The dedication page is a book is an extremely important part of your book, editors, book reviewers, and others in the publishing business told me. That was the case, they said, because whenever you got discouraged about writing–whether it was writer’s block, lack of motivation, or competing priorities—you’d always be able to remember why you were doing what you were doing. It all came back to the dedication page, the person(s) for whom you wrote the book.
While my book is dedicated to my wife, Abby, I also dedicated the book to my grandfather, Art Sturm, and I felt it was critical to recognize him for his impact on my life on this Grandparents’ Day 2018.
In short, this was Art’s life:
- He grew up dirt poor in Brooklyn, New York and spent much of his young life living in foster homes. His mother didn’t work, and his father was never around.
- When he was in his pre-teen years, he worked any job he could after school to make money for his family, including two brothers and a sister.
- After he graduated from high school, he worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, until the US Army called and wanted to draft him for Korea.
- He enlisted in the Air Force instead, and because of his smarts was selected for navigator training and became an officer.
- He married my grandmother Harriet when he was 23 and she was 18. They would eventually be married for 61 years.
- While he was in the Air Force, he was a bombardier and a navigator on several planes, including combat assignments to Vietnam and strategic (perhaps nuclear) assignments over the Soviet Union.
- He fathered three children, my uncle Steve, my aunt Sharon, and my mom Sue.
- After retiring from the Air Force, he worked in intelligence for the National Pictographic Interpretation Center and the Pentagon.
- He and Harriet retired to Gaithersburg, Maryland and spent their retirement years traveling, supporting the University of Maryland sports teams, and enjoying time with their seven grandchildren, including me.
I spent a lot of time with my grandfather when I was young, and that trend continued when I was in middle and high school. I followed his footsteps by joining the military, and he swore me into service on 11 August 2009. He promoted me to Lieutenant Junior Grade and Lieutenant. I joined civilian intelligence because he made it sound so fascinating. I’ve travelled with him, scored my highest bowling score with him, gave him my first set of parachute wings when I graduated from parachute training, and a host of other things.
He came from nothing and grew into everything using a single motto his entire life: “If the average person can do something, I can do it because I think I’m at least average.” He worked for everything he had, never asked anyone for anything, and gave everything had to his family.
When Harriet, my grandmother, died in April this year, a marriage of 61 years ended, and my grandfather was alone for the first time since his childhood. He was devastated. But he persevered, grieved, and remember that he still had seven grandchildren and three children with whom he could celebrate his life.
When it came time for me to dedicate my book, he was the first person I thought of, and perhaps you can see the reasons why. And in addition to the dedication page, he is featured prominently in several chapters of the book. So on this Grandparents’ Day, I dedicate, again, my book to Arthur Sturm, Major, USAF (Retired)…my grandfather.
Thank you for everything. I can’t wait until Friday when we get McDonald’s for breakfast and then go bowling.
The dedication is written on the third page of my book: