Buccino publishes book for history lovers

A New Book for Nutley History Lovers 

Nutley Notables: The Men and Women Who Made a Memorable Impact on Our Home Town, Nutley, New Jersey 

by Anthony Buccino

Nutley writer and author Anthony Buccino has published Nutley Notables, the Men and Women Who Made a Memorable Impact on Our Home Town, Nutley, New Jersey. 

Buccino published more than fifteen books including four essay collections, three military history books and seven full-length poetry collections.  He has been called ' “New Jersey’s ‘Garrison Keillor” or something to that effect.’ His poem  At The Vet has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

The township of Nutley, New Jersey, has accumulated a wealth of celebrated and eccentric people who over-shadowed the salt-of-the-earth folks who lived here, raised their families and built the town into the place that Norman Rockwell only dreamed of illustrating for the cover of the  Saturday Evening Post. This new book profile nearly 200 townsfolks,  some you may know and many you will not forget.   


My Friends in Nigeria

I can't believe it's been so long since I've heard from my friends in Nigeria.
But, hey, I can sure use the money now.

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220


On Behalf of the U.S.A Government in conjunction with NIGERIA Government, I wish 
to inform you of your selection as

one of the Beneficiary for the on going 2014 Second Batch USA Government Poverty 
Alleviation and Financial

Empowerment Program worldwide. All participants/beneficiaries were selected 
randomly from worldwide online networks

Directories as a beneficiary of $20,000,000.00 (Twenty Million, USD).


Go Ahead, Eat a Pretzel at the Football Game

It was a terrific job. They sent me out from under the concrete bleachers into the crowds and I yelled, “Pretzels! Pretzels!” and people would call me up the rows and rows of bleachers to buy a pretzel or two.


... On autumn Saturdays through those treacherous teen years the different age groups would appear at the high school game for sundry reasons. Most pre-teens actually went to watch the game and root, root, root for the home team. 

 The pubescents sought out their own, and like strange dogs meeting for the first time, they spied, sniffed and checked each other pubescent and gathered under the Saturday sun.

My best friend, Teen Angel, worked at a local bakery-deli for a few years. His uncle Harry pushed and pulled and got him in with Ed Strat at Belle Maid on Joralemon Street near the Rec House in Belleville... That's how I ended up selling pretzels at the high school games...

Continue reading

Read: Greetings From Belleville, New Jersey by Anthony Buccino


Rainy Day Children of the Summer

Kids in my old neighborhood found fun things
to entertain them during a summer storm from watching
the sidewalk steam away its heat to dodging raindrops
to call one another out to play.

The best part of being a kid on Gless Avenue in Belleville in the 1960s was having four cousins - Patsy, Tommy, Bobby and Lorraine - living next door, and about a dozen other kids all just a few houses up or down our dead end street.

For a few years, my Dad’s older brother Joe lived by himself downstairs from us after Gram died. Uncle Joe was old then, to me, anyway, and had no kids of his own, as far as any of us knew. And it seemed to us as if he was already retired, or simply too worn out to work anymore.

Someone called him a babysitter once because he had a half dozen kids and me playing on his front porch. He just smiled at the babysitter remark and waved his hands in a "suffer the little children" gesture.


Scouts hike in search of nudist camp

After breakfast our troop packed up
and followed Hiney, our Explorer,
past the swamp end of Wildcat Lake,
over the mountain in search of the nudist camp.

Hiney knew from other scouts that if we went over the mountain we'd find a road and from that road it was a short walk to the nudist camp somewhere near Blairstown, where anything could happen to pubescent boys.

This was the second week of our stay. We were bored.

First week of summer camp was typical scout stuff. The nature trail had several different kinds of pine trees you could determine by the number of needles in a bud. You followed a colored plate on the tree and that kept you on a trail. A counselor would explain what you were looking at. "It's much more than a tree, it's an evergreen pine tree," and such.

Jersey Shore Envy

This whole beach thing, changing, badges, outside shower,
was alien to me. I might as well have been from Wisconsin
for all the time this Jersey boy had spent down the shore.

When my childhood friend regaled me with tempting tales of sun, sand and surf at the Jersey Shore, and all the good times I missed, he planted the seed for a chronic case of Jersey Shore envy.

Joey, another childhood buddy, had told me of his family taking bus trips to Seaside Heights, and all the grown-ups from his old Montclair home were singing, "Hail, hail, the gang's all here, what the hell do we care now!"

So, there we were, two very white guys about to fry on the beach, or die of windburn from the sand showers that washed over us. The water was way too cold to go in. The penguins were tussling with polar bears for the last blocks of ice. Lou and I could take a hint. 

The two of us North Jersey kids just stretched out on a towel in the late spring sun and enjoyed the privacy of having the entire Seaside Heights beach to ourselves.

Continue reading Jersey Shore Envy


Chasing the mosquito man

For all the DDT -- Drop Dead Twice -- sprayed
on hot summer evenings, the killer fog never seemed
to eradicate mosquitoes (or lightning bugs). One always managed
to squirm through a tiny hole in the metal screen
and spend most of the night buzzing your ear.

I saw the greatest minds of my dead end street running into the blue mist of the sweet-smelling cloud behind the Essex County Mosquito Man's Jeep.

Summer in the 1960s, and the living was good.

Sticky fly paper hung over the Maytag wringer washing machine next to the kitchen sink. Melmac cups were neatly stored on the yellow contact paper on the shelves behind the glass doors. Sometimes, you'd bug Ma while she was cooking and get to eat a raw hot dog. It was just like rolled baloney from Prosperi's around the corner store.

Continue reading Chasing the mosquito man


Alas, Wildcat Lake Is Now Catfish Pond

One ingredient in the summer camp bug juice
was water from Wildcat Lake,
another was genuine bugs from under genuine
Appalachian Trail rocks, and the last was lots
and lots of sugar to help keep all those little campers
excited about being away from home for two weeks.

My first overnight camping trip was at the scout camp at Wildcat Lake. It was a cold Friday night in January and we lugged our equipment up the trail to the rustic open-air cabins.

Our troop leader and the older boys draped the tents across the front and sides.

Shining our green handled right-angle flashlights into the dark woods we scampered through the cold evening prying frozen logs from the crusty ground.

A wet-boot detail disappeared with the Jerry jugs and returned with the water we would need for the night.

A coffee pot and some large sauce pans were set on the open fire to boil the lake water.


Summer Peaches and Tomato Gardens

Watering the garden was a chore best completed before sunset.
After sunset, starving squadrons of Jersey mosquitoes
searched ravenously for the warm-blooded.

Sucking on a peach pit is the perfect way to while away a steamy summer afternoon.

Roll it around carefully and use the pointed end of the pit to pick out the strands of peach fuzz and pulp between teeth.

All this while the taste of fresh peach tingles through your cheeks.

One of the first things Dad did when we moved into the big house in Belleville was to chop down the black walnut trees and plant a half-dozen peach trees in their stead.

It wasn't long before the low growing peach trees bore fruit and we filled baskets while we decided what to do with the bounty.


The fountain of youth under the pipeline

The fountain of youth under the pipeline
Four decades later, I return to the pipeline. The dragon's
tail is less pronounced, and full-grown trees
hide the view of homes on Sycamore.

“Hey, Ant! You got a third eye!” Gary yells but it doesn’t help me see much better.

Fumbling, I pick up my twenty-six-inch Schwinn, but I drop it just as quickly. Then pick it up again. Holding it up, it’s holding me up.

Gary is staring at me. I sense this more than I see it. Can’t see much of anything really. Gary looks like a tree, the bike in my hand, a tangled red bush. The world isn’t spinning but it’s coming in cloudy.  I sense something tremendous has transformed my eight-year-old body.

“That’s what happens when your bike hits a rock on the pipeline,” Gary explains.


Waiting for Jerry the Ice Cream Man

Hot summer nights on our dead end street 

were full of mosquitoes, fireflies, kids playing Sputnik, 

and an interminable wait for Jerry the ice cream man.

Back in the day, our refrigerator's freezer was the size that fit two ice trays and a pound of chop meat. Then that small cool space froze over and there was never room for ice cream except at your birthday!

Back in the day, our refrigerator's freezer was the size that fit two ice trays and a pound of chop meat. Then that small cool space froze over and there was never room for ice cream except at your birthday!

It was the same way up and down the block on Gless Avenue in Belleville, N.J. Anybody who got rid of their ice box and got an electric refrigerator had about the same amount of freezer space.

Unlike an actual ice box, think: the kitchen on The Honeymooners, where you put in a block of ice and it melted water into a pail underneath, these new-fangled refrigerators used electricity to take heat and make cold.


Patch Drops Buccino's Blog Archives

Hey, folks, I looked at the Belleville-Nutley Patch for my blog posts that everybody liked so much and they seem to be gone.

Maybe you can find them, but I can't. Perhaps they needed the storage space for less local stories. I don't know. But I can tell you what that means. That means that you won't be able to find my blog posts about growing up in Belleville in the 1960s on Patch.

You'll either have to look on Anthony's World to see if any are archived there, or you'll need to read them in Greetings From Belleville, N.J. -Collected Writings.

Anthony Buccino, Belleville Patch columns, “Don the TV Man,” “Penny Candy from the Corner Store,” and “Gary’s English Racer vs. My Schwinn” earned the 2011 Society of Professional Journalists award for media affiliated blog..

UPDATE: We found the link to Anthony Buccino's archives.
UPDATE UPDATE: They are gone again.


Ghosts of Birthdays Past

"...The year I turned 19 my birthday drew the Selective Service Draft lottery number 319. Had I been born on June 6, my lottery number would have been 127. And I'm so glad that our family doctor gave my mom the wrong date. 
Had I been born on Memorial Day that year, my lottery number would have been 19, like my age. I would have found myself working in the service of Uncle Sam and likely sweating the last of my teen years in a foreign jungle instead of a coffee warehouse in Moonachie, N.J....   
I grew up with my Army men. They pounced on each other, shot each other, blew up on our living room rug, were bombed by all sorts of toy planes, attacked enemy convoys – all while my father, nearby, watched our black and white TV or slept in his recliner. He never said anything when I had my armies lined up to face off for battle...."
Continue reading The Longest Day for a Birthday


Taking Your Labrador Retriever Fishing

The first year I had my johnboat, I took Libby, my black Labrador retriever, fishing with me at Lake Musconetcong. 
Fortunately, I was not too serious about fishing that day because Libby took to the lake like she had canvasback in her A.K.C. lineage. 
All Labrador retrievers, Libby included, have webbed feet and what is described as an otter tail that acts like a rudder to help them swim. 
I should have realized Libby would enjoy the water and mud, after all, Labradors are used to retrieve ducks from half frozen marshes in winter. 
Libby was having the time of her young life. 
I regretted showing her, or, I admit, throwing her, out of the boat and into the water. 
I tried to row away from her but she swam faster than I rowed. 
When she climbed into the boat, she got even with me for trying to leave her behind. 
I remember seeing a doggy boat ramp in a catalog, but I hadn’t ordered it. 
Libby got her monstrous front paws on the side of the boat and looked at me to help get the rest of her seventy pounds of fat, smelly, wet dog into the boat. 
How could I resist that look? It was the same look she used on me at the puppy store to make me pick her out above all the other pups.
Continue reading


Anything I want - original

I'm thinking of that film with Robert Redford in it, where they tell him he's running for office and they write on a matchbook how the race will turn out before he enters "YOU LOSE".

And then there's that
movie with Russell Crowe in it, (it was partly shot in Belleville across the street from where I lived) and you finally go into his garage where he's been working on his top secret projects and the walls are full of scribbles.

Also, there's the fact that there are more than 50 million blogs and the odds of any significant number of surfers stopping here and reading this is totally insignificant. Three or four hundred visitors compared to the billions of surfers out there and, well, you see what I mean. If I mention naked pictures of Britney Spears or Madonna naked, or Paris Hilton without her pants, that will get a lot of perverts to visit but how many will actually read anything?

Well, I can write anything for the same reasons, you see, nobody reads this, for one, and when they finally enter the archives of my poetry and prose, here's what they'll find in file after file on page after page:

Sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum Et harumd und lookum like Greek to me, dereud facilis est er expedit distinct. Nam liber te conscient to factor tum poen legum odioque civiuda.

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum Et harumd und lookum like Greek to me dereud facilis est er expedit distinct. Nam liber te conscient to factor tum poen legum odioque civiuda. Et tam neque pecun modut est neque nonor et imper ned libidig met, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed ut labore et dolore magna aliquam makes one wonder who would ever read this stuff? Bis nostrud exercitation ullam mmodo consequet.


I Work From Home and You Don't

There are always too many people milling around the station. They have time to sit around, read a newspaper, have coffee or breakfast, or wait in line to buy a magazine or a winning lottery ticket out of this rat race. Well, that is what it's all about. I mean we all want to get out of this rat race. 
We know the rats are winning. Remember that ugly blue-striped building? We go to work every day so we can some day stay home and not go to work. There are plenty of good jobs in the city, plenty for us to leave when we get tired of the crowds, the endless walks, the broken sidewalks, tripping potholes, sudden-stopping tourists, Bible spouting commuters. 
If we look long enough we'll see Murray the groundhog frolicking in the safe zone under the catenary wires. Murray is fat, dumb and happy. He doesn't have to commute to work in the city. Neither these days does Proud Mary, nor I. I write from home.... 

Continue reading


What's Going to Happen to My Stuff?

Whatever happened to George Carlin's stuff? 
Actually, I don't care what happened to the entertainer's stuff. His stuff was crap. My crap is stuff. He would say so himself, except he's gone, and as an atheist, probably not far. But as for me I've been thinking about my stuff as I sit here in my man cave/bunker/warehouse with about sixty of those white storage boxes full of my stuff. 
I'm not a pack rat. I've been writing for more than forty years and I don't have any notes from before 1971, more or less. So, I've got a lot of notes about stuff I wrote about, and probably a lot more notes about stuff I wanted to write about but haven't done so yet. And boxes of books that I used in my research. And more boxes of books I intend to read when I get some time. I can't bear to part with any of them.
Continue reading


Spring: Time to Move the Air Conditioners

Every year here in New Jersey when we change our clocks to save time, there's another chore around our house. About the last week of April when we spring ahead, it's time to break out the window air conditioners from their closet hibernations. 
In October, it's time to rip off the sealing tape and bring in the units without dropping them on an innocent foot or to the pavement below. The two bedroom air conditioners need only cross from the closet to the window. 
It's the monster dining room air conditioner that has been stored in the basement that elicits the most grunts and groans as it travels up a flight of stairs, through the kitchen to rest and catch its breath in front of the window.
Continue Reading


Milk Carton Bird Houses

When I was in the Boy Scouts -- about 1964 to 1968 -- we took what were then new, the cardboard cartons that milk came in ... instead of the class bottles with cream at the top and a cardboard seal ... and converted them into bird houses for our feathered friends.

I don't remember how mine turned out. We never took a picture of that -- not with Mom's Kodak Instamatic or the yet-to-be-invented smartphone.

It was a long time ago. Now that I think of it, it may have been when I was a Cub Scout. We made those kinds of projects all the time. I remember asking mom for a bar of smelly girl soap and a fine handkerchief that she took out from her hope chest. I then got pretty girly pins stuck the handkerchief into the bar of soap and gave it to her for Mother's Day. Boy, was she surprised.

But probably not as surprised as the first birds who moved into my milk carton bird house. I wonder if they could tell it was built by a carpenter's son?

© 2014 Anthony Buccino

Want to help your kids make milk carton bird houses? Try these directions at About.com 


Frank Capra's It's A Wonderful Life

Did you know that the screenplay for this film was written by Frances Goodrich and her husband Albert Hackett. She was born in Belleville, N.J. and moved at an early age to Nutley, N.J. The two were top screenwriters from the 1930s to the 1950s when they won the Pulitzer Prize for their play The Diary of Anne Frank.
And the pair worked on Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" but it wasn't a pleasant experience for even the seasoned Hollywood screenwriters.
Check out The Real Nick and Nora