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This article was prepared for the August 7, 2002 edition of
U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
Did we ever mention that publishing is a bit like giving
birth? No matter how much advance planning you put into it, nor how
much effort goes into the birthing, you never know just what you’re
going to get.
So it is with the U.S. 1 annual fiction issue. The anthology of writing
by readers of our newspaper containing 26 short stories, 18 poems,
and one short play went out to the public on July 24, but it was our
big party, hosted by Barnes & Noble in MarketFair, that brought the
effort into focus.
What we got this year was possibly the most motivated (and hungry)
group of writers ever. Of the 45 authors represented in U.S. 1’s Sixth
Annual Summer Fiction issue, the number who were unable to attend
could be counted on the fingers of one hand. (This tiny minority included
poet Penelope Schott, who now lives in Oregon.)
Along with them came friends and family and even several writers who
contributed work that did not make the final cut for publication.
At one point 132 heads were counted. As is often the case, the poets
reading their work stole the show and also often brought meaning to
their work that might have been missed in a silent reading.
With our heart set on opening our reading with Donna Gelagotis Lee’s
poem about a poetry reading, fellow poet Joan Goldstein did a lovely
job with a smart poem (and late-arriving poet Lee even got to hear
it too.) Computer specialist Michael Brill brought dramatic flair
to his poem about banishing FORTRAN from the face of the earth. "Exorcism,"
Brill revealed, included lines lifted from Jobs Wanted ads posted
in U.S. 1.
Maryann Iocca introduced her poem about the 16 weeks she spent getting
to know a guy on the bench in front of the now-demolished Princeton
Public Library. Their romance didn’t fare better than the old building,
but we also learned she’s working on a "Guy-thology" of her
adventures in dating.
Charles H. Johnson, whose poetry has been selected for all six of
our fiction issues, read his "Easy Riding" fantasy about a
commuter who lusts after a big Harley that he can ride out West like
a man getting ready to . . . ride out West.
Poet and teacher Irene Willis traveled all the way from her new home
in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, to read "Princeton Morning"
to her former hometown colleagues in poetry.
The evening ended with a flourish. When our selection committee read
"Standing in the Checkout Line at the Shoprite" the image
of a 30 or 40-something feminist poet came to mind. But in fact the
poet was 16-year-old Kate Mende-Fridkis, whose bold and heartfelt
reading suggested both present and future artistic glory. We can only
hope that the future of our six-year-old Summer Fiction issue is as
bright as this 16-year-old’s.
Richard K. Rein’s "Letter from the Lake" (U.S.
1, July 17) struck quite a chord in me. I am glad there are others
who appreciate the character of that small part of Northeast Pennsylvania.
I grew up on Crystal Lake (about 20 miles southwest of Rein’s Wrighter
Lake). I left home during Nixon’s first year in office. I am still
When I think of Crystal Lake especially during July I think of cool.
Some years I’d need a jacket while watching the fireworks on the 4th.
I remember the quiet. I’d lay in bed with the windows open and hear
the coal trains leaving Carbondale for the climb up Mount Ararat.
I could hear the dragline as it worked the other side of the mountain.
They worked 24/7 like the railroad but that expression didn’t exist
I think of the sky. The midsummer sky was graced with the Milky Way
and stars of infinite variety. The daylight sky was filled with towering
cumulus clouds. The moon was so bright that even the bare branches
of winter left shadows. My future wife and I would skate on the lake
by a full moon. It was just us, the moon, and the sound of our skates.
It was so cold and dry the snow would creak like leather shoes.
Some things haven’t changed since I left Crystal Lake. The sky looks
the same though I look at it through Varilux lenses now. We haven’t
noticed any mosquitoes. My dad still lives there but alone now as
he nears his ninth decade of life. He bought the lots around the house
as they became available so they wouldn’t be developed. There are
no sewers on the Clifford Township side of the lake. I fear that the
sewers will come to Clifford Township before the township gets a master
plan. Imagine development without a plan.
Some things have changed. The road is busy all night. The traffic
never stops. Some of the farms have been subdivided. My cell phone
works on the front porch or second floor of my dad’s house now. The
new Scranton-Carbondale Industrial Highway makes the trip easier.
Easier for everyone. Crystal Lake is no longer really in the middle
I hope that "20 miles of bad roads" is enough to keep Wrighter
Lake from much change. I hope that it remains a place that the Rein
children will want to come back to, a cool place.
Milton G. Bainbridge
109 Wrangel Court, Princeton
bus ride from his home on Crystal Lake. After earning a degree at
Albright College in Reading, PA, he became a jeweler. He was reunited
with his high school sweetheart, the ice skater, at a class reunion.
At the time of their marriage Bainbridge moved to central New Jersey
so that his wife could remain with her job in Manhattan.
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