Long Island University



The Story Sparkles

A love letter to a simpler time, I USED TO BE ITALIAN is a heartwarming look at growing up in the '30s. Lonero takes some dramatic license in this semi-autobiographical novel, but it is clear that his youth in an Italian neighborhood in Cleveland, OH, inspired the tale. He deftly paints portraits of the people who shaped his world — his tough guy best friend, his first love, his proud mother. The characters' voices ring true and the story sparkles with the wit and wisdom of a life well lived. Comical memories of youthful hijinks contrast with the recollections of life in the wake of war as the story follows Jamie and his childhood friend, Vinnie, through their formative years and into adulthood.

Despite choosing very different paths — one rises to prominence in advertising, the other dabbles in organized crime — the bond between them remains strong, even under unthinkable circumstances.

Captivated Staff

Southampton alum John Lonero grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He has written and with help from his wife Hedy, who is also a Southampton alum, has published a novel, I USED TO BE ITALIAN.

Through the story of two friends growing up in an Italian neighborhood in Cleveland, it depicts the familial wars between the new world and the roots of the old country. The book has met with rave reviews from Cleveland to East Hampton to North Carolina (where John and Hedy live) and it has caught the interest of several screenwriters as well.

Last May, John exhibited the book at the “Meet the Writer’s” Book Fair benefit event for the Southampton College Library. The book’s title so captivated several Southampton College staff members that five copies sold before the book got to the Book Fair! Lonero taught art at East Hampton High School for 25 years before “retiring” to Tryon NC. He first published part of this novel in the East Hampton Star.

Signed copies of his book are available directly from the publishers for $15.95. (Continental USA only. Others add $4.50 ground freight, $8.50 air freight, for shipping and handling.) Send check or money order to Pacolet Pines Publishing Co., P.O.Box 1047, Tryon, NC 28782.

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