Reading Classic Illustrated Comic Books at School

Classic Illustrated Comic Book - The Deerslayer

Classic Illustrated Comic Book – The Deerslayer

Moving from Biggs Air Force Base, El Paso, Texas to Pease Air Force Base, Portsmouth, New Hampshire was one of the greatest adventures in the life of this military brat. I was in junior high school back then. During this time that I went through puberty, became interested in girls, and feel in love with reading.

My love for reading got a kick-start when I was a preschooler with my father and mother reading to me. I loved to sit in their lap as they read. Mother read me classic Bible stories. Dad read me Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Chip & Dale comic books. He let me hold one page of the comic while he held the other. The illustrations came to life with the characters running across the page before my eyes.

School teachers like my second-grade teacher Mrs. Davis, my third and fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Jensen and notably Mrs. Englebrock, my delightful fifth-grade teacher read to us enter books, one chapter at a time. Tornado Jones, Robinson Crusoe, and the Swiss Family Robinson captivated my young mind.

Arrival at Portsmouth Junior High School brought two dear women into my life, Mrs. Athens, and Dr. Pickett. They were my English literature teachers and had a Dartmouth and Radcliffe College education. They instilled a passion in me for reading. One way they captivated my attention was through the use of Classic Illustrated Comic Books.

Each student received the comic book. The intent of using the comic book was to keep from being intimidated by a 300-page novel. The Classic Illustrated Comic was only forty-eight pages long. Instead of reading page after page of words, we had the mix of illustrations and words. We learned the main characters, the story theme, storyline and setting.

Portsmouth Junior High School, Portsmouth, NH

Portsmouth Junior High School, Portsmouth, NH

We developed an interest in the work. After reading the comic, we then would tackle the novel. Being familiar with the characters and story we were hungry to find out the entire story. Many times we read a chapter aloud in class followed by discussion. The teacher’s goal was to get to enjoy reading and to be conversational literate in classic literature.

This technique somehow got most of the boys in the class to read! Reading comics was considered cool. At home, we would read Spiderman, Superman, Sargent Rock, and Archie Comics. They were not allowed at school. At school, we read added Ivanhoe, The Last of the Mohicans, A Tale of Two Cities, Les Misérables, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Pathfinder, The Invisible Man and other Classic Illustrated Comics. The teachers allowed us to read these “real literature” comics in study hall, before class or at lunch.

Who would have thought a comic book could motivate a boy to read? Not me, but they did. Mrs. Athens and Dr. Pickett were sneaky in getting me and many others to love reading. Thank you, ladies. You were the best, and you made a lifelong impact in this military brat.

Picture Credit: Classics Illustrated – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported2.5 Generic2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. b)


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Martian Mondays: The Martian Chronicles – Chapter Twelve: The Fire Balloons

Chapter Twelve – The Fire Balloons – This story first appeared as “…In This Sign” in Imagination, April 1951.

A missionary expedition of Episcopal priests from the United States anticipates sins unknown to them on Mars. Instead, they meet ethereal creatures glowing with blue flames in crystal spheres, who have left the material world, and thus have escaped sin.

This story appeared in six editions of The Martian Chronicles. It was in The Silver Locusts, the British edition of The Martian Chronicles. The 1974 edition from The Heritage Press has it. The September 1979 illustrated trade edition from Bantam Books, the “40th Anniversary Edition” from Doubleday Dell Publishing Group and in the 2001 Book-of-the-Month Club edition has it. It otherwise appeared in The Illustrated Man.

A 1997 edition of the book advances all the dates by 31 years. This story advances from November 2002 to 2033.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Zenith Press will be giving away copies of historically-accurate graphic history books by Wayne Vansant on May 3, 2015

Zenith Press has something fun this Sunday (May 3). Sunday is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY (#FCBD2015). Zenith Press will be giving away copies of our historically-accurate graphic history books by Wayne Vansant.

10 lucky winners will get a free copy of each of Vansant’s 6 books and 1 lucky winner will have their face drawn into the Vansant book cover of their choice.

The winner could choose to be a soldier on the Normandy battlefield or the Red Baron flying through the sky or maybe Robert E. Lee on Gettysburg grounds!. After Wayne Vansant personalizes the cover with the winners face, we will print it in large format and frame it for the winner.

The direct link to the rafflecopter giveaway on Zenith Press’ Facebook page is here (it won’t work until Sunday): http://gvwy.io/fmzg29

9780760343920
Pub Date: 9/15/12
$19.99
104 Pages

Normandy

A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe by Wayne Vansant

Summary

Normandy depicts the planning and execution of Operation Overlord in 96 full color pages. The initial paratrooper assault is shown, as well as the storming of the five D-Day beaches: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. But the story does not end there. Once the Allies got ashore, they had to stay ashore. The Germans made every effort to push them back into the sea. This book depicts such key events in the Allied liberation of Europe as:

1. Construction of the Mulberry Harbors, two giant artificial harbors built in England and floated across the English Channel so that troops, vehicles, and supplies could be offloaded across the invasion beaches.

2. The Capture of Cherbourg, the nearest French port, against a labyrinth of German pillboxes.

3. The American fight through the heavy bocage (hedgerow country) to take the vital town of Saint Lô.

4. The British Canadian struggle for the city of Caen against the “Hitler Youth Division,” made up of 23,000 seventeen and eighteen-year-old Nazi fanatics.

5. The breakout of General Patton’s Third Army and the desperate US 30th Division’s defense o…

Contributor Bio:

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since then, he has written and illustrated many historically accurate graphic histories, such as The Hammer and the Anvil; The Vietnam War: A Graphic History; Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe (Zenith Press, 2012); Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013); Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War (Zenith Press, 2013); Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Press, 2013); and The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI (Zenith Press, 2014). He is currently working on The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 (Zenith Press, 2014) for the 70th anniversary of the battle in December 2014.
9780760344064
Pub Date: 4/15/13
$19.99
96 Pages

Gettysburg

The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of The Civil War by Wayne Vansant

Summary

The Battle of Gettysburg is a landmark event in United States history. Widely recognized as the Civil War’s turning point, it accounted for the most casualties of any battle during the war and spelled the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.

In this powerful graphic history, Wayne Vansant describes the history leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, as well all of the major military events on July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, including the famous fight for Little Round Top on the second day and the death march known as Pickett’s Charge on the third and final day. He paints portraits of each army’s leaders, such as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, George Meade, and the then little known Joshua Chamberlain.

Vansant concludes a few months later at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in November, 1863, when Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most iconic speeches of all time, the Gettysburg Address. Gettysburg delivers one of the hallmark events of American history in an exciting and innovative format.

“Wayne Vansant has authored a graphic account of the Battle of Gettysburg wi…

Contributor Bio:

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since then, he has written and illustrated many historically accurate graphic histories, such as The Hammer and the Anvil; The Vietnam War: A Graphic History; Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe (Zenith Press, 2012); Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013); Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War (Zenith Press, 2013); Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Press, 2013); and The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI (Zenith Press, 2014). He is currently working on The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 (Zenith Press, 2014) for the 70th anniversary of the battle in December 2014.
9780760345306
Pub Date: 9/30/13
$19.99
104 Pages

Bombing Nazi Germany

The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II by Wayne Vansant

Summary

In Bombing Nazi Germany, renowned graphic novel author and artist Wayne Vansant profiles the dramatic joint American-British Allied air war against Nazi Germany throughout Europe during World War II. Meticulously researched, illustrated, and written with the same unmatched quality of Vansant’s

Normandy and Gettysburg (also from Zenith Press), Bombing Nazi Germany tells the story of the first and second generations of airmen, soldiers, and politicians from both sides who sought to bomb the enemy into submission.

Vansant traces the development of the wildly controversial Strategic Bombing doctrine in the 1920s and 1930s, the early stages of WWII and the dominance of the German Luftwaffe, and the eventual 1942 involvement of the United States’ 8th

Air Force and its vast fleet of B17 and B24 bombers. Beautifully detailed with maps, schematics, and charts, Bombing Nazi Germany also explores how industry and science aided the Allied air forces in these violent fights, as both the Americans and British made crucial advancements in air detection and evasion methods.

Contributor Bio:

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since then, he has written and illustrated many historically accurate graphic histories, such as The Hammer and the Anvil; The Vietnam War: A Graphic History; Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe (Zenith Press, 2012); Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013); Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War (Zenith Press, 2013); Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Press, 2013); and The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI (Zenith Press, 2014). He is currently working on The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 (Zenith Press, 2014) for the 70th anniversary of the battle in December 2014.

9780760345313
Pub Date: 9/30/13
$19.99
104 Pages

Grant vs. Lee

The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War by Wayne Vansant

Summary

Grant vs. Lee tells the dramatic story of the final year of the Civil War in Virginia a bloody and unyielding fight for both sides through the eyes of the two greatest Civil War generals: the North’s Ulysses S. Grant and the South’s Robert E. Lee.

The long and violent campaigns that took place from 1864 – 1865 (the Overland Campaign, Petersburg Campaign, and Appomattox Campaign) represent the beginning of modern warfare. By this point of the war, both sides employed seasoned and hardened soldiers who looked past the Victorian sensibilities of the gentleman soldier and understood that there would be no falling back.

By the end of 1864, both sides built trenches and mounted attacks to break each other’s lines. There was a stalemate that winter. Grant’s forces had superior numbers and supplies and by March 1865 they pushed Lee’s army out of the trenches at Petersburg and took Richmond, the Confederate capital. Lee’s dwindling forces retreated west, looking for food and other Southern forces to help continue the fight. After a bitter final battle at Sailor’s Creek, Lee’s army was surro…

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since

Contributor Bio:

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since then, he has written and illustrated many historically accurate graphic histories, such as The Hammer and the Anvil; The Vietnam War: A Graphic History; Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe (Zenith Press, 2012); Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013); Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War (Zenith Press, 2013); Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Press, 2013); and The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI (Zenith Press, 2014). He is currently working on The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 (Zenith Press, 2014) for the 70th anniversary of the battle in December 2014.

9780760346020
Pub Date: 6/1/14
$19.99
104 Pages
310 illustrations & 3 maps

The Red Baron

The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI by Wayne Vansant

Summary

In The Red Baron, graphic artist and author Wayne Vansant illustrates the incredible story of Manfred von Richthofen, whose unparalleled piloting prowess as a member of the Imperial German Army Air Service made him a World War I celebrity, both in the air and on the ground. In his signature style, enjoyed by readers of Normandy and Bombing Nazi Germany, Vansant beautifully depicts the fearsome intelligence and midflight awareness that would earn Richthofen eighty documented air combat victories over the Western Front in the halcyon days of military aviation.

From his beginnings as cavalry member and a pilot in training to the years he spent commanding Jasta 11 from the cockpit of his fabled red plane, to his eventual leadership of the ultramobile Jagdgeschwader 1 (aptly nicknamed “Richtofen’s Flying Circus” by nervous foes because of the group’s colorful

airplanes and mobile airfields), The Red Baron brings the story of this legendary figure to life. Richthofen died young under controversial circumstances, but the Red Baron’s astonishing skill and tactical acumen lived on far long …

Contributor Bio:

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since then, he has written and illustrated many historically accurate graphic histories, such as The Hammer and the Anvil; The Vietnam War: A Graphic History; Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe (Zenith Press, 2012); Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013); Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War (Zenith Press, 2013); Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Press, 2013); and The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI (Zenith Press, 2014). He is currently working on The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 (Zenith Press, 2014) for the 70th anniversary of the battle in December 2014.
9780760346228
Pub Date: 10/1/14
$19.99
104 Pages
350 color illustrations

The Battle of the Bulge

A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 by Wayne Vansant

Summary

Fought in the winter of 1944 – 1945, the coldest season in over 100 years, the Battle of the Bulge still ranks as the single largest battle ever fought by the United States Army. Thirty-one

American divisions fully one-third of the U.S. Army raised during World War II saw action in this battle. This battle was truly a test: could this conscript army from a pacifistic democracy defeat the best remaining men and machines that Germany’s totalitarian government could produce?

In Battle of the Bulge, author and artist Wayne Vansant brings readers into the frozen foxholes, haunting forests, and devastated villages of the Ardennes during that freezing cold

winter. With meticulous historical accuracy and hand drawn

visuals that can tell a story in ways words alone cannot, Vansant recounts the Bulge with insightful detail, replaying the thrusts and volleys of both the combined Allied and German forces during the tumultuous battle. This is a story of panic, fear, and physical misery; a story of how a generation of draftees, National Guardsmen, and a small core of regular officers and NCOs fa…

Contributor Bio:

Writer and artist Wayne Vansant was the primary artist for Marvel’s The ‘Nam for more than five years. Since then, he has written and illustrated many historically accurate graphic histories, such as The Hammer and the Anvil; The Vietnam War: A Graphic History; Normandy: A Graphic History of D-Day, The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe (Zenith Press, 2012); Gettysburg: The Graphic History of America’s Most Famous Battle and the Turning Point of the Civil War (Zenith Press, 2013); Grant vs. Lee: The Graphic History of the Civil War’s Greatest Rivals During the Last Year of the War (Zenith Press, 2013); Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II (Zenith Press, 2013); and The Red Baron: The Graphic History of Richthofen’s Flying Circus and the Air War in WWI (Zenith Press, 2014). He is currently working on The Battle of the Bulge: A Graphic History of Allied Victory in the Ardennes, 1944 – 1945 (Zenith Press, 2014) for the 70th anniversary of the battle in December 2014.


9780760346648
Pub Date: 11/3/14
$19.99
96 Pages
b/w illustrations

Area 51

The Graphic History of America’s Most Secret Military Installation by Dwight Zimmerman, Greg Scott

Summary

The actual history of the United States’ worst kept military secret revealed in graphic format.Though nearly everyone has heard of it, almost no one has known anything about it . . . until now. Located in the remote Nevada desert near the dry bed of Groom Lake, Area 51 is the most famous military installation in the world that doesn’t “officially” exist. In Area 51, author Dwight Zimmerman and artist Greg Scott unravel the

real history minus the aliens and scifi movie plots revealing

in detail how for more than 60 years, the CIA, the U.S. Air Force, and aerospace company Lockheed Martin have all used Area 51 as a staging ground for test flights of experimental or highly classified aircrafts.

Scott illustrates the Archangel12 as well as following aircrafts, such as the U2, the SR71 Blackbird, and the F117 Nighthawk stealth fighter, while author Zimmerman tells the history of how they sprang from the research and development conducted at Area 51. This

first of its kind graphic history strips away the fantastical aspects of this mysterious location and establishes the actual, s…

Contributor Bio:

Dwight Jon Zimmerman is a bestselling and award-winning author, radio show host, and producer and the president of the Military Writers Society of America. Zimmerman has authored the text for several graphic novels, including the acclaimed The Hammer and the Anvil, a dual biography of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. His other titles include The Vietnam War: A Graphic History and Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and the Six Warriors Who Earned It in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is also the co-author, with Bill O’Reilly, of the New York Times number one bestseller Lincoln’s Last Days.

Greg Scott is a comicbook artist who has done stints at both Marvel and DC Comics, working on such series as Gotham Central and Case Files: Sam and Twitch. He’s also a film fanatic and he typically watches two movies a day. The aesthetic of film informs his work, more so than traditional drawing. Get sneak peeks at his blog: gregscottart.blogspot.com.

Review: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

“Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S.Elliot is a wonderful politically incorrect book of short poems about cats and their curious natures. I first encountered the book when a college student.

T.S. Elliot, a poet and an author, intriguingly found his supreme accomplishment calling himself “ol’ Possum” in a book written in the 1930’s of short poems about cats and their nosy natures. It is one of the most renowned books of poetry in history. “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” is successful because it’s fun. It is pure fun.

Each cat has his or her own behavior and misbehavior. Jenny Anydots, teaches the cockroaches manners and twists curtain strings. Rum Tum Tugger is unhappy with everything. They are an odd yet mysteriously familiar lot. We do not have to have ever been to a train station to know Skimbleshanks the railway cat, a cat whose job it is to watch and keep organized everything going on in his world.

Matched to these fantastic, creative characters is T.S. Elliot’s Nobel Prize winning control of the rhythm flow of the English language. Many of the poems seem to be songs in their own right, jumping lyrically as the cats, frolic, groom and caterwaul.

In case you did not it Andrew Lloyd Webber chose this book to translate into his musical “Cats.” There are a variety of rhyme schemes and literary devices at use making each poem fresh and lively in its own right.

Ol’ Possum’s may leave those unaccustomed with how poetic books work somewhat let down. The book has no central story or point. It is just a fun, playful examination of the lives and natures of cats.

In a note for the culturally sensitive, T.S. Elliot looks somewhat disapprovingly at non-white races particularly Asians. Those considering this book for a classroom or other settings for children should give it a look over first and be ready to explain the “non-politically correct” language.

This is the book that made me fall in love with poetry for life.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

I Love Rain!

The walking in the rainThe Spring of 2015 has been a wet one in north Texas. Back in 2007 we had another wet year. I wrote the below essay on July 3, 2007. While normally on Thursday’s I share speculative fiction I’ve written, but with all the recent rain, today rain came to mind. Enjoy!

I love rain. Most people hate it. I love it. Why should I love rain? It’s not easy for people to understand, but I will try to explain.

Rain is a precious gift from God. It falls from the sky. Sometimes it falls in large amounts. Sometimes it comes from the sky in small amounts. Sometimes it doesn’t visit us for weeks or months at a time. When it does visit it always brings its friend the clouds. Rain can also bring its noisy friend thunder and bright friend lightning.

Rain is like a guest in your home. At first you’re glad to see the rain, but if it stays around too long, it can out stay its welcome.

Rain can be refreshing. It gives the air and the countryside a shower. It washes the pollen from the air. It washes the pollen off the cars, sidewalks, and driveways. Rain removes the dust from the leaves of the flowers, bushes and trees.

The temperature drops when the rains come. Rain transforms the hot world into a cool, air conditioned environment in the summer and a chilly one in the winter. It helps you appreciate a warm, dry house.

It is a muse for Ray Bradbury as he writes short stories about it in “The Illustrated Man”.

Rain also helps a person forget their troubles. You worry less about how you look. After all, the water from the mud puddle may have splashed on you. You enjoy freedom from irritations. Only those people who truly want to see you will come see you in the rain. Most gripers and complainers stay away when it’s wet outside. They wait for a less rainy day.

It is fun walking outside when it rains, especially with an umbrella. Just singing in the rain. You can hold an umbrella in one hand, letting it prop on your shoulder. When the rain falls the propped up umbrella can be popped open keeping you from getting soaking wet. It’s fun to take a wet umbrella, hold it at a forty-five degree angle to the ground and spin it around and around. When you spin it around and around something magical happens. The drops of rain the umbrella has collected go flying off in a direction away from the umbrella holder. You can aim the umbrella where the drops spray someone or you can splatter the drops on the ground as you spin the umbrella ’round and ’round.

Even if you don’t own an umbrella you can still have fun in the rain. Shopping malls miraculously have parking spaces available closer to the door when it’s raining. The crowds are noticeably smaller. The joy of the mall is intensified as you experience less hustle and bustle. At church, better seats are available.

A sad not about rain is it sometimes cancels baseball games. While this is sad, though not to all wives, it does hold the potential of prolonging our great national pastime’s season or even giving us the rare double header baseball game.

Without rain, there wouldn’t be real green grass on the baseball fields, rain checks from baseball games, manageable crowds at the mall, or great seats easily available at church. Rain makes the world a nice place.

Why not enjoy the rain? Without rain the flowers would not grow. Without rain there would be no Fillet of Fish at McDonald’s Restaurants. Without rain there would be no people living.

I love rain!

Photo Source: By Pygarcia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AThe_walking_in_the_rain.JPG


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Customer Care Tip – Give Your Customer Your Full Attention.

Customer Care Tip – Give your customer your full attention. Don’t multi-task!

MultitaskingAre you setting your employees up for failure? Is your organization unknowingly creating a climate for poor customer service? About now you’re saying to yourself I would never do that. I want my employees to succeed. I also want my customers to have the best service possible.

When dealing with the public or customer’s outside your organization, if you don’t give your customers your full attention, someone else will. Soon they will be the competition’s customers.

When dealing with the customer’s inside your organization, be they internal or remote, failure to give them your full attention will lead to unhappy customers or users. It can lead to a rift between the corporate office and the remote users. It can lead to a rift between the home office employees and customer/support service.

You’re probably thinking you don’t know me. I can do more than pay attention to the caller on the telephone support or customer service line while doing chat support with one or more customers. You may have a walk-up client while working a service request while assisting your caller and person on chat. You may be building or repairing a computer for deploying to a remote office at the same time as assisting a caller. They all require concentration.

You may be good at doing more than one thing at a time. Some people can listen while working on something else. Even if you can do two things at once, don’t multi-task.

We listen better when focusing on just one thing. The only way we can give our customer our best is by focusing on them, only them. When you multi-tasking you risk providing inferior service.

It is not okay if you’re helping a customer to do more than one thing at a time. Why not? When you’re not giving your customers your full attention, you are giving poor service. You leave them with a bad impression. You set yourself up for future failures. For example, you are helping a customer while building a new computer. You increase the odds of configuring the new machine incorrectly and thus receiving another service call.

We need to be at our best when we’re with customers. There can be no exceptions. There can be no excuses. Unfortunately, management often feels they are not getting the most from their employees if they are not multi-tasking.

Many times management unknowingly places their delegated tasks like daily metrics, license compliance, inventory management, etc. ahead of caring for their customers. Sometimes workloads are heavy.  We may feel we do not have time for customers. We don’t have time to get everything done. I completely understand. I’ve been there. Still am. Often this forces internal customers who have no option to accept the second-rate service they’re receiving. It can generate into a downward spiral when they give low marks on customer satisfaction surveys.

The good news is when your customers get your full attention good things happen. When you focus just on your customer, they will notice. The customers are happier. The complaints go down. People notice. They experience better service. They see how conscientious you are. You connect with them.

Additional benefits gained include providing a better level of service. Better customer care occurs because you understand their needs. You help them get what they want. They see the distinction between how you help them and how your competitors do.

There is a payback. Your customers will have increased loyalty. They are likely to refer business to your organization. You’ll get the reputation of caring. They will enjoy doing business with you.

Customer Care Tip – Give your customer your full attention. Don’t multi-task!

Image Credit: By Bart Everson (Flickr: Multitasking) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

K7JYX – My Mother’s First FCC Amateur Radio License Call Sign

201 Maco Terrace Greenville, SC in 2012

201 Maco Terrace Greenville, SC in 2012

The earliest memory of this military brat has my Dad stationed at Donaldson Air Force Base. Our family lived in a small, wooden framed house located at 201 Maco Terrace in Greenville, South Carolina.

Our across the street neighbors were Don and Doris Bedford. Don was a propane route salesman. Doris was a homemaker, part-time school crossing guard, and sometime honky-tonk girl guitar player and singer. They have three children. The oldest two were daughters Donna and Cheryl. The youngest was son Dee.

Doris Bedford considerably influenced my family and me. She sang like Kitty Wells and played an electric guitar. She frequently worked at area honkey-tonks performing to earn the extra dollars her family needed. She would become my Mother and I’s first guitar teacher. That is a story for another time.

Doris also held a FCC Extra Class FCC Amateur Radio license – K4AOH. She was a HAM. She had learned Morse code and obtained her license as a teenager during World War Two while working for the US government.

Me and my brother - 1957

Me and my brother – 1957

Mother became enamored with the possibility of talking around the world via code or voice on a radio. My father already held an Amateur Radio license earned through his primary military job specialty as a radar technician and secondary specialty as a radio technician. When Doris suggested Mother get her license, Dad encouraged her as well.

About this time my Dad reenlisted in the USAF, He was transferred across the USA to Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona. My parents were buying the house at 201 Maco Terrace in Greenville and decided to keep it. Their thought in 1958 was to move back to South Carolina in 1967 when Dad retired from the USAF.

The transfer to Arizona motivated mother to study harder and faster. No, she didn’t pass the tests and get her license before we left Greenville.

After we arrived and got settled in our rented house in Glendale, Arizona, Mother continued studying in hot pursuit of her HAM license. Doris Bedford introduced Mother to Ken and Gertrude Pond. They were an older couple who lived in Phoenix and both held their FCC license.

Me in 1960 at 2420 Navajo, Luke AFB, AZ

Me in front of 2420 Navajo, Luke AFB, AZ in 1960.

I still remember mother buying 78 RPM records that had the familiar dit dah of Morse code as she studied her radio theory and Morse code. I helped mother study playing the records for her and sometimes sending the code for her to practice using an old military surplus Morse code key. I was proud of how she learned the code. I also learned the code, but at five years old I couldn’t send or receive it as fast as was required to pass the license. I eventually would.

I remember how excited we were when mother passed her Novice Class license. She was given the call sign KN7JYX. The N meant she held a Novice class license. It meant she could only be on the airwaves using code. She would have to pass the General Class exams before she could use voice communication. The General Class license required sending and receiving code at 25 words per minute, as well as additional electronic theory. She passed the exam and he call sign dropped the N, becoming K7JYX.

We built the first HAM radio from military surplus parts. I still remember the first antenna. It was an inverted V. It had a center conductor and wires going down from each it, one on each side. I helped put up the antenna. The first time we tested it under a radio frequency load we took a Florissant light bulb outside and held it near the antenna. With a good foot between the glass tube and the wires, the antenna light up like a spotlight!

With her license Mother was able to talk to Doris back in South Carolina. Mother would remain active in Amateur Radio until her death. She went on to earn Amateur Advanced and Extra Class license. Her Morse Code speed was over 75 words a minute for the Extra Class license.

She was proud as I went on to earn the HAM radio and Morse Code merit badges as a Boy Scout. I also passed the exams for the Novice Class, Technician Class and General Class FCC license. My call sign is N5FRJ.

SkywarnOver the years, I have run a two-meter repeater from the steeple of one church I served and had my HAM rig in my office at three churches I served. For years, actually decades, I was also a National Weather Service Skywarn Certified Weather Spotter – a storm chaser.

One of the fun things of being a military brat was all the interesting people and lifelong friends you meet and make. The Bedford’s were friends until Don and Doris died.

When we moved to Texas in 1963 Mother had her HAM call sign changed for Texas and became W5MWO. HAM radio was so important to my parents that their call signs are on their tombstone. It was wonderful sharing a lifelong interest with my Mother.


Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a writer of speculative fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews books. He’s written for Poetry & Prose Magazine, vox poetica, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination Literary Magazine, Thinking About Suicide.com, Author Culture, FrontRowLit.com, The Baseball History Podcast, Writing After Fifty, Sunday School Leadership, Church Leadership, Motivators For Sunday School Workers, The Deacon, Preschool Leadership, Sunday School Leader, and The Baptist Program. For sixteen years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column. He has written five fiction and poetry books. All are available on Amazon.com. His blog “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews” was named a 100 Best Blogs for History Buffs and has had over 750,000 visitors.

Winner Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Jimmie Aaron Kepler’s Books

Invasion of the Prairie Dogs
by Jimmie A. Kepler
“Invasion
Available on Amazon

The Cup
by Jimmie A. Kepler
“Invasion
Available on Amazon


The Paintings
by Jimmie A. Kepler
“Invasion
Available on Amazon


Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection
by Jimmie A. Kepler
“Invasion
Available on Amazon


Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story
by Jimmie A. Kepler
“Invasion
Available on Amazon

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 843 other followers

Categories

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 843 other followers

%d bloggers like this: