Passing Gas and Other Towns Along the American Highway
- July 08
- I was a photojournalist and commercial photographer. (Remember LIFE, LOOK and the Saturday Evening POST?) In the ‘60’s, I was a comedy writer and jazz record producer. (I was good enough to go broke more slowly than the others.)
Since the ‘70’s, I have authored eleven books mostly related to or containing photography. My two most recent are general interest works of humor and Americana.
Nine years ago, "Passing Gas And Other Towns Along The American Highway" (Ten Speed Press) was published, followed by the sequel, "Reaching Climax And Other Towns Along The American Highway." Collectively, they contain 110 portraits of people who live in absurdly named real towns like Stinking Point, Virginia Dickshooter, Idaho, Tight Squeeze, Virginia, Gas, Kansas and Climax, Minnesota.
I wrote daily journals of my experiences visiting these towns, which became the text portion of these picture books.
Surprised by reviewer’s unexpected comments on the writing, I gave up the road after 75,000 miles of self-financed travel for a keyboard and began telling true stories.
Dipping into my past is a lot like popping into strange towns and discovering funny stories. It’s too much fun to stop.
99% of the stories here are memoir
The other 1% is bad grammar or the cat waking on the keyboard.
Don’t look for deep meaning in the lead illustrations. The accompanying images are just gratuitous eye candy.
All work (photos and text) is © Gary Gladstone and registered in the year it was created.
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MY RECENT COMMENTS
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the bedside, hat
December 14, 2012 09:54AM
- “It's still comatose and
unresponsive. I am still
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Gary Gladstone's Links
- MY LINKS
In the Early ‘60’s, I was at a party in Bronxville, NY where Johnny sat out on the sun porch in a throne-backed white wicker chair surrounded by ten or twelve of the twenty or so guests. For two and a half hours, he plucked straight lines and suggested characters from… Read full post »
Today I will write more because last week I let a million distractions keep me from actually hitting the keys.
I’ll start now.
I feel better because of my resolve. Let's start.
Let me just check email first. I'll open this… Read full post »
Seventy years ago today my buddy Donnie and I are six years old, sitting outdoors on the cold browned grass of Donnie’s house in Scarsdale, tossing sticks at the chickadees and defying the chill to force us inside. Donnie’s family housekeeper flings the front door open and races… Read full post »
I still smile every time I recall following Rea Rossi into that horse barn.
It’s 1951 and for this boy, there’s nothing sweet about sixteen. I’m changing schools more often than my socks.
I’m failing every subject at… Read full post »
In my teen years I am considered a problem. Today they call it A.D.D. but back then it’s just not paying attention or failing to apply myself. Toss in a dash of creative impulsiveness with a sprinkling of neurosis and I am
I’m sipping my morning coffee when I notice a familiar photograph in a magazine’s year-end wrap-up article. It shows Edith Shain, the nurse being kissed by a sailor in Times Square in Alfred Eisenstaed's famous “Victory over Japan Day” photo. She died in Los Angeles at/… Read full post »
I can list four hookers I’ve bumped into in my lifetime. As I write these memoirs, one sticks out especially in my mind. She was hooker number… Read full post »
As a 1950s teenager, I am pretty much a flop at keeping any part-time job. First, Dad manages to get me work caddying on weekends at a local golf club. The job ends on my starting day when I discover that hauling a thirty-five pound leather bag… Read full post »
I give up drinking alcohol at the age of seventeen because it makes me nauseated, gives me a headache and makes me stumble around and embarrass myself. Most importantly, it costs a lot of money to be having all that fun.
I make… Read full post »
I’m eating my favorite bologna sandwich and root beer dinner at Mitchell’s Delicatessen before I meet up with my buddy Tony to see “War of the Worlds” at the nearby RKO movie house. It’s 1953 and I’m eighteen, living at home, a t/… Read full post »
As a young newspaper photographer, I saw some pretty horrific things. Arriving at accident scenes often ahead of the police, I was exposed to some raw suffering. But somehow I remained unemotional and was able to continue shooting pictures to complete my assignment.… Read full post »
Shaving My Dad
“Gary and Gale, I need to talk with you both. Come in here please.”
In the summer of 1952, I’m sixteen, a year older than my sister, Gale. The two of us have just been summoned… Read full post »
We're greeted at the Big Ugly Community Center by a puppy that comes bounding up to car and then rolls over onto my feet when I get out. There's non-stop tail-wagging and a wriggling appeal to have his belly rubbed. He's neither big nor ugly. In fact he's… Read full post »
Finally, I’m eligible to be a certified grown-up in the human race, at least in the state of New York. Having counted the weeks and days, I am at long last, sixteen and old enough to drive. For a suburban teen-age boy, this is life’s… Read full post »
In spring, 1949, lunch hour at the middle school is spent outdoors on the big schoolyard rock. It consists of two distinct activities for my eighth grade boyfriends and me: swapping the lunch food our moms packed for us and torturing the girls.… Read full post »
Mom is never very warm and snuggly. She has the qualities of a good patrol cop. She is ever watchful and vigilant and seems to know when anybody is getting away with something. One of Mom’s techniques is candy-counting. She knows when someone has stolen cookies or… Read full post »
Boy, am I glad Steve has organized a New Year’s Eve party at his house so that our little group of suburban seventeen-year-olds will not have to go dateless on this major party night. Steve is the reliable one in our group so his parents, Betsy and Vernon,… Read full post »
I’m five years old when my baby sitter walks me through the rainy drizzle to the nursery school overlooking the Schuylkill River outside of Philadelphia. I’m a new arrival in this classroom and the other children look at me as if I’m the stranger’s ball… Read full post »
I drove 80,000 miles all over America just to visit 125 tiny towns with funny names. I made a portrait in a different town every day.
The images and stories became two coffee table books. Here are some of my Americans from the first book: Passing Gas… Read full post »
On Tuesday, August 14th 1945, World War-II ends abruptly with a scratchy public address announcement. The nasal voice of Andy, the camp Director, comes filtering through the dense pine woods of Camp Robin Hood for boys on… Read full post »
In 1960 my jazz drummer pal, Dave Bailey, asks me to photograph him for the cover of his new Epic label jazz record album titled ”One Foot In The Gutter.” This is a real break for me since an album cover for Epic, a division of Columbia/… Read full post »
A few years ago, someone asks me, “What characteristics did you inherit from your mom?” I roll my eyes and sigh recalling that Mom was mostly unaffectionate, punishing, revengeful and delivered lots of betrayals and disappointments. She was pretty much of a train wrec/… Read full post »
When my 1952 high school classmate Bernie Solomon tells me I’m the fastest moving ballast he ever had onboard his sailboat, I understand this is not a big compliment. As ballast, all I have to do is move across the cockpit and hang over the… Read full post »
It’s the spring of 1947. The odor of blooming skunk cabbage, along the river, has given way to the sweeter bouquet of fresh budding leaves. I’ll be twelve in two months and I’ve finally worked up enough nerve to hike by myself, along the Bronx River, from… Read full post »