Friday, February 5, 2010

Tommy and Renée Chapter 01

Mingling with riff raff... The words echoed through young Thomas Stephen Ericsen’s head as he drove to his new high school. Being a child of privilege, he’d always been enrolled in private boys schools. Attending private school was excellent for education. Going to Cotillion was better than nothing when it came to socializing. But, Tommy was tired of seeing the same people year in and year out, first at school, then at this coming out party, or that social event. He and Lydia Brownstone had seen Rebel Without a Cause at the Drive-in movies the night Tommy’s parents gave him the keys to a flame red 1957 T-Bird. They both thought there had to be another side of life by the end of the film. Tom coolly wheeled his car into the school parking lot, and parked in the first space he spotted without a name painted on the curb. It made little, or no difference at all to him that it was the teachers lot. Perhaps he really didn’t know.

A number of kids were hanging around outside. A rough bunch of boys we milling about. One didn’t have to examine the scene too closely to notice they were smoking, but even teachers, and administration didn’t seem to care. It was the beginning of a new school year at Central High, and there were always going to be the goodie goodies, and the greasers. Seeing the guys reminded him of the riff raff remarks both his parents, but mainly his dad had made. Tom also knew that Central had one of the best public school basketball teams. He thought, no strike that... He knew he could make it the best. His looks were a plus with his sandy blond hair, and very dark brown eyes. Odd combination for sure, but it added to his mystique. He was tall, athletic and very rich thanks to trust funds, and his knack for knowing which horse to keep, and which to sell. Seems that was one good quality that he inherited from his stern father.

The girls that had been standing not far from the greasers suddenly shifted their attention to the person that took forever to get out of that hot looking car. Their jaws dropped when they realized that he was a student, and not a teacher. The guys didn’t pay him much mind. They could tell by his looks that he was a jock, and not one of them. One of the guys spoke, “Hey, Ericsen, how the fuck are ya?” The guy tossed a cigarette butt in the grass.

The girls all gasped at his boldness using the “f” word right in front of them.

“Cookin’ Angelo. How you doin’?” Tommy answered. They had met at the Burger Barn after the movie when he and Lydia stopped in for a soda.

“Animal, you call me Animal, not Angelo, and you’ll be just fine here Ericsen.”

“Okay, cool. Animal, great seeing ya again.”

The girls watched his tight buns in his too tight black slacks as he walked past them toward the brick two story building. There was suddenly an outburst of giggles. Tom thought it was at him, but when he turned around, he saw they were laughing at a beautiful tall blonde girl about as big around as a pencil, getting off the yellow school bus. It was obvious by her clothing that she was poor, but she was a knock out in looks, and clean as a whistle. He figured in due time, he’d learn her name. He lingered then opened the door for her as she approached. She politely said, “thank you” and went on her way to her locker.

The weeks passed with no major events, or upsets. One day Tom was at his locker when an arm covered in a black leather sleeve came up behind him and slammed the locker door shut. Animal stood laughing. “Hey, heard you knocked that jerk Hinkley out of the top spot on the basketball team. The bastard deserved it.”

Mr. Finch, the principal, just happened to walk by in time to hear that remark. “Keep your low life opinions to yourself Miltonelli, and watch your foul mouth while you’re at it.”

“Yes, Sir.” Animal saluted him, then gave him the finger as soon as he was past the boys.

“Anyway, Hinkley thinks he’s God’s gift since he’s a basketball star. He don’t show me shit, but he gets laid more than the rest of us. He’s set his sites on the blonde you held the door for the first day of school. So, that dolly you were with at Burger Barn... She your baby?”

“Lydia? No, she’s just a good friend of the family.” Tommy liked her, but she wasn’t his girl.

“Okay, cool man. Gotta split. Slam dunk one for me, Ricsen!”

Tommy was no closer to learning the blonde’s name than he was the day he first laid eyes on her. He knew she was a sophomore. He had all the credits he needed transferred from the boy’s school, so there was no chance of having a class with her since he was a junior. He did see her in the gym after school though. She sat quietly. So quietly in fact he wondered why she was trying out to be a paper shaker. When it was her turn, she wowed the crowd with her ability to perform. He thought for sure she would make the cheerleading squad. And, now he at least knew her name, Renée Jorgensen.

What he liked best about that girl was she seemed unphased by him. He wasn’t deaf, he could hear the other girls squeal as he approached, then clam up, and start giggling as soon as he passed. Frankly, it embarrassed him. One day at his locker, he saw a folded up note inside. It must have been shoved through the air vents. He reached to pick it up, unfolded it and read, “Tommy, you send me... If you take me for a ride in your car, I’ll let you unbutton my blouse!” Signed, “Guess Who?” He had no clue, but he refolded the paper and forcefully shoved it in the snug front pock of his too tight pants. Tom only hoped it was Renée that dropped the note, but he knew in his heart it wasn’t. She was poor for sure, but she was well mannered and always neat as a pin. No way could she have done such a thing, yet in his heart he wished that she had.

Tom was busy with his Saturday morning chores at the ranch. “Thomas! Get in here immediately!” Tommy knew that call. He’d been grooming his best horse when he heard his father bellow. He put down the brush at once, and went into his father’s “office” inside the barn. He wondered what he’d done to piss off the old man this time.

“The laundry maid found this in your pants pocket. Care to explain?”

“It’s just a note I found shoved in my locker at school.” Tommy hoped that would be sufficient since that’s truly all he knew.

“Any idea who ‘Guess Who’ is?”

“No, Dad I don’t. It could be any number of girls I suppose.”

“You’re sure it’s from a girl?”

Tommy wasn’t sure what his father meant by that remark, but he answered just the same, Dad, it says ‘unbutton my blouse’. Men wear shirts.”

“Guess you’re not as dumb as you look. If I were you, I’d be trying to find out who this dame is. Sounds to me like she’s riff raff ripe for pickin’. Hear me, boy?”

“Yeah Dad, loud and clear. There’s a million of ’em out there.”

Tom’s dad nodded his head. “Get back to work. Keep it up, one of these days you’ll have that old nag looking like the fine animal she should be.”

Tommy breathed a sigh of relief. He hated it when his father called him into the barn. The house with the belt was bad enough, but with a variety of riding crops available, he never knew what would be lashed across his back if what he’d done was too displeasing. Grooming his horse was one of the few activities at home that gave him pleasure. Shooting hoops on the well maintained basketball court was the greatest. There, he could move and jump, dribble and slam dunk in his element. He knew he excelled in basketball. His grades were great too, but they didn’t give him the joy that basketball did. Tommy finished up his task, then went down to the court. His concentration was precise as he practiced shot after shot from every angle, and at any speed. At school, the girls giggling and constant chatter annoyed him. Here there was perfect peace. His mind drifted to the girl that watched every move he made intently, without any of that foolishness. Thinking of Renée seemed to make him focus harder. It was like he was performing just for her as he dunked ball after ball.


He stopped and turned to the feminine voice coming toward him. “Hi, Lydia. What brings you here?”

“Tommy can we go someplace where it’s safe to talk? I’ve got something to tell you!” She whispered.

For the sake of whomever may be spying, Tom leaned down, and brushed his lips across Lydia’s cheek. She grinned at him knowingly as they walked hand in hand toward the lake.

“Tommy, Animal wants me to meet him at the Burger Barn tonight! He actually came to my house and asked my father if he could date me. Dad threw him out of the house saying something about staying away from his daughter, and going back to his goombah’s. Whatever that means. Anyway, do you think we could go out tonight? That is if you aren’t busy.”

“I’m not busy Lyd. Sure we can go. I’m sick of the way those old coots treat both of us.”

Tommy spoke to Animal, then sat by himself at the counter. Animal and Lydia went to sit in the back booth. Different girls came up to him, introducing themselves, and flirting openly. His eyes drifted to the buttons on their blouses, wondering which one wrote the note. Renée was not among them, and hers were the only buttons Tommy was interested in.

Copyright © 2009 kgcummings

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Coming Soon! Well Worth the Wait

Tomorrow they would be together forever...
Tomorrow came, binding two hearts, sharing one love... forever. The endearing cast of characters triumph through a series of obstacles ranging from ghosts out of the past, to events no one saw coming. Facing life head on, united through happiness and hardship,the Madison's know that the past can not be changed, however the future is being built together, one precious day at a time.

This is the final book in theseries about the lives of fictional characters Jeff Madison, and the love of his life, Beth. They met long ago in Florida. In the final chapter, they return to the place they fell in love to find all they hoped for in life was truly Well Worth the Wait. The story ends with a heartfelt message to all that served in Vietnam.

And they lived happily ever after...

Those were the words I waited for, and remember most clearly as a little girl snuggled up next to Mom, as she read us our fairy tale before putting my sister Pat, and I to bed. Once upon a time, during the worst crisis of my life, I began to type. There had to be a fairy tale somewhere to rescue me. Jeff was a knight in shining armor, rugged, handsome, thoughtful and true. Beth was a fair young maiden, loved by her family, beautiful, pure and naive. It was destiny that they fall in love in an almost too good to be true era, Camelot, 1961. So, why not happily ever after? Well, because that would be as boring as listening to a clock tick!

The series conclusion, however, was not happily ever after, but it was what it was, until... At the grand opening of a new motor scooter shop, a Vietnamese man walked over, and initiated a conversation with two men. If not for that event, the series would have ended quite differently. In a moment of time, I eye witnessed a new ending, one that required a major rewrite of book six. With one very real and true incident, hundreds of pages were gone with a single tap of the delete key. I thank that unknown man for the heart behind his words. He was one of the many "boat people" that escaped Vietnam, seeking their happily ever after.

A big thank you goes to two of our nation's finest, Lt. Bryan Whitty, Ret., and Lt. Billy Rath, NYPD Ret. for investigation protocol, and proper police procedures. I have much respect for our men in blue.

Again, I'd like to thank Monique, a French World War Two bride who talked about living in Nazi occupied France. I also thank the family for allowing me to use the diary of the late "Pvt. Billy". With the exception of changing his wife's name to Michelle, his journal, copied word for word, became that of Vince Madison.

My daughter and I were visiting "Auntie Florrie" in England when she began sharing her life during the London Blitz, and details about her husband, "Uncle Charlie". He was one of only two survivors from his platoon during the eleven hour Moonlight Sonata siege in Coventry, November 1940. Florence Best, and her family will forever hold a special place in my heart.

What "Nurse Beck" experienced years ago while her husband was in Vietnam helped weave this tale. That was unexpected a year ago when she reviewed a poem I'd written about a creaking floor! Billie, thank you for expanding that review with more details, and allowing me to use it here. While I'm on the topic of poetry... Thanks are in order to Bryon Kearsley from Australia who met a challenge issued to write a poem for Jeff. The poem, "Breath of Love" by Bryon was the clear winner as he said it all, and it left me breathless. My dear friend, Robert "Bobby" Fossum, wrote the lyrics, "An Eighteen Year Old Boy Left Behind in Vietnam". His words speak for many who bear the pain of the hated War to this day. I thank him, and all Vietnam Vets for serving. And, I thank Phil, Mr. Meeks, Bobby, Hank, Jim, Mike, C.B., David, and Tony for stories of their tour of duty in Nam, whether they were battles with NVA/VC, or lizards and snakes!

Special thanks to Chaplain (Brigadier General) Steven Rounding, Ret. for relaying his experience as told by "Doc Steffano" the team medic on a rescue mission of a Marine chaplain captured by the Viet Cong. Many thanks to my friend, and former coworker, Sherye McKenzie for understanding what I endured during my struggles. She most generously loaned me a copy of her father's book, Old Glory Is the Most Beautiful of All. I learned from his hand what he experienced as one of two men in America who was a POW in both World War Two, and Vietnam. With all due respect, I would like to posthumously thank Colonel Richard "Pop" Keirn, USAF Ret., one of our nation's heroes. I salute you, Sir.

On the cover, the upper photo was taken from my front yard capturing a breathtaking Florida sunset. It blends into another sunset photo taken several years ago, linking the past to the present with it's mystical ambience. That photo, by Henry Czajkowski, was also used on the cover of The Wind Whispers War. The vintage Vietnam photo belongs to Gary Jacobson. He is the creator of the web site Vietnam Picture Tour. He has authored two books, Just A Walk in the Park: Grunts Call Vietnam, and My Thousand Yard Stare: Poetry from the Heart Of a Soldier in Vietnam. Thank you Henry, and Gary.

Sometimes, a scene feels incomplete. That's what happened during the dream sequence as Marianne released her emotional attachment to Jake. It was written with a blend of prose and poetry to enhance the dream like state. As much as I liked the flow, it remained lacking. Then, I received an email from my friend, Nam Vet, and fellow poet, Paul G. Dailey telling me that poems "come far and few these days". But, a poem, "I Will" came to him that day, so he sent it. It fulfilled what was missing. I emailed Paul asking (okay, begging) for his permission to add his poem to the dream. Paul's words, spoken by Jake, freed Marianne to search for her "happily ever after".

And now my friends, this tale has come to an end. May each of you find your own happiness with the prince, or princess of your dreams. Please, always remember to say "thank you" to those who give, or gave of themselves to protect our inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Review of my First Novel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Title: The Wind Whispers War: A Vietnam Love Story
Author: kgcummings (as it appears on book cover)

The Wind Whispers War: A Vietnam Love Story, the first in K.G. Cumming’s new five-book series, lends a personal element to the history of the Vietnam War era. Beginning in the early 1960s, The Wind Whispers War follows Jeff "Mad Dog" Madison, a playboy and career airman in Florida, as he first meets Beth Campbell, a sweet, naïve country girl just stepping out from the traditional values of her hometown. Their whirlwind relationship and subsequent life together makes this a highly romantic, individualized work of historical fiction.
The Wind Whispers War is almost too good to be true, and makes an excellent beginning to a series about the era. Author K. G. Cummings is clearly a master of romance, and the picture that she paints of Jeff and Beth will sweep readers off their feet along with them. Likewise, the author’s characters are so true to life that their emotions are almost tangible to readers, who may feel as though they’re experiencing the first pangs of true love along with them. Even the book’s steamy romance scenes are infused with a romantic depth, which make them all the more enjoyable.
Clearly, K. G. Cummings is knowledgeable about the period she is dealing with, but what stands out most is her ability to interweave historical fact with her plot and characters. The result is a seamless story that gives readers a true feel for what the period was like to live through, from the perspective of real people. This is an especially valuable work because it is about the Vietnam War, a topic that is often neglected by historians and fiction writers alike. While it is not a historically detailed account of the military and political aspects of the conflict’s beginning, it is equally valuable as a look at the conflict through the eyes of a single family affected by the war.
As the first in this series, The Wind Whispers War covers only the very beginning of the conflict and deals with the idyllic domestic relationship between Jeff and Beth during this period, so it is not an action-packed war story of the conflict. However, it is a wonderful beginning to a series about Vietnam, perfectly setting up the idealism and innocence of the beginning of the war as a backdrop for the next books, which deal with the tumultuous times ahead. Readers will want to buy the second and third books immediately to learn what becomes of the wonderful characters they discover in The Wind Whispers War. Highly Recommended by reviewer: Rebecca Henderson, Allbook Reviews
Available through your local bookstore or from

Title: The Wind Whispers War: A Vietnam Love Story
Author: K.G. Cummings
ISBN-13: 978-1425960261
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Pages: 248
Price: $ 14.49
Jan. 2009

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Night Walk

Night Walk
foot steps picking up the pace
approaching closer my heart raced
past the school yard toward the gate
help me Lord make my escape
breathing breathing down my neck
much closer now, I'm a nervous wreck
wild wind through tree branches howling
running running furrowed brow scowling
screech owl hooting over the breeze
foot steps swishing on dried leaves
no night watch man is on guard
shadows lurk in the grave yard
icy fingers grab my shoulder
no doubt, I'll not grow older
releasing now my final scream
am I dead? Or, was it a dream?
© 2008 kgcummings

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Forever Love

"I just want to be wild and free."

(I hear his voice whisper to me)

"Free from doubt, free from pain.
Laughing, dancing in a fun-filled spree.
Soaring in the sky, my spirit is free"

(I cry. My life is steeped in mediocrity.
But, once the sun smiled it’s light upon us,
Our young lives filled with much promise-
Make love, not war, our constant refrain,
pass the joint, join the free love train-
1968 was the best of times,
let’s jump in the Super Sport,
with it’s 427, and four on the floor
we’ll peal rubber like we’re burnin’ air
let the wild wind blow through our hair...)

"Sounds like we’re living in ’68!
I’m full of life, this world is great!"

(My daydreams become deranged,
he got drafted, everything changed)

"Watching fireworks go off with a bang.
Not very far from Vientiane…
hope they're not aiming at me!!!
‘Hostile, Ground casualty’
I captured the moonlight
stopped the ticking of time.
Discovered in the remains,
realized my number ceased.
Don’t put me in a box.

(I lie here searching for answers
in the quiet calmness after the violence,
War for no reason doesn’t make any sense
questions ignored, still not believing their lies)

"Some things you just CAN’T compromise."

(With an empty past filled with your ghost,
to live life alone in my dreams I chose)

"As a dreamer, life will pass, wrapped in veils of regrets.
You haven’t lived if you’ve never felt pain.
I’ll always be here. I will, your forever love, remain.
God Bless"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness


A woman stood on the shore looking out to sea,
A contented smile on her face with a look of glee.

Others struggled with emotional fear after failing the test.
She knew that fear when she found the lump within her breast

Comfort to them all she would give.
Encouragement for each one to live.

Her tests were negative, her own battle was won.
She now celebrated with joy each day’s rising sun.

© 2006 kgcummings

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Friday, October 3, 2008

* The Wind Whispers War * War Written Words * Welcome... With Wrath *

Smiles Friends! Watch my hair grow with the publication of each book! Sorry, I can't be too serious about life. When I do, I get so darn depressed I want to cash in the chips, but fear not nothing lasts forever. Keep smiling, Kathy