Oh! What A Ride By Alice DiNizo
There are far too many news announcements about school bus accidents across the
It is tragic to learn of the injuries and deaths that occur when a school bus
collides with another vehicle or flips over on a dangerous curve.
Now, back in my school days of long ago, school bus accidents were rare, but I guess that’s because back in rural
Vermont in the 1950’s no one drove fast and
everyone respected the right of way of a school bus. Our regular drive was the
town barber, Tim Summers, who picked up a few extra dollars safely carting us
kids to school and back home again. Tim was as faithful as can be. He knew
where every kid in town lived and where to leave kids off and where to pick
them up again the next morning. And good old faithful Tim almost never called
in sick or took time away from his bus duties. But on the few times that he
did, boy, did all of us on the third run have one good time!
Tim’s substitute was Randy Callaghan. Now Randy’s family owned a big farm at the west edge of town and his steady girlfriend, Gail Ross, lived on a farm just beyond the Callaghan’s north field. Randy was a good driver, a steady driver, but he could drive fast as the wind, and that’s just what he did with all of us kids on the third run. By the time Randy got back to school and filled the bus for the last time with us “third runners”, he’d had just about enough of screaming, jumping kids and one stop after another with kids piling off the bus and onto their way home. Randy would put the bus’s pedal to the metal as they say and he drove us all home in record time. It was the hour when he headed back home to milk the cows after visiting with Gail over the fence between their farms. As fast as he drove, Randy never put anyone’s life in danger and we loved every minute of our greased lightning trip with him. Oh, what a ride!
About Alice DiNizo
Alice DiNizo's resume may include entire decades spent as a children's librarian, but the recent retiree's rookie effort as a novelist is anything but PG-rated.
The former South Plainfield resident and ex-Plainfield Public Library librarian is the author of "Imperfect Past," a recently published novel that treads over dark ground such as childhood abuse, racial tension and serial murder. But DiNizo, who goes by the pen name J.B., said her story, at its heart, is a tale of survival and perseverance.
"I survived a very great deal in my life," said DiNizo, 64, "and I think out of that survival came the gift of writing."
According to the author, inspiration for some of the book's first few chapters came from her own experiences of being physically abused as a child growing up in Vermont, during an era in which "they called child abuse "discipline.' "
The novel goes on to chronicle the life of protagonist Annie Phillips Murray, a white woman who falls in love with a black police officer during World War II in a town called North Hadley — which she said city residents instantly will recognize as Plainfield. DiNizo, also a former librarian at Washington Community School on Darrow Avenue, said the choice of setting was easy.
"I've tied everything in the book into Plainfield," she said, citing buildings and street names that only have been altered slightly in the text, if at all. "When I came to this area and first saw Plainfield, I fell in love."
DiNizo said the novel's plot includes three narratives bound together — one detailing the protagonist's checkered youth, one detailing a series of gruesome crimes being investigated by her love interest, and a third detailing the stubborn persistence of the characters' relationship in an era of intolerance.
After writing recreationally for more than 20 years, DiNizo, of Toms River, said she is warming up to the idea of having more novels published during her retirement years. With four more works already completed, DiNizo said she plans on seeing if Eloquent Books, the publisher of "Imperfect Past," is interested in seconds.
As for Plainfield Public Library director Joe Da Rold, he was pleasantly surprised to hear a former employee he said had a connection with the local community now is a published author.
"I had no idea that she was doing some writing," said Da Rold, who added that DiNizo will participate in a December book signing at the library along with a group of other local authors