The Reach of a Story … 2 Actually!

by | Mar 3, 2024

Above: Pep Lorenson, the inspiration for Bruce’s Swamp Rat Jackson story.

I would like to share some things that have happened to me over the last two weeks, that demonstrate the power of modern communications, and of the East Greenwich News, reaching out all over the country.

Though not up on the latest (still do not have a cell phone) – I am a smoke signals kind of guy caught up in all this technology – I do have respect for it and how far reaching it is.

About two weeks ago I received an email from Donna Rice (husband Cliff, now deceased, was a classmate and friend) and Caroline DeRensis (husband Bob, now deceased, was a teammate and distant relative), down in Florida.

The email said I was getting a package in the mail containing a framed picture. They said Cliff and Bob had passed it back and forth as a kind of shared tradition. I could not figure out what it could be about, or, who.

On February 21 the package arrived.

It was a framed picture, about 16×20 of Pep Lorenson, who was the subject of my story “Swamp Rat Jackson.” In the picture he had a beard and a dog and his residence appears to be a thrown together shack, most likely somewhere down in Scalloptown, and even more likely near the dump, where he used to reside in discarded packing crates.

Donna and Caroline want me to find a proper “home” for the picture. Britt Gammons suggested “Mulley’s” (Oaks Tavern). It is owned by my cousin David, and would be a good spot. However, I heard that it going to be sold (more condos for the old neighborhood?).

If any of your readers have a suggestion, let me know. Pep was a town character (read Swamp Rat Jackson Parts 1 & 2) and part of “old” East Greenwich’s lore.

Then, as if the “old Swamper” popping up on me wasn’t enough, I received another email.

This one was from someone named Caine. Seems he was researching his grandfather, who was a tremendous athlete in high school. While doing so he came across my story of an adventure I had 60 years ago, “The Summer of Marvin Ghost Bear.

That’s right! I heard from Marvin’s grandson, Caine Ghost Bear, an Oglala Sioux, from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He was looking for information on his grandfather, and came across my story. He said it really was great and brought back memories for him and his family. WOW! I was blown away. We have stayed in touch.

 

As I often go back and touch base with the places I have been, and the schools where I taught and coached (nine schools in five states), I checked out the Pine Ridge High School Thorpes (named after Jim but mascot is Native American with headdress) and found that their current  star football wideout is Domonic (spelling correct) Ghost Bear. I emailed Caine and yep, Domonic is his nephew (he gave me the lineage). 

So, it is amazing to me how far my stories have reached. I write them for East Greenwich, in particular the SOTE* folks from old EG, and they have been, at least, sent all over the country, maybe even around the world. Once I heard from a grandson of Dr. Young, who was out west somewhere, but, had read my story on the good doctor. Also got some feedback from Germany, England, China and Russia on other postings. Makes my head spin.

As someone once said, the pen is mightier than the sword (though I think you should be able to wield both, and maybe know how to shoot too). I am happy that my “pen” has reached so many and given them a lot of joy. Joy, and laughter, love and famiglia is what I preach and what the world should be about.

I leave you all with Much Love AND In the Spirit of Crazy Horse (you have to read the book).

Happy St. Joseph’s Day and Buona Pasqua to all!

*Salt of the Earth

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Rick Fava
Rick Fava
March 4, 2024 9:22 am

Great story Bruce, always enjoy your tales of old E.G.
Rick Fava

Sarah
Sarah
March 4, 2024 9:57 am

Pep was a friend of my grandfather, Tiny Wilson. He lived by my grandfathers shanty

Claudia M Smith
Claudia M Smith
March 4, 2024 1:40 pm

Beautiful photo.

Ray Riccio
Ray Riccio
March 4, 2024 3:51 pm

Pep lived on a family farm on Cedar Avenue. It had a 4-5 stall carriage-house/garage that would burn down. Eventually as I recall he lost his house to fire. Pep served under Patton during WWII.

Pep was a friend of Tiny, Shine, Hump. If Tiny knew your family such as Ucci, during winter months after skating on the cove he’d invite you in have you take your skates off only to put your feet up by the potbelly stove to warm up.

I wouldn’t see Pep until after I returned home from the Service. One night Johnny Z shows up with Pep at my apartment on Duke. At the time Pep was affiliated with Sally’s (Salvation Army). He had keys to local clothing boxes and I just happened to have a 1951 Ford Pickup. After completing about five or six runs filling up the bed of the truck each time there was a mountain of clothes in my apartment. Throughout the next couple weeks people in the neighborhood had their pick. Anything left over was returned.

I figured if Steinbeck knew of Duke, Queen & the EG Waterfront not much would differ from that book he wrote on Monterey. Especially considering what the Harborside was at one time.

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