Carl Addison Swanson is many things. He’s a Staples graduate. A lawyer who spent decades in Texas, before returning to Westport several years ago. A frequent contributor to the “06880” comments section.
He’s also an author. His Hush McCormick series has done enormously well, thanks to social media marketing.
But in his latest book, Carl steps away from the “boat bum adventure” genre.
Double Parked in the Twilight Zone: Summer of 1960 is set in Westport. The protagonist, Justin Carmichael — and yes, that’s the name of a 1988 Staples grad, though the similarity ends there — graduates from Bedford Elementary School during that 1960 year.
Suffice it to say, Justin has a very interesting summer.
Carl is a Bedford El grad. (It’s now Town Hall. Carl remembers it well — including the basement, where the Westport Community Theater has replaced civil defense drills of yore.)
“Reaching 65 years of age in February made me aware that I suddenly wanted to talk about my life some more,” Carl says. His return to Westport sparked many memories, some of which he mines in Twilight Zone. (Note the subtle homage to Rod Serling, who lived in Westport when Carl was at Bedford.)
So is this book autobiographical?
“In a sense, all writing is about your life and experiences,” he says. “The summer of 1960 was particularly intereseting to me, because a lot happened.”
For instance, Carl started playing golf at Longshore. His Little League team went to the town championship. He went steady with a girl for the first time.
“A lot of fun stuff,” he says.
Though Carl has a satirical streak, this is hardly satire. It is, he says, “a critique on the town back then, through my eyes.”
Westport was a great place to grow up, Carl says — “especially back in the ‘Wonder Years’ of the 1950s and ’60s. There was plenty to do, and a lot more freedom to do so.”
But there were not, he says, “as many adult eyes around as there are today.”
So why the title?
“I was pretty much of a goofball back then,” Carl says. “I got into a lot of trouble.
“I was also scared to death to walk by the Famous Artists School for fear of Rod Serling coming out. It was a terrifying television show.”
But a great title, half a century later.
(Double Parked in the Twilight Zone and Carl’s other books are available at Amazon (click here) and on Kindle. All proceeds from his latest book go the Wounded Warrior Project. His website is www.carladdisonswanson.com.)