John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

The Winter Years: A Short Story by John William Tuohy

The Winter Years
A Short Story
John William Tuohy

He was reading the newspaper while he waited for his order to arrive. He had never read the newspaper before she was gone. Now he read it because it was something to do. He was reading an article about the young mother of four children who lived in town and had died of pneumonia. She was twenty-two years old and had worked as a security guard down in New Haven, and now her children would be sent to live with their grandmother who was also of that city and was reported to be thirty-eight years old.
He put the paper down, and thought that life is unfair. He remembered that she had closed the door tightly and locked it but she did not want to go. She adored her home. She paused to wonder what it would be like to wake up and have no breasts. She remembered that the doctor had said he wanted to talk to her because there were other developments. She told him that she would see him after the operation. It was just too much to deal with. She had known, anyway.
She looked out into the day and it was beautiful. It smelled cold. The sun was bursting brilliantly in the deep blue sky. The New England snow in the early morning hours, when the snow was untouched and pristine, blanketed the Valley with a pleasant sense of peace and calm. Beautiful winter days like this were a part of the reason she loved this place and why she had never left.
She held the thin black iron rail and stepped carefully down the slate and cement steps. Watching her, he said across the freshly-fallen snow, “Ice is gone. I got it.” And he had. In fact, it was gone before the sun had risen over his Valley’s hills. He took shoveling seriously.
She went over the mental list of food she had left prepared for him. There was golabki, stuffed cabbage, and chlopski posilek, bacon and cabbage, rosoz kurczaka, golden chicken consommé with noodles. There was placki kartoflane, potato pancakes, and klopsiki, meatloaf stuffed with eggs. There was kotlet schabowy, breaded pork cutlet. She left faworki, pastry twists, and makowiec, sweet poppyseed cake, for dessert.
“I left you a few things inside the frig-er-rater,” she said, and reviewed the workings of the mysterious microwave with him, again, although they both knew its intricacies would elude him anyway and he would nuke the food so long that smoke would billow out of its every crevice.
He let the engine idle and turned on the heater to warm the protective vinyl coverings on the seat. A slight steam of blue-gray smoke from the exhaust floated ghostlike over the open trunk where he had carefully placed her white Naugahyde-covered luggage over an old quilt, in the unlikely event that there was dirt on the trunk floor. She had packed only the clothes she knew she would need: her nightgowns, slippers, her best dress, best shoes, and her good jewelry.
He smelled the cold too and he liked the way it felt on his cheeks and on the tip of his nose. He liked outside because you were alone outside. Years ago, he had worked inside the shop for a few months, but he didn’t like it. Some of the guys talked dirty talk about girls. Some had dirty magazines with naked pictures of girls jammed inside their lockers. They would show him and he would say, “I go to Mass, you know,” and they stopped doing that. That was why he took the driver’s job, hauling loads from Ansonia up to Springfield and back again.
Twenty-four years behind the wheel of a big rig had left him with enormous flat hands, thick wrists and a flabby rear end that was distinctly disproportionate to the rest of his wide muscular body. Decades of handmade kielbasa and potato-cheese pierogis topped with bacon, and fried onions, had left him with an enormous belly. And those were the only things about him that were memorable or unique except that he was a kind man, a benign gentle man. She always said that the crewcut on his still blonde but thinning hair made him look like a Polish prison guard, and men who didn’t know him stepped out of his way. But children liked him instantly, and he had that aura of men who would rather listen than speak.
He did not speak about this hospital situation. He didn’t understand it, and sitting there on the edge of his thoughts was how he would take care of himself after she was gone. He worried about the laundry the most. Those machines were a mystery to him. When she was in the hospital that time with the baby, he had fought it out with the laundry machine and the laundry machine won by shrinking everything to half its size. He wondered if she would feel pain. Lots of times over these past few weeks he closed his eyes and talked to the Virgin Mary. He said to her that if there had to be pain involved, let him feel it instead of her, because he could take it and he was not sure she could. She was a small woman, he thought, and God must have made him this big for a reason.
He did not want to think about any of that now. In a half hour, he would be alone and then he would have no choice but to think about it, because there would be no one else to talk to. He turned his attention to the slate wall and noted that roots had pushed their way into the tiny porous holes in the cement and pushed apart and severed the gravel that kept the wall together.
She walked over to him and stared at the crumbling wall as well.
“It’s gotta come down,” he said, “before it falls down on its own. You don’t want that.”
“I remember you and the boys built that.” She pointed to the pile of wood in back of the house. “Took the rocks from the back. Remember? We took the Easter pictures here with youse in your red suit coats.”
The memory brought a wonderful smile to his face.
“You were so handsome,” she said with pride that lifted her chin. “Oh, honest to God, though.”
He pulled a large rock from the top of the wall and placed in on the lawn. “It’s gotta come down now while we can still save it.”
He turned to see her eyes had welled up. “Hell, woman, it’s just a damned wall,” he said, trying his best to sound gruff but coming nowhere close to the effect he wanted. She locked her short soft arm into his and he turned and embraced his bride for a long moment because he loved her and missed her already, and because hospitals upset him and he held her to keep out the world, if only for another moment.
They walked silently to the car, arm in arm. The snow was tapering off into rain, a rain that unlike the snow seemed to come as an assault, an attack that would alter things forever. He opened the door. She slid in. He shut her door, and he drove his bride to the hospital.
He ate alone these days. He arrived at the Diner at six every evening and sat at the same place at the counter and thought of her often while he waited to see her again.

"Almost every kid at St. John’s was an academic underachiever and proud of it, because they worked on the theory that the lower the expectations, the less work they would have to do. Generally speaking, education for the sake of learning and improving oneself meant nothing to them. The teachers knew better than to push these kids because if they were pushed they became overwhelmed and anxious and blew up, and then pushed back. The result was that in school we worked on a childlike level between enormous stretches and breaks. It was maddening.
  In mid-year, when the last of the nuns teaching at the school retired, a male teacher was hired. I mention he was male because every teacher I had had up until then was a female. His name was Henry O’Dwyer. He had an enormous handlebar mustache and long sideburns, pretty cutting-edge stuff at the time, but downright Bolshevik radical in the conservative atmosphere of St. John’s and most other Catholic schools of the day.
 Although he was roughly the same age as the prefects who ran the school, he was distinctly different. The prefects were hand-chosen by Father MacDonald for their rock-solid parochial educations and Catholic values and for the most part they came from Irish, French Canadian, Polish or Italian-American backgrounds. Henry was Irish in name only, something I had a difficult time grasping, although the first name should have been the tipoff. You don’t meet a lot of Irishmen named after English kings. He wasn’t Catholic, either. He was Episcopalian, and his family hadn’t arrived in America after the famine. They’d been in New England since the colonial days. He grew up on the shore and had attended Choate, an exclusive boarding school in south central Connecticut that had been, in the 1940s and ’50s, a private reserve for the ruling Yankee class. I figured Choate was where Henry learned to be a snob. In those days, those exclusive schools in Connecticut gave those rich kids magnificent educations, but they were also refinement centers where snobbery was cultivated and refined to its most subtle core and stayed with most of them for a lifetime.
  Most of the prefects and administrators in the school were jocks MacDonald and ate, slept, and dreamed sports, and they were beefy, athletic, and big. They carried copies of Sports Illustrated rolled up in their back pockets. Like most liberals, they liked poor people, but they didn’t look anything like us. They wore expensive new sneakers whenever they could, and pullover sports shirts— blue, usually—and chinos. They walked quickly and with a sense of purpose, a businesslike sense of mission instilled in them over a decade of schooling by nuns and Jesuits who saw their roles on earth as a mission to save the world from itself.
  Never having been a part of that universe, Henry had no such sense of mission or urgency. He had an aura of confidence about him that came from knowing exactly where he fit.
  He was slightly built and dressed and walked in that born-to-money, “I couldn’t care less what you think” style of his social class. He was not a likeable man, even after you got to know him, and the damned thing is he didn’t seem to care if he was liked or disliked. He was dismissive and had an imperious tone that matched his high-handed mannerisms. 
  The one sports coat he seemed to own was a well-worn tan corduroy with elbow patches. His shirts were equally tattered but with expensive Oxford collars, and from what I gathered in my observations he owned many pairs of loafers of different colors and styles, all of which highlighted his argyle socks. He wore sedate but clearly expensive jewelry. Overall, he affected the born elite’s rule of the shabbier the snobbier. I cannot imagine him playing sports. Up until that point I had never met anyone who spoke as he did, in an understated and clipped Long Island lockjaw that sounded ever-so-slightly effeminate to my ear. But effete, in the sense of being over-refined, might be a better description of him.
  I don’t know what Henry was doing at St. John’s or how he got there, but I sense we were a way station while he found somewhere else to go. I think he summed up the situation very quickly. Half the kids in the class were already nuts, and the other half were on the way to becoming nuts, and all were ready, willing, and able to revert to violence at the slightest provocation. The thought of seriously grading the students was a belly laugh and academic threats were knee-slappers.
  Looking back, I think we scared him. I can’t say I blame him. Some of those kids were scary. Very scary. And they could be violent as well. A tall, slow-witted and ill-tempered kid in named Odell Redman, who hailed from the housing projects of Hartford and had been in the system almost his entire life, soon after Henry’s arrival threw his classroom desk across the room and uttered a string of violent threats and profanities. The room went deadly silent. Henry stood up from behind his desk and said, “Let me take a guess. You’re frustrated over something.”
   Walking across the room he stood very close to Odell and, speaking to him the way one might speak to a pet, he said, “Look, I don’t want to be here, nor do you. However, due to mitigating circumstances—I’m sure you heard that phrase at your court hearing—here we are. You and I. Stranded together in a fifteen-by-fifteen cinder-block room. Yes, yes, I know. Your Crusoe to my Friday. My thoughts exactly.” And then, with a majestic wave across the room, he added, “And of course the native cannibals, lest we forget them.”
  He looked at Odell with a side glance and asked, “Now what thing do you want that would keep you in a docile state?”
   He paused and waited for an answer that never arrived. He was the only person in the room who knew what “docile” meant.
  “In other words,” he continued, “what will keep you nullified?”
  He paused again for an answer, and once again, no one else in the room knew what “nullified” was.
  “What will stop you from tossing desks across the room in the near future?” he asked.
  Odell realized he was getting a pass, and he thought it over, and said, “I like to draw.”
  “Then draw it is,” Henry said, and two desks were set aside in the far end of the room, away from everyone else. One desk was for Odell to sit in, the other stacked with pens, pencils, crayons, magic markers and stacks of drawing paper.
  “Someone comes in,” Henry said, “and you pretend to be doing real schoolwork, deal?”
  “Deal,” Odell answered, and we never heard another word from him.
  Gradually all the kids who wanted to be left alone to draw or daydream and look out the window for hours on end found their way to Odell’s corner of the room. The rest of us congregated at the front of the room and participated in the lesson.
  Because the same teacher taught the same class for eight hours a day, we had a lot of free time on our hands, and many lulls in the schedule. To add filler to the day we could spend one hour on something Henry called “Special Projects,” which we were to work on in silence while he read The New York Times.
  We were each called up to his desk to explain what our Special Project would be. 
  “What do you want to do?” he snipped, when it was my turn.
  I had been hoping someone would ask me what I wanted to do, but I didn’t have those kinds of people in my life.
  “I want to learn how to write,” I said.
  “Yeah,” a voice came from somewhere in the classroom. “He reads a lot. Put covers on that mother, he be a book.”
  He looked up at me for the first time with a glint of interest. “Write about what? What do you want to write about?”
   “I dunno,” I answered truthfully. “I just want to see how it’s done.”
   “Go write a short story. That means two pages. Bring it to me when it’s completed.” And I was dismissed.
   I returned the next day with a short story about a field in the middle of the woods where the ghosts of generations past still played.
  Henry read it and said, “A story has to have three things. They are a beginning, a middle and an end. They don’t have to be in that order. You can start a story at the end or end it in the middle. There are no rules on that except where you, the author, decide to put all three parts. Your story has a beginning and an end. But it’s good. Go put in a middle and bring it back to me.”
   I went away encouraged, rewrote the story and returned it to him two days later. Again he looked it over and said, “It’s a good story but it lacks a bullet-between-the-eyes opening. Your stories should always have a knock-’em-dead opening.” Then, looking with exaggerated suspicion around the crime-prone denizens of the room with an exaggerated suspicion, he said loudly, “I don’t mean that literally.”
  No one was listening. He returned his attention to me and said, “‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.’ That’s the opening of A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens. Do you know the book?”
  “No,” I said.
 He quickly threw his hands across his heart, winced as thought he had been stabbed, hung his head in exaggerated despair and said, “You must read Dickens. He is timeless.”
  And then he closed his eyes and quoted, “‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.’”
  He opened his eyes, raised a finger in the air and said, “Here’s a better one.”
  He reached into his ancient leather satchel and pulled out a copy of Orwell’s 1984, a book very popular with kids in 1969. He opened it to the front page and read the first line: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” He closed the book, returned it to its place in the bag, looked up at me and said, “Makes you want to know more, doesn’t it? Why was it the best and worst of times? How can a clock strike thirteen?”
  I learned two lessons while listening to him. One was to work on my opening, and the other was that I should know these names he was tossing out with such familiarity. Orwell. Dickens. Obviously, they were names known by the literate, and therefore I should know them as well, and with time I would.
  A few weeks later he gave me a paperback of Dickens’ Little Dorrit.
  “You need to know Dickens,” he said. “So start here and then go to A Tale of Two Cities.” As I said, Henry O’Dwyer was not a cute and cuddly type but he cherished books and fine literature, and what a person values really tells you a lot about him.
  A few days after I began my short story, I returned to his desk and handed him my updates. He pushed his wire-rimmed reading glasses way down on his nose and focused on the two pages. “Okay, you got a beginning; you got yourself a middle and an end. You got a wing-dinger opening line. But you don’t have an establishing paragraph. Do you know what that is?”
  He didn’t wait for me to answer.
  “It’s kinda like an outdated road map for the reader,” he said. “It gives the reader a general idea of where you’re taking him, but doesn’t tell him exactly how you intend to get there, which is all he needs to know.”
  After a week I handed over what I was certain was one hell of a great—not good, but great—short story. He read it and wrote across the top, “Do something to develop your protagonist,” and handed the story back to me.
   I returned to my desk and looked out the window into the snow-covered fields “Protagonist.” I had never heard that word before. I thought that maybe developing my protagonist had something to do with weight-lifting, maybe, or maybe he was telling me to improve my brain. Maybe “protagonist” was the Greek word for brain.
   I went back up to his desk and said, “I don’t know what a protagonist is.”
  “Then I’ll teach you,” he said, except this time he not only looked at me, but I detected something that could have been interpreted as a smile. “And the reason I will teach you is that you are inquisitive enough, smart enough, to say the magic words of the learned man.”
  He paused and waited for me to ask, “What words?”
  “What words?” I asked.
  “ ‘I don’t know’,” he said. “Those three words from a willing soul are the start of a grand and magnificent voyage.” And with that he began a discourse that lasted for several weeks, covering scene-setting, establishing conflict, plot twists, and first- and third-person narration. [  I learned in these rapid-fire mini-dissertations that like most literature lovers I would come to know, Henry was a book snob. He assumed that if a current author was popular and widely enjoyed, then he or she had no merit. He made a few exceptions, such as Kurt Vonnegut, although that was mostly because Vonnegut lived on Cape Cod and so he probably had some merits as a human being, if not as a writer.
  I think that the way Henry saw it was that he was not being a snob. In fact I would venture that in his view of things, snobbery had nothing to do with it. Rather, it was a matter of standards. It was bout quality in the author’s craftsmanship.
  A month into my short story, which I was now allowed to increase to five pages, Henry read over my content and said, “You need examples of excellent short-story writing.”
  The next morning he called me to his desk, reached into his leather satchel and took out a paperback copy of Great Short Stories of John O’Hara. He handed it to me and said, “O’Hara is one of the greatest short-story writers in modern history. Read this and study what he does, and how he does it. And then read it again so you can enjoy a master at his best. And before you lay claim to him, no, he isn’t Irish. Don’t let the name throw you. He’s one of my people.”
  “He’s probably Irish,” I countered.
  “According to you people, God is probably Irish,” he sniffed. “And Catholic.”
  Over the next few months Henry and the class meshed with one another, largely because we grew to respect him because we didn’t have to. He left obligatory respect to the other staff members. And perhaps finally convinced that we wouldn’t murder him and bury his body out in the fields, Henry softened and went out of his way to engage us with his lectures, which ranged in topics from the day’s headlines to pop art and classical music."


In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.


John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.

 Contact John:

“To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to.” Kahlil Gibran


Cerberus: (SUHR-buhr-uhs)  A powerful, hostile guard. From Latin, from Greek Kerberos. Earliest documented use: 1386. Cerberus (also Kerberos) was the three-headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades, the infernal region in classical mythology. Ancient Greeks and Romans used to put a slice of cake in the hands of their dead to help pacify Cerberus on the way. This custom gave rise to the idiom “to give a sop to Cerberus” meaning to give a bribe to quiet a troublesome person. Cancerbero (from Spanish can: dog) is one of the Spanish terms for a goalkeeper in fútbol (football). Kerberos is the name given to an authentication protocol for computer networks.

Susente:  ow-sehn'-the absent; distracted
1.         Tenemos que llamar a casa si un niño ha estado ausente por diez días omás.
We have to call home if a child has been absent for ten days or more.
 2.        ¿Pasa algo? Te noto medio ausente hoy.
Is anything the matter? You seem a bit distracted today.


HERE'S A REALLY GOOD POEM FOR YOU......................

Late Hours
Lisel Mueller

On summer nights the world
moves within earshot
on the interstate with its swish
and growl, an occasional siren
that sends chills through us.
Sometimes, on clear, still nights,
voices float into our bedroom,
lunar and fragmented,
as if the sky had let them go
long before our birth.

In winter we close the windows
and read Chekhov,
nearly weeping for his world.

What luxury, to be so happy
that we can grieve
over imaginary lives.

Lisel Mueller (born February 8, 1924) won the U.S. National Book Award in 1981 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1997. Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924 and immigrated to America at the age of 15. Her father, Fritz C. Neumann, was a professor at Evansville College. Her mother died in 1953. "Though my family landed in the Midwest, we lived in urban or suburban environments," she once wrote. She and her husband, Paul Mueller (d. 2001) built a home in Lake Forest, Illinois in the 1960s, where they raised two daughters and lived for many years. Mueller currently resides in a retirement community in Chicago. Her poems are extremely accessible, yet intricate and layered. While at times whimsical and possessing a sly humor, there is an underlying sadness in much of her work. She graduated from the University of Evansville in 1944 and has taught at the University of Chicago, Elmhurst College in Illinois, and Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Mueller has written book reviews for the Chicago Daily News.



This painting is one of a pair by French artist Amédée Van Loo featuring children playing with toys or games. The children are shown reaching out of a trompe l’oeil (a French term meaning “deceives the eye”) oval frame. The young boy is holding a camera obscura, an optical device that uses a lens to capture an image. The patron of the pendant paintings has never been identified but they have long been associated with the Prussian imperial family. Frederick the Great was known to be fascinated by optical devices. The second painting features children playing with a soap bubble, another illusion of light and transparency. 
Van Loo came from a family of Flemish artists who settled in France. A lost work of his represented the virtues of King Louis XV. It was an early example of his interest in optical themes. When looked at through a faceted lens, a portrait of the king became visible. 
The optics of the camera obscura have been known since antiquity and artists have used it as a tool for viewing the world since the Renaissance. Watch this video clip from “Vermeer: Master of Light” to learn more about how the Dutch master might have used a camera obscura in his work. http://bit.ly/1DqejPN
Look again: what do you find most surprising about this painting?
#ArtAtoZ #OpticalIllusion
Charles Amédée Philippe Van Loo, “The Camera Obscura,” 1764, oil on canvas, Gift of Mrs. Robert W. Schuette. 


 This charming still life, created just two years after John La Farge took up painting, is primarily a study of color and light. La Farge beautifully renders the effects of sunlight on the white curtain by blending an innovative mix of colors—peach, creamy white, and a light, green-tinged gray—to capture the subtleties of shadow, contour, and light on the fabric. Brushwork, not color or line, distinguishes the curtain from the window ledge and background sky, anticipating modernist art styles such as post-impressionism. Painted within the year of his marriage to Margaret Mason Perry, Flowers on a Window Ledge may also express the artist's romantic sentiments. Such an interpretation was not lost on critics of the time, one of whom wrote that La Farge's flowers were "burning with love, beauty, and sympathy . . . their language is of the heart, and they talk to us of human love." The setting proves meaningful as well, as the canvas was painted from the window of Hessian House, a Rhode Island inn where La Farge and his wife stayed during the early years of their marriage. Moreover, the white curtain fabric visually evokes a bridal gown; the bowl of pink and red flowers, a bouquet; and the interior setting, the domesticity of marriage. After a serious illness and a period of financial stress in 1866, the artist stopped producing still-life paintings. When he resumed working, he turned to mural painting and decorative stained glass, considered more conventional artistic practices at the time.

Here’s How Much A Sugary Beverage Tax Dropped Consumption Of Sugar-Sweetened Drinks in Mexico

By Angelo Young

In order to combat an alarming rate of obesity and the ensuing ill health effects of sugary drinks, Mexico began charging consumers extra for sweetened beverages at the start of 2014. Now with a year’s worth of data to go on, researchers have found solid evidence that the modest tax had a measurable decrease in the public’s consumption of drinks that can contribute to obesity, diabetes and premature death. 
In a coordinated study, the Mexican National Institute of Public Health and the University of North Carolina found that a roughly 10 percent tax on beverages that contain added sugars --  including Jarritos and Sidral sodas, Jumex fruit nectars and, of course, Coca-Cola – led to an average 6 percent decline in demand in 2014.
“After years of speculation, we now have direct evidence that taxing liquid sugar is an effective way to reduce consumption,” Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, said in a statement Tuesday. “The greatest change occurred in the most vulnerable low-income households, where consumers were able to cut consumption by 17 percent.”
The study, which looked at household groceries spending in 53 Mexican cities, showed a 4 percent increase in purchases of untaxed beverages, meaning the tax encouraged consumers to shift their dietary habits toward diet soda, natural juices that don’t have extra sugar added, or waters.
It was the first such measurable decline in Mexico, a country with one of the highest annual per capita intakes of sugary drinks, at an alarming 43 gallons. Between 1989 and 2006, consumption of these potentially harmful beverages increased 60 percent in Mexico, the study claims.
The consumption of sugars in Mexico has led to a health crisis. The Mexican Institute for Competitiveness estimates the average Mexican suffering from diabetes spends nearly $300 more on medical care than he or she earns in a typical year (which means public health services absorb most of the costs), and many are suffering premature death.

Last year, Berkeley, California, became the first U.S. city to pass a soda tax similar to Mexico’s. Unlike Mexico, the U.S. doesn’t have a national sales tax, so these measures would have to be passed at the local level, and would be met by opposition in parts of the country where the public is strongly averse to state rules aimed at controlling lifestyle choices in the name of better public health. 

THE WRITING LIFE...........................

“There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.” Haruki Murakami

“Books don’t change people; paragraphs do, Sometimes even sentences.” John Piper, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life


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Sculpture this and Sculpture that

The art of War (Propaganda art through the ages)

Album Art (Photographic arts)

Pulp Fiction Trash (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)

Admit it, you want to Read this Book (The art of Pulp Fiction covers)

The Godfather Trilogy BlogSpot

On the Waterfront: The Making of a great American Film

Absolutely blogalicious

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Good chowda (New England foods)

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And I Love Clams (New England foods)

In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener (New England foods)

Wicked Cool New England Recipes (New England foods)

Old New England Recipes (New England foods)

Foster Care new and Updates

Aging out of the system

Murder, Death and Abuse in the Foster Care system

Angel and Saints in the Foster Care System

The Foster Children’s Blogs

Foster Care Legislation

The Foster Children’s Bill of Right

Foster Kids own Story

The Adventures of Foster Kid.

Me vs. Diabetes (Diabetes education site)

The Quotable Helen Keller

Teddy Roosevelt's Letters to his children (Book support site)

The Quotable Machiavelli (Book support site)

Whatever you do, don't laugh

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A Big Blog of Irish Literature

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The Irish American Gangster

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When Washington Was Irish

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes (Book support site)

Following Fitzgerald


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Charles Dickens

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Old New England Recipes

Wicked Cool New England Recipes


The New England Mafia

And I Love Clams

In Praise of the Rhode Island Wiener

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York Beach

The Connecticut History Blog

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Good chowda

God, How I hated the 70s

Child of the Sixties Forever

The Kennedy’s in the 60’s

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Elvis and Nixon at the White House (Book support site)

Beatles Fan Forever

Year One, 1955

Robert Kennedy in His Own Words

The 1980s were fun

The 1990s. The last decade.

The Russian Mafia

The American Jewish Gangster

The Mob in Hollywood

We Only Kill Each Other

Early Gangsters of New York City

Al Capone: Biography of a self-made Man

The Life and World of Al Capone

The Salerno Report

Guns and Glamour

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Mob Testimony

Recipes we would Die For

The Prohibition in Pictures

The Mob in Pictures

The Mob in Vegas

The Irish American Gangster

Roger Touhy Gangster

Chicago’s Mob Bosses

Chicago Gang Land: It Happened Here

Whacked: One Hundred years of Murder in Gangland

The Mob Across America

Mob Cops, Lawyers and Front Men

Shooting the Mob: Dutch Schultz

Bugsy& His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill

After Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate on Organized Crime

Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee (Book support site)

The US Government’s Timeline of Organized Crime (Book support site)

The Kefauver Organized Crime Hearings (Book support site)

Joe Valachi's testimony on the Mafia (Book support site)

Mobsters in the News

Shooting the Mob: Dead Mobsters (Book support site)

The Stolen Years Full Text (Roger Touhy)

Mobsters in Black and White

Mafia Gangsters, Wiseguys and Goodfellas

Whacked: One Hundred Years of Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Mob (Book support site)

Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal (Book support site)

The Best of the Mob Files Series (Book support site)

It’s All Greek Mythology to me

Psychologically Relevant

The Rarifieid Tribe

Perfect Behavior

The Upscale Traveler

The Mish Mosh Blog

DC Behind the Monuments

Washington Oddities

When Washington Was Irish

Litchfield Literary Books. A really small company run by writers.


The Day Nixon Met Elvis
Paperback 46 pages

Theodore Roosevelt: Letters to his Children. 1903-1918
Paperback 194 pages

The Works of Horace
Paperback 174 pages

The Quotable Greeks
Paperback 234 pages

The Quotable Epictetus
Paperback 142 pages

Quo Vadis: A narrative of the time of Nero
Paperback 420 pages

The Porchless Pumpkin: A Halloween Story for Children
A Halloween play for young children. By consent of the author, this play may be performed, at no charge, by educational institutions, neighborhood organizations and other not-for-profit-organizations.
A fun story with a moral
“I believe that Denny O'Day is an American treasure and this little book proves it. Jack is a pumpkin who happens to be very small, by pumpkins standards and as a result he goes unbought in the pumpkin patch on Halloween eve, but at the last moment he is given his chance to prove that just because you're small doesn't mean you can't be brave. Here is the point that I found so wonderful, the book stresses that while size doesn't matter when it comes to courage...ITS OKAY TO BE SCARED....as well. I think children need to hear that, that's its okay to be unsure because life is a ongoing lesson isn't it?”
Paperback: 42 pages

It's Not All Right to be a Foster Kid....no matter what they tell you: Tweet the books contents
Paperback 94 pages

From the Author
I spent my childhood, from age seven through seventeen, in foster care.  Over the course of those ten years, many decent, well-meaning, and concerned people told me, "It's okay to be foster kid."
In saying that, those very good people meant to encourage me, and I appreciated their kindness then, and all these many decades later, I still appreciate their good intentions. But as I was tossed around the foster care system, it began to dawn on me that they were wrong.  It was not all right to be a foster kid.
During my time in the system, I was bounced every eighteen months from three foster homes to an orphanage to a boy's school and to a group home before I left on my own accord at age seventeen.
In the course of my stay in foster care, I was severely beaten in two homes by my "care givers" and separated from my four siblings who were also in care, sometimes only blocks away from where I was living.
I left the system rather than to wait to age out, although the effects of leaving the system without any family, means, or safety net of any kind, were the same as if I had aged out. I lived in poverty for the first part of my life, dropped out of high school, and had continuous problems with the law.
 Today, almost nothing about foster care has changed.  Exactly what happened to me is happening to some other child, somewhere in America, right now.  The system, corrupt, bloated, and inefficient, goes on, unchanging and secretive.
Something has gone wrong in a system that was originally a compassionate social policy built to improve lives but is now a definitive cause in ruining lives.  Due to gross negligence, mismanagement, apathy, and greed, mostly what the foster care system builds are dangerous consequences. Truly, foster care has become our epic national disgrace and a nightmare for those of us who have lived through it.
Yet there is a suspicion among some Americans that foster care costs too much, undermines the work ethic, and is at odds with a satisfying life.  Others see foster care as a part of the welfare system, as legal plunder of the public treasuries.
 None of that is true; in fact, all that sort of thinking does is to blame the victims.  There is not a single child in the system who wants to be there or asked to be there.  Foster kids are in foster care because they had nowhere else to go.  It's that simple.  And believe me, if those kids could get out of the system and be reunited with their parents and lead normal, healthy lives, they would. And if foster care is a sort of legal plunder of the public treasuries, it's not the kids in the system who are doing the plundering.
 We need to end this needless suffering.  We need to end it because it is morally and ethically wrong and because the generations to come will not judge us on the might of our armed forces or our technological advancements or on our fabulous wealth.
 Rather, they will judge us, I am certain, on our compassion for those who are friendless, on our decency to those who have nothing and on our efforts, successful or not, to make our nation and our world a better place.  And if we cannot accomplish those things in the short time allotted to us, then let them say of us "at least they tried."
You can change the tragedy of foster care and here's how to do it.  We have created this book so that almost all of it can be tweeted out by you to the world.  You have the power to improve the lives of those in our society who are least able to defend themselves.  All you need is the will to do it.
 If the American people, as good, decent and generous as they are, knew what was going on in foster care, in their name and with their money, they would stop it.  But, generally speaking, although the public has a vague notion that foster care is a mess, they don't have the complete picture. They are not aware of the human, economic and social cost that the mismanagement of the foster care system puts on our nation.
By tweeting the facts laid out in this work, you can help to change all of that.  You can make a difference.  You can change things for the better.
We can always change the future for a foster kid; to make it better ...you have the power to do that. Speak up (or tweet out) because it's your country.  Don't depend on the "The other guy" to speak up for these kids, because you are the other guy.
We cannot build a future for foster children, but we can build foster children for the future and the time to start that change is today.

No time to say Goodbye: Memoirs of a life in foster 
Paperbook 440 Books

On the Waterfront: The Making of a Great American Film
Paperback: 416 pages


Scotish Ghost Stories
Paperback 186 pages

The Book of funny odd and interesting things people say
Paperback: 278 pages

The Wee Book of Irish Jokes

Perfect Behavior: A guide for Ladies and Gentlemen in all Social Crises


You Don’t Need a Weatherman. Underground 1969
Paperback 122 pages

Baby Boomers Guide to the Beatles Songs of the Sixties

Baby Boomers Guide to Songs of the 1960s

The Connecticut Irish
Paper back 140 pages

 The Wee Book of Irish Jokes

The Wee Book of Irish Recipes 
 The Wee Book of the American-Irish Gangsters

 The Wee book of Irish Blessings... 

The Wee Book of the American Irish in Their Own Words

Everything you need to know about St. Patrick
Paperback 26 pages

A Reading Book in Ancient Irish History
Paperback 147pages

The Book of Things Irish

Poets and Dreamer; Stories translated from the Irish
Paperback 158 pages

The History of the Great Irish Famine: Abridged and Illustrated
Paperback 356 pages


The New England Mafia

Wicked Good New England Recipes

The Connecticut Irish
Paper back 140 pages

The Twenty-Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Paperback 64 pages

The Life of James Mars
Paperback 54 pages

Stories of Colonial Connecticut
Paperback 116 pages

What they Say in Old New England
Paperback 194 pages


Chicago Organized Crime

The Mob Files: It Happened Here: Places of Note in Chicago gangland 1900-2000

An Illustrated Chronological History of the Chicago Mob. Time Line 1837-2000

Mob Buster: Report of Special Agent Virgil Peterson to the Kefauver Committee

The Mob Files. Guns and Glamour: The Chicago Mob. A History. 1900-2000

Shooting the Mob: Organized crime in photos. Crime Boss Tony Accardo

Shooting the Mob: Organized Crime in Photos: The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The Life and World of Al Capone in Photos

AL CAPONE: The Biography of a Self-Made Man.: Revised from the 0riginal 1930 edition.Over 200 new photographs
Paperback: 340 pages

Whacked. One Hundred Years Murder and Mayhem in the Chicago Outfit
Paperback: 172 pages

Las Vegas Organized Crime
The Mob in Vegas

Bugsy & His Flamingo: The Testimony of Virginia Hill

Testimony by Mobsters Lewis McWillie, Joseph Campisi and Irwin Weiner (The Mob Files Series)

Rattling the Cup on Chicago Crime.
Paperback 264 pages

The Life and Times of Terrible Tommy O’Connor.
Paperback 94 pages

The Mob, Sam Giancana and the overthrow of the Black Policy Racket in Chicago
Paperback 200 pages

When Capone’s Mob Murdered Roger Touhy. In Photos
Paperback 234 pages

Organized Crime in Hollywood
The Mob in Hollywood

The Bioff Scandal
Paperback 54 pages

Organized Crime in New York
Joe Pistone’s war on the mafia

Mob Testimony: Joe Pistone, Michael Scars DiLeonardo, Angelo Lonardo and others

The New York Mafia: The Origins of the New York Mob

The New York Mob: The Bosses

Organized Crime 25 Years after Valachi. Hearings before the US Senate

Shooting the mob: Dutch Schultz

Gangland Gaslight: The Killing of Rosy Rosenthal. (Illustrated)

Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City
Paperback 382 pages

The Russian Mafia in America

The Threat of Russian Organzied Crime
Paperback 192 pages

Organized Crime/General
Best of Mob Stories

Best of Mob Stories Part 2


Mob Recipes to Die For. Meals and Mobsters in Photos

More Mob Recipes to Die For. Meals and Mobs

The New England Mafia

Shooting the mob. Organized crime in photos. Dead Mobsters, Gangsters and Hoods.

The Salerno Report: The Mafia and the Murder of President John F. Kennedy

The Mob Files: Mob Wars. "We only kill each other"

The Mob across America

The US Government’s Time Line of Organzied Crime 1920-1987

Early Street Gangs and Gangsters of New York City: 1800-1919. Illustrated

The Mob Files: Mob Cops, Lawyers and Informants and Fronts

Gangster Quotes: Mobsters in their own words. Illustrated
Paperback: 128 pages

The Book of American-Jewish Gangsters: A Pictorial History.
Paperback: 436 pages

The Mob and the Kennedy Assassination
Paperback 414 pages


The Last Outlaw: The story of Cole Younger, by Himself
Paperback 152 pages

Chicago: A photographic essay.
 Paperback: 200 pages

Boomers on a train: A ten minute play
Paperback 22 pages

Four Short Plays
By John William Tuohy

Four More Short Plays
By John William Tuohy

High and Goodbye: Everybody gets the Timothy Leary they deserve. A full length play
By John William Tuohy

Cyberdate. An Everyday Love Story about Everyday People
By John William Tuohy

The Dutchman's Soliloquy: A one Act Play based on the factual last words of Gangster Dutch Schultz.
By John William Tuohy

Fishbowling on The Last Words of Dutch Schultz: Or William S. Burroughs intersects with Dutch Schultz
Print Length: 57 pages

American Shakespeare: August Wilson in his own words. A One Act Play
By John William Tuohy

She Stoops to Conquer

The Seven Deadly Sins of Gilligan’s Island: A ten minute play
Print Length: 14 pages

OUT OF CONTROL: An Informal History of the Fairfax County Police

McLean Virginia. A short informal history


The Quotable Emerson: Life lessons from the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: Over 300 quotes

The Quotable John F. Kennedy

The Quotable Oscar Wilde

The Quotable Machiavelli

The Quotable Confucius: Life Lesson from the Chinese Master

The Quotable Henry David Thoreau

The Quotable Robert F. Kennedy

The Quotable Writer: Writers on the Writers Life

The words of Walt Whitman: An American Poet
Paperback: 162 pages

Gangster Quotes: Mobsters in their own words. Illustrated
Paperback: 128 pages

The Quotable Popes
Paperback 66 pages

The Quotable Kahlil Gibran with Artwork from Kahlil Gibran
Paperback 52 pages
Kahlil Gibran, an artist, poet, and writer was born on January 6, 1883 n the north of modern-day Lebanon and in what was then part of Ottoman Empire. He had no formal schooling in Lebanon. In 1895, the family immigrated to the United States when Kahlil was a young man and settled in South Boston. Gibran enrolled in an art school and was soon a member of the avant-garde community and became especially close to Boston artist, photographer, and publisher Fred Holland Day who encouraged and supported Gibran’s creative projects. An accomplished artist in drawing and watercolor, Kahlil attended art school in Paris from 1908 to 1910, pursuing a symbolist and romantic style. He held his first art exhibition of his drawings in 1904 in Boston, at Day's studio. It was at this exhibition, that Gibran met Mary Elizabeth Haskell, who ten years his senior. The two formed an important friendship and love affair that lasted the rest of Gibran’s short life. Haskell influenced every aspect of Gibran’s personal life and career. She became his editor when he began to write and ushered his first book into publication in 1918, The Madman, a slim volume of aphorisms and parables written in biblical cadence somewhere between poetry and prose. Gibran died in New York City on April 10, 1931, at the age of 48 from cirrhosis of the liver and tuberculosis.

The Quotable Dorothy Parker
Paperback 86 pages

The Quotable Machiavelli
Paperback 36 pages

The Quotable Greeks
Paperback 230 pages

The Quotabe Oscar Wilde
Paperback 24 pages

The Quotable Helen Keller
Paperback 66 pages

The Art of War: Sun Tzu
Paperback 60 pages

The Quotable Shakespeare
Paperback 54 pages

The Quotable Gorucho Marx
Paperback 46 pages

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