Beanery Online Literary Magazine

December 30, 2013

Little Em

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Janet Mantia

     Scents of orange and pine filled the house, but the lights on the tree never seemed as bright after Christmas. Looking at the popcorn garland Grandma helped me string, I felt a hard lump in my throat. It wasn’t long ago that I walked along the secret path, carved through mulberry bushes that led to her house. Thinking back to last summer, her bent figure made an odd shadow against the sun as she scattered bread for the birds over the cement walk.

“Cassie, I didn’t know you were coming today,” she said, wrapping her arms across my shoulders.  “Grandpa’s in the shed, building who knows what.”

I remember standing next to Grandma in her sturdy, brown shoes, print house dress, and silver hair wound into a braid around her head.   She stared at me with steel, blue eyes, and a face, though not beautiful, had strong features with high cheekbones and a pert Irish nose.

“Cassie, you’re only sixteen, but taller than I am.  You’re growing into a fine, young lady. Your mother would be proud of you.”

Grandma opened the screen door to the house Dad grew up in.  When I walked inside, the house had a scent of cut timber covering the planked walls, mingled with a scent of fresh jasmine coming through the screened windows. Walking across polished, wood floors, I sank into the sofa with a tufted back that went half way up the wall.  Doilies circled oak tables, and a fireplace which looked like the room had been built around it, covered an entire wall.

Grandma picked up her knitting from the rocking chair.  With fingers that moved in exact precision, she wound blue strands of yarn around the knitting needles.

“Your sweater will be done soon, Cassie.  I just have to add the sleeves,”  she said, pulling more yarn from a skein lying on the floor.

When I left Grandma’s house she was still knitting.  I kissed her cheek and said goodbye, but I left with a feeling I couldn’t explain.

*                                                 *                                            *

The sweater laid on the rocking chair next to skeins of unopened yarn.  Picking up the sweater which had no sleeves, I held it against my chest.  It would be a perfect vest, and Grandma’s voice, soft as velvet, would never (more…)

January 31, 2013

Modern Ruins of a Museum



by Mark Sliwa

As a kid, I loved to blow stuff up. Gunpowder bombs to destroy my plastic model car collection or a Polish cannon that could shoot a hundred yards.  For those who may not remember, a Polish cannon was five or six Pepsi cans that had the ends cut out. Construction was possible as soda cans were made of metal with a reinforced steel ring at each end. All were duct-taped together to resemble a small bazooka.

The base can was left partially vented at the drinking end and had a pinhole punched in its bottom.  Ammunition was a tennis ball and propellant was lighter fluid.  To operate, we stuffed the ball down the tube with a stick, squirted fluid in the pinhole, lit a match to the hole, and boom! The kick felt like a 12 gauge shotgun as you watched the ball sail across the neighborhood.  I had the most powerful one in the neighborhood until my mother captured it and proceeded to crush it with dad’s workbench vise.

It is no surprise then that a place called Forbes Road Gun Museum held great interest for me as an early teen.  Located in Ligonier Township, Pennsylvania, at the top of Gravel Hill Road, it was a small brick two story Smithsonian of guns, some dating over 500 years. A field artillery cannon sat on the front lawn, commanding respect before one entered. The first floor served as a gunsmith shop and the second as the museum.  An elderly man named Russell Payne was the owner and seemed to know (more…)

January 16, 2013

What If


WHAT IF     

Julia E. Torockio

What if……….There was a world without prejudices?

What if…………..No one stared, accosted, talked about, or made fun of anyone?

What if………….we all got along all of the time?

Or at least most of the time!

What if there was no hatred, confusion, disrespect, dislike, or contention in the world?

What would a world like that be like?

Would it be better? What do you think?

If this could only be true?

Then this may be a perfect world we live in!

Wouldn’t it? Or would it be?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect world or a perfect person!

As long as there is sin in this world, and the devil exists, we must deal with the flesh;

and this so-called ideal world ceases to exist, and will never happen!

There was and is, only one (more…)

January 9, 2013

Latrobe, Pennsylvania



Julia E. Torockio

     In 2010 Latrobe, Pennsylvania, will celebrate its 150th anniversary. During this time, the community has developed many stories. Some are well-known and others less well known.


     Most local people know that Latrobe is the home of Mr. Rogers. Is it possible that Latrobe’s friendly nature is influenced by him when he sang “Won’t you be my neighbor?” In his commemoration, the Fred M. Rogers Center, at St Vincent College, was established. It is an ongoing tribute to his contribution.

An earlier tribute to Mr. Rogers is the (more…)

July 6, 2011

A Beanery Writers Group Homage to Bob Sanzi



Beanery Writers Group

I looked for your car when I arrived at the June 24, 2010, Beanery Writers Meeting.

            I hadn’t heard…You were gone.


     Bob, you left too soon. Some of us needed to learn more from you. It’s hard to believe that you only joined us on June 12, 2010. At your last meeting, June 10, 2011, you were so excited about the new car Nancy bought and allowed you to drive to the meeting.

      We all heard your gruff, commanding, voice, and experienced your unique bombastic manner, at the first Beanery Writers Group meetings you attended. Some of us questioned whether we could tolerate you. You were opinionated, certain you were right, and felt you had to talk and talk and talk to push your point, even after everyone had “gotten it.” You were so certain you were right.

     Your identity was enmeshed in cars—you were quite animated and willing to share a multitude of car stories. After all, you were a car guy who even amused us by turning a prompt on the Kentucky Derby into a car piece. You didn’t seem to understand that (more…)

June 11, 2011

Annie By The Seaside

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Walter Matusic

Down by the seaside where Annie goes

There in the stones a flower grows.

Annie looks out at the foaming sea

Then sits down by the flower and me.

For long is the time that I’ve waited,

On this island tormented and hated.

Where a prison embranded me

And on the island they stranded me.             

But though they tried they could not hide me

With pretty Annie now here beside me.



Strand of Old Glory


Lost in My Pasta

March 5, 2011

Shepherds of Buchenwald

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It’s nearly night time now…

Even the crows have found their rest.

But there will be no rest for me

‘til I hear you (more…)

November 21, 2010

Where Were You When JFK was Assassinated?



Beanery Writers Group Authors

The following are responses to a prompt from our last meeting. Readers are invited to submit their own experiences from Nov. 22, 1963, the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Type your response in the comment box at the end of this post.


     It was one of those things, that when you first hear it — you can’t believe it.

     While attending nursing school, I also worked at a sewing factory. Of course, when it was announced by the manager — all work ceased for the day.

     Many people were crying, others were just in shock.

     I immediately thought about his young children. Afterward, I thought of the way he was cut down, about the unfairness of (more…)

April 14, 2010

A Stranger




     You bother me, in a strange way.

     Not damaging, but the tears seem to flow.

     And I recall all the tears

     that were shed for you,

     fell softly to the earth,

     and were soaked up by the dry sand. (more…)

February 2, 2010

River Song: Part 3



Tim Landy

     Tim’s story is posted in three parts. To read Part 1, click on: River Song: Part 1 .  For Part 2, click on: River Song: Part 2

     Revisit the Beanery Online Literary Magazine to read the final post of  River Song. Or, for your convenience, subscribe to this site by typing your e-mail address in the SUBSCRIPTION box in the upper right hand column of this site. You will receive a return e-mail asking you to confirm the subscription. Your e-mail will not be publicized.

          The subject of this article is a fascinating woman who lives on the line between nature’s chaotic and man’s organized worlds.

      After graduating from high school, Joan matriculated at Pomona College, a small college in California established to educate westerners in the New England liberal arts tradition.  Here she majored in sociology and art.

            After completing her degree, she and several friends went to Europe.  Eventually she settled in Paris for two years, where she studied etching at a private studio.  Having finished her course of study, she decided to stay on for two more years, working as a secretary in the American Consulate.  When her job was upgraded to that of personnel assistant, she was able to take a position with the State Department in Germany.

            Finally returning to the United States, she soon met her future husband, Charles, a native of Western Pennsylvania.

            “After I married, my focus was on my family,” she says.  I wasn’t ready for a career in art.”

            These days, having reared two sons and two daughters, Joan has more time to (more…)

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