Life at 12 College Road by Eric Mondschein (10th Anniversary)

(17 customer reviews)

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Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Best Memoir by the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs (NABE)

It’s not always the earth-shattering events that are most significant in our hectic lives. More often, it’s the small things, many long forgotten, that touch and shape us most deeply. Our memories of these events might bring smiles, or anger, or even a desire to forget. But every one of them helps to make us who we are today-and in some ways, who we will become tomorrow. Join Eric Mondschein at the unhurried pace of a cup of coffee for a surprising and powerful journey in which laughter inevitably mingles with tears, sorrow turns to joy, and loss almost becomes bearable.

About the Author

Dr. Eric S. Mondschein has taught law and education and published and edited numerous articles and books in the field. He has worked for the US government in various capacities and directed an award-winning education program for New York. He was awarded the American Bar Association’s Award of Excellence in Law Related Education. He served as an advisor for an international NGO in Haifa, Israel, in external affairs, security, government relations, and human rights. He also served as the citizen representative of The Post Star editorial board in 2009 and 2018.

He currently resides in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York with his wife, Ginny. They have two grown children Adam and Emily, a son in law, Kamal, a daughter in law, Yaani, and grandchildren, Annie, Nathanael, and Eli.

Additional information

Weight 8.6 oz
Dimensions 6 × 1 × 9 in

17 reviews for Life at 12 College Road by Eric Mondschein (10th Anniversary)

  1. Lou

    In Life at 12 College Road, Eric tells the stories of his memories of his growing up with his family and friends. His story telling drew me into each episode, living his experience and remembering similar ones from my own past. I felt I was there with him as the events happened and I could feel his elation and trepidation as each chapter developed, anticipating, from my own childhood, the reactions of his parents, and his younger brother plotting to get Eric into trouble. I couldn’t help but relate to his driving his mother’s car for the first time, up and down the driveway while is parents were away and how that escapade ended. He and Jeff building their own igloo from a snow pile left after a monster snow storm, and the resulting near-death experience, brought back memories of my childhood growing up near Boston and some of the crazy things that my brother and did in the snow.

    Life at 12 College Road is a delightful, heart-warming read that will have you laughing at the events of Eric’s life as you live them through his stories, but also conjuring up memories, both happy and sad from your own experience. As he says in the preface, “…get yourself a cup of coffee or tea, sit back, and get comfortable.” Get ready to travel back to your childhood and relive those precious moments as Eric takes you with him on his time travel through his memories.

  2. Chesapeake Blue Eyes

    I love, love, loved Life at 12 College Road. Even though I read it over 2 weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about the wonderful stories from the author’s childhood. The author’s use of language painted vivid full color, 3- dimensional pictures of each story in my mind all along while evoking smells from the wonderful cooking in the family kitchen to the falling and burning fall leaves, and I could even feel the softness of “brownie’. Through each of the vignettes of the author’s youth I felt love, I laughed, I cried, I felt anger and then fell in love and laughed all over again. This is a book I will be talking about and remembering with fondness for a long, long time.
    The stories are beautifully and tenderly book ended by a pair of the author’s poems. I often found myself wishing for even more of his poetry.
    The book not only gives you a peek into family life in the 50 and 60s but also the workings of the mind of the author as an adventurous youth. Young Rick was always planning and strategizing to maximize his adventure factor, while, often humorously, minimizing any subsequent consequences. Even though sometimes he lost the battle he always seemed to win the war. I kept thinking that when he grew up, he would have made a heck of a general.
    I hope there will be a sequel of stories perhaps Away from 12 College Road. What a wonderful legacy and remembrance to leave to his children and grandchildren when they ask him to share a story from his childhood.
    Thank you Eric Mondschein for this wonderful endearing book. Please keep writing.

  3. Jane E Harper

    “Life at 12 College Road” is a real treasure. Chock full of engaging, unpredictable stories, it’s life through an imaginative child’s eyes, who knows just enough to get himself into some serious (and seriously funny–usually) situations. Ride faithful Brownie through heroic adventures, parachute out of a Douglas C-47 Skytrain (err–off the shed roof), ride a bobsled in the winter Olympics (the Rick and Jeff version, anyway).

    But it’s not all laughs. In “Jonathan Thad” life becomes frightening and uncertain the night Mom’s pregnancy suddenly ends. In “Target Acquisition” a day that begins in innocent play ends in regret and recognition of an ugly truth. (This story was my favorite.) These stories are told with honesty, courage, clarity, and always with hope.

    If there is an overarching theme that connects all these stories, I would call it love. The love of parents for each other, the love of parents toward their children, the love of children toward their parents, and the love of two brothers who, as with normal siblings everywhere, scheme against each other one day, plot together the next, and always adhere to the silent code of “don’t tell mom and dad.”

    Mondschein’s writing is such that I want to read–no, savor–every word. I’m not usually like that. I even read the preface and acknowledgments. I tend to skip those, but the way Mondschein write engages my total attention.

    These are stories to read out loud and share with others. They will bring back some of your own memories of, well, maybe not your finest moments, but probably your funniest.

    Jane E. Harper, author, The Universe Within Us, […]

  4. David Henderson

    For me, at least, reading Eric Mondschein’s vivid short stories from his youth was like leafing through technicolor memories with each word of life as a kid growing up in the 1960s. It brought back so much of those times for me. The exploration, adventures, curiosity, and the trouble many of us got into. It is remembering – through brilliantly crafted word pictures – how America seemed so innocent back then, whether it actually was or not. And, poignant events that shape – in many ways – who we are.

    I believe some of America’s greatest writers have painted the tapestry of this country through the craft of short stories. Storytelling is part of our culture, regardless of ethnicity. Eric Mondschein is joining that talented group of word painters.

  5. Chocolate

    Excellent writing, full of humour, insight and tenderness!
    Fascinating picture of a childhood the likes of which fewer and fewer seem to experience nowadays.

  6. John E. Dickerson

    This narrative is a well written story simply about growing up with all the anecdotes about the foibles of youth. It is down to earth, fireside chat style. My only dislike was not having a geographical reference point at the start, but later into the story. This may be a personal thing, but I like to know the location of the story at the beginning. Otherwise, it is excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

  7. BD

    If you can, read it aloud to your loved ones following a family meal and savor it one chapter at a time.

  8. Paul Toloui-Wallace

    This memoir is a heartwarming expression of love of family and gratitude for the life presented to Rick and Jeff.In adult life I became am a family friend so the memories in Rick’s book had even more meaning causing me to recall treasured moments as grown ups. I am also thankful to Rick as he has caused me to reflect on my own childhood, and I have discovered the memories mirror so many family experiences. What a world we all lived in then. Thank you Rick, exquisitely written in a simple yet profound prose

  9. Tony Conroy

    Really enjoyed it. I was almost like sitting listening to Eric telling the strorys

  10. Elizabeth Walker

    As I read this book I laughed out loud and shook my head in amazement at the youthful hijinks the author and his friends managed to get up to. It describes in many ways a simpler time and place where children had very different freedoms from those they do today. I could see my parents’ childhood stories and my own echoed here in many ways, while also being reminded of what I am facing a few years down the road when my own children inevitably start to get more creative in their mischief making. Humorous and poignant, and thoroughly enjoyable.

  11. Stacie Theis

    Life at 12 College Road explores the life of the author, Eric Mondschein, through the heartfelt and often times humorous memories he shares about growing up in his family home.

    This is such a compelling read. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a stroll down memory lane with Eric. His recollection of growing up on 12 College Road had me laughing, crying, and recollecting my own childhood. Each chapter is it’s own short story detailing a specific event, but as you continue reading you begin to understand how all the stories tie together shaping the author into the man he is today.

    One tale I particularly enjoyed was “The Sitter” in which Eric and his little brother, Jeff tie up their babysitter in order to stay up late and watch TV. I remember my mom sharing a similar story with me about what her and her brothers did to their babysitter. I had to call her and ask if this was the norm for kids growing up in the 50’s and 60’s! Her response, “sometimes you had to do what you had to do when you had a babysitter.” Not sound advice, but it sure made for a fun story from both the author and my mom.

    The book is filled with tales like the one above and many, many more. Some pull at your heartstrings, others will make you smile, and all will make you reflect on what really matters in life.

    I highly recommend picking up a copy.

  12. Erik Nelson

    Have you ever read an autobiography where someone describes EVERY single detail about their life? I know it may seem like an amusing experience to write about oneself because you get to relive all the good memories. However, is it amusing for the reader? Unless you know the author personally or are a real big fan of him or her, probably not. But Eric Mondschein’s autobiography is a different story because every chapter seems like a different story. It seems as if he gave us a collection of short stories about his life that he felt were relevant to who he became as a man and brought them together to create his well written life story. Although the chapters have connections with each other, they seem like different episodes of a T.V show with the same family. My favorite chapter is where his father gets a new car and it’s around the time where Eric or Rick as he’s called by the family is just learning how to drive. Although he wants to follow the rules of the road by not driving the car by himself being underage, he’s seduced by the image of the car and wounds up taking it for a spin on the driveway which leads to a predictable conclusion but not the typical response from his parents. I like this chapter because in my opinion, this is where he officially becomes a young adult. He knows right from wrong but he’s seduced by the image of something and he can’t help himself. I won’t give away anything else because it’s well worth the read. You’ll love it so much that you’ll realize that Eric lived and will go on to living a glorious live well worth living.

  13. E Downes

    A wonderfully nostalgic trip through a young man’s eyes.

  14. KGR

    Life at 12 College Road is a memoir of vignettes, each a memory, a snippet in time of Eric’s childhood.

    I wasn’t too far into the book when I began to imagine Eric sitting in an overstuffed chair, retelling his boyhood memories to grandchildren. His style is effortless. His use of first person narrative gives the work such a personal feel. The writing is honest and easy, no five-dollar words, no pretension, no theatrics.

    But, what I took away from the read even more than the simplicity, were the stories themselves. Eric shares each step of what made him the man he is today through candid, humorous and sometimes sad memories. Within his vignettes, he shares his lesson of loss (Brownie), the observation of unconditional love (The Salad Bowl), subliminal but permanent change (Christmas Morning), sadness (Jonathan Thad), mischief (The Sitter). One story in particular offers a glimpse of the change from boy to man in the last line (Camping in the Backwoods). He covers sibling rivalry, adventure and the triumphs and tribulations of growing up.

    *In order to preserve the read for those who have not had the pleasure, I refer only to the vignette titles without going into detail of the content.

    While reading (The Car in the Driveway), I had flashbacks of my own childhood and some of the situations my brother, sister and I found ourselves in. Some of his stories are reminiscent of an old Huck Finn tale, humorous, but not without a lesson learned. This work speaks of a simpler time, a time long gone and sorely missed.

    Although I think any age group would enjoy this book, I believe it holds special meaning to anyone who grew up in the same era. Life at 12 College Road is a Rockwell painting in words.

  15. Chris Kavelin

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s like have a good cup of coffee and listening to the engaging radio stories of Prairie Home Companion or Canada’s Vinyl Cafe. You feel like you’re part of another family with lots of laughter, mini adventures and entertaining exploits of a young man growing up during an era of wholesomeness.

  16. SKG

    Eric Mondschein can tell a story. He has an amazing memory for detail, both of events and of physical surroundings, so that these vignettes come alive like short stories. The center of the book, for me, was the portraits of his parents: two strong but very different people who made a wonderful complementary unit, a portrait of enduring love. The book was a breeze to read. I’ve spent time as a copy editor myself, and this book is not only impeccably written but lively and engaging as well. I might have liked further exploration of the relationship between Eric and his brother — the competition between them and yet the closeness, and how that tension played out down the years. But that’s a small reservation — nothing more than an urging toward a sequel! I’d definitely recommend this book.

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