Every Christmas season since 1988 we have spent the month of December at the corner of 8th Avenue and Jane Street in New York City. We sell Christmas trees. Ellie was only eighteen months old that first year: she has spent every Christmas season since in Greenwich Village. We live there in a camper parked on the corner. We meet everybody, we know their names, we have watched their kids grow and, many times, we have been in their apartments every year for 12 years now. The neighbors seem to be in a competition to see who can be the nicest to us, to do the most for us. Our viewpoint from the street, and our place in the lives of the people we serve there, have made us realize what a lucky family we are, indeed.


When the New York Times called us a "Greenwich Village Icon", we knew it was time to write a book about it. The hundreds of stories that many of you have heard were all good candidates for a book. Any of the local characters make a good centerpiece for a novel. We decided to write about the relationship between Ellie and her Dad, because we could see it had the most potential to reach and effect people, the highest likelihood of doing some good in this world. By sharing our story, we hope that some parents can learn from the mistakes of one Billy Romp. If this story gives you something to think about, if it helps you improve your relationship with your children, even just a little--well, we couldn't ask for anything better than that. E-mail us and we will send you an inscribed copy for $13. Or use the links to online booksellers below.

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