Somewhere on the outskirts of town, this town being Nowhere, New York, there is a little book shop called, “The Turtle.” This book shop has been around since 1938 and has been owned and managed, since then, by the Rumpio family.
Oscar opened the store in 1938 when he was 23 years old. He had inherited a sum of money from his grandfather, Charles, who had passed away the year before. Grandpa Charles had left him the money with a one sentenced instruction.
“Use this money to make your dreams come true.” Since Oscar’s dream had been to be a writer, he decided to open a bookstore. In 1941 he enlisted into the US Army – in 1945 he returned to the store with his dream intact, but his left eye missing.
During his time overseas the store was kept open and run by Oscar’s mother. When Oscar returned she remained in the business to help with the ordering, inventory and accounting.
“I’ll be your left eye, son.” She said.
In 1951, Oscar spied a red haired girl reading “This side of Paradise,” in his store. He walked over to her and began a conversation. This conversation lasted well into the evening hours; first over dinner and then as he walked her home. They married a year later and had 2 children. Charles and Helen.
On September 11, 2001, Oscar and his red haired lady were at the wrong place at the wrong time. They were visiting New York City with another couple when the first tower came down and they were swept away.
Charles took over the responsibilty of the store and Helen ran the social aspect of it. It was her idea to begin book clubs and nightly poetry readings.
Helen moved to Chicago and married her best friend from college. They opened up their own store on the outskirts of Somewhere in Illinois and had four children of their own.
Charles stayed in the store on the outskirts of Nowhere, New York and drank several cups of coffee during the day. One day he found a manuscript with his name on it. There was a date beneath his name, May 22, 1925. “A Life of Lemons,” By Charles Rumpio.
He locked the door to his office and told the manager to not disturb him. For the next two hours he read this manuscript and was in awe of the writing.
The story was about a former baseball player, Franklin, who had enlisted in the army during World War One and who had come home from the war without his right arm, which he used to pitch with. Back home he took on the task of learning to throw with his left arm. After several months he developed a pitch which no one could hit. Unfortunetly no one would sign him to play for them – so he bought a team and named it “The Lemons.” This team was made up of veterans from the war who had lost a limb but could still play baseball. They showed they could play decent baseball so they were able to join an independent league in Iowa. The one-armed pitcher was able to, single handidly, (no pun intended) win the first several games of the season. Throwing four shutouts while driving in three runs in each game. In the fifth game, Franklin was hit by a pitch which caused him to be hospitalized. Without their starting pitcher and owner of the team, the team was forced to find non-amputee players.
The story was written in a brilliant dialog – with verbiage that read in a rhytmic and poetic manner. In his excitement he called Helen and together they decided to release this book posthumously in memory of their great grandfather.
The book was self-published and then picked up by a major distributor who then auctioned the movie rights. You may have seen this movie or read the book – it was something special.