Author: John Hyland
Will Will and Me contains eight fictional stories about the amusing actions of grade-school boys in the 1950s and ‘60s. The first story tells how Will Will, the main character, gets his peculiar name. The next three describe Will Will’s mischief, which gets him and his pal, Johnny, into ridiculous predicaments. Story two, for example, shows Will Will using a butterfly net to snag a farmer’s pet goose. In the sixth story, Will Will convinces a lady who dislikes him that he’s not a “scamp.” He himself is a victim of mischief in the last story, when he and Johnny get “bamboozled” into buying an awful rabbit-raising business.
John Hyland was born in 1942 in Belvidere, Illinois. The son of hard-working parents, he grew up enjoying energetic outdoor activities. After doing ridiculous things as a teenager, he worked hard to become an outstanding professional. A desire to teach English motivated him to earn a BA from Wartburg College (1964), an MA from the University of Nebraska (1966), and a PHD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1979). Before finishing his college work, he served in the United States Army from 1966 to 1968. He was trained as an infantryman and expected to fi ght in Vietnam. However, offi cers at Fort Gordon, Georgia, assigned him to a personnel specialist's position. John began conducting English classes as soon as he received his honorable discharge from the Army. From 1968 until 1970, he taught composition and literature at Sauk Valley College near Dixon, Illinois. Then he delayed his teaching career to enroll in the PhD program in 1970. He spent most of his time producing a long dissertation about the novels of James Fenimore Cooper. To ease that monotony, he also taught two writing classes at the Richland Center branch of the University of Wisconsin. After John earned his doctoral degree, he taught English as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin- River Falls from 1980 to 1985. Remedial and standard composition classes were his specialty, along with world literature. Unfortunately, he lost his teaching position when the university discharged approximately forty non-tenured instructors because of a severe decrease in student enrollment. Instead of leaving the university, John took a writing position in its news bureau. He specialized in feature articles that appeared in the River Falls Journal and several other news papers, including the St. Paul Pioneer Press. By 1988 he was working as a free-lance developer of writing workshops for Minnesota companies that included Red Wing Shoes, Citizens Security Insurance in Red Wing, and Advanced Flex of Minnetonka. As a special text for those programs, he published “Business Letters: A No-Nonsense Guide to Writing and Revising Them” (1992). John held a ten-year writing and training job at Treasure Island Resort and Casino (1994-2004). Employed in the human resources department, he produced technical manuals for several departments and a casino-wide handbook titled “Writing for Good Results.” Alcohol-service instruction was his main training duty, but he also specialized in teaching new-employee orientation, kitchen sanitation, and healthful work procedures. John retired in 2004. Since then he has enjoyed a leisure life in River Falls with Joan, his wife for 47 years. To stay healthy, he does yard and garden work, runs three or four miles a day three times a week, and bikes along county roads. He and Joan have two children, one living in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, and the other in Madison, Wisconsin. John's most pleasant past time is producing comic fi ction. In 2015 he self-published “Ginger and Alice: A Story of two Mischievous Gerbils.” The book describes the pesky rodents playing so many annoying tricks that heir owners make them wear vests and chains until they learn to behave.