Riverside High, Hubbard Park, the boat house, Plymouth Church on Hampshire, Lake Park. These are the places you'll read about in a new book about Milwaukee's East Side.
Thelma Kamuchey and Jim Hanley -- these are the authors of "Fractured Tales of Milwaukee's Eastside." The list of friends they talk about in this self-published memoir of growing up on the East Side in the 1940s and '50s is both long and colorful. Ziggy, Snooky the Greek, Buzzy the Rat, Crazy John, Nuts Edna, Twelve O'Clock Noon ... these are just a few of them.
"Both of us have longed to tell the story about the unusual neighborhood we grew up in," the authors write in their introduction. "We considered it not only unique, but also exceedingly special. ... (a) wonderful phenomenon that no longer exists ... the neighborhood."
And that's the one of the keys to enjoying this very personal work. It's great for East Siders interested in their neighborhood, it's past and the colorful characters that apparently have always called it home. But, in the bigger picture, "Fractured Tales" -- with its stories of high school, hanging with friends, tales of famed places like the Pig 'n' Whistle -- can transport all of us back home, even if the neighborhood we grew up in wasn't the East Side of Milwaukee in the 1940s and '50s.
The adventures, the challenges, the friends, the nearly mythical (yet, actually quite normal) places -- we all have our own tucked away in our memories. Walking through the East Side with Kamuchey and Hanley and their gang of pals leads us off on a tangent where each of us can head back to our own neighborhoods, which like their East Side, were wonderful phenomena that no longer exist ... at least not exactly how we remember them.
As an added bonus, you can read about East Siders done good like Colleen Dewhurst and Mike Melvoin.
"Fractured Tales" can be ordered through authorhouse.com or at local booksellers. The book costs $14.90 in hardcover, $9.90 in paperback and $4.95 for the e-book.
The authors appear at Boswell Book Company on, where else, the East Side, 2559 N. Downer Ave., on May 15 at 2 p.m. There will be a party afterward at Champion's Pub, a tavern featured in the book.
In other local book news:
Two Kenosha authors -- criminal defense attorney Michael Cicchini and UW-Parkside lecturer Amy Kushner -- have co-authored "But They Didn't Read Me My Right! Myths, Oddities and Lies About Our Legal System," published in paperback bt Prometheus Books ($19). The two answer all kinds of legal questions in this surprisingly readable book.
Chapter one answers the question, "Is it against the law to look at someone the wrong way?" The answer may surprise you and gives you a sense of how the book works. The short answer is, yes, it can be illegal.
Some of the other questions:
- Can the police tell when you're lying?
- Can you make a citizen's arrest?
- If you accuse someone of a crime, can you later "drop the charges?"If you find lost or abandoned property, do you have to pay taxes on it?
- Do you have to go to law school to be a lawyer?
Jefferson author Faye Ellen Kufahl describes her new self-published book, "Nutterville ... and Other True Stories of Coping with Mental Illness" as, "a true story of growing up in Wisconsin during the 1950's with a sister who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. It is a heartwarming, yet poignant story that remains with the reader long after the book has been read. I write on topics in each story that talk of family dynamics and the stigma that often occurs in families who have a member with this illness. Also, in the book I discuss what it was like for me to find myself, as a social worker at age 55 in a shelter for abused and battered women. I touch on the struggle of finding a life for myself since then, and breaking the cycle of emotional abuse."
Kufahl also appears at Boswell Book Co. to read from her book. That event is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12.
Boswell's site boasts that the stories, "told by a superb storyteller, are deeply moving and will stay with you for the rest of your life."
Going a little farther afield, Bill Matthias tells the story of the 1977 fire at Minong in northern Wisconsin in "Monster Fire at Minong: Wisconsin's Five Mile Tower Fire of 1977," published in paperback by Wisconsin Historical Society Press ($14.95).
The most engaging section of the illustrated book is the one in which Matthias -- who was superintendent of the Northwood School District at the time -- recounts the work of three teenage firefighting crews that he launched.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.