Love a Good Story

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

Well, here is another Good Story.

          Biking or bicycling is one of the best ways to exercise. Biking calls on all parts of the body. The legs and leg muscles (both upper and lower) are needed for locking you in, peddling, strength in peddling and changing gears; the arms and arm muscles are needed to keep the bike straight, make turns, keep the bike on its path riding up and down hills, and to break; the stomach muscles and back muscles are also used in biking. Biking is not just an exercise regimen. A bike serves as a means of transportation for some and for others, a means of enjoyment. Both men and woman bike to and from work and do other errands. Children enjoy riding their bikes (of whatever size) once they learn how. They enjoy the movement of the bike and the fact that they can make the bike “go fast.”

          Going for a bike ride either alone or with a group does wonders for some. Once a person learns to ride, and learns about the bike, they can gain so much. For example, biking can enable a person to reach higher. Once you ride one mile, then the next day, you’ll want to go two miles, then three, four, and on and on. When a person sees progress, they can add more mileage until they reach their goal. This behavior flows over into the work-life, the home-life and with other projects. Biking can enable a person to pick up speed as they bike, eliminate the fear of riding up steep hills, passing people and riding in the street. A rider may first want to get off the bike and walk up a steep hill. But riding up steep hills helps the biker accept challenges and be successful with each. Biking can enable a person to develop more confidence, believing that challenges can be overcome. Biking is a rewarding experience for bikers and those who continue to bike over years see the improvement in themselves. I gained so much confidence in myself as I grew as a rider and saw that there was a way to tackle obstacles instead of giving in to those challenges. After I climbed a steep hill, even though I felt like I should call an ambulance, when I finally reached the top, I was ready to go back and do it again. I saw in my work life, even in getting to know people, that I could apply the same attitude.

          Though a bike is a way to improve oneself, a means of transportation, it is also a dangerous activity when the rider does not do what is necessary to keep safe. I would like to discuss what I learned while biking. I have been a biker for many years and I often (daily, during pleasant weather) rode from thirty to sixty-five, even seventy miles a day. This advice comes from information passed along to me from bike leaders before a ride, what I saw on the streets and trails, and from my personal experience with my riding.

True bikers start out with one bike, maybe a hybrid, and then progress to a street bike once they are comfortable riding and making personal progress. True bikers have more than one or two bikes. I had three but gave one away. They have a bike for every occasion and take pride in showing off another, or new, bike. Even so, most have their favorite one.

Biking in a rural area, as bikers do for speed, differs vastly from riding in a city, especially Washington, DC. DC requires much more concentration, awareness, and quick thinking than riding on the outskirts of Maryland and Virginia. Riding anywhere, but particularly in DC, can be dangerous if the rider does not take great care.

To begin with, bikers need to take care of the bike regularly for an uneventful bike ride. A flat tire can delay the ride. Regardless of the number of bikes a rider has, before a rider takes the bike out on the street, it should be in good working order. Taking the bicycle for a yearly tune-up is helpful, especially if there are a number of miles on the bike or miles put on the bike in one season. For example, I put over 3,000 miles on my bike from April to September in one season. A lot of riding in a brief period. A complete tune-up would be needed to begin the next season or to ride from April to September during the next year.

          A good biker has a good helmet. This should almost cover your entire head and needs to be brought down over your forehead as much as possible. When a biker falls, the head is protected. Women like to leave a portion of hair out. But the ride on the street is through grit and grim. Where are the street cleaners? Remember them? We rarely see them anymore. Hair should not be exposed if possible. It is helpful to wear a headband under the helmet to catch the perspiration.

A good biker wears the proper clothing – a shirt and pants – and they should be of good biking quality. Some pants have seams, some don’t. If a ride goes four or five hours, the seam in the pants can become uncomfortable for the rider. The pants, seemed or seamless, also do not twist around, and when the rider turns, the pants stay in place. There is no pulling or straightening. The shirt stays in place and the pockets in the back carry ID, food bars, car keys, etc. The biking clothes help soak up the perspiration, as well. Biking gloves (with exposed fingers) are needed to grip the handlebars without slipping. Remember that a ride is usually during warm or hot weather and the hands can get sweaty. Also, the handlebars get hot during the ride. Sunglasses that cover the eyes are also needed. Eyes need protecting and biking glasses will help with the protection from the sun and flying debris, such as leaves and flying insects. Biking shoes are necessary. Don’t use tennis shoes or other shoes, use biking shoes. They are sturdy and don’t give while riding. Of course, socks. A computer installed on the bike enables the rider to see the time, miles ridden, and the average speed. Bikers carry other things they need, such as a pump, tire patches, and repair gear, water and/or sport drink, as well as anything they need to make the ride more comfortable. But comfort comes, not necessarily from things, but from riding. A biker gets used to the bike. Biking can be a personal growth experience, improve tolerance, as well as an exercise regimen.

Recently, biking is something else for a new group of people. Perhaps it is due to the gas prices that more people are electing to ride their bicycle to work. From the news, there seems to be more bikers being hit by trucks, buses, and cars. Some bikers do not survive the collision. So far, there have been three or four on the weekly news. Why is this happening?

          Many bikers purchase a bike and then ride it. I have witnessed people riding a bike where the knees are always deeply bent. They don’t get the bike sized for them, and they don’t look comfortable on the bike. Before purchasing a bike, the potential rider needs to find out from the store manager whether they will size the bike first. If your legs are too long, which causes the knee to have a deep bent while riding, or a rider has difficulty reaching the handlebars, or the handlebars are uncomfortable, or the seat is too low, too high, then the bike needs to be adjusted according to your size and needs. You may even have to select another bike if the adjustments made are not enough or you may need to have something added to the bike or something removed. A biker needs to control the bike. If the bike is not the correct size, then the biker cannot control the bike. Some people pick a bike they like and buy it without knowing that they can make a change or two on the bike. When a rider is uncomfortable, they will focus on that.

Unless it is a requirement, there are riders who don’t wear a helmet. I know this is hard to believe. Even if it is a requirement, riders feel the requirement is not for them. I’ve seen riders riding without a helmet but have on a hat. It is wise to always wear a helmet. Riders fall off the bike because of the uneven pavement; someone darts out in front of them; the rider approaching is not paying attention, and a collision happens. It is possible to hit your head on the pavement or even the edge of the curve. That could leave you with more than a headache. Even though the onlookers can see the beauty of your hair displayed across the pavement, you can end up with damage to the brain.

  I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve seen riding in the street and the trail with flip-flops or sandals. It is dangerous to ride in flip-flops or sandals. A rider can lose their footing and thereby lose control of the bike. Biking requires a shoe with a hard bottom that does not allow give. For the sake of your knees and leg muscles, you need a hard bottom shoe. I didn’t realize that until I had a flat tire. I didn’t have a flat tire kit, either. I decided not to get one. On a ride, I ran over something and immediately my front tire went flat. I tried to ride the bike for as long as I could before I realized that if I continued riding, I would seriously damage the rim. I had to get off the bike and walk the final six miles in my tennis shoes. By the time I got home, I had blisters on almost all my toes. Had I purchased the flat tire kit, I could have simply patched the hole, and had I bought the right shoes, I would have been in a better position. It is not wise to skimp on what you need.

Another thing riders don’t do is to look either left or right to see if the way is clear before crossing an intersection or passing a person. These riders pull out, cutting off other bikers behind them or they go through the intersection as if the way has been cleared for them. If a rider does not see who is coming in an intersection, that can cause the driver of the car to slam on the brakes. I have seen this countless times. Usually, the biker did not stop and was totally unaware. The biker continued riding, oblivious to the “almost collision.”

From my personal experience on the streets or trails, bicyclists don’t seem to know the rules. They ride in the middle of the lane on the street and on a trail. They don’t keep to the right of the street or trail. If they are riding in a small or large group, they seem to think it okay to take the entire lane. Many times, these people are talking loud enough for others in front and behind them to join in on their conversation. When riding in the street, ride as close to the white line on your right as possible. In heavy traffic, slow down and keep your bike straight. It is a good idea to schedule breaks while riding in groups. Then the riders can have their conversation during the break. When riding on a trail, keep to the right. Remember that other people are also using the trail. Also keep the talking to yourselves. If a rider behind you is calling out to pass, you will not hear them, and if you are taking up the entire path, it is hard for them to pass you. It is wise for bikers to keep their mind on riding and what’s happening around them. Animals, especially deer, can come out of nowhere and stand in the street or on the trail watching you. If you are talking, you may not act as quickly as you need.

 Some bikers don’t use or know the hand signals that bikers use when turning, changing lanes, or going straight. Let the driver on your left, who is no doubt watching you for a signal, know what you plan to do. It’s not wise to keep the drivers in the dark. They would like to know when they can pass. Sometimes on a two-lane road, a biker may use the entire lane instead of staying close to the white line so that drivers may pass. A bicyclist can see around the curve on the left. If the opposite lane is clear, why not move closer to the right and let the driver know he can pass? Also, if you are as close to the white line as comfortable for you, cars are not behind you. They are afraid to pass you and being careful. For safety reasons, always keep the cars on your left, whether you are going or coming. Never drive in front or behind cars. You want the drivers to see you, as well as you want to see the drivers.

One of the major things I learned from classes and other biking groups when I have ridden with them was to keep out of a trucker’s or car’s blind spot. The name “blind spot,” says it all. The driver cannot see you if you are in his blind spot. Think about when you want to pull into the lane next to you and a driver blows the horn. You didn’t see the car because the car was in your blind spot. The thing to do when biking is to get out of the blind spot. Be certain that you see yourself in that trucker’s side-view mirror. If you can’t see yourself, then move away from the truck or get off the street. A biker must protect him/herself. The trucker will not do that. I’ve had to do this several times.

          Not only are cars, buses, and trucks a problem, but people are, too. People, grown adults, step out in front of bicyclists and cause “almost accidents” as well as “full accidents.” People think bikers are to give pedestrians the right of way and bikers should follow the rules of the road since they are riding on the road/street. Can bikers believe they have the right of way?

I’ve seen riders just ride through an intersection as if cars are not there. In one of my classes or articles I read, I found that whether a biker has the right of way, pause at the intersection when cars are there or approaching the intersection. Look at the driver across from you, on your left, and in the lane next to you, and then begin your ride. Don’t assume that the driver will give you the right of way. Let them know. This courtesy is important. Whenever I’ve stopped to give a driver the right of way (which was often), I got a wave from the driver to go on. People just want to be respected. When I figured that out, I always smiled and thanked them for letting me go first.

Riding a bike on the street is dangerous. A person can make the situation worse if they don’t know the hand signals or just decide not to use the hand signals. If a person chooses to ride a bicycle in the street, then it is encumbered upon that person to keep him or herself safe. It is a mistake to leave your life in the hands of others. Learn what to do before you take your first ride. Attend the sessions that bike shops offer or find something on the internet. The recreation department may give classes on bike maintenance and repair, and safety. Attend these classes. You will, without a doubt, need the session on bike repair, particularly the ones on flat tires. Attend the sessions so you will know what to do when you find yourself in trouble. And as you enjoy your ride on a trail or street, when you see someone in trouble, please stop to help that person. Bikers do that.

I have seen information and even read articles on ways to listen to the radio or whatever while riding a bike. There is no question that this is an advertisement from places that want to sell you their “listening gadget.” Under no circumstances should a biker ever use earphones while biking, either on the street or on a trail. I have seen this too many times. A biker needs to attend to what’s happening in front, and on the left and right sides. People blow horns, needing a biker to move out of the way, see the driver, know a car is behind or in front of them. If a biker is busy listening to the radio, the biker is not paying attention to the environment. If you are riding in D.C., you need your attention on the road and on your safety. You will need to do the same on trails where people and children are walking and running, as well as in rural areas. On a street or trail, a rider cannot go into “his world” while riding. In rural areas, a rider has to look out for dogs, deer, and other animals. And how can you use earphones with the helmet on? Learn to keep yourself safe.

Again, before you purchase a bicycle, have it sized for you, take a class on bike repair, signaling, safety, how to ride up hills, when and how to change gears, how to ride in rough terrain, standing while peddling, health issues that may arise, and anything else being offered.

Thank you for reading this. I just wanted to share with you the things I learned while biking in urban and rural areas. Having said all the above, I know I was blessed. I always had the kindest, most thoughtful drivers who offered me the right of way and waited for me to turn or whatever. I cherish those memories of these people with loving hearts.

          In The Attractiveness of Wisdom, Hamilton taught his three children to ride a bike. The kids were always equipped with the proper gear as well. In the novel, Hamilton took his kids on a ride in Pennsylvania where they raced against an Amish man and boy in a one-horse carriage. I wonder who won. Later Hamilton took his youngest son, Jeremy, on the bike path around the lake that he inspired his university to create. I encourage you to read the story. Below is the link for the Kindle version, but you can also get the paperback. Don’t forget to email me afterward.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00I3KVGFM?

Love A Good Story

Love a Good Story. I just Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Well, here is another Good Story.

            I recently read a blog from an author and speaker who talked about her recent adult education class she taught on memoir writing. To begin this class, she asked the same questions she’d asked many times of her students. The questions centered around their life experiences. She asked if anyone wanted to share. The attendees were reluctant to say much, and she was nervous about the lack of responses. Having been a teacher, and still am, for so many years, I know that there is always someone in the class who gets things going. Her class responded with reluctance. The next day she brought in things that they related to, and the conversation was non-stop, she said.

            This reminded me of some of the classes I’ve had over the years as an elementary school teacher, high school teacher, and now a college professor. The students in the above author’s class, even though older, had changed. The old, what we did in the past, is no longer workable in today’s classes, even with young and older adults. Teaching year to year, the change was almost unnoticeable at first, but as the years moved along, the change was much more pronounced. A teacher can either try to force the old on the students or make the change the students need. In any case, the students indicate through their actions and by what they say, what they need and how they need it from the teacher.

            This brings me to the shootings that unfortunately we have experienced lately. Students need more than a knowledge of Biology, the need to pass algebra, English, etc. Many high school students, need much more than what is taught in school. They need non-academic help. They need to find their way. High school is an important place and a huge part of growing up. Everyone reading this experienced an awful event or two in high school. No one I know wants to revisit their high school days. Yet, high school is where a student grows the most; where they learn who they are, what they want, what they will do, values and beliefs, what they won’t do, their associations, and their place in society. Yes, we all have our place in society. But what about those who don’t? Those who don’t think they fit in; the ones others make fun of; the ones who are ill prepared and don’t care anymore. Where is their place? As this country grows and grows, many Americans are already experiencing this mis or displacement.

There is a hierarchy in high school. The hierarchy has been in all high schools since the beginning of time; it seems. We’ve all been through it. If you went to high school, you also went through it. No one escapes it. At the top of the pyramid are the football players. A girl who dates a football player automatically rises to the top. All the students know the players and which ones are the best. They also know their girlfriends. At the bottom of the pyramid are the nerds. These are the smart kids who are on the debate team, honor roll and other intellectual events. They are on the bottom. Really?? Right above them are those students whose behaviors are different and who dress differently from the other students in the school. These students are picked on or bullied due to their dress and the different behaviors they have. These are the students of greatest concern. They already come from homes where they don’t feel wanted or cared for. They think no one likes them and their behavior keeps others from liking them. What do teens do when they encounter another teen who dresses and behaves differently? They make fun of them. No parent I know has ever told their child to be nice to those children who seem angry or lost. It’s difficult for a teacher to do something when they see an angry teen in the hall, going from class to class. The school is a student’s second home and should be a place where they can get the emotional help and love they need. No one should feel that they have no other choice but to shoot people to get the attention they need or to make them feel better about themselves.

Some students don’t care about where they may fall on the pyramid, others need to have their place at or near the top of the hierarchy no matter what. Where a person falls in the hierarchy, says who they are in the “school society.” Where a student is placed determines who they date, what group will accept them, whether they are ignored, laughed at, bullied, and a host of other things. Even the angels want their place on that pyramid to be at the top. It is always impressive to see students who stand out. They don’t want to be placed on a pyramid. They are individuals. I remember one student who always wore a bow tie, a different one each day. He stood out as an individual and it didn’t matter to him what other students thought.

Students who come from homes where their parents do not validate them, or care about them, have trouble being accepted on any part of the ladder. They focus on the fact that nobody loves them. Other students may have made fun of their hairstyle, the way they walk, look, talk, and how they have failed everything. Students do this in front of other students. Demeaning a student like that brings on nothing but trouble, because the student who has been demeaned will often want to get back at the student who demeaned them. This happens to both boys and girls.

Every person on earth has the right to live in peace. We are guaranteed life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A person does not have the right to demean another person. That violates their personal rights. There are things we hold in our hearts from high school or experiences we have had during those teen years. One of the things for high school students who have been mistreated is the mistreatment they received in high school. This mistreatment changes the person from someone nice to someone who is angry and who hates, who hates himself as well as others. They may want to see how someone else would react when they are being mistreated. They may want to shoot someone or many people. But they will find that shooting someone or many people does not relieve that hatred they have for themselves.

It is awful to see a student being abused. Even worse to see the look on their face while and immediately after. No one loves them. Can you feel that? Can you feel how a person feels unloved? Our high school students will become our leaders. The adults – parents, teachers, or any adult – can help these needy students by stopping the bullying and harassment in schools and in the community. Bullying doesn’t just happen in a school. It also happens in the community: on the street, in a store, in a park or any place else. They also need help with their home life. They can’t exchange their parents, unfortunately, but they can learn coping skills. These students can have strong academic and artistic skills, but since no one believes in them, “why bother.” These students who are otherwise lovely human beings, need our help.

We are so preoccupied with other things we think are important, that we are not paying attention to what these teens need. We can tell a woman that she can or can’t have say over her own body, we can tell people who they can and can’t marry, we think it is okay to tell someone where and when they can pray, but we don’t see the need to help our high school students who have mental illnesses and challenges. The need is strong, especially with the addition of Covid. If we care about people, we need to help these students.

Thank you so much for indulging me. Now, isn’t this a Good Story?

Jeremy, in The Attractiveness of Wisdom, would not be a student who would tolerate bullying, or watching a student abuse another. Jeremy, I’m proud to say, would have stopped the wrong that he saw happening to another human being, ignoring the price he would have to pay.

Read about this wonderful boy, Jeremy, who enters his teen years during the story and his strong need to help others and his strong faith in God in The Attractiveness of Wisdom.

Oh, did I tell you The Attractiveness of Wisdom won the Independent Press Award?

www.blackrosewriting.com

amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B0013KVGFM?

Enjoy this story.

LOVE A GOOD STORY

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

Here’s another Good Story.

Two weeks ago, when I sat down to write this blog, I wanted to write about all the ugly things happening in this country. I wanted to just let out my thoughts and feelings, without care, and what I would say about some people. I just wanted and still want to let off steam. I wanted to express my views on immigration, sexual orientation, teen violence, covid-19, the “I” generation with their personal rights, and a host of other problems we seem to have. But I changed my mind (remember, I’m a woman, and that is my right). In a previous blog, I gave you a history of Stevensville, the place where my main character, Hamilton, in The Attractiveness of Wisdom, grew up. In the novel, Hamilton lives in Rockville, Maryland. Instead of the “downer” story, I thought it would be nice to give you a little history of Rockville. Please continue reading. I think you will find it interesting.

If you are like me, hearing or reading the word “history” is a huge turnoff. But see history in terms of storytelling. That can make a difference. So this is a story about the changes in Rockville, Maryland.

Years ago, Rockville was an interesting place to live for some. The city has changed greatly since it was founded. Lewis Reed of Reed Automotives stated: “More than 250 years ago, land grants to European settlers formed the nucleus for today’s Rockville, Maryland. By the 1750s, local farmers were transporting tobacco to market in Georgetown down a road formerly used by Indians. The tiny settlement was designated as the seat of the new Montgomery County in 1776. Known as Rockville by 1803, the town’s life centered on Courthouse activity. More homes and shops were built, and the town of nearly 600 was incorporated in 1860. The dynamics that created Rockville in the 18th and 19th centuries are still the same ones attracting newcomers today: the presence of county government, a favorable location close to the nation’s capital, converging transportation routes that bring people here, and identity as an independent municipality.” Can you believe that this town began with 600 people?

Did you know Rockville was a resort town? “Chestnut Lodge was a focal point on historic West Montgomery Avenue. Opened as a luxury hotel in 1889 for Washingtonians seeking to escape the city’s summer heat, the hotel thrived until the economy and more accessible transportation made Rockville a suburb of Washington rather than a summer vacation destination.” Everything changes, huh? Reed goes on to say, “The hotel was then purchased by Dr. Ernest L. Bullard who reopened the building, naming it Chestnut Lodge, as “a sanitarium for the care of nervous and mental diseases.” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife stayed in the sanitarium in Rockville. He took the long drive (about 45 minutes) from Washington, D. C. to see his Zelda almost every weekend.

“The Bullard family operated the nationally famous Chestnut Lodge for 75 years. It was closed only three years later. The building was conveyed to a developer in 2003 with the intention of converting it to condominiums as part of the development of the Chestnut Lodge property.” I pass by where this sanitarium was every time I use 270. “Sadly, a fire on June 7, 2009 destroyed the landmark building that began as Woodlawn Hotel and came to symbolize the psychiatric institution of Chestnut Lodge. Today, the Chestnut Lodge campus is preserved for the community and consists of Little Lodge, Frieda’s Cottage, a Stable and an Ice House, and eight acres of forested lawn.”

According to the history put together by Lewis Reed, “During the first two decades of the 20th century, the pace of growth slowed considerably. Between 1900 and 1920, Rockville’s population grew by only 45 persons. However, amenities available in urban areas came to Rockville in this period—electricity, telephones, indoor bathrooms, a sewerage system, trolley cars, a town park, and street trees.”

“The years after World War II were phenomenal ones in Rockville. The population swelled from 2,047 in 1940 to 26,042 in 1960. The newcomers to Rockville included WWII veterans and their young families who purchased starter homes in new subdivisions, including Hungerford Towne, Twin-Brook, and Montrose.” I live near these areas. At that time, the homes were small and built expressly for the veterans. The decade of 1950-60 proved pivotal for the area, as much of the old disappeared and the new was being constructed.

Unfortunately, building in Rockville continues. But look at the past. If you have been to Rockville, just think that just a little before you were born, the city was very different.

This is the Woodlawn Hotel. Wouldn’t it be nice to vacation here?

Rockville B&O Train Station early 1900s. On the left, a horse-drawn carriage has just left the station. Photo by Lewis Reed.

Halpine-Lenovitz General Store, 1906

“The Halpine Store, also known as the Lenovitz General Store, was built on Rockville Pike in 1898, taking advantage of the prime location on the trolley and railroad lines and the Pike. The store sold food, gasoline and other items to locals and Pike travelers. There is a young African American man standing in front of the store. Note the telephone or telegraph poles, and the trolley tracks paralleling the road. The nearby Halpine railroad station also brought customers to the area, and the store became the social/community gathering place for the Halpine area.”

How many times have you passed this place?

Halpine-Lenovitz General Store at Rockville Pike and Halpine Road. Photo taken by Lewis Reed, circa 1906.

Rockville High School, 1911. Photo by Lewis Reed.

Veirs Mill Road looking east prior to paving. Photo by Lewis Reed, 1911.

What does this say, Veirs Mill Road in 1911? This is only one hundred and eleven (111) years ago.

Veirs Mill Road, 1911

“The popularity of the car coincided with the improvement of public roads around Rockville. Rockville Pike’s reputation as “one of the worst pieces of main highway in the state” helped initiate Maryland’s Good Roads Movement. Responding to citizen demands, the newly created State Roads Commission incorporated the Pike into the state highway system. By 1929, when Montgomery County residents owned 13,000 cars, the Pike and Montgomery Avenue had been paved, but less traveled Veirs Mill Road remained a narrow dirt road for decades.”

Veirs Mill Road is a main street now running from Georgia Avenue in Wheaton and ending at Rockville Pike in Rockville. It continues to be crowded and the 13,000 cars and more must all use Veirs Mill Road during the times I use it.

Wasn’t this fun? I found it very interesting and to know that just 111 years ago Veirs Mill Road was a dirt road is amazing. Someone saw this change in their lifetime. And just so you know, I am not speaking of myself. This area has certainly changed since I’ve known it. History is something we all experience. Some events seem more important or historical than others, but history is what we live in and what we help create. History is exciting!

I thank you so much for allowing me to bring you this history instead of what I had planned. I hope you are calm, more relieved, and more at peace. You have given that to me. Focusing on something good, positive, and interesting does help.

Reading won’t hurt either. Reading makes a nice “get-away” as it takes you into a world of fantasy. Enjoy reading. You can get my novels here: Send me an email and let me know what you think.

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B00I3KVGFM?

Love a Good Story

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

The Attractiveness of Wisdom is out!! You can get it on Amazon, my publisher, Black Rose Writing, and I have some. See the cover below. I love the cover and I hope you, too, will love it.

            Have you ever experienced a loss? Maybe you moved to another state or country and lost a few friends, your daily routine, and often your favorite food brands or the food. Maybe you experienced loss through a divorce or death. In that case, what did you lose? Did you lose yourself? HolliAnne, Hamilton’s wife, said she was tired of Hamilton controlling every aspect of her life. She divorced him. Hamilton knew he had to do something about himself, but how would he start? For Hamilton, this meant he would have to give up some of himself and create someone new. Then he met Franny. Franny’s mother was a renown ballerina. She owned the dance studio Franny was now operating. Franny tried hard to carry on without her mother. Hamilton saw the extreme fear of living without the controlling person. He saw how Franny struggled with decisions as she tried to carry on. He saw how hard it was for her to do anything without her mother present to control her life- tell her what to do, what to think, and how to handle her life. Through Franny, he saw how he controlled HolliAnne. Hamilton faced the fact that he not only controlled his now ex-wife, but he also controlled his employees, and his three children; the three people he loved more than anything else in the world.

            Read The Attractiveness of Wisdom and see how Hamilton changes himself and meets the woman whose love enables him to relinquish his need to control so that he will see how beautiful life truly is.

See!! Don’t you love the cover??

I Love a Good Story

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

I Love a Good Story. Don’t you just Love a Good Story? Well, here is another really Good Story.

Hello Everyone, I’m Anna. Hello, I’m Eric; and I’m Jeremy. We are Hamilton Maddox’s sons and daughter in Judy Kelly’s novel, The Attractiveness of Wisdom.

And speaking of The Attractiveness of Wisdom, I am so excited to tell you that in about two days, the novel will launch.

Anna is correct. That is exciting news. The Attractiveness of Wisdom will be available for you to purchase and read. Eric, I can’t wait.

Neither can I. I wish you could see Anna doing her “happy dance.” What about you Jeremy?

Eric, I can’t wait either. Here’s my “happy dance.” As you know, I dance in the novel. Well, just a little. Mostly I help dad; but I still dance. Eric, is that your “happy dance?”

Yes. Wow! I’m out of breath.

Okay, guys. We want you to know how proud we are of our father. Dad used to be, well, how would you describe him, Eric?

Dad used to like to have things go his way. How would you describe him, Jeremy?

Eric, you’re correct. Dad was controlling. But not so much with Anna.

 Yes, to state it directly. Dad was controlling. He liked to have things go his way. But dad controlled out of his love for us. He has always wanted the best for us and he encouraged us, challenged us, and made us reach farther and higher.

Along with that, he taught us so much. He taught us how to do what’s right, think for ourselves, and remember not to be selfish. Since I still live at home, he is still teaching me.

Jeremy, you may be teaching him more than he’s teaching you.

In The Attractiveness of Wisdom, dad decides to change. There are several instances where he uses us to recognize the fact that he shouldn’t repeat a behavior.

Really Eric? A psychological bent, here? Eric is a psychology major, everybody.

Dad uses experiences he had with Anna and mom to help him see his need to change.

It’s a story where my father encounters something in the present that makes him think back on a similar incident he had in the past and then decides to change the present behavior. The goal for him is NOT to repeat the past. Repeating the past is something that many of us always do, even though we know we need to change our behavior. The old behavior becomes a habit. For example, if we want to stop smoking or stop overeating, we have to change our behavior toward cigarettes and food. Dad did that. Don’t get us wrong; we love our dad. He’s always taken good care of us. But the change in him is good. He is more relaxed; much less worried about everything now, than he was.

We hope you will appreciate dad’s story and what he went through. He did it for us, his children, and mom, and he did it mostly for himself; to make himself a better person. He has always been an understanding, loving and thoughtful father, but the change has made him a much better person. We know you will not only enjoy the book, but appreciate the many themes and topics in the novel as well. Maybe you want to make a change in your life. You can make that change by doing what my dad did.

Please let us know what you think. Judy said that this novel is a bit different, and she wasn’t so sure the audience would understand her purpose. Judy is a devout Christian, and The Attractiveness of Wisdom is Christian based. However, you will see that these values apply to everyone. Anna, Jeremy, and I think you will understand her purpose in writing this wonderful and fulfilling story. It is quite clear to us. Email us and let us know how you received the novel. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Eric, Anna and Jeremy Maddox

LOVE A GOOD STORY

I

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.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079v33BJQ

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.                                                                     

   www.blackrosewriting.com/book/judy-kelly/literaryfiction

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.

https://www.Amazon.com/blessings-curses-judy-kelly/dp/1612969895/ref=_1_1?ie=utt8&qid=1518099