This week, the sea stories on this blog will begin to move. The Freewheeling Freelancer will continue to carry non-fiction about living and working on the road, and about my bicycle travels. Meanwhile, the site jthine.com will host fiction and memoir. Each Saturday, I will post to one site and publish a link on the other.
Sea stories have been favourites on the porch in the evening ever since sailors have had grandchildren or buddies at the local pub. This week, I invite you to read or re-read the account of my growing up as an urban cyclist in Rome during the 1950s and 1960s. https://jthine.com/blog/. Enjoy!
Spring of 1986. It is time for the United States and Italy to re-negotiate their Joint Forces Agreement, the document that articulates the details of the military alliance between the two countries. As part of the process, the military delegations of the two allies meet to work on those details. Continue reading →
When I was four and five, Mom was the buyer for a national toy company. As you can imagine, we had obscene Christmases, because she could get the latest toys and games for wholesale or less. I remember having a pedal-powered Austin car identical to that of Prince Charles (his was green; mine was cream-coloured), and such luxuries. Continue reading →
I hope you have enjoyed Days of Lead, at least as much as I enjoyed writing it.
In addition to the usual reminders that all the characters are fictional and any resemblance to real persons is coincidental, I must point out that Days of Lead is not an historical novel. It is the fruit of my own imagination and my experiences growing up as a young translator in Rome.
About that time, Italy was rocked by extremist violence from both the right and the left, not to mention anarchists who hated both sides. By the 1970’s, these bloody years had acquired the moniker anni di piombo, Years of Lead, which inspired the title of this book. I have deliberately set the time of the story at a different point.
After I wrote the first draft, the Piano Solo papers were declassified. I was shocked to discover that my inspiration based only on rumors in the press and recollections of my teenage years had caused me to mirror many aspects of the real coup attempt in my story. I went back and changed characters and times drastically, lest you be misled into thinking that I was reporting on actual events.
Unlike Nancy, my mother was far from being a well-off executive in a multinational company, but she did make it possible for me to attend Notre Dame International School during the time in the book.
And, yes, I did buy myself a Vespa 50, after riding my bicycle in all kinds of weather for seven years.
=========== So what’s next?
I am already working on the second book of the series, as well as the sequel to Emily & Hilda, which ran in this blog during 2018.
I write this blog for your enjoyment more than anything. The two serial novels seem to have been a hit, but I need your input about where to take this blog.
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At the Naval Academy, the summers before our Third Class (sophomore) and First Class (senior) years were devoted to afloat training, with the 3/c filling enlisted billets on ships and the 1/c trying junior officer roles. This summer as Midshipmen Second Class, we were learning “everything else”. We went to Primary Flight Training (“Pri-Fly”) in Pensacola, Florida, to Amphibious warfare training at Camp Pendleton, Virginia, and to Submarine School in Groton, Connecticut,. I told you about Pri-Fly back on 21 May 2016 (https://freewheelingfreelancer.com/2016/05/21/sea-story-pri-fly-1967/). After learning how to fly, we headed north to Submarine School. Continue reading →
Bahrain is an island country, half way up the Persian Gulf. It shines like a white pearl in the shimmering blue water, almost in sight of the Arabian coast. Before the discovery of oil, pearl- diving was its main industry, and pearls still figure prominently in its culture. Continue reading →