Who is Paul Fronczak?

I saw a news story about this man, Paul Fronczak, a while back. In 1964 Paul was a brand new baby and stolen right out of his mother’s arms by a women dressed as a nurse at a Chicago hosp41wmn7ZsfrL._SX319_BO1,204,203,200_ital. Two years later the police found an abandoned boy outside a store in New Jersey. They brought in the Fronczak’s thinking it might be their boy. Dora and Frank thought it was and they took him home. For fifty years they thought their family was whole again. Paul always felt like something was amiss, that he really wasn’t who they said he was. When he had his first child he decided to have a DNA test done and found out he wasn’t Paul Fronczak after all. So began his search for the truth of who he is and why he was abandoned on a New Jersey street and what really happened to the real Paul Fronczak.

I was really interested in this true-life mystery and have been following the story on the Facebook page the news channel set up. Now Paul has a book coming out about his journey and the family he found. He also has a new website. He has a page for tips or info on the website too. Still looking for the real Paul. I thought you might find it interesting too! You can watch a news video from his hometown station HERE.

I’m excited to read the book. It’s available on Netgalley for review if you do Netgalley. I’ve requested the book.

The Sin Mark

by Margaret Page Hood – published 1963.    Although this is the last in the Fox Island books, its kind of a prequel as Gil Donan isn’t yet on Fox Island. He is mentioned once as having applied for the job as constable for the island.

Tom Caldwell was an off-islander who bought the island, Rolling Stone, and lived there for several years.  He left the island more than 50 years ago under a cloud of mystery and sin, living in sin there with local girl Mariah Winslow who had a large,dark red birthmark on the side of her face, a sin mark, according to the islanders. But every year the tax money for the island arrived nice and neat. Any extra left after the taxes were paid was to go to Mariah who lived alone on the island. Now Tom has died (Mariah three years earlier) and Fernald Clayter, selectman, has received a letter from the lawyer. Tom has set up a fund, interest to be used to pay the taxes on Rolling Stone, property to remain in the name of his estate, not to be sold, and trespassing forbidden. He’s left $25,000 to the township on Fox Island to be used at the discretion of the resident doctor for the benefit of children handicapped by disfigurement or with physical disability. BUT there’s a provisional. A separate letter was sent to the minister with instructions for the provisional, which was to be announced at a town meeting. And thus begins the gossip, anger and accusation throwing that turns the whole town on its head.

I don’t want to tell too much of the story as I’d rather it unfold for you as you read it, and I definitely recommend it as well as all of Hood’s mysteries. There is a great mystery that happened on Rolling Stone that precipitated Tom leaving the island suddenly and Mariah living on there alone and hermit like the rest of her life. Not only does this provisional bring about the truth of what happened on Rolling Stone nearly 50 years ago, but brings to the surface other ‘sins’ hiding on the island among its people. A little different from most mysteries, but fascinating! And of course there’s Hood’s beautiful use of language, sense of place and characters with meat on them.

My mom always sang Go Tell Aunt Rhody to the kids when she would rock them, but she only ever sang part of it and I never did know the whole thing. Mariah sang it in the book and now I know what happened to Aunt Rhody and the old gray goose!

                 Go tell Aunt Rhody, go tell Aunt Rhody,  Go tell Aunt Rhody the old gray goose is dead. She’s worth savin’, she’s worth savin’, she’s worth savin’, to fill a featherbed.

I’ve tried to find a picture of the cover of this book as my old hardback doesn’t have the dust jacket but I couldn’t find not one picture of a cover! I did find a copy of this book for sale at Abebooks that says it included the dust jacket in good condition, so the book drunkard that I am, I had to buy it so I could have the dust jacket and see the cover! But it won’t be here for a couple weeks. All her other books had lovely covers. She wrote one more book, Tequila, set in New Mexico. I’ve ordered it and now I’ll have all her books. I’ve tried and tried to find out info on her online and nothing. But yesterday I found correspondence between her and a woman with the Maine State Library on Maine State Library State Documents. They were written between October 1950 and April 1963. Fascinating! She gave her biography at the request of the woman. I took screen shots of the letter from Ms. Hood and will share it here for you. You can read all the letters here if you like. Ms. Hood was born in Connecticut 1892 and died in 1983, I assume in New Mexico.  Her Great Grandfather lived next door to the Longfellow family in Maine!

Update! I got the book with the dust jacket and now have a picture of the cover! Here it is…

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This book counts towards The Vintage Cover Scavenger Hunt @Bev’s My Readers Block. Silver era 1963 – shadowy or ghostly figure

Twelve Angry Men

img_20170204_221124_116-2Last Friday we went to a play at The Capitol Theater. Twelve Angry Men. It was excellent! They had the seats in a semi-circle around the set, right on the stage. Very intimate. The actors did a terrific job and it was such a powerful drama. The whole thing takes place in a hot steamy, crowded jury room. Tempers flare and arguments begin and we learn about each juror as they wrestle with the verdict.  We don’t even know the jurors names, they are just addressed by their juror number. I loved watching our system of justice work!

The jury of 12 men come into the jury room after a 6 week trial. A young Puerto Rican man has been accused of stabbing his father to death. He has a criminal record and circumstantial evidence is mounting. There is a neighbor that heard him say I’ll kill you and saw him run out the door of the tenement bldg. A woman across the train tracks says she saw him do it through the windows of the train as it sped by. Sounds like an open and shut case. Or is it? What exactly is ‘reasonable doubt’? If found guilty he will face a mandatory death penalty.

Here’s a quick clip of our play…

The young man in the suit with the bow tie with the beard reminded me so much of my youngest son! He even looked over the pair of glasses he wore exactly like Paul!

This play was originally written by Reginald Rose for a live teleplay for CBS in 1954.Two  movie versions came after, one in 1957 starring Henry Fonda and then another one in 1990 with Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott. I found the original CBS teleplay restored on Youtube! Click HERE to watch it. Or you can watch the 1957 movie HERE.

Paul said he read the book in high school. That might make an interesting read! Have you seen the movie or a play of it? Read the book? What did you think?

Starting this Thursday evening they are going to do a classic movie night at The Capitol the first Thursday of the month for three months. All Cary Grant movies! I can’t wait!

Someone Else’s Grave

by Alison 4494096Smith.

‘Miss Adams left her warm and sunny kitchen to drive to the cemetery on Mount Moriah with a load of freshly picked flowers for the graves. She had done this every Memorial Day for forty years.

Later that morning Chief Judd Springfield of the Coolidge Corners police found Miss Adams, again in her kitchen, face down on the white porcelain kitchen table in a pool of brown liquid. There was an ugly dark stain in the gray curls at the back her head.

But she wasn’t dead. Eventually, at the hospital, she could ask the police chief, “Did you go out to the cemetery?”  Judd Springfield said, “Yes, I did. You were right. Something has been going on up there. Someone has buried another body on top of Josiah’s grave.” “You mean,” she said slowly, “a new body?” “Yes.” 

Coolidge Corners wasn’t a big town, and Chief Springfield was a first-rate policeman. the solution of the crime (it was murder, of course) shouldn’t have been so complicated. However, life in Coolidge Corners suddenly became dangerous and almost too eventful, for a good many of its citizens. Perhaps because the murderer was aware of almost everything that was going on almost everywhere.’

This was a solid, absorbing mystery! I read it in one day. I liked the characters and the small town of Coolidge Corners VT. Three murders and two assaults later, Judd needs to catch this killer before anyone else gets hurt or worse killed! But the killer is very crafty and there is very little evidence.

I thought this was the only mystery by Alison Smith but just discovered there is one more Judd Springfield book! I’ve already gone over to Amazon and ordered a used copy! Ms. Smith didn’t start writing books until after four of her five children left home. She wrote children’s books. As a massive mystery lover she finally concluded that she should write a mystery. I’m very glad she did!

Vintage Scavenger Hunt -1983 Silver Era – Tombstone

240 Year Old Pickled Eggs

Actually a 240 year old recipe for pickled eggs! I came across this fascinating Youtube channel, Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. 18th Century Cooking when I was looking for different pickled egg recipes. We’ve been keeping a jar of homemade ones in the fridge lately. There are lots of interesting foodie info and recipes here. Click on the link above for the egg video.

They also have a great blog full of recipes and info, Savoring the Past.

And a Facebook page and Youtube channel and a website for ordering Living History items.

All of their recipes come from really old cookbooks and they sell some on their website. Check out the ebook The Lady’s Assistant on Google books. The egg recipe is from it. It was published in 1777!

I think I’ll try the pickled egg recipe, just won’t use the cochineal for the coloring 🙂