Monday, February 25, 2013

Your Man in Service

Remember that box of photographs your parents had?
You know, the one on the top shelf in your father’s closet?
Or the one on top of the wardrobe in the hall.
Maybe in your house it was a cardboard box shoved under the bed.
In my house, it was a box that coat hangers had previously occupied. (My father and his brother owned a dry cleaning business.) Inside it was several shoe boxes.
More than half of the photos were black and white.
The ones in color were faded. Color film technology in the sixties wasn’t the best, but it was “Fox,” from San Antonio, TX.

I still remember the running Fox logo on the outside of the envelope in which the photos arrived from the drugstore -- Harper’s Pharmacy, Mangham, Louisiana.

If you’re a baby boomer, this memory probably hits close to home.
If your parents were boomers, most likely you remember stories about the “picture box.”

Wouldn’t it be cool if those photos could talk?

Somewhere in our box of photos we found several “V-mail” letters.  Remember those one page form letters that folded into an envelope?  

Wouldn’t it be cool if those letters could talk?

Art Hoffman and his wife, Martha, found a way to hear them.  


That's right -- actually talk.

The talking was coming from Martha’s father, who had passed in 2005. Art and Martha had to clean out a closet so that workers could update and paint the room. They found a box of old records. Not letters. Not vinyl. Older than that. These were records that would break if dropped. The fact that these discs had survived over fifty years of storage was significant enough for interest.

What Art and Martha found in the record box was stunning.

During World War II, the Pepsi Cola company sponsored a program with which service people could record a message on a 78 rpm record. Many of them did just that and sent them to loved ones.

Walter Eddy, her father, had availed himself of Pepsi’s “Your Man in Service” program and recorded a message to the woman whom he would later marry. We can all hear what he sounded like when he asked, “ How's everything at home? Write more often if you can,” thanks to Art’s video. Have you heard what your father sounded like when he was twenty-something?

Mr. Eddy survived a tour of duty in the South Pacific and lived until March 2005. Not only does he live in the memories of those who knew and loved him, we can all appreciate and learn from his thoughtfulness.

Check your closets, under the beds, and in the attic. If you have a relative who served in World War II, you may be able to hear them again. Don’t wait.  After all,  WWII vets are dying - 10,000 a day.

Voices forever lost to history.

Look for an envelope or record with the “Your Man in Service” label -- then listen closely.

You’ll hear real history.

Listen to the history Art and Martha heard in this video:

Our regular readers know how much we value comments.  However today, we request that in lieu of comments here, please offer your feedback to Art on YouTube. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Februrary 24 - Weekend Writing Warriors

            Kudos to: Claudia Barry for her water color painting
                          David Ammons for his original art work
                          Jeff Bennington for his cover design.

The Set Up
        My contribution for this week comes from Chapter Eight of The Presidents Club, my serial novel on
        This scene includes a reference to a significant event from my first novel, The Tourist Killer.
        We join a discussion between billionaire-activist Julian Thibaut and his chief of security, Gerald Pointe.
        Thibaut is speaking...

The Six Sentences
        "Jane has done an excellent job of keeping the attempt on my life out of the news. Just a few people at the meeting knew about it. They were focused on Farrell’s heart attack. He got all the attention.”
Pointe commented, “He was dead when he hit the floor. The media said it was a heart attack, but rumors persist that he was shot.”
Thibaut stood and with no emotion, commented, “I wouldn’t know anything about that. Let’s get the calendar set and coordinate the schedules.”

What now?
         Are you a writer/author?
         Want more exposure for your work?
          Interested in checking out samples of over five dozen other great writers?
Then just click HERE and visit the home site of Weekend Writing Warriors.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sunday, Feb. 17 - sampling The Presidents Club

The Set Up
          In Chapter Seven of The Presidents Club, we join an ominous conversation in progress. The anonymous speaker is shrouded in mystery. The darkness of his private library foreshadows evil. The mood is somber. His companion is uncomfortable with the setting and the topic -- what to do about Julian Thibaut and his "Government Literacy Project."

The Six Sentences

“No,” she replied. “He says he will name the board soon.”
“You know what has to be done.”
“You understand that if we cannot control one of our own members, our options are limited, don’t you?”
“I’m confident we can deal with Thibaut.”
His hand appeared in the light and retrieved the tumbler,now half full of scotch, from the table between them. He gave it a slight shake to rattle the ice, took a sip, and returned it to the leather coaster. “You didn’t answer my question.”

            Comments, Tweets, and Google +'s very much appreciated.  
To sample the writing of over three dozen "Weekend Warriors", click HERE.
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 15, 2013

John Hixon's Gang

Caroline and Luger -- Uzi's photo was unavailable.

The speaker after lunch at the Kiwanis Club was personal security specialist, Joyce Chamberlain. She gave us several suggestions on how to protect ourselves. Some of the suggestions, I’ve never forgotten.  The event at which she spoke occurred over twenty years ago.

Just after the turn of the century, my wife and I moved to an area of town that had endured some vandalism and some break-ins.  We used one of Joyce’s ideas.  We purchased an oversized dog dish and gave it a highly visible location on the front porch. My wife came up with a creative breed of dog, and Uzi, the German-pit-weiler was born.  It’s hard to say for
Our cat, Boris in Uzi's dish.  
sure that Uzi’s clearly labeled dish helped prevent any unwanted visitors, but it certainly scared off the neighbor’s grandson.
In my first book, The Tourist Killer, there were a couple of scenes in which it was revealed that Hixon had several dogs. More recently, in my second novel, The Presidents Club, it is made clear that our favorite ex-FBI agent has three dogs. Of course, one of them is Uzi. For the other two, I wanted one to be a breed that enjoyed a vicious (though not necessarily warranted) reputation so it was a Doberman Pinscher named Luger.  Finally, since Hixon lived out in the mountains, he insisted on a hound.
According to Wikipedia, “Bavarian mountain hounds are calm, quiet, poised, and very attached to their masters and family. When hunting, they are hard, single-minded, and persistent. Courageous, spirited, fast, and agile, they are at ease on a rugged terrain, with a superb nose and powerful hunting instinct.
“The Bavarian Mountain is not suited for city life. It is in regular need of space and exercise and also requires regular brushing. They are not dogs for the casual hunter. Most are owned and used by foresters and game wardens.”
John Hixon’s third canine companion became Caroline, a loyal Bavarian mountain hound to whom he reads.
Together, he refers to them as his “gang.”
Will they come through for him when the chips are down?
Which dog(s) will make it to the last page?
Become a regular reader of this serial novel and find out the answers to these questions and many more.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend Writing Warriors - Feb. 10, 2013

The Set Up
      Today's excerpt comes from Chapter Six of my serial novel, The Presidents Club. In Chapter Four, one of the characters, Ronald Gold, watched a documentary on public television, More Than One Vote. Although the documentary is fictitious, a dear friend of mine from New York wrote a review of it for me [link above on title]. 
      We join Mr. Gold and one of his friends as they discuss the documentary...

The Six Sentences
"It seemed like they wanted to educate kids about how the government is supposed to work as opposed to how it is working.”
“Yeah, like that’s going to change anytime soon,” Abe laughed.
“I’m telling you, man. This was impressive. I haven’t heard anything so sincere since the Temptations sang, ‘My Girl’ on Ed Sullivan,” and Gold smiled.
They could hear the dominoes being shuffled again,so Abe spun around on his bar stool to face the gamesmen and asked, “How many of y’all vote?”
His answer was four stares as blank as the domino with no spots.
After a pause, York spoke up, “You mean in elections?”

Image credit:

      To sample the work of dozens of other Weekend Writer Warriors, just click HERE.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Feb. 3, Weekend Writing Warriors

       Please accept this invitation to check in with us right here, every Sunday for a new snippett from the writings of author FCEtier, a contributor to the "Weekend Writing Warriors" project.

The Set Up
       Continuing with our precident of sampling the current chapter of the serial novel, The Presidents Club, this week's excerpt is from Chapter Five, which goes live Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013.
       Ex-FBI agent, John Hixon, spends an evening alone with his three dogs. Tonight, he reads a "Dear John" letter from his lover to his Bavarian mountain hound, Caroline.
Image credit:  Fredric Duhayer - Royal Canin

The Eight Sentences
He picked up the single letter that Mr. Jimmy had for him from the rented box in Waynesville and he spoke to the female canine, “Caroline, let’s see what Claudia wrote.”

At the mention of her name, the hound raised her head for a moment then resumed her relaxed position.

He opened the envelope and unfolded what looked like a piece of hotel stationery sans the letterhead. “I guess she didn’t want me to know where she was staying,” he said out loud. 

Then he read to the dogs, “Dear John, Don’t worry, this is not a ‘Dear John’ letter! (ha ha) How would you like to spend the winter with me in the Caymans? You can come to my retirement party.” 

She didn’t even sign her name.

What now?
       Visit the home site of Weekend Writing Warriors to sample the work of dozens of other great writers.