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The Child Who Rejected God (Paperback)

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My religious crisis began September 8th, 1948, the first day of school. I was seven years old, just starting 3rd grade at a new school in upstate New York. The following week I would turn eight. It began innocently enough with a “let’s-get-to-know-each-other” type question from my new teacher, Miss Rita, an attractive, warm-hearted, young woman in her mid-twenties, who was devoutly Catholic. “What church do you and your parents attend?” Each student was to answer individually and add a few personal details about themselves. By way of accommodation for those who might fall outside the Christian norm, she singled out Frank S and Myron M, who were Jewish, to reassure them that temple services counted, too: “It doesn’t matter where you worship God, so long as you worship Him.” Innocuous as this statement might seem, for me it was traumatizing. I was much farther outside the norm than either Frank or Myron. Lali, my younger sister by eighteen months, and I had just spent the summer at McGuffey’s Farm, a small summer camp for young children, nestled between the eastern foothills of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River. As fall approached, parents arrived to reclaim their sons and daughters. The kids were ecstatic to be reunited with their families. Lali and I waited expectantly for ours to arrive and take us home to our spacious apartment in New York City, overlooking Riverside Park and the Hudson River. Even the most obnoxious kid in the whole camp, Medford W, whom no sane adult would want to reclaim, got picked up by his parents. But nobody came for us. By the end of August, we were the only children left. The camp was deserted. Only the camp director, Charles McGuffey, his wife, Lou, and their two teenage sons remained. Then, to our dismay, word came that our parents were not coming to pick us up. In fact, nobody was coming to pick us up. Instead, we were going to be left at camp for the entire school year and the following summer as well. As far as we could tell, we could be left there indefinitely. Worse yet, we were told we would probably never see our mother again. In a sudden reversal of fate, we had lost both our mother and family. Summer camp had become our orphanage. We were bereft. A nebulous terror perspired through the pores of my soft skin, covering my entire body with a cool damp film. I felt I was cleaving in two, as though my capacity to feel sensation was being removed from my body. The bottom had dropped out of reality. Lali and I found ourselves in dizzying free fall into the unknown, a couple of feral kittens tossed off a high bridge, twisting wildly in the air to regain our balance and land on our feet.

About the Author

Dana Stone was born during the initial phases of World War II, in New York City where he spent his early childhood, punctuated by idyllic summers on Martha's Vineyard. Subsequently he spent half a year in Mobile, Alabama, before moving to Southern California at age nine. After receiving a BA in English from Kenyon College, Ohio, he move to Europe, where he lived in Norway and Spain, completing an MA from Middlebury College in Madrid. During that period, he held odd jobs, including playing guitar in bars on Ibiza, fishing clams in Valencia, and traveling north to Oslo with other Spanish emigrants looking for work. In 1976 he finished requirements for a PhD from SUNY in Comparative Literature, while teaching at the University of Puerto Rico. He spent the next forty years raising five sons and working as a blue collar workman in the construction industry in Central California. Four years ago he returned to his first love, literature, signaled by the the publication of an autobiographical account of his religious crisis at age eight, The Child Who Rejected God. The theme that most interests his is the interface between human spirituality and the mythological and religious constructs that shape how people think, interpret the world, and make their daily life choices.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780998167718
Publisher: CreateSpace
Publication Date: September 20th, 2016
Pages: 212


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