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Mahogany Jim and the Nightcrawlers and Other Tales
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From the dank cafeteria of PS 28 in the Bronx to the sun-drenched crest of St. Regis Mountain in the Adirondacks, Ralph Maltese's memoir captures the joys and struggles of growing up in the 1950s and 60s. Added to the typical experiences of a baby boomer immersed in the post-war years, then caught up in the turmoil of the Age of Aquarius, are the particular pleasures...and sometimes challenges...of Ralph's extended Italian-American family. Readers will meet Jim and Lee, Ralph's parents and the foundation of his universe, along with his pesky little brother Jimmy and his revered older brother Raymond. Then there is Uncle Louie, the opera singing uncle who always makes Ralph smile; fastidious Cousin Ralph, who invites his relatives out on his boat and gets more than he bargained for; Bob Jones, Jim's hunting and fishing buddy, who becomes both a mentor and a nemesis to Ralph...and many more unforgettable characters.Ralph Maltese was born in 1946, a propitious time for experiencing postwar euphoria, Cold War angst, civil rights protests and progress, the Viet Nam war and anti-war activism, the rise of feminism, and of course, the Beatles. In short, Ralph's life represents and reflects the turmoil of a critical time in history, and his writing makes that time come alive. He was born in the Bronx, where he lived until the age of 11.Ralph taught English for 38 years in the Abington School District. In 2002 he earned Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year status; trips to the White House as well as to Space Camp were highlights of his recognition, but the most significant benefit was the opportunity to meet dedicated teachers from around the country and the world and to spread the "gospel" of quality teaching. He is the author of two books about the art of teaching, A Class Act and Project Based Learning: 25 Projects for 21st Century Learning. A lifelong reader and writer, Ralph has distilled his childhood and adolescence into a memoir, with his dad Mahogany Jim at the core of many adventures and many lessons. These stories are not always happy-go-lucky, carefree tales...but they are true and meaningful and ultimately profound.
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