"We met Earl in 1990; we parted seven years later.
So many little events had to fall into place before we met
that it seemed decreed Above for him to become "our" Earl.
He'd just chuckle to hear that, though...
"Those Jokers,"he'd say about us. "They knew I was strictly a loner."
...What we also knew was his biggest secret."
"Strictly A Loner"
is an off-beat, true story about aging, hoarding, money, lonliness...and acceptance
Softcover, bound, 32 b&w images.
Non-fiction; Biography/Memoir. ISBN 0-9713928-9-7
* More Sales Info Below/Commercial Buyers
Reviews "The wind was billowing out (Earl's) faded Air Force raincoat, and his bony figure was so like the spines of a kite that I expected him to sail upward at any moment. Only the weight of his shopping bags held him firm." ...So began the Baumgarten’s seven-year relationship with Earl, who moved into Room 7 with his collection of paper sacks that stored such items as, amazingly, more paper sacks, catsup packets and free bank pens secured in bundles of 10 by rubber bands. Baumgarten ponders her own and society's views on aging, on mental illness, about people who are different, who fascinate and frighten children... "Strictly A Loner" is about building trust, about doing the dance of coming close to express concern yet staying far enough away to respect personal space. It's a thoughtful, loving and humorous memoir about a man who let go of enough of his reclusive bent to enrich the lives of a family he made his own." -Suzanne Moore, The Press Republican
"Earl could have been one of the thousands of homeless veterans who have some form of undiagnosed mental illness... This could have been a heartbreaking book, but Baumgarten found the best in Earl. Her stories are humorous, and always compassionate. She introduces the reader to a man who loved no one, yet she writes eloquent, moving stories about this loner whom her family loved right up until the day he died."
-Lake Champlain Weekly
Plattsburgh's Poorest Millionaire helps the author solve a murder mystery!
Check out "Finding Julia" on page 7 of the Lake Champlain Weekly
(Excerpts) "Cheesecake in Breslau"...When I was between the ages of eight and ten, I built tree houses and laid in the tall grass watching the clouds go by. When another little girl was that age, she waited at borders, was crammed into boxcars and picked through the ruins of her childhood home hoping to find a few potatoes...
"Christmas in Oz" ...I entered cautiously, never having eaten in a restaurant on Christmas...I wondered what similar hex had been cast upon the other misfit guests.
"Tidings of Comfort"As I munched on tree-shaped cookies, kids my age in Biafra were walking skeletons...In despair I bowed my head.."Hate is strong and mocks the song of "Peace on earth, goodwill to men..."
"It Won't Be Christmas Without You" ...I will let myself shed the odd tragic tear over the loss of my annual tradition of having to beg my mother to come visit for Christmas...
"An Away Manger" ...I would stare up at the tinseled Christmas tree and then over to this tiny family and feel not of this earth...
What Readers Are Saying
"It is great! We all sat around reading it aloud. You would have thought us very Norman Rockwell, everyone taking turns reading a page or two. We had both my parents, kids and hubby and I. Fire going, sipping wine and eggnog... You made our Holiday memorable!"
"The final story in “An Away Manger” caused a certain wetness to occur in my eyes. I will, of course, deny ever forming a tear. It has to be the best I have ever read. “Go Straight or Turn” was also tops for me. You really are a very talented writer and I do feel enriched for knowing you and having had the pleasure to read and share your stories. Besides...I am a Southerner...we love stories!"
$3.95 PayPal plus S&H
"An Away Manger" is only available from the Author, through PayPal, by mail, at The Corner Stone Bookshop in Plattsburgh, NY or at Studley's Printing and Publishing in Plattsburgh, NY
Ordering by mail: Send check or money order for $5.50 (incl S&H) c/o author to
18 Elm Street
Plattsburgh, New York 12901
~The Button Box~
A collection of popular sentimental tales
$4.95 plus S&H
"The Button Box " is only available from the Author, through Paypal, by mail or at Studley's Printing and Publishing in Plattsburgh, NY.
Send check or money order for $4.95 (plus $1.05 S&H) to:
18 Elm Street Plattsburgh, New York 12901
"Band of Fathers"Maybe it was just coincidence that my father bought a house near WWII veterans like himself; maybe there were so many of them that it couldn't be avoided. However, none of that mattered to me as a child. What did matter was the subtle influence of those men; it changed my life and I didn't even know it...
"The Button Box"I just couldn't believe what I had found. There was only one other person alive who could identify where that ugly old, fabric-covered button I was holding came from...
"The Smell of Snow" There is snow that is funereal, falling with grim determination from dirty clouds which hang so close to the earth that you want to get a pole and poke at them. "Go away, stupid snow-clouds!" you want to yell, but they never listen...
"He's So Fat"I bit my lip and hoped my old friend had found all his own searchings met in that tiny space I had given him, that brief world we created for ourselves in the space between my lap and my hand...
"My Portable Heaven"There are things that are childish, things that are child-like and there are better things, which only the heart of a child knows and sees, because the world was created to be a wonderful form of heaven...
“North Country author Kathy L. Baumgarten was born in Niagara Falls, travelling to the Persian Gulf, sunny Hawaii and Europe. Along the way, she’s had off-beat experiences and met many colorful characters, which she draws upon for her tales and essays. Sometimes sentimental, often humorous and always perceptive, her essays, which appear in her Lake Champlain Weekly column “Jabberwocky,” address the essential joys, sorrows and conflicts at the heart of the human condition.
Whether the subject is her military service in Kuwait, a visit to the London Zoo with a nursing toddler, assisting locals in the clean-up of post-Hurricane Katrina Mississippi, or observations on the quiet beauty of Adirondack snowflakes, her unique storytelling voice makes her a ‘must-read’.”
Except from "In The Basement," my story of how I found my faith in an unlikely place:
"Thunder and lightning come and go in our lives, but therein lies a lesson. When the sun comes out again, the raindrops on the leaves will sparkle like diamonds. If we stand long enough to watch the last of the clouds blow away we will also see that the storm had nourished us in a way that we could not predict. It was in such a storm that I learned to have hope..."
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