Skip Van Lenten

Essay Writer

Location icon United States of America

I live in Bergen County, New Jersey, in the house where I grew up, although my return route took me half-way around the world before I settled in again, in 1998. I am retired, and the grandfather of two life-altering critters as of 2014, and spend as much time as I can in-between babysitting chores to write, paint, and play music.

The Bike Trip

I have an old roadmap of New York that was put out by the Shell Oil Company in 1946. "Tour with confidence," it says, under the familiar scalloped-shell logo....
Learn To Draw

If you remember television in the 50’s, you will remember the name, Jon Gnagy. Jon is famous for his Saturday morning “Learn to Draw” program, but there is something else that he was famous for that not many people know about....
The Trade

I have an old friend who lives in Navarro, California. I haven't seen her since 1984, but she is a writer, an artist, and a gardener at heart, and she put me up in her house in 1979, when I worked as a short-order breakfast cook at the Philo Café. Her name is Anna.
Indian Summer

My favorite time of year is just around the corner. When we were kids, we used to call it "Indian Summer,” and it always came in October. The weather would turn colder, it rained more often, and just when we thought winter was coming, it would warm up again, and for a week or two, we would be treated to clear blue skies and colorful leaves, a mixture of summer and fall weather that stood out like a separate season all by itself.

Every town has its legendary characters, and my hometown is no exception. "Mike the Janitor” comes to mind, and so does "Charlie Monument," a huge man who walked everywhere, but this is a story about a local legend who was a neighbor of mine while I was growing up....
Burning Leaves

We have a large maple tree in our backyard that has been there as far back as I can remember. It was the first tree I ever climbed, and one of my favorite places to play. In the summer, the trunk of the tree was always surrounded by toy tractors, steam shovels, and trucks. We built roadways and tunnels all around it, but at this time of year, what I remember most of all are the piles of leaves that we used to jump into from the rope swing that hung from the tree....