Sunday, October 7, 2018

Forgotten Stories and Forgotten People

     I hope you're not tired of reading my stories. I located a few more stories that were stored away. These are Veterans of  World War II Stories. 

     This is a story about a gentleman I met years ago when I was working as a recreational assistant. I'm sure he is deceased now as he was in very poor health at the time I met him in the 1980's. He probably has been forgotten thus his stories too, with the exception of this story which I am about to share with you. 

     Many men in this facility were Veterans of World War II. Some of these residents objected to even polite conversation. Some reacted as though it were an invasion of their privacy, some were combative, and some simply just stared off into space. Sometimes a sudden outburst would happen. One day as I was passing through the hallways I was abruptly stopped. I was given an impromptu educational lecture on the geography and history of the North African Campaign during World War II. From November of 1942 to May of 1943 thousands of British and American forces landed across Western North Africa and joined in the attack which forced the surrender of the remaining Axis troops. This storyteller was angry, and rightfully so. During World War II oil was of the utmost importance and the Middle East had plenty of it. The vivid images this man presented were striking, to say the least. I was taken completely off guard as I had no prior knowledge of these events concerning the Libyan and Egyptian deserts, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia being World War II battlegrounds. His raw use of the English language gave a clear description of what war is.

     "Thousands of men, I tell you thousands of dead men! Soldiers lying dead in the sand!" he yelled at me. I thought I could see a tear roll down his cheek as I stood there speechless. I can still see him shaking his fist at me.

     "You, you don't know anything!" He leaned forward in his chair as though he were going to stand up.

     I backed away from him. He was right. I couldn't begin to imagine it. I certainly didn't learn about this in history class. Sadly, I don't remember this man's name but he was one of many who had a story to tell. So you see...after working with and meeting some of the residents I wasn't sure how I might be received. I moved on, deciding to go outside to the patio and garden area.

     It was a warm September afternoon when I first met Nick. He was sitting in the sunlight smoking a cigarette. Rays of sunlight filtered through the treetops and reflected off the metal on his wheelchair. A soft, thin, red blanket covered his lap and draped down his fragile legs. It was my job to encourage the residents to socialize; so, I visited with Nick that September afternoon.

     I watched Nick take the last few puffs on his cigarette before unsuccessfully trying to light another. I walked over to offer my assistance. He smiled and handed me the lighter. As I leaned over to light his cigarette I got a slight whiff of heavy, stale tobacco tinged with the scent of incontinence. His slender fingers were stained a yellowish-brown, and I couldn't help but notice the dirt under his jagged fingernails. 

     "It's a nice day," I said to him.

     Nick nodded his head but offered no conversation. I decided to take a seat on the park bench to enjoy the sunshine with him. Only the soft rustle of the tree leaves with birds chirping interrupted the silence. Then to my surprise, he mumbled something in a low, soft tone and pointed towards the hills. I moved closer and asked Nick to please repeat what he had just said. This time I understood.

     "My home, over hill," he spoke in a soft broken English. He emphasized his meaning by pointing to himself and then towards the hills. Nick paused for a moment then looked at me and added, "In Russia." 

     I listened with sobering interest as Nick proceeded to tell his story. Nick's thin-framed body was now confined to a wheelchair, but his mind journeyed back in time to a place of his youth.

     "Germans, come. Bang, bang, bang!" He used his thumb and index finger to indicate a gun was used.  "Shoot my mother, my father, and my brother."Nick flipped the ashes from his cigarette. He silently stared at the ground.

     His words transported me to another era, another world, a time in history that I had only read about or viewed in the movies. He told me how he hid in the cellar which was to no avail. Soldiers pointing their guns at him, kicking him, and laughing, all the while forcing him to get up to go with them. Nick reported that he was forced onto a train.

     I supposed Nick was a young boy somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16 during this time. I wasn't there to interview him or upset him. I was just glad he decided to talk to me.

     "Lots of people on train." Nick's broken English made the story seem real, as though I could see the events unfolding.

     Later on, I did some research on this as my knowledge of the German surprise attack on Russia was limited, to say the least. At the start of the war, Russia and Germany were friends until Hitler wanted to expand his German Empire and so on June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union. Millions of Soviet citizens were abused, killed, and left to starve.

     Nick's story was unclear at this point. I thought I understood him to say the train took him to Leningrad. He also said he was forced to go to Germany. Whatever the situation...Nick had to do it or die. I don't know where in Germany he was taken. It was at this stage of the conversation that he started making swimming strokes with his arms thus reporting that he jumped in the harbor. I don't know what country or city this happened in. It was all very confusing; nevertheless, it was all very believable.

     I decided to ask him if he were Russian, German, or American.

     He emphatically answered, "I not Russian! I not German! I American!"

     He slowly puffed on his cigarette as he continued his story.
     "I in airborne division! I paratrooper! I jump! I train be Sneaky Pete! I been all over...all over world! He paused to take another puff on his cigarette before saying, "I American!"

     I was lost for words and it was a good thing. Clearly, Nick was agitated with me. Suddenly a breeze gently touched us. I imagined an angel had come to visit as a calmness filled the air. I ask Nick if he had any family or friends.

     "Family all gone, no more." 

     I wondered how many more stories like Nick's were hidden behind the walls of institutions. This wasn't a newspaper or magazine article. Nick was real. His story was real; although I was sorry I wasn't able to piece it together in a more pleasing order.  There was no glamorous Hollywood ending. No applause for the heroes living behind these walls.

     It is now 2018. I have had the pleasure of meeting several World War II Veterans who have shared their stories with me. They are in their 90's and one kind gentleman was just a few months shy of being 100 years old when I met him. It never ceases to amaze me at how vivid their memories are of the places, time, and events that took place during the War. 

     One gentleman told me he joined the navy when he was seventeen. He shared his story with me, then asked, "Do you think there is a heaven?"

     I answered, "Oh...yes there is definitely a heaven. The Bible describes it as being very beautiful." 

     He just smiled at me and didn't say a word.  He was very ill when I met him. Sadly, he died about two weeks later.

     I feel fortunate to have met these brave men. I wish I could share all the stories I've heard over the years as a remembrance to them. It has been very educational as well as an eye-opening experience to learn about history from the men who lived it. 













Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A Childhood Recall

       This is one of the stories I wrote in 1986 when I was enrolled in an English Composition Class. I found this when I was looking for some other things. This was the rough draft. I don't know what happened to the finished product. I'm sure it was revised because there was a note attached from  the instructor. He wanted to know why I didn't mention coffee in the story as well as offering several other words of advise.   
       I thought it might be worth reading.

     I rested my chin on the red and white gingham checked tablecloth and watched the steam slowly rise from the pan of hot oatmeal. The distinct smell of smoked bacon frying in a huge cast iron skillet drifted in the air. In the center of the table was a plate of toast piled high and accompanied by the pitcher of cream and the sugar bowl. I listened to the spoon clang against the glass pitcher as Grandmother vigorously stirred the orange juice.

     Mother had already left for work. It was dark when she left and it would be dark when she returned. The predawn hours made the farm house feel empty and the mornings long. The rest of the family would be going off to work or to school soon and we would be alone, my Grandmother and I.

     I remember tagging along behind her as she set out to do the chores. She always wore a homemade bib apron of gingham or flower print with giant pockets sewn on the front. She made aprons from the very feed sacks from which she scooped the grain to feed the stock. I wore faded blue jeans and worn tennis shoes. My hair was braided tight against my head, usually with bright red, blue, or green ribbons wrapped around each tail.

     First we went to the hen house and then to the hog lot. My legs grew tired trying to keep up with her. I stayed near her, fearful of the squealing hogs.

     When the chores were finished we walked together, my Grandmother and I, down the dusty lane to the mailboxes. The row of dirt covered boxes leaning backwards on their post.

     We walked slowly now, stopping to acknowledge the wild flowers that grew along the roadside. I picked an assortment of the weeds, thinking it would be appreciated when Mother returned.

     The day was filled with work to do. Washing clothes in the wringer washer and hanging clothes on the line. 

     Later in the day Grandmother beat the egg whites into fluffy white meringue. She piled it high on top of the lemon pie. The miniature pie tin was filled just for me.


Friday, July 27, 2018

The Sister I Never Knew 1943 - 1951

According to the Dictionary:  Rheumatic Fever is a severe infectious disease occurring chiefly in children, marked by fever and painful inflammation of the joints and frequently resulting in permanent damage to the heart valves. 

Classic symptoms are fever,joint pain, fatigue, paleness, lack of appetite, weight loss, rash and bouts of strep throat.

The Dreaded Diagnoses

In 1947 my sister was diagnosed with a bout of the Whooping Cough then later a diagnoses of Rheumatic Fever.  In the 1940s children were not vaccinated against Whopping Cough and many children died from this disease. Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that affects the lungs. Penicillin had been discovered but evidently not widely in use since it was a new drug. Carol's heart may have already been too weakened for drugs to help.

A Little About Carol

Carol was born August 17,1943 in Union Furnace,Ohio. She was born in a large two-story house that was situated back a ways off from Highway 328. The driveway to the house went under the old wooden railroad trestle. In 1947, my mother with children in tow, went to live with her parents on the Nickle Plate Road farm. Pictures of Carol show her as being a cute little girl with blond hair and blue eyes. I don't remember seeing any pictures of Carol smiling. I remember a color picture of Carol hanging in our living room. The picture was in a huge oval shaped frame. Mother made sure Carol's picture was always on display.     

Carol was in and out of Children's Hospital numerous times over a three year period. On good days when she was able to be at home, she joined her siblings in playing with toy cars and trucks. The children liked to play in the basement near the coal pile. This part of the basement was unfinished with a dirt floor and a heap of dirt near the coal pile. I imagine they played in the dirt loading the little toy trucks with bits and pieces of coal. Cardboard boxes were another favorite play item. Most children didn't have lots of toys back then,so having a big imagination and creativity served as useful entertainment. 

On one of Carol's really good days she went with her younger brother to ride on an old push-and-ride metal scooter. The two instigated a plan to ride the scooter to the small village of Union Furnace. Perhaps they were thinking of purchasing some penny candy from the country store. Penny candy was kept inside a big wood and glass display case which made it very enticing for young children. The two young children didn't get very far. They managed to get to the end of the lane before they were discovered missing. Walking the country lane was a fairly far distance for Carol considering her illness and the Doctor's protocol for limited physical activity.

Carol went to Union Furnace school for only short periods of time. Our road wasn't on the bus route during this time in the 1940s. My oldest brother reported that Mr. Geiger was the bus driver; however, Mr. Geiger drove his personal car which was a 1937 Chevrolet, to the farmhouse to pickup the kids so they could get to school.

Added Memories of The Geiger Store As Told By My Brother

Mr. Geiger also operated a small grocery store as well as sold gasoline. His store was located on Highway 328 across from the United Brethren Church in Union Furnace, Ohio. My brother, who was about ten-years-old at the time,remembers this store in detail because of the old gas pumps. A clear visible glass cylinder which held a few gallons of gas was on top of the pump so you could see what you were getting or to measure the gallons of gasoline. In those days you requested gas by how many gallons you wanted. A manual pump was used to get the gasoline out of the underground tank. In order to get gasoline you needed to pull back and forth on the pump to get the gas into the glass cylinder at the top. This apparatus was eight or ten feet tall and the gas flowed down a hose by gravity into the car. These pumps were popular in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  
Children's Hospital Stays
I'm sure Carol dreaded being ill, staying in the hospital, and she felt abandoned as I remember the stories mother told of her lengthy stays at Children's Hospital. Mother couldn't stay with Carol all the time; having other children at home to care for and not wanting to put all the responsibility of caring for them on her mother,(my grandmother),as well as having limited funds which made the situation even worse. I know my mother felt guilty for not always being able to stay at the bedside of her very sick little girl. 
My oldest brother remembers the blizzard of 1950 when the lane to our house had over four feet of snow to be shoveled out. Carol had been home for awhile when the blizzard hit. Carol suddenly became much worse;having to call an ambulance to come to the house;there was an immediate need to clear the lane. It took several people to shovel the snow. Mother with a shovel in hand joined the others in clearing the road. The road to Union Furnace was cleared but the road going to Logan in the other direction was closed. The snow drifts in that direction had reached as high as seventeen feet, needing a bulldozer to open up the road. 

Death Comes to Nickle Plate Farm

During the next six months Carol's condition continued to worsen. Many, many times mother would get on the bus in Logan and ride to Columbus to be with her very sick child. It was May 12th, 1951 when eight-year-old Carol took her last breath. Mother said that white doves came and lingered at the window when Carol died and there were white doves at the funeral home as well. I can't imagine the overwhelming sorrow and grief that my mother felt at that moment. I do know that mother blamed herself for not being able to do more and she carried this burden of guilt with her for years.

Mother made arrangements with the funeral home to transport the casket to the Nickle Plate Farm House. Friends,neighbors,and family came to pay their respects. After several days the casket was transported to the United Brethren Church in Union Furnace for the funeral. Mother placed all of Carol's dolls and toys in the casket with her. Many people attended the funeral as well as students and teachers from the school. Carol's body was laid to rest at the New Straitsville Cemetery, New Straitsville, Ohio, beside her grandparents.

Saying Goodbye

Saying goodbye is always hard but when you're only a child it's even worse. My sister claims she has no memory of Carol even though there are pictures of them together. My younger brother was very young at the time and has a very limited memory of her. I gained so much more information about Carol in a twenty-minute span from my older brother, who was about ten-years-old at the time of her death. I was born later, so I never knew Carol.

Mother continued to speak of Carol throughout the years. She worried that Carol would be forgotten and flowers would not be placed on her grave every year. Since my mother's passing, every year either my siblings or I place flowers on the grave of the sister I never knew. 



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Apple Pickin' Time

Going off to the orchard was like a family outing back when we lived in simpler times. It was a seventy-acre peach and apple orchard in southeastern Ohio, near the little village of Ilesboro, Ohio. I thought it was a great adventure but then any outing was an adventure back then. We didn't often leave the farm. My uncle did the driving since my grandmother didn't drive. We went to the orchard riding in a red 1948 Dodge truck. It seemed like it took a very long time to get there because of all the hills and curves on State Route 93 South. People didn't make a habit of driving fast back then. My grandmother thought that 30 miles per hour was too fast. She would frequently order my uncle to slow down when approaching the curves. 

I remember apples packed in bushel baskets but my brother remembers a bushel of apples being packed in large sacks. I guess that might depend on what orchard you went to as to using baskets or sacks. A bushel of apples weighs about 48 pounds so I reasoned that a sack of apples would be like carrying a sack of potatoes. I asked my brother how much a bushel of apples cost in the 1950's and he thought it was about $3.00. There was a variety of apples back then...Winesap, Jonathan, and Red Delicious were the most common. There are so many varieties of apples that you would need to become an apple connoisseur to know which is the best.

Apples are ready to pick in September and all apples must be hand picked to prevent bruising. I think my younger brother came along with us that day. He was the reason my grandmother said, "Don't shake the tree branches!" The brother who liked to tease and ask a million questions. The one who was always inquisitive and testing out everything. I didn't know back then that apples had to be gently twisted off the branches.

Some orchards have pre-picked apples or pick-your-own apples. My older brother tells me that this particular orchard had pre-picked apples but I remember standing in the orchard under the apples trees looking up at red apples dangling from the branches. My uncle drove the truck into the orchard and placed a few bushel baskets of apples into the back of the truck. Maybe I imagined that, however, that picture of the apple orchard is stuck in my brain.

Apples can be prepared many ways...baked, fried, dried, snacks, apple butter, applesauce, apple jelly, pies, apple cider, apple juice, cobbler, and vinegar. Did I forget anything? Oh, yes...caramel apples. My grandmother made applesauce, apple jelly, apple butter, apple pies, and canned many quarts of apples for the winter.

My grandmother had her work cut out for her when she got home. I can still see her sitting in the kitchen peeling a whole apple in one long, curled strip. I thought that was amazing. I still can't peel an apple in one long strip. She and my mother sat paring apples and cutting them into slices for canning. How my heart aches for the comforting aroma and taste of apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg  coming from one of her homemade hot bubbling pies. I find comfort and peace when I look back on those days. 

Our neighbor had an  apple orchard. My oldest brother said he picked apples for our neighbor. Mr. Funk had a day job so he hired my brother to do chores on the farm while he was at work. Picking apples and taking them to one of the orchards that had a cider mill  was one of my brother's jobs. He drove the neighbor's truck to the orchard and waited there until the whole process of squeezing juice from the apples was done. The apple cider was put in glass gallon jugs.  The end product was about 30 or 40 gallons of soft apple cider. It takes about 40 apples to make 1 gallon of cider. Mr. Funk would then sell the apple cider at his farm. I'm sure it was non-alcoholic cider.

Some folks spike the apple cider with bourbon or rum during the holidays which then becomes hard apple cider.  I would never do that. Cheers! 



Saturday, May 12, 2018

Going Hunting

Back in the day when I was growing up going hunting was a favorite pastime for the men in my family.  Rifles and shotguns have been in my family for generations, so I was accustom to the men going hunting. When my uncles,cousins and brothers gathered at the farm it wasn't a big deal.  However, I do recall my grandmother giving the men strong warning about being careless with those guns before they set out. Now remember, some of these guys had been in World War II and the Korean War. I guess a mother never quits worrying about her kids. 

It was a different world then.  My brothers had pocket knives, hunting knives, rifles, shotguns, and BB guns. I'm sure someone taught them about safety, how to handle and clean their guns.  

The guys set out with their hunting license displayed on the middle of the back of their coats, rifles in hand, plenty of ammunition, hunting knives, and the trusted rabbit dog with them. Sometimes some of the others brought their dogs along. So, it was off to the grassy, brushy areas, fence rows, fields and thickets. It wasn't long until the beagle picked up a scent and we could hear him off in the distance trailing a rabbit.

 Rabbit hunting is an adventure in the woods, although I never thought of it that way. It wasn't until I started writing this article that I even wondered about how fast a rabbit can run. I've found several different answers to that question.  Twenty-five miles per hour seems pretty fast to me but then I guess they do have to out run those dogs.

My brother reported to me that he still has his 12 gauge, Mossberg shotgun as well as his Stevens .22 single shot rifle. He said he bought his .22 rifle from our local Firestone Store where he was able to make payments on it.

All my questions finally jogged his brain, so I was quite surprised when he proceeded to tell me a funny story. It seems that one of his teenage friends, named Paul, invited him to go coon hunting. His friend picked him up in a 1949 black Ford coupe.  They ended up driving down an old road that ran alongside the railroad tracks where open fields were. Sometimes the farmers planted corn in these fields. For some reason my brother's friend decided to turn the car around but he didn't want to drive on down the road where there was plenty of space to turn around. He backed the car over the railroad tracks where it got stuck, consequently there they sat not knowing what to do or how to budge the car off the tracks. I could picture them trying to push it over the tracks before they decided to go get help. Desperate to get the car moved off the tracks they ran to get help but when they arrived back to the car a train was fast approaching. My brother said they just got back in time to see the train hit the car, knocking it off the tracks, and totally destroying it. 

Then, there are always those stories of the dogs not coming back because they were off on the trail, running for miles, and getting lost in the big woods. All the stories I've been told had happy endings where the dogs came home or someone found them.

I never went hunting but I did target practice at the neighbor's place. I never did tell my mother or my grandmother about that. The words of my grandmother, "You better act like a lady."  

Monday, April 30, 2018

Writing for Children

When I write stories for children I like be silly. Being silly is what I like the most because the world is already much too serious. Children read for fun and so do I! Children like a fun filled, silly, good adventure with concise, clearly worded expressions and colorful but simple pictures. Children have big imaginations. You will have a great audience and be in good company when you read to children.

Sometimes I forget that I'm writing for children, thus I end up writing for the child I once was. Matching and keeping the story line as well as using age appropriate words for the targeted age group can sometimes get tricky. Does a five-year-old know what a jujitsu wrestler in a jumble, in a tumble really looks like?  Probably not, so I'll need an illustration of what this craziness looks like. Can a five-year-old visualize what dazzling, brightly-blinking lights on spaceships hovering in the sky looks like? I definitely need a colorful illustration! I want the story to be interesting, enchanting, happy, thrilling, and most of all...silly! More importantly...I love silly rhyming picture books! 

I think books for children should educate and teach lessons. Rhyming is important for early childhood literacy development. All of those verses from your childhood songs, poems, books, and nursery rhymes really did matter and was part of your education.

A Few Reasons Why Rhyming Words Are So Important

1. Rhyming is fun
2. Rhyming improves language skills
3. Helps children create mental pictures
4. Expands the imagination
5. Helps children understand words with common sounds and 
    common letters. Example: Cat and Hat
6. Rhyming adds joy to learning to read
7. You can read rhyming picture books over and over again

Children are the audience that cares enough to read it over and   
over again, so rhyming must be important!  How many times can you read a silly rhyming book? I don't know about you but I have read that book with the cat with the silly hat...hundreds of times. You know what book I'm talking about...not mentioning any names.

I love to write stories that rhyme using short rhyming verses that  tell a silly story. I freehand draw cartoons and folk art type illustrations so I can draw my own art with my own words. If the pictures don't turn out right the first time then I can fix it or just start over again. Either way, it all turns out to be good fun as well as therapy for me. I write and draw in my spare time. 

Don't worry I'm not giving up my day job! Well...maybe I'll give up my day job if one of my books becomes a movie??? After all, there are plenty of movies that started out as books for children.  There is a book about a rabbit named Peter, there is a book about Alice, who fell down a rabbit hole, and the list goes on and on. There must be more than fifty movies based on books that were written for children.

Look for my book which will be available in early September...The Adventures of Firecracker Andy, "The Spirit of Ohio."   Come fly with Firecracker Andy and his awesome dog, Airedale Archie as they fly around Ohio in a little red airplane. 

 Come meet Firecracker Andy and his awesome dog, Airedale Archie. They like to go flying in a little red airplane.

Always flying all around to see what they can see:

above rooftops, around apple trees, and dodging angry honeybees.

                                     See you soon!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Words To Put On Paper

There are so many people writing today. There are millions of blogs out there. I'm sure there are millions of creative writers and authors as well. Why are so many people writing? Some people write because they want to become famous, they want to become rich, they want to be remembered or writing just makes them happy. People can write, create, and share it worldwide with just the click of a button. I don't think reading or writing is going away anytime soon. People are still searching for good reads.

Why Do I Write?

I didn't set out to write a book. I'm not from a family of writers. I set out to write the history of my great-grandfather but I didn't want to just record the facts from our family history. What I did want to do was transport people from the past and introduce them to you so they might be remembered. I wanted the reader to meet and get to know these people. Really get to know them.

When I was a child my grandmother shared her stories with me about her father as well as her own childhood stories. Unfortunately other family members didn't remember the stories she told. People can't live forever but if I write about them maybe they will be remembered. It's not just that I wanted to write but I needed to do it. I felt it was my duty. The thought came to me,"If you don't write this story who will?" God does have a purpose for us even though we don't know what it is at the time.

Not Everyone Was Supportive

There will be people who will  be out to reject you and your writing at anytime.  This will happen when you least expect it and it will come from those that you least expect it from. You might think it's because they don't know how much writing means to you or they're jealous and have a mean streak in them. Whatever the ready for it.

Writing Opened Up a Whole New World

I began to research the family history as well as historical events dating back to 1778 and moving forward to 1865. Over the three years that it took me to write this book the characters became a part of me and the story unfolded taking me to some amazing places and times. The story took me to places I never imagined going to. I was given a story to write about everyday, ordinary people who lived during a pivotal time in American History.

I finished writing the book with lots of encouragement and prayers from friends and family. I had no idea what to do next. I attended a reunion in my small hometown, where I met a man who was talking about having his book published. He was kind enough to give me the publisher's name and address so I could contact her. I scheduled an appointment with the publisher and a short time later everything fell into place. The door opened up to allow me to  meet so many creative people. All the people who played a part in the completion of this book lived  just about thirty minutes away. You could say they were right in my backyard and I never even knew they were there.

Why Do I Write?

I write because there are so many incredibly wonderful words to put on paper. Words are amazing. People are amazing because vibrant, amazing words can just pop right out of their mouth. It usually happens when you don't expect it to. 

I write because people are stories and there are so many stories to tell. I write because a voice in my head said, "If you don't do it,who will?"

No matter how old I get...I can still write. There are so many stories waiting to be told that I just might be writing on the day I die. I might not be remembered for anything that I write. I probably won't get rich or famous, but that's alright. 

I work in health care and I wish I had a quarter for every story I've heard. I have met so many people who think their story isn't important. I'm here to tell you that I've heard stories that could put some of the best Hollywood movies to shame.

Inspire and Encourage 

Inspire and encourage people to write. Write in a journal, write in a diary, write letters, send cards, tape notes around the house for your loved ones...start a blog. Encourage those around you to write. Encourage your family, your friends, your youth, your elderly. The written word has not lost its luster. Every word you think, speak, or write is important. Your story is important. 

Even if it's utter nonsense keep on writing because someone will love it!