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In the corner of my fifth grade classroom, there was an old box piano with yellowed keys.  Every other week, we would have a sing-a-long.  One morning, our teacher announced we would be singing a song in honor of a classmate’s brother who was serving in the war.  


The year was 1968.  I didn’t know anything about a war.  At the time, I didn’t know anyone who was serving in the military.  However, even my young 12-year-old mind grasped the gravity from the tone in her voice.  “This song is very, very old,” she said, “but it still applies today.”  It was the Civil War anthem, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  Whenever I hear that song, I think of my classmate and wonder how her brother fared.


My uncle Lynn later served and returned safely from Vietnam.  My great-uncle and cousins all returned safely from World War II battles – by air and by sea.  We were, indeed, very blessed.


This, and every, Veteran’s Day, I give my gratitude, appreciation and respect to all have served this country, and others.  Every soldier, regardless of nationality and the side of conflict they fight, have families who care about them.


Thank you.


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At the end of an event I recently attended, two gentlemen discussed their respective fountain pen collections.  I listened in as they conversed prices and types (cartridge, inkwell).  An image of my father using a fountain pen (and complaining of its leakage) surged out of my memory banks, quickly followed by Koko the Clown.


Koko_2koko_3The cartoons were a creative combination of animation and live action.Although originally created during the silent movies, a later version was created for television in the early 1960s, and I remember avidly watching them, as they intrigued me to no end. (Trivia: Larry Story of “F Troop” fame supplied many of the voices.) Fountain pens are used by Presidents to sign important legal documents. Artists and writers benefit from the meeting of the literal flow of the ink and the metaphorical flow of the creative processes.

How would you describe the benefits of an ink pen over a ballpoint or gel pen?

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Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words.   His response:  “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” 

Smith Magazine decided to tap into that creative exercise as to one’s life story, and produced a book of compiled six-word memoirs, entitled “Not Quite What I Was Planning.”  Examples of submissions:

404: Life could not be found.


Rode the hare instead of tortoise.


Found success, lost relatives, then friends.


Ignored instructions; still picking up pieces.


I still miss my big brother.


Took road less traveled. Skinned knees.


Always the last in from recess.



Submit your own six-word memoir here.


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