About this same time, but fifty years ago, I remember sitting nervously in St. Ambrose Church on my high school campus, awaiting my turn to speak. I wasn’t the Valedictorian, nor the Salutatorian. Rather, my classmates and faculty chose me to be one of the speakers. Harold was the other.
Thirty-two of us graduating, the first graduating class of JFK Prep in tiny St. Nazianz, Wisconsin. Little did any of us know that roughly ten years later, the school would fold because of finances.
I remember worrying more about my speech than I did about my future. I was happy to just graduate. Later, I would attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, where I changed my major a couple of times, to what I once became, a social studies teacher and coach. Quite the journey.
I’ve reconnected with several of my classmates, and I’m looking forward to the fiftieth reunion this coming October. I’ll get to see, face-to-face, some of the guys and girls I attended high school with. Exchange stories, some successes, a few failures. All of us have them.
I remember the day of my graduation. Beautiful outside. Blue sky. Hot and humid though, the inside of the St. Ambrose a welcome respite from the heat. Sitting in my blue double-breasted suit, fashion at the time.
Speech over. Diplomas awarded. Congratulations and handshakes and hugs. Pats on the back. A change of clothes, the tie and the suit coat the first to go. A party or two. Then packing up and leaving for home.
One time of life at an end. A new time of life beginning. The anxiety, the unknown. Some friendships ending, new ones about to begin.
Who knew that I would become a college coach? A counselor? An assistant principal and then principal? I didn’t. Not then. My vision and my world was myopic. Who knew I would have eight books published and a ninth on the way? Not me! Married with three kids? A hope. A dream.
This is the graduation and commencement season. Yesterday, the five high schools in my area all had commencement. There were, I’m sure, tears of joy and some sadness. All with high expectations. Yet, so much is a fog as they peek into the future. Not much to see . . . yet. Not much to expect . . . yet.
Most of us were there, too, weren’t we? Scrubbed, shiny faces. Dress shoes and slacks. Pretty dresses and skirts. Smiles wide, eyes alert. Parties to attend. Food to eat and gifts to open.
And then . . .
Who knows? But hope is a tangible thing, a good thing. Kids will test waters, apply their budding and growing skill to carve out a life and a world for them to live in. Some memories, both good and bad, will accompany them along the way, as will the few friends they maintain from the old days.
It’s life. It’s love. It’s the future to hold and behold. Successes along with failures. Triumphs along with defeats. All in one tidy, perhaps, package. The package we call life. Our life. Only to be repeated this time next year. And again. And again. No end in sight. Shouldn’t be an end in sight. Lives changing. Lives becoming. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
I finished the edits on my ninth book, Fan Mail. I want one more go-round one more edit before I ship it off. It differs from the other books I’ve written. It is more coming of age wrapped in a thriller. It is longer than my other books, and it was fun and satisfying to write. Like I have done in some of my other books, I laughed out loud and wept in spots as I wrote it. It will tug at your emotions and will cause you to reflect.
I subscribe to the belief that a good book, any book, is never finished by the author. A book is finished by the reader. His or her feelings and experiences with the book color the book and make it his or her own, aside from the author. I am happy to share it with you upon publication to see what it will do for you, do to you.
I will let you know the publication timeline on Fan Mail as I find out. Meanwhile, below are my other books for your enjoyment.
If you have read one of my books, I would like to ask a favor. If you could go online and write a review or, at the least, give a rating on the book, it would be of great help. Both a review and a rating would be wonderful. The review could be one or two lines. It doesn’t have to be long. Just let others know you read it and hopefully, enjoyed it. Obviously, 4s and 5s are the best. Thanks for this consideration.
Connect with me on Social Media:
Author Website: www.jrlewisauthor.blog/
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Amazon at: www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /
Blaze In, Blaze Out: A Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read! A BestThriller’s Editor’s Pick!
Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko, the head of a Ukrainian crime family, meant the end. It was only the beginning. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. Andruko hired contract killers to go after and kill O’Connor and Eiselmann. The killers can be anyone and be anywhere. They can strike at any time. They care nothing of collateral damage. Andruko believes a target is a target, and in the end, the target must die. https://amzn.to/34lNllP
Betrayed: A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!
Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking.
A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old
boy. Greed can be all-consuming, and seeing is not believing. No one can be
trusted, and the hunters become the hunted. https://amzn.to/2EKHudx
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. So far, he has murdered eight people. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of
heroin and fentanyl. A violent gang, MS-13, controls the drug trade along the
I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo Fuentes to find out who is cutting
in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an
ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay. Detectives
Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the
drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner! A Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photos of me circa 1972 courtesy of unknown.