I probably shouldn’t show you this

My aunt, uncle, and father are all long gone, so my promise (to my late aunt) was that I would never tell my late father about my late uncle’s book. All this happened during the war when I was stationed briefly in San Francisco and had an apartment down a steep hill from my aunt’s apartment.

She said I want to show you something but you can never tell your father. That “something” was a paperback novel called A Present for Harry (1967) written my my father’s younger brother Maury. Maury didn’t want Dad to know about it because, well, the cover and the title made it look sexier than it was and, according to my aunt, Maury just didn’t think it would help family harmony for the existence of the book, worse yet, the book itself, to get back to Florida where my parents lived.

My aunt gave me an extra copy after I signed on a stack of Bibles that I wouldn’show it to my parents. I think my rounger brother also read it and might (like I do) still have a copy.

It was all hush hush. Presumably, Uncle Maury wrote it as a joke and was surprised when it got published. Frankly I think the story itself was a hoot as well as all the hush hush.  My uncle had previously written a very popular  nonfiction book called Pay Dirt! San Francisco. The Romance of a Great City. It was well reviewed and praised, and my Dad was very proud of the book as well.

Suffice it to say, a novel with a beach babe on the cover about a wife who givers her husband a beach babe as a present was, shall we say, and my uncle saw it, a fall from grace. As far as I know, my parents never found out about it. My aunt as a live and let live relative, strongly independent, and one of my favorite people. I called her one time during a San Francisco earthquake because there was rather large fire near her apartment. She said she didn’t know anything about it because their power was out and she couldn’t see the news. However, she said, “My building didn’t fall down, so not to worry.”

And, as the years went by, it turned out that more than one of us shared our hush hush secrets with her. But the statute of limitations on this book has run out (I think).

–Malcolm

This book is a bit gritty, so goodness only knows how my parents would have reacted to it had they still been around then it first came out. I would have told my aunt about it, though.

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