Another Day in the USA

vic fortezza
3 min readDec 1, 2023

First snowfall, Budapest, Hungary, REUTERS/photo by Bernadett Szabo:

Born near Pittsburgh in 1951, raised in Florida and the Caribbean, Jack Gantos has been on a great run creating children’s literature. His route was different than most authors of the genre. He got involved in drug trafficking in NYC and spent a year-and-a-half in jail. A copy of Dead End in Norvelt recently came my way. It’s the story of an adolescent who turns twelve during the summer of 1962. A good kid, he gets grounded for firing a WWII Japanese souvenir rifle his dad brought home, not knowing it was loaded. Things get worse when, at his father’s behest, he mows down his mom’s corn patch to accommodate a runway for the small plane his pop won in a card game. The only times he is allowed escape is to help an elderly neighbor whose arthritic hands have handicapped her. She is the town’s historian, appointed by Eleanor Roosevelt, who created the small town, located in western Pennsylvania not far from Pittsburgh, at the height of the depression to enable the poor to become homeowners. The woman dictates the obits of citizens who pass away to the kid. Given the number of deaths, folks begin to wonder if foul play is afoot. It is a first person account told entirely from the kid’s point of view, true to someone his age. It is the exact time period in which I grew up, so I easily related to it, especially since we suffered a similar affliction, the bloody nose. Although there is a liberal bias, the novel’s heart is always in the right place. Its 341 pages read like a lot less. 710 users at Amazon have rated Dead End…, forging to a consensus of 4.5 on a scale of five. Gantos received the prestigious Newberry Medal for it. He has also been honored by many other organizations. In all he has written at least 17 books, each in the young adult category except for a memoir and a writing guide. Oddly, his Wiki profile does mention his having been a resident of Norvelt. Photo from Google Images:

RIP Sandra Day O’Connor, 93, the first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice. Photo from GI:

Finally! DeSantis shows a pulse.

Amusing headline from “Nikki Haley rakes in cash — from Democrats looking to stop Trump.”

Congressman George Santos has been expelled. I hope this is a trend, a form of term limits.

Headline from “Nearly 60% of students in Oregon identify as nonbinary.” Why am I not surprised?

The rain arrived much earlier than predicted, cutting today’s session of the floating book shop in half. My thanks to Herbie, who bought The Nurses by Dennis Higgins, and to the young man who purchased size ten-and-a-half Nike cleats donated by local porter Justin.

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.