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This is the most unusual article that I have ever written. Hello, my name is RAY, and I am not Gene. It may not ever be beneficial to anyone but me. I feel the need to post this here for many reasons. It is good to be able to honor those we loved and appreciated. That is the purpose of this article to honor my mentor, GENE B. WILLIAMS. Who is Gene? “Gene Williams is a noted author, photographer and editor presently living in Arizona. He has published 54 books along with thousands of stories, articles, magazine columns, movie scripts and much more – all across a huge range, from children to high technical.” Gene died June 23,2015, and he was my friend. Photo is Gene and his mother, Edie.

I write this article to honor my mentor and teacher. When I started this website Gene would tutor me, give me direction and instructions on how to run a effective website. Gene was not only my tutor and teacher but helped give me the skills to become a writer. I would write articles, send them to Gene and he would edit them and make suggestions on how to improve them. I never asked him to write anything for me, I would never insult him that way. 

Gene created Nicker stories and published new articles each month. I AM AMAZED NICKER STORIES IS STILL UP AFTER ALMOST 10 YEARS SINCE HIS DEATH. Nicker Stories was made and designed for “CHILDREN AND THEIR LEARNING.” I have been there numerous looking for up to date articles but the last one posted was written before Gene died. I have my own website and you must pay a fee to keep it online yearly. I am glad either Danny or Gene’s wife is keeping Nickers Stories alive and on the internet.  I wish there were more articles written. I know Gene wanted his son to continue on, after he was gone.

Danny his son, designed Nickers Stories and run “AVERAGE BEAR DESIGN,” and that is his professional business. Danny also designs websites. But I am glad it is still up, even though it needs some techincal updates for security. I am posting below part of the last article that Gene wrote and the links to “Nicker Stories” for your enjoyment.  I WILL ADD A CONCLUSION AT THE VERY BOTTOM.

                                      Home Page

                                              WELCOME TO NICKER STORIES FOR JULY


“Nicker Stories is a free monthly ezine. It comes out around the first of each month. It might seem to be for children, and it does have that concentration, but is also for parents, grandparents, teachers … and anyone who likes to have fun. Each NEW issue comes out around the first of the month. The front page, including the calendar, disappears with the next month. Inside, however, many of the features remain. For example, the Story Archive has last month’s story, and the one from the month before, and the month before. To go through the entire site is going to require many hours of good times, for yourself and with the children. There is a LOT here.

NOTE: Some features, such as “Your Page,”and “Your Pets” are temporarily on hold. You are still encouraged to send things to Nicker – drawings, photos, jokes, letters, comments, etc. If enough come in, we will make that part of the rebuilding of the website a priority.

Be sure to tell your friends, neighbors, relatives, etc. about Nicker Stories. We count on you to help spread the word.


                                                Format Change

The calendar will still be here. Print one for your room, another for the kitchen and maybe a few more to hand out. Now, however, there will be just a handful selected. The rest will be yours to search out. For example, June 19 is Garfield the Cat Day and is also Juneteenth. If either interests you, do a search and learn more. (You probably know who Garfield is, but … what is Juneteenth? If you don’t know, this is a good time to learn.)

There used to be some popular features in Nicker’s Newsletter, such as the puzzles and jokes. Those are being moved to the Home Page of Nicker Stories – at least for now. If we get a good response from you, our readers, those will stay.

                                                                            Independence Day
Almost every country on Earth has some form of independence day, and sometimes more than one. For America that is the Fourth of July. As a start, days of independence for other countries can be found at (among many other places)
The “new land” was settled by people from other countries. One of these was Great Britain, now known as the United Kingdom. It was ruled by King George III.

Many didn’t like him or the way he ruled. In the American colonies, they felt that King George was abusing his power. Mostly they were against being taxed then taxed again, and again. Parliament over in England would pass the taxes, and the American colonists had nothing to say about it.

They were merely expected to pay … or else!
Not everyone agreed, and few wanted – or even expected – war. That happened anyway. King George was already having trouble with France, Spain, the Netherlands and other countries. These countries were only too happy to send supplies and weapons to the colonists. In April 1775, patriots of the colonies and British regulars (the “redcoats”) met in battle at Lexington and Concord.  The Revolutionary War had begun for real!

The thirteen colonies got together at a meeting called the Second Constitutional Congress. In June, 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia proposed that the colonies tell the king that he no longer ruled the colonies – that they were independent and ruled themselves. This was July 2, 1776. Two days later, the Declaration of Independence began to get some important signatures, such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.

It took until August 2 before enough signatures were gathered that it became official. (Although the first actual battles of the war took place more than a year earlier, many think of July Fourth as the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

This isn’t true. The Declaration of Independence is what said, “We are at war, and this is why.”)
King George didn’t much like this. He was determined to put down this revolution. He and his generals looked down on the American patriots. These people were often simple farmers, not trained soldiers. The British expected an easy victory. It didn’t turn out that way. With the help of the French and Spanish, the British began to lose more and more battles to the Americans.

In 1781, American forces attacked Yorktown and defeated the British. After that, battles were small and limited. By 1783, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the war. Britain accepted that America was America, not part of Britain. It took six more years before America formed an actual federal government.

Independence Day was celebrated for the first time on July 4, 1777 when Rhode Island fired thirteen shots into the air – one for each colony – in the morning, and again in the evening. 13-gun salutes were also given in places like Philadelphia, along with speeches, picnics, parades and even fireworks. By 1781, Massachusetts said it was a state celebration. In 1870, it became an unpaid holiday for federal employees – then a paid holiday in 1938. It finally became an official national holiday in 1941 – just as World War II was heating up.

Today, fireworks, parades, picnics and other celebrations are held. City, state and federal government all honor the day, as do many private companies. It is one of the biggest – and noisiest – holidays of the year. If you didn’t already know, the thirteen red and white stripes on the American flag are for the original thirteen colonies. Each of the stars represents a state. The first American flag had thirteen stars, one for each colony. The flag now has fifty stars, because there are now fifty states.

                                                                  A Few Patriotic Songs

There are hundreds of patriotic songs – thousands! America’s National Anthem is “The Star Spangled Banner.” It comes from a poem titled, “Defence of Fort M’Henry” written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. It was written after he saw British ships firing their cannons at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. It became the national anthem in 1931. As a somewhat unusual side note, another very popular song – and many mistake it for the national anthem – is “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” This song has the exact same tune as the anthem of the United Kingdom, “God Save the Queen.”
How many patriotic songs do you know? Here are a few you can look up, learn and even sing along with.

The Star-Spangled Banner

America the Beautiful

God Bless America

This Land is Your Land

You’re a Grand Old Flag


                                                                  Pledge of Allegiance

If you live in America, do you say the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of class?
When America began, there was no Pledge of Allegiance. It was finally written in 1892, then adopted officially by Congress in 1942. It was used for many years as the standard way to begin the school day. During the Cold War, when America was fighting the growth of communism, two words were added – and the Pledge became “one nation, under God.”

There were people who didn’t like this and want “under God” taken out. To this day, there are those who want the Pledge to be taken out of schools entirely, and “In God We Trust” taken off our money. In 1960, a comedian named Red Skelton had his own protest but in reverse. He strongly supported the Pledge. Click on his photo to listen and watch.

                                                    Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance


                                                              What Else is Up for July?

In the northern hemisphere, July is  usually the hottest of the year. For most, by August the temperature usually begins to cool a bit, and by September it is obvious that Fall is coming. (The opposite is true for the southern hemisphere.)

Most of us use what is called the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Before these came along, there was no July. (It was called Quintilis.) When the calendar was changed, July was added – named after Julius Caesar. Also added was August – after Augustus Caesar.
July has 31 days. The birthstone is the ruby. The birth flower is the larkspur. Those born earlier in the month are of the sign Cancer. Those later in the month are born under the sign of Leo.”


I do hope you took the time to see Gene’s website and all that he offered to Children. I owe Gene a hugh debt of gratitude for all his help and instruction he gave to me. Gene and I became very close and shared many things together about our lives and families. I am very glad Gene’s son, Danny, has his own business designing website. I hope and pray Nickers Stories will continue on.

I think if Gene looked down from heaven he might be shocked with me. He would probably speak and say, “What have you done you dummie? I taught you proper writing skills and look at your site. You have all of these different colors you use, and you use CAPITAL LETTERS all the time. WHY ARE YOU SCREAMING? 

GENE? I love you and miss you. I am not screaming when I use CAPITAL LETTERS. I got tired of nothing but black and white. I use colors for emphasis on important words and sentences. Even the Bible has a red letter edition. I also use “CAPITAL LETTERS” for strong meanings, I AM NOT SCREAMING AT ANYONE! I think some times pure black and white puts people to sleep, but I can be wrong. Would you rather watch an old black and white movie, or a movie in real color? If I offend you my brother, then PLEASE FORGIVE ME. Gene, we will laugh all about it when I get there. I love you my brother. And I only want to honor you with this article. 

Your thoughts, opinions and comments are welcome, so leave them below in the comment section. Thank you for reading this article called: “Nicker Stories by Gene B. Williams.  RAY


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