Stromboli’s Nights of Wonder

Photo: CS Martinez

As published in THE HONG KONG REVIEW, Volume III, No. 3, Fall 2022

I was struck speechless that afternoon in 1932 when I first saw Mr. Herbert’s Stromboli’s Nights of Wonder Carnival in a trampled corn field in Toledo, Ohio.

Even a dumb twelve-year old like me could see it was all fake, a jerry-rigged assortment of broken-down kiddy rides and game booths with worthless prizes. But at night, when the twinkling fairy lights were lit, the canned music blared, and popcorn and cotton-candy machines spewed enchanting aromas, I was bewitched, and I lived there that summer.  

“Who’s Stromboli?” I asked Mr. Herbert, a childhood friend of my father.

“Some guy I met in a bar. Sounds classy, right, Bernard?” he said.

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