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Nonno's Pocket Watch by Ray M. Vento

'I'm Walking as Straight as I Can' by Geri Jewell

'Belle of the Brawl' by Gary A. Best


Nonno's Pocket Watch by Ray M. Vento

Ray M. Vento grew up in Los Angeles listening to stories about his large Italian-American family.  While in college, Ray was a counselor at Camp Paivika.  If you knew Ray in 1964, be sure to look at the Scrapbook page and see if you can pick him out in that year's staff picture.  Working with Paivikan campers was a lasting memory that contributed to writing his first children's book.  After graduating from college, Ray taught high school before embarking on a career with non-profit organizations.  Now retired, he couples his interest in genealogy and writing, to bring to life the family stories he's collected over the years.  In his spare time, Ray enjoys traveling, studying classic films and cooking everything Italian.  Nonno’s Pocket Watch is the first story to be published in what Ray hopes to be a series about growing-up in Los Angeles during the late 1940s and 50s.  Checkout for more information and to order the book.  It is also available on Amazon for Kindle users.

I'm Walking as Straight as I Can by Geri Jewell

You may remember Geri Jewell as Cousin Geri in the hit comedy series Facts of Life or as one of the other characters she has played in films and television, such as the memorable Jewel in HBO's Deadwood.  On the other hand, you may remember Geri as a camper at Paivika in 1967 and 68.  Now Geri has written a book about the intriguing life she has led as one of the few actresses and comediennes with a disability who has succeeded in Hollywood.  It wasn't easy, as told in this inspiring and funny story, which includes a forward by Patty Duke.  To obtain a copy of I'm Walking as Straight as I Can, by Geri Jewell, go to,, or your favorite local bookstore.

Belle of the Brawl by Gary Best

The late Fred Lull was Paivika's camp director during the summers of 1957-60.  Later, he remained involved with the camp for many years, while advancing in his special education career to become the principal of Sellery School in Gardena.  So respected was Fred that after his retirement a school in Encino was named for him.  Fred had many Paivika friends, but most of us did not know that he served in World War II as a bombardier, flying 30 missions in the Plexiglas nose of a B-17.  During that service he wrote 150 letters home to his mother in Los Angeles, and those letters have now been woven together artfully into a fascinating book by fellow Paivikan Gary Best. Belle of the Brawl, Letters Home From A B-17 Bombardier is available from,, or  Paivika Buddies may also contact Gary by e-mail to purchase a signed copy directly from the author.

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