Best Foot Forward: Welcome Blog de Troops

What’s in Mrs. Hale’s Receipt for the Million 1857?

309. Water-proof Boots.–I have had three pairs of boots for the last six years (no shoes) and I think I shall not require any more for the next six ears to come. The reason is, that I treat them in the  following manner: I put a pound of tallow and half a pound of rosin in a pot on the fire; when melted and mixed, I warm the boots and apply the hot stuff with a painter’s brush, until neither the the sole or the upper-leather ill suck in any more. It is desired that the boots should immediately take a polish, melt an ounce of wax with a tea-spoonful of lamp-black. A day after the boots have been treated with tallow and rosin, rub over them this wax in turpentine, but not before the fire. The exterior will them have a coat of wax along, and will shine like mirror. Tallow or any other grease becomes rancid, and rots the stitching as well as the leather.

Remembering the Troops

Welcome to Historyweaver’s Blog where Mrs. Hale, a 1850s women’s advocate comments on household matters and family and I write about history.  Somehow her “receipt” on waxing shoes seems appropriate for a blog tour celebrating our troops.  If you’re just arriving you should be checking in from George Sirois, Kindle best selling author. You’ll be moving onto M. Todd Gallowglas. It promises to be a great ending to such a great event.

Don’t forget to comment and put your email in it for my free ebook, TREE SOLDIER.

Boots in the Family

I have military men in my family, but they  tend to be of the ancient kind. My ancestor, Col. Clement March, commanded the Horse Guards in New Hampshire doing the colonial period. Both of my great-grandfathers served in the Civil War. One was a regular soldier from Ohio who later went to Kenyon College and homesteaded out west in New Mexico and Idaho Territories. The other was a civilian doctor who became a surgeon in the Union Army in 1863 and just a couple of weeks after getting his assignment in the 11th Pennsylvania Volunteers he was at the Battle of Gettysburg. For several days he was in the Lutheran Church tending to the wounded on both sides. He also went west to Kansas.  My own father, his grandson, was a scientist and during WWII did secret work for Naval Ordinance. The dearest to me, is my husband, who died  10 years ago. He served in 1st Cav, just a 19 year-old in 1967. He was a radio operator assigned to Special Forces. One of  the places was LZ Sharon. Maybe I’ll find out where that was one of these days. Here’s what he wrote in one letter:

“Last few day’s I’ve been doing “Nothing’, Nothing but pick and shovel work for 12 hours a day/ We’re still out here miles from no-where.  Building bunkers that will supposedly withstand anything Charlie can heave at us. I’ve yet to see one hold up.”

Some vets said he died of Vietnam for he was way too young. (He had been exposed to Agent Orange) Perhaps that is true, but I some day  hope to meet others from his unit so they may know that he had a good life, raised three fine sons and found a career in geology. It is all one hopes for all our troops today. And my hopes for you. What’s next?

Free ebook

My novel Tree Soldier is historical fiction, a story set in a Civilian Conservation Corps camp during the Great Depression. A story of love and forgiveness,  Park Hardesty is trying to make amends for a tragic mistake while planting trees, building bridges and fighting forest fires. The CCCs was one of FDR’s most popular New Deal programs. Many of these 18-25 year-old young men later went on to serve in WW II.  Many historians say that the skills the boys learned working together in the CCCs helped the US win the war.

Leave a comment about this post or any story of someone who served/serves. Be sure to put in your email so a pdf of my novel can be sent to you. A copy will sent to member in the armed forces.

If you’d like to donate money toward those Kindles for our soldiers, simply use Paypal and as the address to send money to. Please note on your payment that it’s a Troops donation.

Thanks for coming by. And as the CCC’s motto says, WE CAN TAKE IT.


200 thoughts on “Best Foot Forward: Welcome Blog de Troops

  1. hi JL! that was a very informative piece on how to treat boots and your family certainly has its share of brave men who fought for freedom and love of country. my late paternal grandfather was a WWII veteran but he never wielded a gun. he served the American troops deployed in country through his spatula. he made sure the soldiers had their meals hot and ready. i am proud of what he did.
    thank you for your contribution to the troops and for participating in this tour. c”,)


    • Nothing wrong with a spatula. Very important working with the troops. It’s funny, though, that we still have this image of the soldier peeling the potatoes, but today it’s all contractors. Yet they spin the story… I’m not sure I like that.

  2. How Janet! So glad you could be a part of the tour. My husband is an army veteran, so this blog tour has a special place in my heart. Thanks for your contribution.

    • It’s pretty cool. First type of thing I’ve done, but I wanted to as it’s so important to support our troops in one ways than one.

  3. Thank you for participating in such an amazing cause 🙂
    I appreciate all the personal sacrifices soldiers in America and my home country of England make so selflessly to keep our countries safe.
    My Granddad was in the RAF and fought during WWII, as a big reader himself before he died I know he would have loved the idea of the Tour de Troops.


    • Thanks Holly. The RAF? That’s amazing. Many Americans slipped off before Pearl Harbor to serve in the RAF or the Canadian version.

  4. It is terrific what you and the other authors are doing and for allowing us to participate. Please send my copy to the troops as a second copy.

  5. Can you imagine having to do that to your boots all the time. Wow – what we take for granted these days.
    My father used to tell me about the 3C’s. He grew up during the depression and he has shown us some of the remains of what those workers did.

    Thank you for doing this and supporting our troops. This book looks like a FANTASTIC read! It will be great bringing to life those things Dad showed us and talked about.

    • Hi Tweezle, what state are you in? There is a national group called the CCC Legacy with state by state affiliates. They have taken the place of the alumni chapters as all the boys are dying. (I think its down to maybe a few thousand) You can ask your local state and national parks for projects done by the CCCs. I’ve loved telling the story of the 3Cs and now that the novel is a finalist for EPIC, their story will get out even more. I’ll be working on the logistics for getting the ebook to you today.

    • Hi, thanks for coming by. Tallow is available at a butcher’s shop. I’ve only worked with it once. (A friend made soap) It’s very hard fat, but the butcher will know what you mean. Rosin probably would come from a music store. It’s used for violin’s bows. But it would be only a small quantity. I assume that it would be expensive.

  6. Thanks for sharing this story, for supporting our troops and for the free read – I can’t wait to check out your book!

    allyreads81 at gmail dot com

  7. Thank you so much for joining in this initiative! I support a soldier through the AAUSS program, and I know it’s tough for some of them. I didn’t know eBooks are the number one requested item from soldiers… leaving a comment here so that a soldier can receive a book!


  8. Thank you so much for participating in the blog tour. Our troops are special and I’m glad we can give back to them in our own small ways!

    saphsbookblog at gmail dot com

    • All vets should be honored, but I have a special place for Vietnam vets. They came home to a really economy (sounds familiar) and a lot of challenges. One thing they gave us not only with service, but opening up the needs of disabled people. Because so many survived the battlefield many came back maimed. All those ramps and access codes came from that. Our vets had to get into a building.

  9. Did Mrs. Hale’s receipt ever strike a chord with me! I was instantly transported back to my old Viet Nam era barracks where we WACs sat around with fine grit sand paper and sanded our ‘low quarters’ down until they were smooth as a baby’s pampered bottom. Then we dyed the leather black, rubbed melted candle wax into it with the back of a spoon, and then polished. Our shoes were things of beauty when we were finished, and could be used as mirrors, albeit small and distorting;-)

    Thanks for the idea of donating Kindles to the Troops.

  10. Like you I have family members who fought in the Revolutionary War, but unlike you I had family members on BOTH sides of the Civil War. It was more than the War Between the States, it was the War between families.

    I want to thank you for being a part of this great event. I’m grateful for the opportunity it gives me to help those serving in the armed forces.


    • Tracy, my surgeon great-grandfather, lived in southwestern PA. That’s very close to West Virginia which was jut plain Virginia then. One of the brothers is said to fight with Confederates.

  11. Being in my 50s, I have been blessed to live most of my life in a non war era so I’ve lost few friends and family to war. THere have been family in the service who lost their lives, but not to violence. It saddens me that as my grandchildren come of age, I leave behind a new and scary world that has completely changed from the one I knew. Thank you to every soldier who fights to protect their future.

    pamela at pbdesigns dot biz

  12. This is a great thing; I really appreciate our troops. My father-in-law was in Vietnam. My father was in Korea and my nephew is on board the George Washington right now. Thank you to each of them and thank you for your participation in this event!

  13. I’m so very sorry for your loss. Many hugs and thoughts!

    My father served in Vietnam as well and was heavily exposed to Agent Orange. He passed away at the age of 44 in 1989, as a result of cancer that seems to be a direct result of his service.

    I’m so sorry you lost your husband so young. You’ll be in my thoughts!

    I would love to read your book. You can find me at DinozzoGibbs @

    • Thanks for your sweet thoughts. One thing they were talking about at one vet center was that Agent Orange might lead to heart disease not detected until vets were in their 50s. My husband took good care of himself, loved to run. He was a grand guy.

  14. Thanks to those who serve, their families – and to everyone participating in this tour. What a wonderful way to support the troops!

    Please send my copy to the troops, as well.

  15. Thank you for participating in this 🙂

    Coming from a military family, I know how much this means to them. I want to thank all of my family members formerly in the military and send a special shout out to my 3 cousins and numerous friends currently serving. I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

    brittanyrose40 AT yahoo DOT com

  16. my brother and cousin are both currently serving. My dad’s best friend was a paratrooper. He has some amazing stories to be sure. Its hard to picture him being a paratrooper these days, but every so often i see the spark still.

    shirleykcarter at yahoo dot com

  17. As a 24yr still serving Army vetran thank you for your support.
    It is my Honor to serve and I appriceate what you guys ae doing.

  18. Just another author on the tour checking in. It’s been an awesome experience, being a part of the tour. Here’s to many more, similar tours with similar success!

    I loved the historical flavor of your post. Of course, that could be the historian in me.

    ~ Erin M. Klitzke

  19. I used to send books overseas via ‘Books for Soldiers’, and this is the best way I’ve seen yet to continue that effort!

  20. Thanks for participating in the blog tour and for generously donating your book to the soldiers and your commentators.

    I appreciate you sharing your story and your family’s military history. I do not personally serve, but my parents both and my brother were/are Air Force (oddly my dad also did a tour in the Navy during Vietnam), my grandfathers were both Army in WWII, my great grandfather was army Span-Am, and I too studied the family history enough to know of Civil War Infantry, Blackhawk War, and Revolutionary War ancestors.

    I can share a story of my family. My paternal Sicilian great grandfather and several other family members also spent WWII in an internment camp because they were not citizens yet. My paternal grandfather did volunteer, but was put in the Pacific because he was 1st generation Italian and a recent citizen. He still served knowing his entire family was interned and with their blessing.

    • Sophia, thanks for sharing your story of your grandfather in WWII. People often forget that immigrants serve even today. I met a woman from Ivory Coast who’s husband was in Iraq.

  21. It’s a wonderful thing all these authors are doing with the Blog Tour de Troops. I was just reading a news article in which active duty troops were lamenting the lack of new books to read! Thank you for your generosity and the contest!

  22. My maternal grandfather was in both the CCC’s & in WWII. He used to tell stories about his experiences in the 3C’s, but none from the war, he said it gave him nightmares. We lost him earlier this year at 90. I’m sure he would have recognized the boot water-proofing instructions from Mrs. Hale as something his parents had done.

    Thanks for all the books you & the other writers are donating to the troops.

    drainbamaged.gyzmo at

    • Kathryn, sorry to hear that you lost your grandfather. I know that you will always cherish his stories of the 3Cs. so many men I interviewed said it saved them. Much harder to talk about the war.

  23. “We can take it” a wonderful motto! I look forward to reading Tree Soldier and thank you for the opportunity to do so. I have had to tone down my emotions during the Blog Tour de Troops, as we have so much to be grateful to our troops and veterans for. This is such a wonderful event, thank you so much for participating and honoring our veterans on their day and giving to our troops the joy of a good book. Your efforts are appreciated.


    • Deinise, isn’t that great motto? I love reading the camp newsletters I’ve found in archives. I have my own in Tree Soldier. Thanks for coming by to support our troops.

  24. Thank you for supporting the troops! I think this tour is a wonderful idea and I’m glad so many authors are participating!


  25. Indie authors have come up with a winner in this idea to donate Kindle books. And we lucky readers get a prize too. Hope I am posting in the correct place for the free book.

  26. Was just checking back and I could have swore i left a post erlier. Any way I am a 24yr Vetran and I think it is great what you are doing thank you.

    • Tree Soldier is fiction, but like all historical fiction, researched. It was a lot of fun to research and write. I met many CCC boys who shared their stories.

  27. My dad was a WWII vet and landed at Omaha Beach on D-day. He didn’t live quite long enough to go on one of the Honor Tours and he didn’t talk about the war but he looked very dashing in the pictures.
    Thanks for the book and thanks for supporting our troops
    OmahaUrbanec AT aol Dot com

  28. Thanks for your participation. Your book sounds fascinating and I’m looking forward to reading it. The only person I know who served in the Armed Forces is my stepdad. He was on a submarine during the Korean War and he always tells us great stories about his time in the Navy.


    • The Korean War is often overlooked. Best wishes to your step-dad. I interviewed a woman a couple of years ago about her grandfather. She was watching MASH** when I arrived. Turns out she was a nurse in a MASH* unit. Met her doctor husband there.

  29. We have it so easy now. I have at least 20 pairs of shoes and 3 of them boots. I never need to polish them. I love reading about day to day life in history, it makes me appreciate modern times so much more.
    Thanks for supporting our troops this way. I am sure a soldier would love a good book to escape to while they are away from their families protecting out freedom.
    Thanks again
    Linda Meza

  30. Thank you for supporting the troops! This blog tour has been amazing! Thank you for sharing! Thank you to all Veteran’s and those still serving!


  31. Thank you so very much!!! Your generosity and the generosity of all the fabulous authors on this tour is just remarkable!!
    I would love to read this book and love that my comment will mean that one of our troops can read it too.
    Lauriej170 at gmail dot com

  32. Thank you for sharing your story and for you and your husband’s service to the country.
    Thank you for participating in this great tour, I look forward to reading your book!
    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

  33. thanks for doing this. As an army veteran of multiple deployments, I can assure you that reading provides sanity and a chance to explore worlds outside the dust/rain/dirt of the present un-fun. With the advent of eBook readers it has become even easier to read, try new authors and to feel less cut off from the world.

    • Holly, I can’t imagine multiple deployments. My husband did only one in Vietnam, but it had a powerful effect on him the rest of his life. I was so proud of him going back to school, trying to go forward. I’m proud of you too.

  34. Thank you for particcipating in this worthwile event and for sharing your story. I think I missed something, if the tallow rots the threads why soak it into the boot the day before the wax? anyway, thank you!


    • Ha! I’m going to have to consult Mrs. Hale. That book is my great grandmother’s and about 3 inches thick.

      Saw you novel here. Great.

    • Brian, glad you are working for it. It’s fiction, but I had the best time meeting the real tree soldiers and hearing their stories.

    • Thanks Donna. Boots do come in handy. I used to hike all over Hawaii when I lived there and the lava rock just cut into them. Same boots hiked in Europe earlier.

  35. Thanks for supporting our troops by doing this. My father, Husband, and brother-in-law have served or are currently serving, and anything that supports them and our troops is something that is near and dear to my heart.
    Many Thanks,

    • Andrea, I can’t imagine serving multiple tours. My husband served in Vietnam just for a year, then eventually ended up at Fort Lewis to finish out.

  36. Hi! Thanks for being part of this event. My favorite soldier is my brother Doug. I don’t have time here for all my memories growing up with him but I coudln’t be more proud of his service to our country!
    nebby AT zoominternet DOT net

  37. I enjoyed your blog and the story of your husband. I am glad to hear that his life turned out to be about family and peace. I have bookmarked your site because I want to spend more time on it. It is fascinating to me. I am a genealogist of sorts and a huge history buff.

    I have a friend who, I believe, was in a unit that was temporarily attached to the 1st Cavalry in 1968. I asked him if he knew any 1st Cavalry people. He remembers being in a very large battle with three different divisions and the 1st Cavalry was there. He said they were a little too busy to make friends with those guys. From his description of it, it was very harried. In any event, he did not know anything about LZ Sharon which would be military speak for “landing zone Sharon”, Sharon being the code name for that location assigned during the operation. The 1st Cavalry was a legendary unit and was the first to make extensive use of helicopters to enter engagements. My friend said that at the battle he participated in with 1st Cav, it was the first time since General Custer was killed at Little Big Horn that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Cav units were together in a single battle.

    I hope this message finds you well.
    D. M. Kenyon
    author at lotus blossom book dot com

    • Thanks so much! Rolf went out to the traveling wall in August 2001. He found some names on the wall that he knew. It’s the little piece of his life before I met him that I’d like my sons to know about.

    • Thank you for your kind words. That’s amazing about the 3 units being together since the Little Big Horn. Now that is history. My husband was actually sent out to a special forces unit and did radio work. Rolf was an excellent hunter. I later found out that he was a scout too for his unit. Hiding out in the jungles.

      Funny, I just got back from giving a talk at my local genealogical society. Been following a 19th c. bark that came to our little settlement.

  38. Thank you for participating in this wonderful project, and thank you to our veterans and their families for their service!

  39. I am so interested to read your book. My dad served in the CCC in Oregon. Hopped a train from San Francisco area of CA with a friend to head up there. He’s always had many tales to tell. He later served as a radio repairman on B-52’s during WW2. Still kickin’ it at 93!

  40. Thanks for taking part in this Blog Tour de Troops.
    And thanks to the troops for what they do as well.
    (I do not believe there is only one person commenting on your blog besides me – hopefully we have left our comments near enough to the correct place that they will not missed.

    I WILL be back.

    jandhj2 (AT) yahoo (DOT) ca

    • Janey, thanks for commenting twice. My bad. I didn’t turn on moderator. I kept checking all day. Duh. Maybe because I posted at midnight and was a little goofy.

  41. Thank you so much for participating in this great event! And thanks to the men and women, in active service, retired or no longer with us, for making sacrifices – some, the ultimate sacrifice – so that we may remain free and safe.
    I’m so glad that one soldier is going to get a copy of your book because I wrote this comment!
    It’s a beautiful thing,
    msmjb65 AT gmail COM

  42. Thank you for being a part of the tour. Thank you to all of our troops in and out of service, veterans and heroes out there. You’ll never know how much you mean to all of us. I hope that everyone makes it home safe and sound.
    jessangil at gmail dot com
    -Jessica B

    • My Nana was a direct descendant of Col March and his grandfather Hugh March who came to Newburyport, MA in 1638. One of the great joys was taking her at 84 to see the original tavern started in 1640-1650. She had started doing a family tree search back in the 1920s. In 1960 we took her there. The look on her face was priceless.

  43. I’m so glad there’s another Tour de Troops!! Can’t wait to see if there’s more comments than Memorial Day! What a great way to give our troops a little escape in a book while they are away from home and at war. Thanks IndieBookCollective!!

    I grew up a Navy Brat, so I greatly appreciate the sacrifice of our military and their families! As a former Navy Brat, I know the families definitely serve and sacrifice also! Luckily, my dad wasn’t sent to war (he was enlisted during the 70’s) but he had A LOT of sea duty and was out to sea for months at a time! He missed many birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. We moved around the country a lot. So another big sacrifice was that we changed schools a lot (7 times in one school year moving from Virginia to California – literally coast to coast), but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I am so proud of his service. Just as I am so incredibly proud of all the heroic men and women fighting for us today whether they are overseas or stateside, they are all important to our nation. I can’t wait to see them all coming home, hopefully soon.

    I would like the troop book to go to my cousin Zachary Neer serving in the United States Army in Afghanistan.
    His email is:

    Thanks for the free book – can’t wait to read your story!

    • Hi Melissa,

      I had a college chum who grew up as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) . Once a kid, always a kid, she said. :> Thanks for your life as a Navy Brat and your family that serves. I know one gal who is at Air Station Whidbey in WA. They’ve moved around, but are now back in the state. It was hard for her as teacher to maintain her positions in new schools. It’s hard on wives too.

  44. I used to date a man that couldn’t sleep with anyone after returning from duty because he might hurt them if they accidently bumped him in the night. I’ll never forget my time with him and I hope that doesn’t happen to any of our troops today.

    waverlyn at hotmail dot com

    • I think many men (and women now more and more)come back from war with stories like that. My husband when I first met him was often angry.

    • Thanks for letting me know, Rachel. I sent a batch of ebooks out yesterday. I’ll check this out and make sure it gets into the blog list.

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