I Love a Good Story.  Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here is another Good Story.

I am George Maddox, Hamilton’s father in Judy’s novel The Attractiveness of Wisdom. I can’t wait for it to be published. I’m eager to read it.

But while we’re waiting, I thought it would be nice to learn something about the town of Stevensville. For example, how did the town get its name? I have to admit that I didn’t give it much thought in the past, but now I’m a bit curious.

I did some research. But there’s not much research. Stevensville is part of Kent Island in Talbot County, Maryland. Kent Island was formed into a county in 1642. The Island is named after the Kent family. Robert Kent 1647 – 1683; Robert Kent (Jr.) 1674 – 1701, and Eleanor Kent.

Francis Stevens (or Frances Stephen, there were at least two spellings of his name) was born about 1697. He was a carpenter and had five children. It seems that Francis bought the land now known as Stevensville. He gave to his eldest son, John, and his heirs the dwelling planation and land, 255 acres including “Steven’s Adventure.” I couldn’t find out what that was. To his second son he gave 150 acres, “Little Ease,” adjoining a larger tract, also “Little Ease” on Coxes Creek. I couldn’t find what “Little Ease” was either. To his young son Francis and heirs, 225 acres, part of “Ten Stoornwells” near the head of Wye River. Francis was to live with Benjamin Weeks during his minority. He gave his daughters Mary and Sarah jointly and their heirs 200 acres, part of “Comon Garden” at the head of Farly Creek in Cecil county. The eldest daughter Mary was to live with John Wells and the youngest daughter Sarah was to live with Edward Brown. (All of this information is taken from the records.) The town is named after Francis Stevens who bought the land, and from the records, paid heavily (for the time period) for the land. The area was called Stevensville because the Stevens family owned it and lived on the land.

I wish this could have been more exciting, but sometimes some things are just what they are. Nonetheless, I have always lived in Stevensville from early childhood to high school. I went away to the university, but returned after I graduated. I met Mary at the university and brought her back to Stevensville after I asked her to be my wife. Mary and I brought up our two sons, Taylor, and Hamilton, in Stevensville. The boys are grown and live with their own families, in Rockville, Maryland. Mary and I still live in Stevensville. Even though I had a rough upbringing, my life with my family was a joy. It just goes to show you. Your life is what you make it.

The Attractiveness of Wisdom will be out in about five months. I hope you get a chance to read it and get to know the Maddox family. I think you will love what you read and plead for more. After you have read it, I would like to hear from you. Feel free to contact me and let me know what you think.

I heard from the grapevine that there is another novel after The Attractiveness of Wisdom.

Love A Good Story

Love A Good Story. I just Love a Good Story.
Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here is another Good Story.


The other day I had a conversation with my father, Hamilton Maddox, the main character in Judy Kelly’s novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom. He suggested I send out the next blog and express my views from our conversation. My father encourages me and my brothers to say what we think, and say it respectfully, but also show how deeply we care about what we think. My father is now a vice president of his university, and he has always believed that one should speak his thoughts, but one’s opinions should be based in fact.

As you recall in a previous blog, I am in my first year of college in New York. This year has been difficult for me and many other university students. Not only have I missed my father, Hamilton, and my brothers, Eric, and Jeremy, I have also not been able to attend college in the traditional way. Learning via the computer has caused many hardships for both students and teachers, but making teachers return to work in the middle of a pandemic is unconscionable. It is not only unjust or immoral, it also deepens and widens the chasm between parents and teachers.

During my first college year, the pandemic pushed its way into our lives causing havoc, chaos, pain and resulting in death for some. My student life had begun, and I looked forward to going to the library to do research, staying up late completing homework, making new friends, and getting to know my teachers and friends. But then we had to go home and complete our coursework on Zoom on our computers. I had always looked forward to college life. My father first was a professor of journalism at a university. He rose to the dean, and now he is a vice president. I loved the stories he told us about his students, their hardship, the trouble they got in and he had to bail them out, and the articles they wrote for the newspaper, school magazine and community magazines. He made college life seem so glamorous to me, and I couldn’t wait to be a student at a well-known university.

The glamorous life of a college student is not the same on Zoom. Students, high school and college, use Zoom at home. They are at home sitting behind a computer answering questions, doing math, history or writing paragraphs and papers. There is no interaction with other students, and not much with the teacher. I think back to my high school years and what it would have been like in high school if I had to continue my education on Zoom. High school is a time for us to get to know who we are and what we want for ourselves. We validate who we are in high school. We test things and determine our limits, we discover our need to be part of a community, to have a social life, and we begin to see what beliefs and values we hold for ourselves. High school is not only a time for academics, but it is a time in our lives where we make the greatest growth in ourselves as we see who we are against our friends and family. High school is an extremely valuable step in our lives. The past year, many have had to skip that step due to the virus.

Even though I loved the college life I had so far, and I see the great need for high school students to be with each other, I would not want to make my professors risk their lives by going back to work in the middle of all this. It is too much to ask a person to take such a risk. Teachers and professors are not front-line workers. The profession of teaching is not one where teachers risk their lives. They are not doctors, nurses, EMTs, police officers, or firefighters who are trained to protect themselves against contagious diseases and viruses and know what precautions to take. They are teachers. They have earned degrees in English, Science, History, Social Studies, Math, and other subjects. Teachers work with students in close proximity, their minds on getting across the concept, helping students to understand, and teaching them how to maintain skills.

Many teachers have families. This risk would also put their families in jeopardy. How can we ask them to do that? How can we demand that teachers not only put themselves in jeopardy, but also put their families in jeopardy? Many teachers also have small children. What happens if a teacher is ordered to return and her child’s school does not make that order? How will those teachers take care of their families? Their situation is more complicated if they are single parents. Making a demand that teachers return to work without consideration of their families or abilities to return under these circumstances is purely unjust.

I think about what would have happened to my family if my father had to put himself and all of us at risk. You will recall from a previous blog post, that my mother was sick, and my father had to take care of us most of the time. I ask myself what would have happened to my brothers and me if my dad had been ordered to return to work amid a horribly contagious virus. We would have been worried about him, about my mother, and we would have been worried about what would happen to us. We would have worried about who would take care of us. Would we still be able to attend college? Where would we live? Would we have had to stay with our grandparents in Stevensville? My father believed that a family must do what it must do to stay together. Would we have had to split up?

If that had happened to us, I would want someone to be responsible for the consequences. Who would that have been? Would it have been the parents who put pressure on the school systems to open the schools? Would parents hold themselves responsible for negative consequences should teachers contract the virus and don’t make it? Would they hold themselves responsible if a teacher was fired because she couldn’t find someone to take care of her children while she was under a demand to take care of other people’s children? Why wouldn’t they, when they were the ones who made the demand? My father said that there was a division between parents and teachers. Parents want their children  taught one way, usually against learning theory, and teachers want to teach another way, according to the way children learn. Insisting that teachers return under adverse circumstances would not bring the groups together.

A suitable solution would be to poll the teachers to see which ones can return and which ones will encounter hardships. The school system will need to arrange classes based on those who are able and want to return and those who can’t. Those who can’t, shouldn’t be fired. Parents, including those who are also teachers, must see to their children. Many parents are not working during the pandemic, and those who are not, must help their children. This is a time when we all must come together to agree and do what is needed. But forcing people to do a job under such adverse circumstances, regardless of the reason, is not the right thing to do.

Last night, on the news, there was a story about a mother who tried to keep her job and help her son who is in the 4th grade. Her work hours were cut, and it allowed her to spend time helping her son with his schoolwork. She and her son moved in with her father so she could help him. You have to have a lot of admiration for someone who steps up to the plate.
I thank you for indulging me. I know I’m young, only beginning my life, and don’t understand a lot of things. I know I have much to learn. It is not my intent to harm anyone, or insult anyone, but I do want to share my feelings. If you would like to respond to my comments, I would love to hear what you think.                                                                

Love a Good Story

Love a Good Story – Happy New Year

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here’s another Good Story.

I wish you all a Very Happy New Year!!!

The thing about wishing a happy new year is that the new year itself is not responsible for happiness. One Christmas song begins with, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.” This means we can do it ourselves. Our Christmas will be merry if we make it that way. The year, old or new, is “time.” What happens during that time, the new year, is how we choose to act or respond during the year; how we make the year. Just like we can have ourselves a merry little Christmas, we can also have ourselves a happy new year. Last year, and in fact the last four years, many said were filled with hatred, anger, violence, anxiety and fear. We certainly had much of that. But the past year was also filled with so much love and joy as many people cared for one another. The care and love that we saw, and many experienced, outweighed the ugliness we saw and experienced.

We can choose to focus on the good, the love and compassion, or we can choose to focus on the ugly or mean spirited. Just like we can accept for ourselves a blessing or a curse. During 2021 and for years to come, make the year what you want it to be. Make for yourself a Happy New Year. Fill your year with love, happiness, calmness and bravery.

Love a Good Story

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here’s another Good Story.

As we look forward to change in the next four years, read about Olivia Douglass in Blessings and Curses, an uplifting, inspiring story about a woman who came out of the darkness into the light.

Love a Good Story

Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? I Love a Good Story. Here’s another good story.

        I’m George Maddox, Hamilton’s father. Hamilton is the main character in Judy’s newest novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom, coming out soon. I asked to come back because I wanted to talk a little about the fires in California, specifically the destruction of the vineyards in California.     I know many people don’t sanction the drinking of wine; some have even said it’s the devil’s work. However, wine has sacred beginnings for many of us. It was very important during Biblical times and was consumed during important events. Jesus drank wine. During the last supper, an extremely important event, Jesus asked us to remember Him in the form of bread, representing His body and in the form of wine, representing His blood. The making of wine has been and still is a prodigious contribution to our American life.

As a wine maker, I can tell you with certainty that wine is not the problem. In fact, it’s beneficial because red wine has a high level of antioxidants, has positive links with cardiovascular diseases and several other diseases, and helps with circulation of the blood. White wine promotes digestion and relaxation and protection of lung tissue. Wine is made from grapes, the main ingredient and a large portion of wine. Wine is not made for people to over consume. Wine should be consumed in small portions and most often used on special occasions to accompany a dinner or a special lunch; it is used to sip on during a reception or gatherings, during a congratulatory event such as a raise, new job, birthday, or a move to a new place. It is the “extra” during dinner or lunch or on any special occasion. It is not meant to be gulped daily and in large quantities.

            I want to mention the hard work and diligence that wine makers put into the making of wine. For winemakers, wine making is a business. Like all businesses, it feeds the family, enables a family to live comfortably, provides for family health needs and enables the children to attend a university. This is the same with everyone, I’m sure. Unlike a steady office job where we know that for as long as we show up and fulfill the supervisor’s expectations, we can expect a payday that comes at the same time monthly, winemakers don’t have the expectation of a regular payday and even though a worker may show up, if the weather is troublesome, the employee may not be needed that day.

Wine making demands sun, and lots of it. The workers must endure a hot sun daily. Think what a hot sun, regularly, will do to a person. But people must work. They must provide for their families. My workers could go into a shaded area I provided when they needed, and they drank gallons of water and other beverages good for hydration and electrolytes. They also wanted to work in the vineyard. To me, these are special people who love others enough to endure the heat in order to contribute to their community. My workers were also good-hearted people and I’m sure the wine makers in California were also good-hearted people.

            I can barely watch the destruction of the vineyards in California. It’s gotten so bad for me that Mary makes me cut the TV off or leave the room when the news programs show pictures of the devastation. I worked my entire life in a vineyard growing wine. I began as soon as I graduated from college. That was all I ever did. My heart can’t stand it to know that the future of these wine growers, is obliterated. All the hard work put into what they did up to the fires is wiped away. Many didn’t get a chance to sell or ship off the wine they had ready before the fires destroyed everything. How will these families eat? Where will they live now? Is there any chance that their children can have a college education? Mary, my loving wife, and I pray for these people and give thanks to what was given to us. If this had happened to me, Mary, Hamilton, Taylor and I would have had to live on the streets somewhere. And in Stevensville that would have been a real challenge. I beg you to speak to your senators and representatives and let them know that they must do something to prevent these fires from happening. Every year this happens!! There must be something wrong with us if we don’t see this coming by now! (Mary asked me to remove the last two sentences, but I’m upset with this and I want the readers to know that.) We must be prepared. We must help them. We must pray.

            The wine makers are not the only ones who lose their homes every year in these fires. Many other people have also lost everything. We’ve never had to, but I can imagine how difficult it must be to have to start over again. I remember how hard it was for me to get started. That’s something I’ll never forget. The disappointment one feels when things don’t go as planned, the loss of money already invested, the lack of help, and the look that some give as they turn away, can make a person feel out of his/her element and give up. In my lifetime, life was just hard. It was difficult to do anything. Looking at what we have now, many people, especially young people, don’t understand how difficult life was sixty, sixty-five years ago. But these are modern times now, and life is easier. So put yourself in the place of a winemaker, or some hard working citizen who has to suffer the destruction of their home – the place where memories were stored, where pictures around the walls and on table tops told the stories of children playing baseball, on a hockey team, playing the trumpet in a band, leading cheers, where the dining room table and mixed-matched chairs once belonged to grandparents, where a flowered vase represented a birthday gift, where a son or daughter broke the leg on the couch and tried to fix it back so no one could tell, where children’s toys and homemade clay figures filled mantels and tables, where a scrapbook held a marriage certificate, graduation diplomas, and degrees, where happiness and some sad times abounded, and where mom and dad and sons and daughters grew together as a family and individually. Where would you start to rebuild your history? Why would you want to? What good would it do? How would you go about rebuilding? What would you include? After you answer these questions, then think about all these people who are displaced. What are they doing? Where are they now?

I want to thank Judy Kelly for allowing me time to talk to you about this. I hope you will get her book when it comes out, The Attractiveness of Wisdom. Thank you for listening. And if you haven’t already read Blessings and Curses, I think you should. AllAuthor did something really nice for Blessings and Curses. See it below. Isn’t that nice? I like that.

Love a Good Story

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story?

Here is another Good Story.

Hello. I’m Anna Maddox, Hamilton’s daughter. Hamilton Maddox is the main character in Judy Kelly’s new novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom. It will be out in a few months. Please get it and read about me.

My father grew up in Stevensville, Maryland. I love that place and am always so anxious to visit my grandparents who still live there. As you know from reading The Attractiveness of Wisdom, I love history and Stevensville has many antique shops that include so many items from the past. Sometimes, when I visited an antique shop, I would pick up an item and imagine myself there. I often wondered what it was like living during earlier times, especially being a woman. My dad told me I wouldn’t like it because I like to think for myself and come up with my own solutions. In earlier times, many women were “directed” by their husbands.

I guess I am lucky. My father showed me how to be strong and think for myself. He decided I would have my own thoughts and make my own decisions, if he could help it. So, he guided me, showed me how to be goal oriented, protected me and showed me that some choices would lead me away from my goals. My mother was ill when I was growing up and wasn’t able to talk to me about makeup and show me how to put it on; or talk to me about clothes and what to wear. After watching some of the girls in my classes in middle school and even high school, I thought being a woman meant making yourself attractive for boys and later men. My father didn’t do that with me, instead, he showed me how to read, evaluate, and think.

I didn’t really know I was different until I reached high school. That’s when I saw the other girls knew how to flirt with the boys and I didn’t. Other girls had dates and I didn’t. I didn’t realize it, but I became angry with my mother for being sick and with my father for reasons I didn’t know or understand then. One evening, when I yelled at my father, I asked him if he thought I was pretty. I had begun to think that the reason he didn’t show me how to use make up was because he didn’t think I was pretty enough, and the mascara, or eyeliner, or lipstick wouldn’t enhance my looks in any way. I don’t think I will ever forget that day. He took me by the arm, and we went into the bathroom. He faced me toward the mirror and asked me what I saw. Before I answered he said, “I see the most beautiful young lady I have ever seen with beautiful blue eyes the color of the sky that say when she’s happy or sad or when things are funny to her. I see a young lady whose smile is so deep and warm and filled with love. I see a young lady whose personality always draws people to her and makes people feel loved and comfortable and safe in her care. That’s what I see every time I look at you.” My father’s comments brought tears to my eyes and he pulled me into his strong arms, and I knew my father told me his truth. After that, I tried not to argue with him anymore.

It has occurred to me that fathers love their daughters and see it as their job to teach their daughters what to do. When will it be that women won’t need to have their fathers tell them that they are okay because society will be so that it will be “okay” for everyone? But for now, fathers must teach their daughters certain things so they can make their way in a man’s world. Sometimes that training can be difficult, but for me, I feel good that my father thought I would be someone to do something important in this world, and because he valued me so much, he readied me for the opportunities and challenges that would lead me there. This is the man who is the main character in Judy’s story, The Attractiveness of Wisdom.

Be sure to look at the pictures of the antique shops in Stevensville (below). Do you see the saddle, also in the picture above?  Can you believe that? And what about the bike? Judy has been a long-distance bicyclist for many years, and a lover of plants and flowers. I’ll bet you she would love to have that bike where she could grow some of her plants. Sadly, many of the shops had to close due to covid-19. But you can get your copy of The Attractiveness of Wisdom when the novel comes out. Please do. I would love to hear from you.

Love a Good Story – Eric Maddox’s story

I just Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here are two Good Stories.

I’m Eric Maddox, Hamilton Maddox’s son in Judy’ novel The Attractiveness of Wisdom.  I understand that it is my turn to talk. Before I do that, I would like to announce that Judy’s novel,  Blessings and Curses has just won another award. Blessings and Curses is a Finalist in the Reader’s Favorite Award in Christian Fiction.

Please send her an enthusiastic congratulations and if you have not yet purchased her novel, you can purchase Blessings and Curses in e-book or paperback (but get the paperback) from the publisher, Black Rose Writing, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Click on a link below.


Now for The Attractiveness of Wisdom. I don’t have a big part in Judy’s upcoming novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom, but I was told not to worry about that. For me, I just want everyone to know something about my father. My mother was sick most of my life and my father had to take care of us. She suffered from depression. My father has been my best friend since I can remember. He taught me so many things such as how to play baseball, basketball, volleyball and how to ride a bike. My dad and I talked during those times, and we grew to know and understand each other.

One thing he taught us was to help others. “Help people in any way you can,” he used to say. When I was in middle and high school, I shoveled the snow for those people in my neighborhood who were not able to shovel the snow off their walk or driveway. He encouraged us to feed those who didn’t have enough, take our clothes that were in good shape to places that gave clothes away to the needy. He always said that man can make one mistake in his life and end up needing. His words made me careful about what I thought, did or said.

It is because of what he taught me and my mother’s illness that I’ve decided to be a psychologist. I want to work with children who have had negative experiences to help them get over the trauma of that experience and carry out a fulfilling and love-filled life. I believe that beginning with children before they have had a chance to grind the negative into their thinking, heart and personality, they can turn around. I want to teach children and teens how to take those damaging experiences and turn them into behaviors and habits that are productive. Paige and I and my sister, Anna, are spending our holidays feeding the homeless and if my Dad can pay for it, we would like to go to Africa and help there. When I tell him these things about what I’m doing for others, he makes me feel proud. I enjoy helping others and I feel good about it.

I have finished my first year at Princeton and have begun my second year. I love my classes and the professors and students at my university. The professors are teaching me so much about kids, teens and adults. I am surprised at what I’m learning because it hasn’t been that long ago that I was a child and teen.  I strongly believe that I am on the right path. I do have a little snag. My girlfriend, Paige wants to get married and start a family. We just recently became exclusive. She’s great and I really like her. She thinks I’m great and she really loves me. I told my Dad. What do you think he said? What would you advise me to do?

While you’re thinking about it, I would like you to do three things. First, buy Blessings and Curses. I know you’ll love it. Leave a review, 5 Star, of course, because the book is a 5 Star novel and Judy has earned it. Second, buy The Attractiveness of Wisdom when it is released. You will love that, too. Third, go on Goodreads and indicate that you will buy/read The Attractiveness of Wisdom and can’t wait for it to be released. That will be of enormous help. That’s all for me for now. I have to get back to my studies.

Love a Good Story

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here’s another Good Story.

            Hello, I’m Jeremy Maddox. My father is Hamilton Maddox in Judy’s soon to be published novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom. I’m sure, by now, you are anxious to read the novel and I hope what I have to say will encourage you to get your copy just as soon as it comes out. I can’t wait to read about my character in The Attractiveness of Wisdom. As I say that, remember that I am a teenager. This heart-warming story is about my father, the person I admire most and love dearly. He calls me Buddy Boy. I love it when he calls me that. He also likes to rustle my hair. I used to love that. Through my father’s journey, he shows me how not to live with anger or hatred. That’s a waste of time and energy.  He shows me what I am capable of and he shows me how to love.

The Attractiveness of Wisdom is about my father. I used to think that once a person became an adult, that he or she understood things, knew how to make a good life; that all the growing was out of the way and now they could just be an adult. In The Attractiveness of Wisdom, I now understand that no matter the age, a person is constantly growing. I’ve come to realize that the ability to continue to grow is the beauty of life. In this beautifully written and well-crafted story, my father saw his mistakes and his need to change. He helped me understand that change is something a person must see and must do on their own. No one can make another person change. Change must come from the person.

He and my mom didn’t always have a good marriage. My mom said my dad was too controlling. They both had their share of problems, but my father always saw to my brother Eric, Anna and me. Our emotional needs as his sons and daughter never went unmet. I was born under a dark cloud, but my father has loved me, taken care of me, and shared himself with me almost every minute of my life. I never want to disappoint him, but I was sure I did.

            I have known for some time that I wanted to be a priest. My father does not believe in God, so he says. I’ve tried to keep my aspiration from him because I didn’t want that to divide us. But when I think about something dividing us, I appreciate that nothing can. I had to tell him what I wanted to do with my life; my need, my dream. He always said that we should not keep secrets. So, I told my father. But I did it during Thanksgiving dinner with our entire family. I waited for his reaction, but what he said was that being a priest was my choice, not his.

I love doing things with my father. We’ve gone to baseball games together. He watched while I played in baseball games. We bike on the trail around the lake at his university. Several summers, he enrolled me in summer classes at the university; that way we drove to the university together, had lunch together, and rode home together. He has told me many funny stories about people in his department. The things some people think and do. My father is a dean at the University of Maryland. Sometimes I forget he’s a dean. He has never been a dean to me; he has always been my father.

One of my favorite times are the times when my dad and I visit his home in Stevensville, Maryland. We always find time to sit on the pier and watch the boats come in and go out. Sometimes we just do that all day – being quiet; allowing our thoughts to roll around in our brain, one after the other; looking out across the water watching how the sun flickers on the water; watching the people in the boats trying to decide what to do; and waving to the birds flying by. Every now and then, one of us would break the silence with something we need to tell the other. But then we go back to quiet – just thinking. During these times I get ideas for topics for my papers, class experiments and even solved math equations. These are relaxing times for me and I’m certain my father is more relaxed. When I share my problems or anything bothering me, his advice is always warm, loving and expert. When he shares with me, though they are not serious matters, I cherish those times.

I hope you get your copy of The Attractiveness of Wisdom so that you can read this wonderful story. I’m not just saying this because I’m in the story. I’m saying it because it is. Read about my father. My father thinks I supported him and encouraged him. I did because I needed him. He recognized that. Through the process, we made each other stronger.

You can always go to and see the other blogs on the site from my grandfather, George, grandmother, Mary, and my uncle Taylor. He’s a priest.

You can also purchase Blessings and Curses and That Ever Died So Young if you haven’t already. You will also be able to purchase this book through and at You will be able to purchase all her books on Amazon.

Below, I have pasted pictures of the elementary and middles schools in Stevensville. Aren’t they beautiful? There are many loving and dedicated teachers in both schools. Mrs. White, of course is not the principal at the middle school. But I think you knew that. Please let me know what you think of the novel. I think Judy would like to know also.

Love a Good Story

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Here is another Good Story.

Hello, I’m Taylor Maddox, or Fr. Maddox or Rev. Maddox. I would prefer Fr. or Rev. , but for my family, I’m Taylor. Hamilton and I appear in The Attractiveness of Wisdom, Judy’s latest novel. We are brothers and the sons of George and Mary Maddox. You’ve already met my father, George and found out about his vineyard and you’ve met, my mother, Mary. Now it’s my turn. I’m not in Hamilton’s story as much as I was. Judy deleted my biggest role saying that even though it was a nice scene, it served no purpose in the story. She explained to me about novels and that things in a novel must serve a purpose. I took it a little hard at first, that I served no purpose. But, I wanted her to write a good story, one that people would love, so I understood.

Hamilton was two years younger, but we have always been best friends. It was hard, at first, because Ham was still in middle school, my first year in high school. During my high school years, I seemed to have a lot of energy that I needed to release. I was always doing things that would get me in trouble. But they all had to do with one thing, or rather one person-Gwen Newman. This was before I met my wife, Alice. Alice and I met in college. But Gwen was all I could think about. I loved Gwen Newman and I strongly believed she loved me. From the time we met in 10th grade, we were always together. I have to say I missed Ham a lot when I was with Gwen. I thought Gwen and I could have some kind of future together, though I didn’t think too much about that. When I told Ham and my mom, my mom said, “A high school sweetheart. Everyone has one.” I don’t know what it was about that girl, but I just had to be with her. Mostly on Fridays, or Saturdays, we went to a party, a movie, skating or we would just sit by the water. Sitting on a pier in the evening or night is the most peaceful thing in the world. A person can get a lot of thinking done sitting and listening to the water. Ham and I often did that together, sometimes late at night.

The picture above is of the new Stevensville high school. Ham and I attended the old one. As I remember it, in the old school, the flagpole was much taller than the one in the picture above, and it was not in the front of the building like it is now.

I remember the time Gwen wanted me to prove my love to her. We were walking home from school, as we did daily. It was a Friday in April and we were making plans for the evening and the weekend. When we got to her house, I said, “I love you,” just as we both turned to depart. I had never said it before. I was very careful about saying things I wasn’t quite sure about. At that moment I realized I’d let that slip out, and I wanted to take it back. So, I added, “Thanks for the help in English.” That way she would take it as a “general love,” and mainly for the help. But she didn’t let it go. She repeated what I’d said and asked if it was true. I spoke around it as much as possible saying things like, “You know what I mean,” the thing most guys say when they don’t want to admit the truth. She pressed on. If you really love me, then climb up the flagpole for me.

At school on Monday, she circulated to everyone that I would climb up the flagpole to prove my love for her. It was set for Friday when there were no games or afterschool programs scheduled. Only those special people who got the word passed to them were expect to show up. Instead, almost every student in the school came out to see me climb up that flagpole. The word (our cell phone) had gotten to almost everybody. I was really nervous, and I . . . ..

Want to find out what happened? Read it in The Attractiveness of Wisdom.