Ron Baklarz's book “Better Be Home When The Streetlights Come On: Remembering the Summer of 1963” is available on Amazon.
If you are like me, I watch the news and see what is going on in the world today and I wonder what is going on. It seems everything that was once considered bad is now good and vice versa. In today’s tumultuous times, at least we Baby Boomers can look back on the kinder, gentler times of our youth. We didn’t have cell phones, social media, or video games. We drank from water hoses, rode our bikes without helmets, and had respect for our elders. And we all likely had a common curfew which was “Better Be Home When the Streetlights Come On.”
I wrote this fictionalized novel as a humorous, summertime version of The Christmas Story. Follow three, inseparable 11-year-old boys – Jack, Brain, and Chief as the older versions of themselves reminisce about the summer of 1963. The main characters are James Aloysius “Jack” Conley along with Jewish kid, Don “Brain”” Cohen and their African American partner Chris “Chief” Johnson. “Brain” was given his nickname since he was the smartest among the kids. And Chris was dubbed “Chief” since he claimed to have native American ancestry.
The backdrop is a small steel town - Braddock, PA which is outside of Pittsburgh, PA and lies along the Monongahela River. Detailed are brief histories about steel making, the steel town, and its fiercely industrious people. We take a memorable walk down main street, which could be any small-town street in 1963, with its shops and the characters who ran these businesses. The culture of the time is explored as a rich tapestry covering the overall storyline.
Their summer vacation begins at the end of the Catholic school term where they describe being taught by nuns, serving as altar boys and participating in Mass and special occasions. Chronologically, we follow the boys through their school picnic at Kennywood Park, and their adventures over the 4th of July, Boy Scouts, and Boy Scout summer camp. Finally, summer is over, and they make their way back to school for the next term. Please give it a read as it has been getting great reviews!
“If you are a baby boomer, this book will plunk you right back into your childhood…” Bonnie
“Excellent book about growing up in a small steel mill town! Brought back so many memories!” Janis K
“Nice fast paced look back into being a kid in western Pennsylvania some 60 years ago. In many ways this hits many of the same notes of Stephen King’s Stand By Me (sans the body). If we’re ever a kid this book will strike a chord with you. I enjoyed this.. recommended!” Chip P
“Having been about the same age as the characters in the book I can identify with being home before the streetlights come on. The early sixties was a far simpler life, no cellphones, electronic games, and social media.” John
About the Author
Ron spent four decades as Chief Information Security Officer for a number of high visibility and iconic American organizations - Naval Nuclear Program, US House of Representatives, Prudential Insurance Company of America, American Red Cross, and AMTRAK.
Ron is retired and lives with his wife in idyllic Amish country - Ephrata, PA.