My teachers name was Mr. Bliss. Well anyway, he gets up in front of the class and explains to everyone that he has just read the best short story that was ever submitted for this class "The Ibids of Ib Land". Guess what, it was my short story. I was floored, I couldn't believe it. He then proceeds to read it in front of the class. All eyes are on me as he's reading. Embarrassed, yes, but it was worth it. What a feeling. Still not ready to knuckle under (and hating the Chicago area) I moved west.
During my formative years I had a multitude of different jobs ranging from factory work to car sales but I ended up with a degree in Criminal Justice and was a Police Officer for a number of years in Longmont, Colorado. I finally settled in (career wise) with the Oregon Department of Corrections and worked until I retirement at the Oregon State Penitentiary. What a hole, my heart goes out to all my brothers who are still working there.
My latest contribution to the literary world and what has brought me to this point was not really my doing but rather the hard work of my father. He was a combat photographer for the Army during World War II and served with Fifth Army, II Corps, 196th Signal Photo Company. He survived nine months of continuous combat service in Italy during the grueling Gothic Line Campaign. He never forgot his time of service during that hard fought battle. He always believed that the Americans and all the other Allied troops that were involved in that campaign never got the recognition they deserved for what they had accomplished. Unfortunately, just like the rest of us life gets in the way. You have to work, raise a family and do all those other things that make us human. When he did finally retire, writing the book about the Gothic Line Campaign became his mission. He spent time at the Library of Congress gathering information on the many battles and troop movement that were instrumental in finally winning the war in Italy. He took trips to Italy to revisit the areas of battle that he was personally involved in. He archived all of his combat photos and picked the best ones for the book. He had written the first draft and was picked up by the publisher McFarland & Co., with the understanding that the rewrites would be completed and that more of his photos, with captions, would be added. Everything was looking good and then he died, just like that, no warning, no prolonged illness, no nothing. He just died in his sleep. When I got the call I couldn't believe it, I figured he would live to be 100. After I hung up the phone I promised my dad I wouldn't let his book die (like he just did, he had a good sense of humor), I would get it done, whatever it took. Well, after all his affairs were in order I contacted the publisher and explained what had happened. I told them that he had put way too much time and effort into this book to just let it fade away. I told them I would complete the rewrites, add more photos with captions and do whatever they needed to get the book published. Two and a half years later it was done and the book was published. "The Forgotten Front in Northern Italy" was my dads work, I just made sure it happened. After all, a promise is a promise.