Oliver grew up on America’s coastlines, mostly on military bases. Like all boys, he played good guys and bad and discovered trouble usually accompanied breaking the rules. Somehow he kept his name off the police blotters. Coaxing him into an afternoon of baseball, sailing, or hiking didn’t take much unless a book grabbed him first.
When the time came for the rites of passage, his high school best friend, Herb and he joined a Marine college program. Herb left school early, even though those were the days of limited options for males over eighteen. Later, after Oliver graduated and began his own military commitment, he stepped onto a sweaty tarmac in a foreign land not far from where Herb had died.
Thirty-one guys in his squadron flew days and nights over the mountains trying to keep the world safe for democracy. That’s not really true though, is it? The only reason they ever flew into those mountains meant a friend he’d never meet was hurt or had found his own trouble. A radio crackling “launch emergency medevac” still whispers in the black monsoons and invisible clouds.
Oliver traveled on to grad school and like many others spent a while wandering. The short stories Freedom, Synonymy, and Mr. Amala’s Soup, as well as the novel Western Sunrise, found life during those times. He taught a bit of high school on a reservation in New Mexico and spent time driving a patrol car. He even flew an airplane for a private company and went on to other endeavors that actually paid the bills. The first Smith Corona was not the last and begat a Zenith that begat a PC, the progeny of which still travels with him today. He wonders sometimes if the old manual typewriter lives in the bottom of someone’s closet or on the back shelf of a thrift store in Bangkok.
Pearl River Publishing