Letters From England Episode Five-Story Embellishment.

Alan Arnell Sussex Football Legend, who played for Liverpool in the 60’s.

One of the great things about any sort of storytelling, whether it be fiction, or any sort of scriptwriting is it allows for embellishment. Episode five is more or less embellishment of two stories. The first is the completion of the Secret Passage, that I had started in Episode four, called Welcome to England. The passage never happened but where the passage leads to is a rumor I read. I also wanted to include a Football story, which is also completely embellished, or at least some of it. The Football matches with my friends are not that embellished, but this one is and involves the story of a man I call Dennis Baskins, loosely based on a Sussex Football Legend named Alan Arnell.

I had never met Alan, but my Dad may have met him as Ted Walker would take him to Alan’s pub called the Wilkes Head which was in Eastergate. I probably had one of the famed Wilkie Burgers. I remember those. Talk about one of those memories you never forget. They were the most delicious hamburgers I ever had in England. Alan’s pub was around the corner from where I went to school. I may not have met Alan, but I did know his stepdaughter and stepson, who attended Eastergate Primary, Jackie Grant(Later changed her name to Arnell.) and Michael Bielsey. My last year at Eastergate and I began to hear about Alan, through some of my friends, who definitely knew who he was and I learned that he had played football at the professional level.

Alan’s story began in Sussex. He was an alumnus of Chichester High School, something I had just recently learned. Alan cut his teeth with Worthing. Oddly enough Worthing was where I went to the Dentist. Alan was a Striker and had been making a name for himself at the nonleague level scoring bags of goals. In 1953 Liverpool sent a scout down and bingo, they signed him. His debut came against Blackpool in December of 1953 while in the Second Division. Alan scored. However, these appearances were sporadic at best.

He did manage to score 35 goals in 75 matches while filling in for Scots legend Billy Liddle. Realizing he really had no chance with a legend in front of him, Alan asked for a transfer. Bill Shankley offered him up to Tranmere Rovers where scored 34 goals in 68 matches. After his stint with Tranmere Alan went on to Halifax scoring 6 times in 14 matches before finishing his career with Runcorn, another nonleague side. Unfortunately, I don’t have his stats for that club. All in all he netted 75 goals in his pro career, which turned out to be pretty good for a guy who played second fiddle.

After Football, Alan did a number of different things. He ran newsagents and worked as a local Football Scout and as a declaration officer at racecourses.

The scouting aspect of Alan’s life allowed me to do something with one of my Football friends. Enter one Gareth Langemere (Loosely based on two people from my days in England. One is a Footballing chum of mine from days gone by. While the other part of him is loosely based on a boisterous fellow I knew at Chichester, who grew up in a military family. ) The kid that played Football, was probably the most talented player I ever saw. Even at the age of 10, this kid was doing things with a Football that most of us could only dream of. He was technically gifted with his feet, his pace, and that first touch. His first touch just exploded off his feet. He drove us all mad, trying to tackle him. The wonderful thing about this kid is he loved showing you up. He did it with such cheek and with passion and a smile on his face. He was also one of those people you liked being around. Lots of kids looked up to him. There were times, you wanted to scream at him but after he had burned you with some act of brilliance, you couldn’t help but tip your hat off to him.

In this episode, Dennis comes to scout Langmere, but he isn’t there, due to his military dad forbidding him to play Football. (I chose to hang Langmere back a bit. When you do meet him, I want it to be memorable. The memorable story is based on this other person I knew at Chichester. The day I met that kid was something I will never forget. That Episode is coming. I have two possible titles, The Queen of England. Or maybe it’s going to be the Bloody Queen of England.) When a dispute breaks out about letting the new kid Ned Captain, Dennis pipes up from the sidelines. The kids all become excited. To them, Dennis is a pop star. They ask him if he is going to give them pointers. Dennis says he might, but he would prefer to referee the match if they allow Ned to Captain one of the sides. I haven’t finished this scene yet and it is where I have left off.

This has been an interesting episode to write. I particularly like the passage story because I added some thrills into what happens. Then there is the Football scene and I have added some interesting characters that I played Football with. Being able to take two stories and embellish them just enough makes the episode interesting.

Letters From England. Belinda’s a memorable backdrop for Episode 5.

Episode five is called The Secret Passage. In this episode I use one of my favorite places in all of Arundel as a locale.

Ned and Simon find themselves lost in this secret passage with all kinds of scary obtacles. Their parents are searching for them all over the place. I decided that I needed a way for Simon’s brother Noah and Darcy to get escape the orientation. I wanted them to have a get to know one another date. I chose a unique spot. I chose Belinda’s tearoom on Tarrant Street. Belinda’s was a treat. My whole family loved it, particularly my sister and mother.

Belinda’s is a small little place with white wood panelling and a wooden roof and black trim. I think it had been open only a few years when we moved. No one knew about this place, but by the time we left England for good, everyone knew about Belinda’s/ As i am writing about Belinda’s I can smell it. I imagine onto Tarrant street and there it is, the delicious sweet aroma’s. The Chocolate cakes, the strawberry tarts, the mince pies and the scones made my nostrils and taste buds ache for that first pleasurable bite. My mother was a connissuer of cheesecake. Every time it was on the menu at any restaurant we went to she would order it. My Dad would ask how it was and she would say, “No it doesn’t match up to the best cheesecake I ever had. We never knew where this place was. However; the first time I heard about this mysterious cheesecake was right after we moved to England. I began to realize was the best cheesecake my mom ever tasted at Belinda’s. It had to have been, because they had a killer cheesecake.. The minute you took a bite, it melted in your mouth and the sweet taste lingered for hours. You were heaven.

The owner of Belinda’s, who was one of the sweetest women you’d ever meet. After we became regulars Belinda immediatly knew what we wanted. My Dad and I always had the mince pies, because those also melted in your mouth. If I was with Dad or Mom on the weekend and they had to go into the college for any reason(Usually Mom did the laundry next door to the bookstore.), it was always Belinda’s afterwards. Perhaps Dad and I would go to the barbershop first and then go in afterwards. Belinda’s was as much a part of NEC Arundel as say the Nook was to Henniker. The place had it’s own charm. It was small but was split into two levels. It was quiet place where you couldn’t hear conversation from the next table. It was so quiet it was almost like having tea in a library.

I never knew I would be using this small, quaint tea shop in my television series, but I have the feeling this will not be the last time I do. It seems to fit Letters From England. Thank you Belinda’s for the great memories and all those wonderful cakes and my mom thanks you for that melt in your mouth cheesecake.

Letters From England Episode 4 Welcome To England.

The two pictures I have used in this post have nothing to do with one another in real life. I used artistic license to create an interesting two part episode involving the supposed passageway in the library at Arundel Castle. In my fictitious tale, Ned and his new friend Simon Dorsett hear of a passageway in the Chapel theatre. They search and find it, but where does it lead?

Many NEC theatre productions were performed at the little chapel in Arundel, including a production of Tobacco Road. I don’t know how they put a set as huge as they built into this one space, but yet it was done.

In this episode we finally see Ned write a letter to Chuck about his first few days in England, while he struggles to find anything to say to Marty.

Arundel Castle Library where the is supposedly a hidden passageway.

For this episode I felt it was important to use the narrative as much as possible. I wanted to show Ned’s new experiences. For instance the three wheeled cars he sees all over England and his fascination with them.

In this episode we meet one of Blake’s poker buddies from Juniper a wild character named Marlon Grainger, whose opinionated and uses colorful language. Ned is also introduced to two new characters, Simon Dorsett, Daniel’s youngest son and the untouchable Rosalyn Atherton-Hall, daughter of the rich and powerful Lord Atherton-Hall.

if you have read the three previous episodes then I welcome your comments as well as any comments on this episode.

Letters From England. The Legend of Free Wheeling Frank.

1958- Portrait of author Jack Kerouac.

Of all the interesting stories my mother told it was Free Wheeling Frank. The first semester, this student(If he was.) came into the NEC Arundel bookstore every day like clockwork and asked my mother if she had the book Free Wheeling Frank. Now my mom never knew this guy’s name, maybe she and Bea Gay didn’t think to ask, or maybe she liked the idea of not knowing. It certainly made this guy seem mysterious. Throughout the years I have thought about this guy and wondered who he was and what his story was. I never really could come up with the story, until recently. As the years wore on, this image came to me. I saw a biker with perhaps a ponytail, smoking camel lights or perhaps Marlboro’s tucked underneath a white short-sleeved t-shirt. Sometimes I saw him in a leather jacket and I always imagined he was on a motorcycle. After all, why wouldn’t he be, the book he was asking about as Free Wheeling Frank and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Recently, as I thought more and more about Free Wheeling Frank, more of his story came into my head. I got to thinking he didn’t go to NEC, he just hopped on a plane with his girlfriend who was an NEC student. I saw him as a guy, who came from a wealthy family. After all, how else would he be able to put a motorcycle in the cargo hold of a plane? His girlfriend’s parents didn’t care for this guy. He was James Dean on a Harley and dangerous. I see him being a disciple of Jack Kerouac. I took it upon myself to order “On The Road” and ” The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. My mom never found the book Free Wheeling Frank. After six months, Free Wheeling disappeared just as mysteriously as he arrived on the NEC Arundel campus. I have often wondered if anyone from NEC, knew this guy, who he was, and what his story was. Maybe if there was a girlfriend, she can tell me about him. Maybe other students came into contact with this strange Jack Kerouac character and they can tell me who he was.

This episode may not be part of Episode Four, but it is coming, maybe episode 5 or 6. I for one and darned interested in Free Wheeling Frank, the man who showed up one day in a bookstore and kept asking if my mom if she had Free Wheeling Frank. I always like to think that one day, he got on his motorcycle and rode off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. The legend of Free Wheeling Frank coming soon on Letters From England. I am intrigued to discover what I come up with for this episode.

Letters From England Episode 3

Episode three is mostly a Babe Ruth Episode. This episode is a lot more in-depth and I have developed some of the other players on the Dudley Tigers. There are two brothers on the team as this story revolves around Chuck Chaplain who is afraid to play ball with his glasses because he feels he is going to get razzed by his teammates. One of the two brothers discovers Chuck’s worry, he pretty much kicks Chuck in the ass and gets him going.

If you wish to read any of the Episodes in Letters From England, you can pull up the episode link down below.

Letters From England Humor Can From Unexpected Places.

Usually, if I use this picture than my episode has to do with Tamworth Babe Ruth Baseball. Episode three is called Four Eyes. You might have guessed that it has something to do with glasses. I have written three acts so far and it is mostly a Tamworth Babe Ruth Episode. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but it is the small scene within this episode, that I will talk about and give you a little insight.

The one year that I played Babe Ruth, we had a catcher on our team. I will call him Tom as I don’t wish to reveal who this guy is. Tom was a big muscular tall kid. He was a three-sport star at Kennett. I think he was selected All-State for Football. Tom was also one of the leaders on our Babe Ruth team. He was a pretty good hitter. Batting practice was usually a treat because we would watch Tom launch howitzer after howitzer into the Brett School Tennis courts. Tom had one particular problem, sometimes he became a little too passionate and competitive out on the Baseball Diamond. One particular day, Tom let his competive nature get the better of him. We were playing Fryburg Academy on a cold rainy day. The field was thick with fog, the base paths were drenched with mud and forget home plate, you couldn’t even see it. Our Pitcher that day, (Also our Shortstop.) was a big burly kid. (I call him CJ in the series.) I had the pleasure of playing both Junior High ball and Babe Ruth with CJ. On that day, CJ had great stuff. Everything was in or around the plate. When he got a strikeout it was because he struck out swinging. The problem was those beautiful pitches hitters were laying off of. The Ump(Who couldn’t see through the fog or find home plate due to the mud.) seemed to think those pitches were balls or off the plate or too inside. We all knew CJ was getting hosed and we all grumbled, because when we came up, he was calling balls in the dirt strikes. It made all of us wonder whether he was being paid by Fyrburg. The person that knew it the most was Tom. Tom started to grumble or make some side comment, like “Where was that Ump?” or, “You gotta be kidding me right?” The Ump ignored him. It was late in the game when Tom had finally had enough. CJ threw this pitch that would have made Tom Seaver weep from the perfection of it. It was a strike. The Ump called ball four. Tom leaps to his feet and gets in the Umps face. Now knowing Tom as I did, I am sure an expletive came flying out of his mouth. Or he simply would have asked him if he was blind? (Which I think he did on two or three occasions.) Whatever Tom said was enough to throw him out of the game. That really sent Tom into a tether. Tom’s Dad was often at our games. his horn was usually the loudest whenever one of our players got some huge hit. Tom, looked about ready to kill. His Dad comes running to home plate and pulls him back before Tom assaulted him.

I knew I was going to use this scene, but I didn’t realize how much funnier it would be putting a girl in the role of the Dudley Tigers Catcher. It works beautifully and the sarcastic comments that come out of Marty’s mouth are priceless.

Letters From England Episode Two Complete.

I have now completed Episode two of Letters From England, titled Glynn Barrett’s Brainchild. Along with the link at the bottom I will also post a link for the first episode in case people have not had a chance to read it yet. From this point on I will try and keep the links for all the episodes on my blog postings.

Letters from England Marty Campbell

There was a time when I used to be abysmal at writing female characters. I always managed to make them too stereotypical and the character would just sit there on the page, not doing anything. Then one day I woke up and wrote this movie called Derby Double. One of my lead characters was a woman of wealth and means. I had this Emma Peale image in my head. If you remember the Avengers then you remember Diana Riggs who played that brilliant character. The character was a woman named Elizabeth Manning. She is a spy who works for Interpol. She’s smart, sophisticated and has a lot of gumption. She had this knack of saving my Male lead character three times in the movie and along the way, I made her pretty witty too. That was my first solid female character.

Since then I have always tried to look for some quirk or spark with my female characters. For a man to write a female character is never easy. How did I solve this? I am fortunate to have had some pretty strong females throughout my life. The first would be my mother. The second would be my sister and in college, I knew some girls that were strong, independent and women to admire.

In Letters From England, I have come upon four characters that I believe are going to be a treat to write. Rosalyn Atherton- Hall, who shows up at the end of Episode One. This is within the 1990’s section of the series. Rosalyn is Lord Francis’s daughter and much like the Atherton-Hall’s she doesn’t care who she steps on to get what she wants. I know I have a good character when they begin to talk to me. Rosalyn spoke loud and clear and said to me, “Hello, I’m here. Let’s have some fun.” The cool thing about this character is I didn’t base her on anyone. She is completely fictitious. When a character does that for me, then it makes the writing a hoot. Then there is the character based on my Mother. She was slow to develop in Episode two, but she is coming along quite nicely. The third is my sister, who finally showed up in Act four tonight. I wrote this scene between her and Marty. The end result was my sister did something that she would have done to me, when I was little.

The last character is Marty Campbell. I need a separate paragraph for her. I knew who she was, the minute she showed up on the page. Marty didn’t just say hello to me, she brought me to a wild party. Marty is fast becoming my favorite female character in this series. Marty is loosely based on a girl I spent summers in Wonalancet. The ironic thing is when we first met, she and I were like oil and water. I thought she was a snot-nosed brat. I think she sprayed me with a water hose at my house and I didn’t see the humor in it. She did. Then again that was part of her mischievous nature. As time went along and we hit our teenage years, I began to hang out with her more and more and she had grown out of the brat stage and was one of the most interesting people I’ve ever known. She always had a smile on her face. She came to see Crossing The Bridge at the Barnstormers and showed a keen interest in my writing. Later when I moved to Vermont we developed an email relationship.

Some aspects of Marty are not here. I made her a Babe Ruth Baseball Player. A catcher to be precise. In real life, this girl did not have a remote interest in Baseball. There were other aspects of her personality I put into her that were within her character. She could be bold and daring. She was a hell of a square dancer. When she was my partner we would swing the hell out of each other. I think we both liked the head rush. As we swung we had a grand time laughing our heads off. Laughing was one of her greatest attributes. She had a great sense of humor. It seemed no matter what was going on, whenever we looked at one another, we would start laughing. We didn’t know why we just started laughing. Her parents were two of the coolest parents I ever met. Her father had this great dry sense of humor and he was a very reserved and gentleman. One of my fondest memories of this girl happened before my friend Dave’s ice cream party. I met her coming out of her driveway, so we walked down together. As we’re walking, she burst out into song singing Johnny Nash’s, “I Can See Clearly Now.” *(It reminded me of when my mom would wake up in a good mood and just burst out in song.) Out of the blue, I just joined right in. This was not a song that would have come out of my mouth, but when I hear it, that moment is the first thing I think of. One of the coolest things about writing this character is that I feel the real person is right there with me as I create and play with the character. To Marty, may our paths cross again someday.

Letters From England Update

Priscilla Murray my mother at her best on the Barnstormers stage with Dan Rubinate.

I am well into writing Episode Two. I put a picture of my mother up here, because Eileen Livingston is based on my mother. I will get to that scene in a moment.

The second episode has gone very well and I would like to think I have created a great character out of Gordon Bennett. He’s full of confidence and bravado. We had met Gordon’s character Glynn at the end of Episode one. Episode two is how he gets this crazy plan off the ground. We meet the man in full. A Thomas Hardy fanatic, I made Glynn an Oxford Rhodes scholar. So he’s been to England long before this trip. Taking his sabbatical in England to think some things through. We don’t see he’s troubled, but he is and a lot has to do with his future at the college. He is the man in charge of Academic Affairs. The college is sinking and he is tasked with a plan to save it. He finds his idea through a young man he meets in a pub playing darts. His name is Ivan Trickler, loosely based on a man my Dad and Ted Walker had discussed. Ivan is the best darts player in the pub, by day he’s an Estate Agent. Glynn is impressed with his darts game and decides to challenge him for a small wager of one hundred pounds. Trickler is egged on by his mates to take the challenge and pops down his own hundred. In a wild darts scene, played out to The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz(I couldn’t resist using that song. It set the tone.) Glynn manages to win his two hundred pounds and he and Trickler become friends. Trickler is an opportunist who is curious to see how he can take advantage of someone. In Glynn, Trickler finds his perfect foil. He manages to lead Glynn to his idea, which is studies abroad. Trickler knows the perfect place. He takes him to Sussex to meet the property owner, who has tasked Trickler to sell this former girls school for him. The man happens to be none other than our antagonist Lord Francis Atherton-Hall.

The price of the campus is too high for Glynn and he wants to haggle. Haggle is a uniquely American word, which gets under Atherton-Hall’s skin because he believes American’s are far less superior to the English gentry. He refuses to sell. Glynn plays his last hand in a speech about what education means, which involves his idea. He leaves with one morsel for the Lord to be tempted by, a seat on the Board of Trustees. Atherton-Hall never a man to resist an opportunity for power agrees to the deal.

Now onto a scene with the Livingston’s and Eileen based on my mother. The scene is interesting because Blake has to tell the family they are moving. He butters them up with gifts. Ned, receives a red double decker London bus. (Oddly it was the gift my Dad gave me upon his return, but at the time I was eight.) I had to put myself in the mind of a fourteen year old receiving such an odd gift. Blake becomes flustered at Ned’s reaction and tells him to put it on his shelf or something. After the gifts have been handed out, Blake blurts out with excited glee that the family is moving to England. Ned isn’t sure what to think. Darcy is not okay with it at all and has a small tantrum and Eileen is full of questions.

The next scene, is rather interesting and I rather enjoyed what came out of it. It is essentially the story of how my parents met at Emerson College. I never head this story until my mother’s memorial and is rather humorous. I never imagined I would write a scene, about my mom and dad talking about this move to England. My Dad’s main advisor in anything was my mother. The scene has Blake and Eileen lying in bed. Eileen and Blake weigh the pros and cons about the move. She has her own thing going as a Speech Therapist and she really doesn’t want to stop doing that, because she enjoys her work. On the one hand, if this is an opportunity for both her and Blake, she doesn’t want to pass it by without putting some good thought into the idea. When Eileen throws out the fact that she would need a job, Blake tells her that Glynn has already thought of that. Eileen would be the Bookstore Manager. Eileen reflects on her past experience running a bookstore. The conversation then leads to a wonderful scene, where Blake and Eileen reminisce about the first time he asked her out, which was at a bookstore. This leads to when Blake first saw Eileen at a wild, sorority party. Blake was returning with this girl and she made a sarcastic comment about my Eileen. She was being particularly obnoxious and her comment to Blake was “Oh, isn’t she pretty.” This made Blake reflect on how pretty she was in regard to the girl he was with. Certainly, Eileen’s personality was more captivating. After the date ends. Blake decides he’s had enough of this boring pretentious girl and decides it’s time to end it. Five days later, Blake runs into Eileen managing this bookstore and he asks her out. Eileen then rolls into Blake’s arms and makes her decision. “A Bookstore Manager would be fine.” End of Act Three.