On the older work page of this site, I talk about occupying ghost-towns as a metaphor for the places we’ve been mentally, emotionally, vocationally, digitally.   In some cases, the journals where I first published flash fiction, prose poetry, and other work no longer exist.  The pages don’t load.  The links are broken.

In other cases, older posts on this blog have become ghost-towns.  Things I no longer wish to say are now Files Not Found. 

I write a great deal about where I’m from.  The story of the Rust Belt, and how my particular environment rusted out, has been (and continues to be) of primary concern for me.  Growing up in the shadows of what had once been glamorous, even famous, will do that to you; the actual color of rust on old blast furnaces and train engines fires certain creative paths that no amount of serotonin can counter.

Folks find their way here, to these posts, in all sorts of ways.  One of the more popular pieces has to do with Hess’s Department Store and what it symbolizes in the history of the Lehigh Valley.  Someone came here today with a simple query:  “where are the toy soldiers that used to be at Hess’s at Christmas during Christmas?”

They were big.  I want to say 15 feet high, maybe more. Until recently, they were on display every Christmas season at Zion’s Liberty Bell Church (the church that saved the Liberty Bell from being melted into British munition during the Revolution.  Also, my home church).  My understanding is that the logistics of storing and installing them are considerable.  I believe the City of Allentown owns them, but I’m not sure. 

These massive toy soldiers guard someone’s ghost-town.  Interesting to think about.