Jul 092020

I thought it would take me several more days but I got at it hard yesterday and by dinnertime, exactly a month and a week after I started, the first book in my Tinder Street family saga series is finished. Before edits, it came in at 105K words.

But as I said in yesterday’s blog, that doesn’t mean I will be ready to release it immediately because there are so many historical facts that I have to go back and check to make sure I’ve got everything correct. And then, of course, there is editing and proofreading to be done. But it’s coming, folks, it’s coming.

At least a few readers are confused by what I mean when I say a family saga, thinking this is the story of my own family. No, it’s a work of fiction, though, like in all of my novels, some real life events do slip in now and then.

The ignorance in this country is staggering. Someone sent me a PM about my comment in yesterday’s blog about auditing classes at West Point on Constitutional Law, saying that a professor in a  liberal leftist west coast college like that had no idea what the Constitution was all about. It’s West Point in New York, you lunkhead, the U.S. Military Academy!

Also, in response to my comment about West Point, somebody asked if I graduated from there, and if so, when. No, after coming home from Vietnam I was a firearms instructor there, and also helped teach close quarters combat. It was the best job I ever had in the Army, and if I could have stayed there doing that, I would have made a career of it. But the Vietnam War was winding down, and the military was having a reduction in force (RIF), so if I were to reenlist, I would have been transferred to either Germany or Korea, and I did not care to go either place.

We worked long hours in the summer training cadets, National Guard, and Army Reserve units, but the rest of the year we had to find something to keep us busy, or else the Army would find a job to occupy our time. In a blog titled A Day At West Point a few years ago, I wrote about how one winter myself and a couple of friends created our own job of cataloging all of the small arms in the Army Museum. For a gun and history buff like myself, it was like being given the keys to the toy store.

Another perk of being stationed there that very few guys took advantage of, and I never understood why more did not, was that we could request to audit classes, with the instructors’ permission. While I did not get college credits for the classes, I was given a letter of completion for each class, and once I was out of the Army, just about any civilian college would accept it and give you full credit. For some classes, they actually allowed 1½ or 2 credits. I also took classes through a program that is now called the Army Continuing Education System, which provided 100% free tuition and books.

Along with that, during the winters I signed up for every Army training program I could get into as long as it was someplace warm, including Photography School, MP School, Truck Driving School, Demolition School, and a couple of others I don’t recall off the top of my head. So between that and other courses I took through the Army, along with what were called “life experience” credits, I only had to take three semesters to get a BA degree. Any young servicemember who prefers to sit around the barracks playing cards or video games instead of taking advantage of opportunities like this to further their education is a fool.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing, please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – The greatest lesson that I have learned in life is that I still have so much to learn.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  2 Responses to “Sooner Than I Expected”

  1. Well, to give that person credit, West Point is on the West side of the Hudson River, and you know that is almost the same as the West Coast.

  2. I was another GI who took advantage of the educational opportunities the military offered. I spent most of my three years as a technician at a radar station in the Aleutian Islands where there was not much to do but eat, drink and sleep when I was off duty. No computers or video games back in the day. So I took one correspondence class after another, sometimes finishing one or more a month. When I got out I had more than half of my college credits. That, life experience credits, and the GI Bill allowed me to get my BA and Masters. No regrets there for me.

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