The WRITE Stuff in 19007
by Cate Murway
Have you ever driven through a small town and wondered to yourself, “What do people DO here?”
Well, let’s look inside…...
It’s charming yet quirky, this borough of historic Bristol on the Delaware, quite like taking a few steps back in time. You may even spot a porch or two…with people actually on it. Not just ornamental, pretend porches, but deep, roomy porches that invite passersby to come on up, put their feet up and have a glass of lemonade. Front porches say, 'People live here’.
This rather literary and artsy town is replete with the requisite local characters, boasting a sizeable number of authors and artisans, dominating the population and solidifying it as one of the best kept secrets in Bucks County. One can find beauty within the town, and living right inside of it as well, cherishing both community and quietude.
One is charmed the moment one steps out of the car! There’s something about small towns that gets ya every time; the history, the people, the quiet and the fact that small towns have big hearts.
“Come to Paul’s book signing!” The creaky gate swung wide at Regina McIntyre’s home welcoming a table full of creative wordsmiths and artists. 2sDay Writers met the second Tuesday of every month at Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library and Paul Sullivan had occasionally dropped in. Regina first began a “memoir group” after the “Oral History Program” so successfully wove its fingers throughout the community. Regina’s books, “Altar of Sod” and “Yesterday’s Pupils” are historic fiction.
Author Paul Sullivan’s book, “The Irishman's Song: A Story of Love and Rebellion” was released November 18, 2015 and he amicably agreed to provide a reading of his most recent book, available also on Amazon. Future book signings are planned in several Borough locations.
The table buzzed with enthusiastic chatter and the introductions began. Barbara Jean Zarrillo, the sole poet of the group, has a Masters in English. She also generously volunteers her time to Elizabeth Ann “Beth” Baker’, the founder and executive director of Deserving Décor and its ongoing projects.
Artist of Bristol on the Delaware/ former music therapist, Marty Shively attended Regina’s group for the first time and she felt encouraged to write, appreciating the connections and enjoying her experience. “Her short stories and essays are presented so succinctly; like a ‘slice of life’ essay.” Regina sincerely complimented Marty’s works.
Husband and wife team, Dennis Patrick, Jr. and Jeanine Mary McGee’s books came out at the same time. “I love writing and Dennis and I published our books together.” Jeanine is a 4th grade teacher at St. Mark School.
Dennis’ first book “Covered in Delco” involves high school students in the ‘90’s and the decisions they made. Dennis grew up in Delaware County, (Delco) PA in a great place called Havertown. “It's strange how different choices you make - even the simple ones - can take you on a path that eventually becomes your life.” His newest book, “Jesus Only Speaks the Truth”, [a non-fiction, of course], is coming out this week. “He keeps every promise He makes.”
Jeanine’s “Lost and Found in Sea Isle City” is riddled with raw emotions “somewhere between hurting and healing”, heightened by her father’s recent death. You can't live in the past, but sometimes the past helps you to remember how to live again.
“Sold many more copies than mine”, Dennis quipped.
Coincidently, during the introductions, the author Paul Sullivan had requested “Call me Paul” when Dennis and he met. Dennis recalled that Jeanine’s late father, Paul had repeatedly uttered the very same words to him.
Author Paul Sullivan was the first born of WWII veteran Paul Jacob and Anna Catherine [Mullar] Sullivan and they lived on Trenton Avenue in Bristol. His father worked at “Kingy’s”, King’s Farm near Morrisville as a foreman and his grandfather lived in the housing typical of that afforded to the agricultural workers on the “truck farm”. When his parents divorced, Paul lived in Tullytown until he moved with his father to the town of Oakridge, TN, eighteen miles west of Knoxville. “It’s where they did research for the atomic bomb”. His mother remarried and she and her new husband, Lou Johnson moved to Green Lane.
Paul returned to Bristol, dropped out of school in the 10th grade and found work at Chet’s Gas Station.
He learned how to drive when he was just 15 years old in the field behind the station.
His first car was a 1939 steel gray Plymouth priced at $15.00. He had $5.00. He worked off the other $10.00.
“I met a girl, got married”. He and a buddy, Bobby were “cruising” on Mill Street when they saw Dorothy Agnes Marie [Dutton], “the prettiest girl in Bristol” and her sister Helen walking. They offered them a ride. “I chose the quiet one, but found out a week later that she had laryngitis.”
Their marriage license cost $3.00 and Father Albert E. Glass united them at St. Ann Church on December the 27th.
Dottie worked at the counter at Strauss’ Drug Store where he purchased a cardboard angel for their tree for $.25. He still has the angel.
They had one son, Paul Stephen Sullivan and two grandchildren.
Paul worked in the Federal Steel Corporation for nine years and he decided that he needed to get an education. “I read everything I could read and took drafting and metallurgy courses at Temple at night.”
While working at White Engineering Corporation, drafting and calculating cost estimations, he began writing and decided to see the world. His extensive travels included Mexico, Columbia, Peru, the Amazon, Africa; several treks to Europe, Spain, and the Arctic, where he traveled with the Eskimos.
His first book, “Legend of the North” was published in the early ‘90’s.
Paul was widowed when his beloved Dottie succumbed to cancer, and his writing halted.
Some time passed and he resumed traveling. On a trip to Washington, D.C., he met his current partner, Eileen Gantley, a Dublin City lass, who was “fed up with the Irish weather”. In 1991, she came to America. Eileen is the model for Molly and several other characters in his latest book.
Meeting Eileen’s family in Dublin really assisted him in getting to know more about the Irish.
Reading gives your brain a different kind of workout than watching TV or listening to music.
These are all good reads. So, reach for an old-fashioned, printed book. Get it signed!
Schedule time to pop into the cute, locally owned shops and restaurants, enhanced by the Delaware Riverfront views. While Bristol soon may be one of the major ‘Meccas’ for authors and artists, you'll still just get to see them in places like Calm Waters Coffee Roasters savoring a cup of coffee. They are treasured members of this beautiful historic Bristol community.
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