Bill Truesdell, freelance writer

Blame it on the American Legion.

I guess I could blame it all on the American Legion. You see, they sponsored a state essay contest for eighth graders, and I won first place. The victory was especially sweet because it was the first year our school was invited to participate. They had never invited us before because they thought we were "too small."

At any rate, from the eighth grade forward I set my sights squarely on two fairly hefty goals: teaching and writing. After earning two degrees at Western Michigan University,
I accomplished the first. I was hired to teach junior high school after graduation. I spent more than a decade in the classroom, and along the way won an award from the local Jaycees as their Outstanding Young Educator.

Throughout my teaching years, I was also writing feature articles for a wide variety of magazines. Finally, after 11 years in the classroom, the second of my two goals overpowered the first. I resigned to devote all of my time to my writing career.

During the next two years, I wrote a bewildering variety of freelance assignments, including some for a major Midwest advertising agency. I came in one day to get some freelance work. What I got instead was an offer to join the copy staff.

I came aboard as copywriter/proofreader. From there I moved to senior writer, then vice president/senior writer and then creative supervisor. Next came a stint as a senior vice president. When I took an early retirement after twenty-five years with the company, my title was executive vice president/operations.

Nowadays, I'm enjoying my lovingly restored 1884 home, my patient wife and my two exuberant daughters. And, of course, I'm still writing ... Thank you, American Legion.