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John F. Doscher


 

One Man's Journey

A Book of Short Stories

by: John F. Doscher


One Man's Journey. A Book of Short Stories

In 1991 John put together the first “Doscher Christmas Book.” He had it bound and sent copies to his children.

Over the last 27 years he has written at least 100 stories and the book has grown to 80 or 90 pages. John has selected a few to make up “One Man’s Journey.” Many of the stories are true, the rest are a figment of his imagination.

“I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.”—J.F.D.


152 pages, 6" x 9"
ISBN: 978-1-61170-270-5

 

Purchase "One Man's Journey" from any of the links below:
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available soon
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The first few pages from one of the stories in the book. Copyright Material

The Irish Tenor

It is said some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth, not so with Jack Gerity. Instead of the silver spoon, he was born with silver vocal chords. From age seven, Jack could sing. Oh, how he could sing! He sang in the choir at St. Malacy’s Catholic Church and often singing solos to the delight of Father Farley and his congregation.

By the time he was in high school, he was singing in some of the Irish pubs in his hometown of Boston. Without any formal training from a voice coach, he could belt out a song that would stop a show and have the audience on their feet. With no desire to further his education, he concentrated on his singing career.

Starting with a local stage production, and a contract with a local radio station, he was approached by a record company. He made a couple of singles that had moderate success, but he wasn’t happy. He loved the adulation, the back-slapping and cheering from live appreciative audiences. He was happiest in an old Irish pub, surrounded by people like him and doing what he loved to do, sing. After a performance, he would belly-up-to-the-bar and celebrate. “Jameson on the Rocks” was his drink and he enjoyed the taste of the old Irish whiskey.

Jack’s girlfriend from high school, Kitty Higgins, would accompany him as he made the rounds from pub to pub singing and drinking and just enjoying life. This, however, soon got old for Kitty. A moderate drinker herself, she found herself driving him home and pouring him into his bed at his apartment, a little tiresome. He would get a job, hold it for a while and then lose it, either from not showing up or showing up too hung over to be of any good. Always smiling, always in a good mood, he was easy to like and to forgive. Kitty would sit him down and they would talk about their future and Jack’s love of the Jameson. He would sober up, stay that way for a while but, soon the lore of the pubs, the adoring crowds and belting out the old Irish songs celebrated with Jameson, would win out and he would be back to his old habits.

Kitty, giving him a hundred last chances to change, finally gave up. They love each other but Jack couldn’t change, and she was tired of waiting. She was offered a job in New York and she took it. A cheerful good-bye and a promise to stay in touch ended a twelve-year romance. He was beside himself. He begged, pleaded, and cried when she told him it was over. He turned to his friend Jameson and stayed drunk for a week. His dad, Sean, was called to pick up his son at a rundown bar on the North side. Jack had passed out, laying in his own filth, was the way his father found him. Jack Gerity had hit bottom!

Two weeks of home-cooking, self-imposed rehab, and he was back on his feet again. His dad got him a job at a friend’s lumber company and made him promise to show up for work on time and sober. Three weeks went by before Jack succumbed to his old habits again.

One Saturday night, tired of being cooped up in his parent’s apartment, he stopped by a local pub, “Gallagher’s.” A couple of Jameson’s to loosen his pipes and Jack was once again in his glory. He sang one request after another and the applause was deafening. Toward the end of the evening, he grabbed the mike and started to sing his own favorite, “Danny boy.” The crowd hushed as he started; but first he told the story of the Irish Farmer with two sons. One son had gone off to war and the other one was walking down the road, bandolier across his shoulders and, as his father watched his youngest son going to join his brother in the war, he leaned on the fence post and said, “Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling.” That was as far as Jack got when his voice left him. He rattled the mike thinking it was the sound system that failed but it wasn’t. The crowd hushed as he tried time and again to sing the next note but to no avail. He stood there for a few seconds and with tears streaming down his face, left the stage, the quiet unbelieving crowd, and made his way to the street.

Jack was now truly devastated. Gone was the first love of his life, Kitty, and now his voice....



John F. Doscher holding one of his Christmas books.

John F. Doscher

John Doscher lives in Brooksville, Florida. He’s still writing and walking for exercise. No more ball playing or running 5 ks, age 90 put a stop to all of that, but he’s still enjoying life to its fullest.

If you have stories to share send him an email: jdoscher2@tampabay.rr.com.


Major League Dad

In the game of life, it looked like this kid didn't have a chance of getting to first base. One small boy with the odds stacked against him. Born out of wedlock, he never met his dad, had a step-dad for a while, was orphaned again and lived in an orphanage for a while until he was adopted by his grandmother, who was already in the midst of raising her own nine children alone. Sounds like the story of a guy who ends up in prison, as an alcoholic, or dead in an alley somewhere. But this story ends up as a win.

See, because someone told him early on that God loved him, this little boy, with so much against him, grew up to be a decent human being, an MVP on anyone's scorecard. Because someone was praying for him, he learned to play by the rules and play it straight. He married his high school sweetheart and was a faithful husband and father. Together, they raised five kids who turned out to be decent human beings and they, in turn, are raising 18 grandchildren who are decent human beings.

How did it turn out so well? It had to be the grace of God. How else did a guy with no "training" learn to get down on the floor and play with his kids, and love them enough to work three jobs to support them? To not only be their provider and protector, but also their hugger and kisser too? To teach them values like hard work, honesty, integrity and compassion? To teach his boys how to play ball and to be men, and teach his girls how it feels to be treated like a lady? And, most importantly, teach them to honor God so He could start the circle of blessing all over again?

Five kids in eight years added up to "too numerous to count" trips to beaches, parks and the like, lugging playpens and coolers in addition to the kids. How can you not admire a guy who spends his only day off a week taking his kids out for something fun, never making them feel like they were a burden but like being their dad was the most fun he could imagine? Who always made sure there was enough money for Christmas gifts, prom dresses and college way before charge cards came into play? The same man who got up early Sunday mornings after he worked late on Saturday night so he and Mom could take the kids to church as a family?

After years of hard work and sacrifice, the kids turned into teenagers and some of them got real ugly. But, he never heckled them or called them the miserable, ungrateful wretches they were acting like or threatened to have them ejected from the game. He just loved them and prayed them through it. And now, after years of squabbling and quarreling, the kids grew up and really like each other. Each one has tried to treat their own kids with the same love, respect, and discipline they learned from their dad. Being a parent is no easy task, but this bunch of kids have it easy because they had such a great coach.

And, the old guy isn't done yet. He's still praying for those kids and for their kids, and for the whole new generation on the way (There will be 14 great-grandkids by the end of this year!). Good thing he's retired, because there are so many that it's almost a full-time job!

Not bad for a kid who started out life with three strikes against him. The world calls guys like Mickey Mantel and Hank Aaron "Great" and puts them in a Hall of Fame. But as far as I'm concerned, my dad, John F. Doscher, is one of the best of the best. He's my All-Star, my MVP, my Home Run Hero. — Kathy Davenport


 

 

The Back of the House

 

by: John F. Doscher


If you work at the Plaza Hotel in New York long enough,
you hear strange and sometimes true stories.

This book of short stories is a combination of both.

Many of the situations described in this book did happen,
some almost happened,
and some could have happened...
given the nature of the hotel.

(John worked at the Plaza Hotel for eleven years. )


108 pages, 6" x 9"
ISBN: 978-1-935125-99-0

The Back of the House

Purchase "The Back of the House" from any of the links below:
aAmazon.Com
Barns&Noble.com
5 StarsFun Read ~ by Kathy
This is a great little read, a first novel by a great story teller. I guess I am a little prejudiced because the author is my Dad. I grew up hearing about all the funny things that happened while he worked at the Plaza, so there is a lot of truth in these stories. Dad was about 82 when he published this book. He is 85 now and still plays Senior Baseball about 3 times a week and until 6 months ago was running in 5k races there in Florida where he lives now. He's quite a guy and I'm sure you will enjoy the book.

Some pages from the book  ~ Copyright Material ~

Sample pages from "The Back of the House"



Hernando Today
'Mixologist' shares By FRED BELLET | Hernando Today

Doscher was once head bartender at the upscale Plaza Hotel in New York City. "Mixologist!" Back then we were referred to as a mixologist," Doscher, 85, exclaimed. "If a customer sat down and ordered an uncommon drink from a waiter, he would respond, "I am sure our mixologist can prepare that for you," Doscher elaborated.  "It was a swanky hotel," he said with a smile.

While in his 20s Doscher worked at The Plaza between the years 1950 to 1961. While there, he kept a very unconventional journal.  "It really wasn't a journal," he said.  Whenever something unusual happened, or if he heard something about a famous person from a doorman, chambermaid, cigarette girl or front-desk clerk, Doscher would write it down on a slip of paper or bar napkin. That collection of notes tossed into a cardboard box survived decades.  Some of those notes became the guts of his first book, "The Back Of the House"

Over the years Doscher was in the employ of The Plaza, he compiled quite a few tidbits about some very popular people.

A few years ago when he and his wife sorted out the notes, Doscher began writing and it was all in longhand.  Luckily, for him, Irene was a wordsmith. She worked for the American Institute of Physics as a proofreader and later as an editor for the U.S. Naval Institute…
"He would write it out and I would transcribe and edit it for him," she said. When she came across something she could not figure out, she asked her husband, "What's this word?" She could not help laughing and thinking back to the week or so it took her to decipher his notes and input his story into the computer.

Doscher began his book with a disclaimer. "This is a work of fact and fiction. Names, dates and instances have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the author." Although he admits, most of the people he wrote about are all gone, he decided to keep some secrets safe.

His style is unique as he shifts from the first person to the narrative of his main character, assistant hotel manager Mike Gilson.  Doscher tells his story through the eyes of the fictitious manager Gilson, saying, "as the manager I'm able to move around the hotel and write about what I saw and heard as well as what my co-workers saw and heard."

His stories are reminiscent from exclusive experiences, the kind we wish we all could have lived. During his tenure at The Plaza Hotel, several moviemakers used the hotel as a location for various scenes in the movies: "Callaway Went Thataway" in 1951, "Love Is Better Than Ever" in 1952, and "The Girl Who Had Everything" in 1953, among others. 

When it came to movie stars, one of John's fondest memories was his brush with actress Elizabeth Taylor.  He vividly remembers her first visit to his bar.  "She was 19 years old and absolutely gorgeous", he said. At the time, Liz was married to her first husband, Nicky Hilton. Nicky's father Conrad just happened to own The Plaza at that time.  "Nicky was a real hellraiser," recounts Doscher. 

Over the years as Doscher got used to his swanky title as head mixologist. There were benefits to the job and sometimes there were burdens. It didn't take long for Doscher to realize that some people would rather confide in their bartender than doctors or clergymen. John "received" a confession at least once a day. "It's really kind of funny", he said with a laugh. You'd think I was sitting in a confessional."

Celebrities were in and out all the time. There were plenty of humorous observations. Doscher takes you behind-the-scenes at the "Artists & Models Ball" a risqué event which "bounced from hotel to hotel and was never invited back" he writes. The annual affair was notorious for guests "showing up half-dressed with body parts exposed," he added. "The Back Of The House" portrays a little bit of Plaza Hotel history during a heyday when baby-boomers were being born. The book does not lack compelling moments. There is an account of a young widow, dressed all in black, who appears each year on the Northwest corner of the hotel. For over 10 years, she would stand on the same spot, sometimes waiting in a downpour. She was there to keep a promise, one that is only revealed in John Doscher's book.



I am partially deaf and maybe that inspired my poem, although when I wrote it I wasn't thinking of my deafness, at least not consciously. —John F. Doscher

OH LORD THAT I MIGHT HEAR

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
Your quiet voice when you are near
The words of those whom I hold dear.

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
The cries of those in need
Not to ignore but to heed.

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
The call to work with others to do your will
A word of comfort, a mouth to fill.

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
The cries of anguish that fill the air
To let them know how much you care.

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
Your words to tell me what to do
When your message is not clear
When my troubles seem to mount
When my prayers don't seem to count.

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
The words to tell me not to fear
That you will always be near
Your words to quiet my every doubt
And what my life is all about.

Oh Lord That I Might Hear
Your voice when my time is near
The heavenly angels loud and clear
To herald my coming home to you
When my life on earth is through
Oh Lord That I Might Hear.




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