Up from Adams Street (a memoir) by Larry Crane
Category: Adult Non-Fiction (18 +), 229 pages
Genre: Memoir | Publisher: Maine Authors Publishing
Release date: July 2019 | Tour dates: Sep 14 to Oct 2, 2020
Content Rating: PG-13. Mild mature content. No bad language.
Larry Crane brings the sensibility of the post-World War II generation and a family of modest means to his fresh new novelesque memoir, Up From Adams Street. Born at home, surrounded by a neighborhood of immigrant families that burst out of the confines of Chicago to buy a lot carved out of the corn fields astride the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy rail line. As the confessed family favorite, he had a lot of expectations heaped on his shoulders, along with a sense that he was destined to fulfill that destiny. He realizes that participating in sports is a potential entrée into worlds that seem beyond his little world. Plus, he loves the games. He plays baseball, football and basketball. He caddies at golf courses. As he grows physically, he senses the need to expand mentally and philosophically too. A scholarship helps, then a surprise appointment to West Point follows. At the military academy, he bends to discipline, survives mandatory boxing, battles mighty Notre Dame in basketball, pitches against the legendary Yankees, conquers Mechanics of Fluids, and Calculus, discovers F. Scott Fitzgerald, befriends Red Reeder, falls in and out of love, turns 23, and becomes a man.
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REVIEW by LAWonder10:
Up From Adam's street is a fairly interesting memoir by Larry Crane. The memoir begins at his very young childhood, moving, and of his youth and beyond his graduation from West Point Military Academy. He offers many enlightening scenarios and experiences..
Although very short for his age, he was competitive and had a positive attitude. This gave him the ability to grow in confidence and become accepted by others. He had an unusual relationship with an unusual but loving father. He was quite close to his two sisters and mother, also. He had a brother born when he was quite a bit older. I can only assume he became close to him as well, as they grew older.
He tells overcoming adversity in many ways. He details how he was able to get into college and then the confounding choice he had to make in staying into the college he originally chose or going to a college of his father's choice. He covers much of the college challenges he endured and the "coming of age" experiences he was faced with.
The book was interesting. He added humor and many poignant stories. However, in the first section, a couple of chronological events were "backtracked" and was slightly confusing for awhile. Also, the ending was vague. It needed more conclusion to that phase of his life. Even in the Epilogue, it wasn't concise.
I offer a Three and a Half Stars rating for this book.
*This book was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
PREVIEW THIS TRAILER BELOW:
-- Excerpt from Up From Adams Street: “The Galloping Ghost”
Sitting in the high school football stands the previous Saturday, watching others down there on the field fueled my burning envy. I could barely contain my need to approach Mr. Riddlesberger, the freshman football coach, to implore him to let me join the squad.
“Ever play before?” he asked.
“Sure”, I lied.
On the very next Friday, after classes, the team loaded into the school bus taking us over to Wheaton, for the first game of our three-game schedule, to play on the historic Red Grange Field in practice uniforms. No cheerleaders, no band, no announcer, no spectators. It was a warm, sunny day. The grass was sparse and brown from the trampling of a hundred thousand practice sessions. The field slanted up at one end. For half the game, we would be running uphill. That was okay, as we would be running downhill when we changed ends after every quarter.
If I ever got in the game, I would play defense because I’d not been schooled in the blocking assignments associated with each play, essential information for offensive linemen. (It wasn’t that the linemen were offensive in the sense of smelling bad or something. It meant they played when we Downers Grove Ponies had the ball, that is, when we were trying to score a touchdown.) But it wasn’t in the cards for me. As a latecomer, I was relegated to defense only. So I would have to content myself just crouching and crashing, looking for a ball carrier to tackle. Hey, you gotta start somewhere. The main thing was: I was on the field, a real live actual player.
It was an honor to tread the gridiron the legendary Red Grange had dominated in high school before he moved on to the University of Illinois and then to the Chicago Bears. I’d read about him. He was fast and shifty. Nobody could catch him. Fans filled the stands to see him wherever he played. He got his strength and endurance working as a boy on an ice truck delivering forty-pound blocks of ice.
So, like Dad and me, he always had a job. Birds of a feather. Certainly, some of Grange’s football magic would rub off on everybody playing on that field. Red Grange (the Galloping Ghost). It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t make the football team, that I’d be cut, that I was too small. I’d started out late, but that was a freak accident of not subscribing to the Downers Grove newspaper, that’s all. Yes, I was stuck playing guard on the umpty-umpth string of the freshman squad, but it was a temporary problem. The Galloping Ghost. What nickname would I ultimately be remembered by?
It was a slow, uneventful game. As the whistle sounded to end it, Coach Riddlesberger gathered the team for an announcement. “Good game, men. We can’t win them all. Better luck next time and all that. I’ve agreed with Wheaton’s coach that we’ll extend the game for a fifth quarter to give everybody a chance to play.” He assembled a team from among those of us who hadn’t yet seen action.
“Crane, get in there at right guard.”
My heart leapt as I clamped the helmet over my ears. My day in the sun. The referee whistled to start the “quarter”. Wheaton huddled, broke, lined up. I crouched for action, staring at the dirt, ripe for genuine bone-crunching contact. Every star begins somewhere. Even the Galloping Ghost only played “seventh team” for the Wheaton High Tigers at first. Then he went straight up to stardom. I looked up and across the line into the eyes of my Wheaton opponent, then to the
rest of him. He was a shrimp. Like me. And oh my, oh God, oh yes, he was missing an arm! Oooh. No kidding. Oooh. My balloon farted. Birds of a feather? Ha. Truth had out. Boola-boola.
Meet the Author:
Larry Crane spent the 1960s in a military setting, first at school at West Point, and as a lieutenant in Germany. He was an advisor to a Vietnamese ranger battalion in the Central Highlands. He took on a civilian career in brokerage and banking, retiring early to concentrate on writing, producing several full length plays most notable of which is Baghdad on the Wabash. Published fiction includes a thriller,A Bridge to Treachery, a mystery novel Missing Girls: In Truth Is Justice, and an anthology of short plays and stories, Baghdad on the Wabash and Other Plays and Stories. He lives with his wife Jan in splendid isolation on Southport Island, Maine.
Author Links: website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ pinterest ~ instagram ~ goodreads
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