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The Soldier of the Leaf chronicles the life of Marvin Brown from early childhood through his career with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. His impressions as a child of the south in the mid 1940s
and 1950s provide glimpses of the struggles of poor and middle class blacks in Cairo and Savannah, Georgia. At age 14 he and two friends hitchhiked from Savannah, Georgia to New York City. His vivid and dramatic account of this dangerous journey is both hilarious and informative. His naivety, good luck and strength of character helped him meet and form a lasting bond with a family that embraced him as their own. He struggles to find the right job in New York City and by happenstance he gets a job as a skate guard with the Wollman Rink in Central Park, and that’s when his life’s story really begins. We follow Marvin through learning the ropes as a skate guard,
becoming a supervisor and then a principal supervisor. He shares 20 years of rich stories about the staff, processing the ice, faulty equipment, New York City bureaucrats and the patrons of the rink. He also takes us on an excursion to Sweden and Finland and on his return to New York he is able to parlay his experience and great work ethic into a senior position, Service and Maintenance Supervisor for 75 swimming pools in New York City. He recounts the trials and tribulations in managing incompetent staff, structural problems with filter plants and pools and handling dangerous chemicals. Marvin provides an interesting and humorous journey into the career of an exceptional New York City civil servant.