Mar 23, 2002

The Door Went "Creak"

Standard Speaker
March 23, 1987 - Hazleton, PA
I wasn't much different as a little kid than I am now.  I liked to read and write and I loved anything spooky.  My favorite things to watch were Ghostbusters, Scooby Doo, and whatever ghost or monster stories that my family would allow, and my favorite place in the world to go was Dracula's Castle in Wildwood.

Most weekends were spent with my grandparents back in those days.  Every Sunday morning, we went to the Wyoming Valley Mall in Wilkes-Barre or the Schuylkill Mall in Frackville.  It was about a 20 minute drive and my grandfather spent most of the ride telling me stories that he'd make up on the spot.  Most of them involved me and my two cousins going to an old haunted house (where Dracula lived) or to a pyramid (where Mola Ram from Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom lived).

My first grade class had a creative writing activity where we could write about whatever we wanted.  With my mind filled with memories of all the spooky stories from kids books, stories from my grandfather, and countless tv shows, movies and cartoons, I came up with this story.

It may not be Shakespeare, but I guess it wasn't too shabby for a six year old.  It was good enough to win first place in the Hazleton Area School District's creative writing contest anyway.  The grand prize was a five dollar gift certificate for the school store, which was redeemed for a Thundercats View Master gift set.

I wish I could say that this inspired a young boy to grow up and become a writer, but no such luck.  Every so often, I'll come up with what I think is a good idea for a story, but the closest I've come so far is a few pages worth of ideas in a notebook or an extremely rough outline.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that these four pages from first grade are the closest I've ever come to finishing a story.  Maybe someday...

Mar 1, 2002

The Penn State North Halls Champion Chowhound

Mr. Bad Food (February 28, 2002)
Throughout the 90's, my father's best friend, John, wrote for The Sun.  It's one of those tabloid newspapers that you see at the grocery checkout that has stories about alien and bigfoot sightings.  He would occasionally work my dad into some of his stories, like the time that he wrote about Fidel Castro sneaking into the United States to watch baseball.  According to the article, my dad sat next to the Cuban dictator at Veterans Stadium to watch the Phillies play the Blue Jays in the 1993 World Series.

These days, John writes for as Mr. Bad Food, but he's still finding ways to work my dad into his stories.  Unlike the baseball story, this anecdote is true... Dad really did eat 18 burgers in his time at Penn State.  Click here to read the whole article.