Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
I'm humbled as well as flattered to be invited to my hometown of Monroe for a “Meet the Author and Book Signing.” It will be at the Monroe Public Library, 416 Buchanan St, on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. Y'all come. My book, “Task Force IED” will be available there.
Thinking back to the last time I was in the Monroe Public Library, I was a small tyke. My mother would send my sister and me on a hot summer's afternoon to the library, mainly to get us out from under foot. If I remember right, the Monroe Library was a one-room affair on the back of the fire station, facing the old water tower. A lot has changed since then. The Monroe Public Library is now in its own very modern building reflecting the needs of a progressive community.
I also got my writing start in Monroe. I was a senior in high school and the class clown. Realizing that my buddies were going off to college and I was not, for the first time I decided to take grades and studies a little more seriously. There was a first year English teacher (I need not mention her name) who assigned us a short story to write. I threw myself into the assignment and wrote what I thought was a pretty good short story. I turned the story in and it came back to me the next day with a big fat red F at the top of the page with a note, “Plagiarized!” I didn't know what “plagiarized” meant so I looked it up. Shocked, I confronted the teacher and she told me that I did not have the talent to write such “creative prose” and that I must have copied it. Suffice it to say we got all that straightened out. The F was changed to an A-, the minus for my misspellings. But I was left with the knowledge that I did have a God-given talent for writing and that's how I wanted to spend my life — writing. A degree in English from Iowa State University followed a number of years later, and I have spent my life writing, mostly in business, a free newspaper column, “Empty Nest,” and several books. I even teach creative writing in our home.
I wish I could locate that teacher and thank her.
Not only will there be a book signing in Monroe, but my high school class of '66, since we missed our 55th class reunion last year due to COVID-19, is going to hold a class reunion following the book signing. It will be at Karlin and Darrell Hjortshoj's (pronounced “Hortsoy”) house, 5394 Hwy F70, Monroe, at 1 p.m. It's a potluck with Karlin and Darrell providing the meat. All who attend the book signing, whether they were a member of the Class of '66 or not, are welcome to attend. It should be a gala affair. BTW: Karlin and Darrell's house is right beside where I grew up at Maple Hill. So this is quite the nostalgic venture for me.
Suzanne Johnson is responsible in large part for making a lot of these arrangements with the library and the Hjortshojs. Suzanne is married to my former high school history teacher, Mr. Johnson. Mr. Johnson had the audacity to award me an hour of detention one time (I'm sure I deserved it), causing me to be late for football practice. I had to run laps for that infraction. As Mr. Johnson handed me the “green slip” he said, “Swarm, you'll never amount to much.” Today we are best of friends.
My book, “Task Force IED” is about the Iowa National Guard's deployment to Iraq. It's a barn burner and doing quite well in sales. “Task Force IED” has a five-star rating on Amazon. It would be a privilege for me to sign your copy. See you in Monroe on Saturday, October 15th.
Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, find him on Facebook, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.