Paper pub. date
January 1995
ISBN 9780870713996 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870713859 (hardcover)
320 pages. Illustrated with photographs.

Fool's Hill

A Kid's Life in an Oregon Coastal Town

John Quick

John Quick is Garrison Keillor with an attitude and Fool's Hill is his quirky childhood autobiography. The setting is Port Orford, Oregon, in the mid-1930s to -40s. Here a curious, blabbermouth boy learns more at the bottom of a ditch than in kindergarten and finds real home in a booth at Red's Bar holding hands with Dorothy, whom he is never supposed to talk to. Meet Skippy the dog and Bruno the Terrible Bear, Moran the Mystery Man and Grandfather Frank the pyromaniac. Learn about human bones, Parker's solid Gold Meteor, double homers, "Turd" McCormick's wagon, chicken massacres, the Prum-Yay automobile, falling out of trees, and trying to hang on to friends that are about to kick the bucket.

With a little help from his friends, young Johnny learns about life and death and sex. And, with his help, we remember what it is to be a kid.

About the author

After leaving Port Orford, John Quick attended high school in Grants Pass, Oregon, and served in the Air Force in the Far East during the Korean War. He attended four universities (including a one-year stint at the University of Oregon) and earned a PhD from the Union Institute. Quick worked as a bellhop, actor, Vice President Creative Director for New York ad agencies, liquor store delivery driver, fry cook, and director of sales promotions. Sadly, John is now deceased.

Read more about this author

Letter from Principal


Sentimental Crap

Mind Movies


Bottle Caps & Life in General

Very First Memories


Captain William Tichenor

My Folks

Was Rico an Agent of Darkness?

Critical Observation

Descriptions of People

You Want to Hear More About Eve Doyle


Ways to get Memories That Last

Order in the Universe

Charms, Magic, In Cahoots With God

Garrison Lake–Swimming

Frank Tichenor's (Actually His Daughter Margaret's) Birth Announcement Sent Worldwide

Some Startling Things


Forest Fire

History Assignment

Tonsils and adenoids

Battle Rock

Think Chrome

Car Ghosts and Other Problems

Pyro–My Grandfather, Frank

Blabbermouth–The Kindergarten Kid

The Writer

Real Home

Frank and Indians

The Kid Who Couldn't Read or Write

1937 & 1938

The Fine Art of Managing Your Expletives

Mysteries (Not to be Discussed)

Ed Rowland

Introduction to Luck

The Goose Feast

Fool's Hill

People On the Point of Land Extending Far Into the Ocean

Running With Winnie


Old Home Week

Tannenbaum Express

Along Came 1939

Farm Devils

What Do You Want to Be?

Ted (Which, Coincidentally, Rhymes With Dead

Hating Paprika

Town Bully–Metal Boat

1940–A Turning Point

Insect Lore and Old Wives' Bullshit

Moran, Moran–The Mystery Man

Some Fish For Planting

Fossil Words

Debacle #1–The Beachball

The Jesus Place


King of the Mountain


Lovey Laureen

Questions From Old Lady Beck–Answers from Moran

The Con Men–And Then There Was Mr. Parker

Teeth and History

Barnie Winslow's Christmas

The New Mrs. Grant

"Turd" McCormick: Wagonmaster

4ths of July

Happy Days Are Here Again: Played Live

Debacle #2-The Rifle


The Flag & the Rose

The very Near Passing of the Prum-Jay

Lou Monescu–Love, Grease and the Enemy Plane

The Survivors of the Jap-Sunk Tanker

Attack Dogs

The Games

The Invasion

Short Memories

The Amazing Cartoon Gun

Going Back East

1943 and the End of the World

The "B" Effect

Final Thoughts of Fears




"What a delightful book! Style, shape, voice--it's charming and original. I just can't think of anything like it… a book about the dominion of childhood, about memory and dream, about wisdom and ignorance, and most especially… about the meaning and value of community."

Molly Gloss, author of The Jump-Off Creek


"Fool's Hill isn't about Port Orford, really. It is about the community, and life, and death, and the things that are meaningful inside each of us but somehow not understandable to others. Quick makes them understandable. Chances are you've never read anything quite like Fool's Hill. So take a chance. You might well be touched in ways you never imagined."

Dan Hays, Statesman Journal

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