The  Rock  Island  Rocket gradually  picked  up speed pulling from  the  Cedar Rapids,  Iowa  depot. The platform  and  my dad  were now  out  of  sight.  I continued waving  from  the Pullman  car window  fearing that  if  I stopped  he would be gone  forever,  and  I  would be alone  facing the  unknown. Though  I  was  afraid,  I realized  that  I  must swallow my fear and let go.  Finally, I settled back into the seat.
Meet The Author John Ferneau-Leinen
-Excerpt from Swimming Naked. 

   Swimming Naked:  Among my fondest memories are the years I lived in Sibley, Iowa with my parents, and extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  I was about eleven months old when my family moved to Sibley, and eight-years-old when we left Sibley.  A scant year later I would return to Sibley to live with my paternal grandparents during my mother’s illness, and subsequent death from cancer at age twenty-nine.  What follows is an accounting of the years when I returned to Sibley to live with my grandparents, Mike and Elizabeth (Lizze) Leinen.

   The story, and story lines presented here are based on events in my life from age nine to twelve.  Though it began in a time of grief it developed into, perhaps, one of the happiest and most memorable periods of my life.  The memories are special, and afford me great comfort and joy when I look back to those years of innocent childhood.


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The Independent Author Network

5.0 out of 5 stars 

March 24, 2014 By JR - This review is from Swimming Naked: The author captures the time, the mood and life during the early years of World War II. The tragic loss of the young boy's mother and subsequent having to move in with his paternal grandparents. The setting is Iowa but it could be anywhere. The author recreates the simple life, where kids played outside, rough housed with their buddies, everyone had a nickname. No one seemed to be afraid of doing chores or pitching in around the house.

​It will make you smile, squirm, laugh and at the end shed a tear when the young boy returns home to begin a new chapter in his life with his dad, his new step mom and sister. My own father grew up during this time and his stories had a similar theme of fun, working hard and family events. I would recommend this book whole heartedly to those who yearn for a simpler time, respect for one and another, where you created your own fun outside. Thank you Jack!
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