During the height of the Great Depression, author Robert McNally was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Almost immediately his family had to move to Middle Village, New York, where his father was offered employment with a crematory. The family was given a free-of-charge place to live located on the grounds of the crematory.
The crematory and the dwelling place were situated on a very large hill. A cemetery was just across the street. As a youngster, the author saw each day crematory workers, mourners and visitors. Occasionally he heard the sound of bugles and rifle shots coming from the cemetery. Because of the unusual atmosphere for a child, he got a sense of the Depression when he saw people outside his door and in the road wandering over the hill. They were persons out of work, Gypsies, beggars and hobos. They, in a sense were his friends, except for one playmate down the hill, Rosemary.
Mr. McNally did have a life after growing up. He spent 39 years as an Insurance Auditor despite never having seen the inside of a college or taking accounting or bookkeeping courses. Happily married for 60 years, he and his wife have two children, four grandchildren and live quietly in Floral Park, New York.
Once retired, he began writing a series of memoirs and occasionally submitted articles to newspapers and magazines. The author joined the Long Island Authors Group where he hopes to be successful in gaining a great readership. He's very optimistic.
The Boy Who Loved Girls
Author Robert McNally's third book in the series shows how things went for him from the age of eighteen until the age of twenty. One major highlight was meeting up with two friends who decided on burglary for the evening. Result for the author was a week in jail. It was interesting, at times humorous, and definitely worthwhile.
Less than one year later, Robert was back at the Crematory, not as a dweller, but as a maintenance worker. One evening at closing he was the only help available when a body was brought in for cremation. Robert was given the order to push the casket into the retort by the manager.
The deceased wore vestments of a monk, which he had been in Russia more than 30 years earlier. He was hated by the Bolsheviks and had to flee to America.
Before the Soviet takeover he had been a bosom pal of Rasputin and a dear friend to Czar Nicholas. As for Robert, he was the last person on earth to see the man dead, but there is no mention of him in history books. (If enough people read this final book in the series, I'll bet President Putin will give it a read.)
Published 2016, CreateSpace.com.
Sister Superior's Thumb, the Pope's Ring and the End of Childhood
Author Robert McNally's second book in the series opens with him helping a couple of runaways to reach home. The stories run from 1946 to 1950 and once again are filled with humor, excitement and adventure.
After quitting school at the age of 13, Bob began an amateur boxing career. The book helps readers recall their own youthful experiences as well as feel as if they are part of his gang. There are stories about never to be forgotten love affairs, gang fights and occasional run-ins with the law.
That grown-up feeling was creeping in and, even though the author's childhood had passed, the longing for it remained. I think the reader will enjoy the grown-up stories as well as the earlier ones. As they say, "We're all kids at heart."
Published 2013, CreateSpace.com.
I Had Jelly on My Nose and A Hole in My Breeches
What was it like for a three year old growing up during the Great Depression living on the top of a huge hill? Was it creepy living next to a crematory across the street from a cemetery? No. Author Robert McNally was that boy and he found it wonderful.
His neighbors were wandering Gypsies, beggars and hobos. He greeted them with big hellos and they returned the courtesy. Robert thought of them as his friends.
As the author grew older, school became a disaster, but the local railroad yards made up for it and seemed to beckon him to hop rides on freight cars to places near and far.
The book is filled with fun, excitement and adventure, but best of all was falling in love. Most interesting is when McNally hears from readers how much his stories make them feel as if they were right there with him.