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Concrete Steps


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"This is a wonderfully charming and poignant coming-of-age story. Through his own experiences, Kerpelman builds a vivid portrait of American life--and the city of Baltimore--in the mid-twentieth century. Concrete Steps is a testament to how deeply we are defined by family and the city we call home." Katherine Grandjean, Ph.D. Historian and author of American Passage "Memoirs often provide engaging, and sometimes inspiring, insights into the lives (or at least the self-reflections on the lives) of their authors, while a few trigger almost instantaneous identification and self-reflections by a reader who is either a contemporary of the author or shares some salient characteristic or parallel experience. The author's clear and engaging word images of life growing up in a home and neighborhood of Jewish immigrants in the 40's and 50's bore many uncanny parallels to my reflections on life roughly during that same period growing up in a segregated but safe and friendly black neighborhood in New Orleans. All of these emotional and very personal memories of my youth were continuously and vividly triggered by Kerpelman's lucid and candid stories of his own early remembrances. His easy style draws you comfortably into his story and surreptitiously provokes a mental rewind of the reader's own early life experiences." Wendell J. Knox Retired CEO, Abt Associates Inc. "Larry Kerpelman's Concrete Steps is an affectionate memoir of a sensitive, bright, and observant boy growing up and out of Baltimore in the forties and fifties. The city has since lost much of its eminence as well as its population, but the author brings its old neighborhoods and his boyhood adventures into sharp focus. A gentle sense of humor lightens some of the more difficult encounters in Larry's upward journey. Family, bosses, and playmates are gently, but thoughtfully, sketched. The author has given us the street scene of a city and the values of a time that are long gone." Henry W. Vaillant, M. D. Former Chair, Department of Medicine Emerson Hospital "Larry Kerpelman both opens his personal and family history and provides an indelible portrait of city life, many elements of which have since disappeared. From the freedom of street games, walking to school, and home milk delivery, to the Good Humor man, the traveling photographer with his pony, and Army green mailboxes; from skipping grades to tough summer jobs and entering college; from The Platters to jazz, Kerpelman offers an album of his own memories. At the same time, he delivers engaging snapshots of a past shared by many first generation Americans." Jo M. Solet, Ph.D. Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School

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