We’re back here in the Author’s Corner with a story from author John Justice and he too, has something from the past to share.
It appears that not only is John a talented writer, but he is a musician as well.
Please make sure to keep reading once John’s tale is told so you can learn all about his writing work too.
BY: JOHN JUSTICE
I grew up on the New Jersey shore, mostly in Cape May and occasionally in Wildwood. I would walk through the streets, listening to the visitors who were vacationing there. Music of all kinds would come drifting out of the open doorways. In the sixties, there were many restaurants which offered live entertainment. As I learned to play myself, I wanted to be one of those musicians.
My first serious job was at Zaberer’s Angle Sea Inn in North Wildwood. Like many playing jobs in those days, it was a fluke. I was working with a trio led by Cappie Mathis. He played good tenor saxophone. One of his acquaintances was Mr. Jackson, a rhythm guitar player who was also blind. That man could play anything in just about any key. As a favor to my mother, Cappie added me and I played the piano. As time passed, we started to sound pretty good. I was learning, but I was still in high school. One of the places we played was a moose Lodge which was less than a block from Zaberer’s. One night, ed Zaberer came in and stood there watching me play. I had no idea he was there. At one point, he asked cappie if I could play something alone. I chose “Somewhere over the rainbow”. I loved that tune as soon as I heard it as a part of The Wizard of Oz. By then, I had lost my anxiety about playing in public and just enjoyed the tune. It must have come across well because Mr. Zaberer offered me a job in his restaurant. At first, I didn’t think he was serious but then, he called my mother to make the arrangements. He had her sign authorization which allowed me to play at Zaberer’s which sold alcohol. I was still under age.
After their long discussion, Mom took me to Robert Hall, and we rented a tuxedo. Several ruffled shirts were bought along with bow ties and matching suspenders. Mom looked at my shoes but none of them were good enough for this kind of work, so she invested in my first pair of dress black shoes.
I spent hours practicing and learning new tunes my mother suggested. I needed enough material to play for three hours. Finally, I was ready, and I can still remember that first night. I was excited and terrified at the same time. I worked on Fridays and Saturdays from six to nine PM. That was their busy period. People surrounded me and sat at the piano bar while I played. At first, I was asked for tunes I didn’t know but I always remembered them and tried to find recordings so that I could learn the music for the next performance. As the summer progressed, I became more and more comfortable with the job and really began to enjoy myself. Mr. Zaberer paid me fifty dollars for each evening’s performance. He did that in cash, but I signed a receipt.
My mother would take me to Zaberer’s each night and then pick me up later that night. Sometimes, Cappie would drive me or one of our family members would come for me.
At the end of august, Ed Zaberer thanked me for my performance and gave me an extra one hundred dollars. When my mother arrived, Mr. Zaberer shook my hand and told my mother that I was a very talented musician. She had been a big band singer in her own day. In fact, after that summer, I would often accompany her when we performed in some of her social clubs. She wrote skits and had me learn special music. I was so proud of that. She had never asked me to play for her before. I can still remember her saying, “I don’t want you to end up like I did. Music will eat you alive if you let it.” But, after that summer at Zaberer’s, I was already hooked. There is nothing which can compare to the feeling I get when I sit down and play. I am giving something to every person who hears me. To me, having them listen and enjoy my music is a rare gift.
I am a long way from Wildwood now and that restaurant has closed long ago. There’s an old saying which might be just right for this situation. “Every successful journey starts with a good beginning.” I believe that the summer I spent at Zaberer’s angle Sea Inn was a good beginning for my musical journey.
MORE ABOUT JOHN…
THE PADDY STORIES: BOOK TWO
Fiction by John Justice, C 2018
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online booksellers.
Cover, free text preview, author bio, buying links, and more: http://www.dldbooks.com/johnjustice/
Oakland, California – the 1950s
From the protected environment of California School for the Blind, Pat Chandler enters an ordinary public high school, where he and his blind friend Carlos are a tiny minority. How will the teachers and other students treat them? Most of them have never met a blind person before.
For Pat and Carlos, challenges of this type are nothing new. Fortunately, Pat has Lucy Candelaria beside him. Her love and support, along with his own strength and determination, will give him the help he needs to succeed. In young Becky Simonson, Carlos finds a friend and loving companion as well. As time passes, they all develop new maturity and deserved self–confidence.
Naturally, as Pat grows into young adulthood, the issues he faces become more complex. The Paddy Stories: Book One featured the journey of the orphaned boy from Philadelphia to California, then his new life with Doreen and Bob Chandler, the loving aunt and uncle who adopt him. Book Two is filled with much hard work, a few confrontations, and many accomplishments for the young characters and their elders. Whatever the challenge, be it moving, remodeling, starting a business, or rescuing an abused classmate, they meet it with courage, creativity, and mutual support.
Throughout the book, music is central to the main characters’ lives. Pat, Lucy, and Carlos gain fulfillment and fame as the musical group “The Miracle.” The beautiful piano on the cover is the same model featured in Chapter 9. There could be no better symbol of the art that brings Pat and his friends so much joy—and will for the rest of their lives.
John Justice is also the author of the following three books:
It’s Still Christmas (fiction, C 2015)
The Paddy Stories: Book One (fiction, C 2016)
Love Letters in the Grand: The Adventures and Misadventures of a Big-City Piano Tuner (nonfiction, C 2017)
Full details are on his website. See the URL above.
John’s books were edited and formatted by David and Leonore Dvorkin, of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/ They also designed the covers.
ABOUT JOHN IN HIS OWN WORDS…
I have been married to my wife, Linda, since 1981. We live in Hatboro, Pennsylvania. We don’t have any children. I have always found that being creative was a part of me. I have written many articles for publication and have published several songs. Writing is now, and will always be, my dream.
If you’d like to contact John, you can Email:
Or phone: 215-657-2577
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