By AIDAN CAHILL & DAN FRANCHETTI
Warwick resident Jim Morgan, age 72, published his first book as an amateur author titled Me and Eli. This coming-of-age story has been carefully crafted over …
By AIDAN CAHILL & DAN FRANCHETTI
Warwick resident Jim Morgan, age 72, published his first book as an amateur author titled Me and Eli. This coming-of-age story has been carefully crafted over the course of ten years and is meant for an audience of middle-school students ages 12 to 14. It is about a young Amish boy by the name of Zach who lives in the fictional town of Varnsfeld, Ohio. Morgan’s story tells of Zach recalling one summer when he ventured into the woods and discovered the mysteries within. The book is available for purchase online on Amazon and on Barnes & Noble’s website for about $12.
The story revolves around Zach Stoltzfus reminiscing on events during 1952, when he was just a 13-year-old boy. That summer, he met a “forest boy,” which he called Eli, in the woods near his family’s Amish farm. Back then, Zach lived with an older brother and sister, while Eli only lived with his parents. Zach and Eli enjoyed spending the summer together playing like wild animals in the woods until one fateful day. When Zach grows up, he decides, as per the culture, to part from the Amish way of living and moved to a city.
Jim talked about his writing process as well as his love for the country and wooded setting. His interest in the forest and its inhabitants has always fascinated him. He has been especially interested in the elusive Sasquatch and he believes that much of the evidence for the existence of such a species is indisputable proof of their existence as a species.
He cited the Patterson-Gimlin Film shot in Northern California in 1967 as what sparked his interest. “It’s the real deal because it’s not a guy in a gorilla suit...This creature is about seven feet tall...And if it is [someone in a gorilla suit], it’s not a guy. This is a female Sasquatch.” He said there are many hoaxes about Sasquatch, but that the necessary effort to fake the Patterson-Gimlin Film would have been too much for it to not be real. His interest in the mysteries of the woods led him to put those passions into words with the introduction of the forest boy and his family.
Although much of the story is integrated with Amish culture, Jim has no personal connection with the Amish, but instead ardently researched and studied it for an accurate portrayal and understanding of Amish living. He stated that his main inspiration was from his time as a teacher, where he saw some of the more mundane material that the students had to read. He wanted to create something more vivid and thoughtful and take a crack at writing, as well. Jim recalls that the process was long and intensive with many changes along the way, but he believes that many people should take a try at writing at some point. Jim has left his story open for a potential sequel. This sequel will be following up on Zach’s adult life whether that be his life in the city or his life in the countryside.
Jim Morgan graduated from Bishop Hendricken High School in 1967, then from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston in 1971. Morgan moved to London in January of the following year to study at the Royal School of Church Music, leaving shortly after. He taught at Dover College, a boys’ boarding school, and Haileybury College in Hertford, before returning to America in 1976. He worked as a flight instructor at Corporate Air Charter out of the now-demolished Hangar One at T.F. Green until 1995. Two years later, he returned to his alma mater, as a band director, for two school years, before taking various music education jobs throughout the area. He is now retired, but occasionally works as a substitute teacher in West Warwick. Jim resides in Warwick with his two cats Cali and Little Man.
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