Memories Are Like Clouds

Book Cover

by Diana J. Dell

ISBN: 0595001416

Memories Are Like Clouds
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Memories Are Like Clouds
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"Memories Are Like Clouds" immediately drifts back to childhood after the funeral of a soldier killed in Vietnam. Kenny and his sister Diana's young world was the mill-town neighborhood they inhabited with Eastern European immigrants and their offspring during the Eisenhower fifties. This touching memoir is a fond remembrance of growing up when life seemed simple.

Gliding on the porch swing while listening to their mother's stories of her youth, counting dead goldfish at the five-and-ten cent store, playing pick-up baseball games down near the dump, collecting Ralph Kiner and Stan Musial baseball cards, helping Daddy at his candy business, devouring Sgt. Rock comic books, and running numbers for the neighborhood bookie in a housedress filled those innocent days in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania.

In this book readers will meet dozens of memorable characters: Mrs. Trotaskovich, the widow across the street, who called her bowels "barrels" and ate prunes from morning till night; Herr Fromer, the traveling baker who sang opera on the radio; Cazzy and Sousha, the town's biggest gossips; Uncle Caz, who could tell when it was going to rain by the shrapnel pain in his back; the hunchback of All Saints Polish Roman Catholic Church; normally sweet Uncle Bobby, a Tourette's Syndrome sufferer; witchy Mitzy, the candy store owner; Mr. Jaztremsky, the washing machine repairman and Bataan Death March survivor; Mutzy Futzy, the neighborhood bully; war heroes Man Mountain and the PNA janitor.

Weaved together here are the universal and the particular, experiences shared with millions of other baby boomers (that first television set, polio season, iceboxes, telephone party lines, drive-in movies, "Amos 'n Andy," hula hoops, the milk man, Davy Crockett coonskin hats, "Sputnik") and those individuals and situations unique to a specific place or family (the ragman and his tired old horse, Father Shezocki's rumored-wife, the Polish Barber's dirty adventure magazines, Bupchie's chicken coop, shotgun weddings at the Slovak Club).

Every page has something wonderful -- a perfect turn of phrase, a trace of quiet wisdom. Here are great teachers, crabby neighbors, pious sinners, and valiant men and women, the everyday heroes who faced disaster with good cheer and usually muddled through.

This coming-of-age tale, filled with hope and old-fashioned values, will delight and engage and then, long afterward, persist in memory.

About the author:

Diana Dell was born in 1946 in East Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, where she grew up, and graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in journalism. Then, she worked as a journalist on a newspaper and also taught second grade. In 1970, after her brother Kenny was killed in the Mekong Delta, she went to Vietnam as a civilian with USO.

She was a program director in Cam Ranh Bay and director of public relations in Saigon, where she hosted "USO Showtime," a daily program on American Forces Vietnam Network (AFVN) radio. In addition, she set up "Feed the Children" programs in orphanages, coordinated programs and publicity for the 14 centers in-country, and escorted USO shows and visiting celebrities around Vietnam -- from the Delta to the DMZ.

Upon leaving Vietnam, during the Easter Offensive in 1972, she worked in Europe for a year as publicity director at the Frankfurt USO and two years as a freelance writer and photographer in Athens and Madrid.

After owning an advertising agency in Massachusetts for 10 years, she sold it and then taught Vietnam War history and journalism classes at Tampa College. Diana divides her writing time between Boston and Clearwater, Florida.