eyes met my crying eyes.
The celebrity shock and stare I had, combined with my crying didn't seem to move him at all. He had a fixed cold look on his face. For the next 30 seconds he didn't show one twitch of emotion as he watched me crying. Then his car drove off. What a weird coincidence. But my innocence and sadness in that moment prevented me from contemplating this ironic exchange too much. I eventually just got up and walked on. But this was my personal interaction with Mr. Crosby and that cold emotionless famous face image has stayed with me my entire life.
We used to call the house we shared with our stepfather "The Brunswick Club."
We moved into this two story barn looking house ( the upstairs was never completed with just unfinished framing and exposed open pipes and holes in the ceiling ) the day our mother and stepfather were married in the Monterey County courthouse in Salinas, California on Dec 20th, 1960.
Two nights later my mother, brothers and I were awakened and roughly routed from our beds and ordered out of this house at two in the morning by an enraged, drunk, crazy eyed and threatening Ted!
"This is MY house you bastards. Get out! Now! " He growled.
A couple of chilly is-this-a-dream like hours later after Ted passed out in his lounge chair, our brother Bruce climbed onto the upstairs roof and went through a window and came down to unlock the back door and let us in. We all quickly snuck back up stairs and just laid "on top" of our beds nervously listening and waiting for Ted to get up and go to work. Our sleepless silence spoke loudly our shared thoughts of ominous dread.
The name "The Brunswick Club" came about like this. Years ago there were many bowling alleys in America. Everyone did it occassionally. Now they have kind of died out. The largest company that manufactured bowling balls and pins was famously called the " Brunswick Company"
At some point after one of the brutal battles with Ted ( our Frankenstein-like stepfather ) one of the brothers mentioned that he looked just like an enormous bowling pin.
Ted had a small bald head and a long sloping neck ( like a turtles head and neck sticking out of it's shell ) and a very large belly that protruded as much as a pregnant women in her final term ( booze belly ). From a distance he did look just like a bowling pin. Thus arose the name "Brunswick"....like a Brunswick bowling pin.
The name 'Brunswick Club" came about after many high school kids used to park down near our house at night to watch the battles. They would tell each other, I'll meet you at the "Brunswick" club.
And Ted wouldn't disappoint. Maybe half the time there would be violent action. This was better than the local movie theaters and hang outs. I think guys would actually bring snacks and their girl friends. To tell you the truth, I was ashamed to be a part of it all. But I didn't have time or a choice to feel sorry for myself. I was stuck there and I had to survive.
For a guy with such an odd build, Brunswick/Frankenstein Ted could move...fast!
My brothers were incredibly athletic, incredible...but pregant looking Ted could catch them drunk and in wing-tip shoes!
Ted was a challenge. Mentally he was sometimes like a lobotomized creature, yes like Frankenstein, but sometimes he was very clever, cunning and sneaky. You had to develop the skills of a special forces navy seal to be ready for him. We would set up warning systems, booby traps and have escape plans. We often jumped out of the second floor windows to get away from his charges. We knew which bushes to hide in, what areas of the garage to sleep in and still be able to hear and see him coming, things like this.
And Ted could fight. And I am certain he liked to fight. Freakishly long, strong arms, quick hands...could take a punch like you wouldn't believe. And amazingly, getting hit just seemed to make Ted angrier and more invigorated! Guess this was because he was Irish.
I was just a kid when all this began but even I had to learn the rules of battle and survival. I once pounded many nails into the sides of our front yard gate and strung rubber bands from my paper route very tightly from nails on one side to the nails on the other side so that when Ted chased me out of the yard I would jump the fence and he would go through the gate and get stung by all my taut rubber bands that he pulled off the nails as he came for me. Zing..zap, twang, twap...it was all I could come up with at the time.
Occasionally even these other high school kids would get involved. One time Ted came after me during one of these brawls and an older teenage friend "Carlin Erickson" watching all of this nearby yelled at Ted " Hey CONLEY, why don't you back off the kid."
Big mistake...Ted caught Carlin right across the head with a Coors bottle and this fight really got into gear with everyone throwing punches and wrestling bodies spilling out into the yard. With colorful lights ablazing the cops finally swooshed in and told everyone to go home and they stayed for awhile to make sure everyone did as they were told. But it was a prolific event. An epic Spartacus verus Crassus battle.
The next day it was all the other kids wanted to talk about at school. I became a sick kind of hero. I actually hated this for many reasons but for one it made my chances for finding a "nice" girl friend almost impossible. And this is what I really wanted more than anything. I would have traded places in a minute with some kid from a normal family. Those battles scared the hell out of me and made me so tense that I could never ever unwind, ever!
When Ted was on a rampage he would often chase my mother and us out of the house as late as 12 to 2 A.M. in the morning. And sometimes he would barge out of the house to do further damage or drag our mother back in.
We lived in a foggy coast line forested area 100 miles south of San Francisco. The local deer would often roam right into our large yard. One night after chasing us all out into the darkened night and then crashing through the back door a few minutes later to drag our mother back in the house Ted started chasing a deer thinking it was our mother Trudy. We were hiding in bushes and against the fence watching him chase this deer and all of a sudden the deer jumped and cleared this five foot high fence in one magnificent leap! Drunken Ted stopped in his tracks, raised up and said to no one..."That sure as hell isn't Trude!" and sheepishly walked back in the house. One of the few times we could all laugh in the shivering cold.
Ted had a phobia about flies. One morning after a furious bloody battle the night before one of my brothers went around collecting a jar full of these and held them there by screwing on a lid. When he had at least a dozen or more these, my brother stealthily opened a hang-over-sleeping Ted's bedroom door and let out the entire jar of these worked up flies!
Before too long you could hear Ted's frantic yelling all around the house, "TRUDY!... TRUDY!" "AAGGHHH, come and get these God damn flies out of my room!" Our fear-conditioned mother obediently rushed in and furiously battled and squashed all these flies with her trusty, often demanded and used fly swatter as Ted lay angrily cussing with his blankets pulled up almost covering his face.
Aahhhh, sweet vengance !
Sometimes trouble instigating teenage acquaintances we knew would call and order pizza delivered to our house at night while Ted was outrageously drunk and crazy and yelling and fighting. This is before pizza restaurants had that telephone retrieval system to prevent false orders like they have now.
The street at the front of our house was just a few steps to an enormous living room exposing front window with curtains that always stayed open, even while Ted was yelling and cussing or even physically threatening or assaulting my mother or us in full view of who ever happened to be walking by.
When these delivery drivers were called it was usually in the middle of one of these horrific exhibitions. Upon arriving at our house with their extra large pizzas in hand ( I actually watched this happen a couple of times ) these fellas would cheerfully and expectantly march up the little walk way toward the front door and right by the big front window.
And then, they would suddenly halt upon hearing the screams and seeing this bulging red eyed, rabid faced, foaming-at-the-mouth madman cursing Hitlerian style and swinging his hairy fists at cowering bodies behind this movie screen sized picture window ! After watching this horror show for a few seconds these pizza pie guys would freeze and reel in croutching defensive fear and shock and quickly bound back wild eyed to their cars and burn rubber in their attempts to get out of there as fast as they could.
Incredibly, a few pizza peddlers somehow defied human logic and common sense and would walk right by this scary surreal scene and start knocking on the front door with it's loud metal knocker as if they saw this stuff all the time!
This would stop the scream fests...and Ted would lurch menacingly and angrily to the front door as if someone were rudely interrupting his only form of perversely stimulating exercise and entertainment.
One time I witnessed one of these actual door knocking pizza deliveries from the upstairs window directly above. Ted stomped to the front door after hearing this and then ripped it open with enough force to practically tear it off it's hinges. And in a ferocious grizzly bear stance and rage, confronted the "Dear God, I'm seeing-a-monster" looking pizza holder with a booming, bourbon reeking roar ..."What The Hell Do You Want ???"
And then, without even letting this poor stuttering fellow finish a word, Ted maniacally slammed the door shut in his shaken face...KABOOM... and simply went right back to his magnificently mad rampaging! This stunned, slammed back pizza man walked very, very quickly to his car glancing back at the house nervously every second or two with incredulous squinting eyes as if to confirm in his mind that what he just witnessed was real!
This kind of craziness went on for years.
But then, at some point in the late sixties one of the brothers coaxed Ted into at least trying a marijuana joint, reassuring Ted that doing so would make listening to his nightly assortment of old Jazz 33's an even better experience. Ted did so, and was immediately hooked. His music "did" sound much better. And wonderously, this seemed to make him feel much more relaxed and affordably different than quarts of Johnny Walker Red or Stolychnya Vodka. He actually found himself laughing at peoples everyday comments instead of angrily pouncing on them because he sensed some communist liberal slant or minority loving sentiment. Within a few weeks an actual miracle was taking place. We thought about calling in the catholic church to confirm this. Ted, one of the meanest, most angry, fighting, violent persons you could ever know...was becoming a nice guy!
He actually thanked his wife with a romantic smile and a "thank you darling" for setting his little dinner table and tray for him every night in front of his lounge chair! His taste for booze had dwindled to nothing, which triggered many calls from the frantic local liquor store owner asking if Ted was mentally and physically okay. A good part of his liquor store's revenues were drying up?
Once, Ted asked me to go to the store for him during this time and actually thanked me when I returned and told me to keep the nickle in change! Ted was "truly" a changed man. I saw this with my own two eyes as many others did also. Thank God for marijuana we all thought. My mother used to get on her knees and say her blessings.
Ted wasn't too good at rolling joints. They came out all mishapened and they were the size of cigars...but he would just happily laugh at himself while he made these and even humm or whistle in anticipation of his huge, deep and long drawn out puffs on these. For the first time in everyone's life, you could walk into Ted's house and not tense up. In fact, when Ted was smoking he was damn good company. The music played, he sang along, he offered you a bite to eat. I think he even contemplated voting Democrat for the first time in his life!
Ahhh, but sadly, good things almost always come to an end too quickly. After about a year of this bliss, Ted's doctor diagnosed him with chronic bronchitis and told him he had to stop smoking his marijuana. You cannot imagine the gloom and dispair we all felt with these doctor's orders. Ted immediately started drinking again. He just flat out needed "something" to deal with his savage beast demons that had for so long racked his soul. And since the mother-love-calming marijuana was out, the devil welcoming Cutty Sark and Gilbey's and Johnny Walker Red came back in. The dispairing local liquor store owner had almost gone out of business before his prayers were answered again with Ted's renewed patronage.
However, with my families prayerful blessing ( and even Ted's ) I came up with one last desperate idea to try to stop the old Ted from returning while at the same time honoring Ted's doctor's medical orders. I took Ted's lid of weed and bought a Betty Crocker Brownie mix and went back to my apartment and baked up a nice big batch of the most delicious smelling brownies. I must have used an entire pound of Ted's stash in this mix. The baking fragrance alone got me singing and laughing. When my great brown shiney creation came out and cooled a little, I cut this up into 24 small squares.
Now, I was never much of a marijuana smoker, nor had I ever eaten any of these type of brownies. But without even thinking I just grabbed one little square after another and started downing these as quick as I could liquidize them enough in my mouth to swallow them. By the time I got these driven over to the greatly anticipating Ted's house, I had uncontrollably consumed 14 if these!
As I arrived at Ted's house I was already in that doubled-over, sobbing state of laughter. I fell out of my car and crawled and staggered across the lawn and through the back door with what was left of Ted's new miracle medicine food.
Upon seeing me in this crying, convulsive state of humorous hysteria, desperate eyed Ted ignored my doughy mouth babblings about these being the "beth tham" brownies and immediately grabbed a handful and started shoving them into his salivating mouth. I think I even recall seeing chocolate drool spilling out as he was maniacally mushing these about in a trance-like state of ecstatic expectation. Ted wasn't eating these with manners in mind.
I ended up in the hospital a few hours later after scarily hallucinating, not breathing and blacking out. Ted went through the same stage but his tolerance level was higher than mine and I had eaten more than him so I think that after the laughing stage Ted just passed out for a day or two. Yes, my dangerously delicious but badly mismanaged chefs concoction had such embarrassing results it was never again mentioned in the loop of new ideas in dealing with Ted's return to devilsville. It was a huge let down but made one heck of a party livening recipe story down the road.
But Ted never was too bad after this anyway. One main reason was he soon got colon cancer and this devastating disease alone took much of the fight out of him. And although he was in constant pain and weakness, he always seemed nicer than he was before his dramatic life change. And obviously, his ability to drink just wasn't what it used to be. Ted suffered greatly until the end on Christmas day ( a day he always hated ) 1985.
I felt feelings about Ted during this suffering, nicer guy time that I thought I never would. Together with the other long term massive, deeply wounding and angry feelings I had had about this Jekyll and mostly Mr. Hyde monster, these new ones have had a very confusing and conflicting effect on my recollections about him as a person and the frightening and exhausting experiences my family and I were forced to endure with him. This elusively effecting, still dream bothering emotional conflict is one of the compelling forces inspiring me to write, not just about this sadistically charming chaotic childhood of the 7 sons, but particularly about this poignant and perplexing final aspect of this story. Reply To: JoeBauer6@aol.com
* Compensation: I'm looking for backing for this book project.
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