Mr. Arban says, “I believe men are moved like a ship on the sea of life by two forces which are not always working in concert. These forces are our heart and our soul. When our heart and soul are not in agreement, we have a struggle within us that dates back to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel.”
In his novel, Struggles of the Soul, Mr. Arban tells a fictitious story of a young family that meets a stranger in the park on a beautiful Autumn afternoon and this meeting changes all their lives.
If you like a story in which you can’t tell fiction from reality and appreciate characters with guts and integrity, you will enjoy this rainy afternoon read. Mr. Arban gives you all of those in his main character, Hal. And, you will fall in love with Jen, the 9-year-old tomboy, who restored hope to his broken heart on that Sunday afternoon in the park. Perhaps you will find yourself relating to Jen’s Mom who found in Hal the Dad she never had; or to Bill, Jen’s Dad who invites Hal to dinner and church, and gains a unique friend for his family.
Hal tells Mr. Arban’s personal story through coffee and dinner chats with his new friends. You will watch the young couple’s sons as they grow up under the influence of Hal who, at age 60, still plays unbelievably good touch football and teaches the boys honor on the field.
Struggles of the Soul reflects the many aspects of Mr. Arban’s personality. It contains young love, his own and that of his young cast as they grow up. As Hal guide the young family along the journey of their teenage years, Mr. Arban relives his own “Happy Days” as a teenager. You will see the two teenage boys make good choices during their maturing. And, Jen brings smiles to Hal as she and her friends convince him into taking them on weekend ice skating sprees.
As Marge gets to know and love Hal, she brings out his own story of romance, adventure, success, and failure cleverly woven into this fictional tale. Hal mentors this lovely young family through their personal struggles, and leaves “footprints on the sands of time” in the local high school where he teaches and coaches. You may have someone like “Mr. A” teaching and coaching your teenage children. In any case, you won’t be disappointed in Struggles of the Soul!
The author, Hollis Arban, was born on a cold February day in 1937 as American was struggling to recover from the economic depression of 1929 and the world was preparing for war in Europe, and became the 12th child of true American Pioneers. When America entered WWII, four of his brother, the family’s farm hands, were drafted. His Mom died just as the war ended in 1945, but she lived to see all four of her sons return home from the war. With her death, Hollis’ father traded the farm for two city blocks at the edge of town in Athens, Alabama, and as the wind became cool and pecans began to fall in their new pecan grove, Pop Arban and his three young sons came to town and began building their new home. With quilts for doors, they moved in.
The following Spring, they built a long room adjacent to their home and opened Pop’s Grocery. The store became the neighborhood grocery and the hangout for a dozen teenagers in the community. All the kids carved their names on benches outside the store and played checkers and monopoly on rainy days.
Hollis finished high school with academic honors and letters in three sports. Declining a football scholarship, he began night classes at Athens State College and worked full time at the Army Ballistic Missile Agency/Marshall Space Flight Center. It was there that he met, fell in love with and married Marie, a beautiful new secretary to the division chief. Marie was 18 at that time and Hollis 21.
Hollis and Marie both worked for Marshall Space Flight Center until they were invited to interview with a small Florida Systems Engineering company in 1965. They fell in love with Fort Lauderdale as they drove along the beach, at sunset, looking for their hotel. They accepted the offer, returned home and cashed-in their retirement at MSFC, took their two little guys and went South for a new adventure.
For ten years, Hollis developed software and managed bright development teams. In ’72 he was sent to Europe for sales support. Returning from The Netherlands a year later, the company had been sold, and the owners reneged on the stock that had been promised to Hollis and their computer design team; so, he resigned and started a one-man consulting company. After gaining experience in development, marketing, and international sales, investing all he had and all he could borrow, he led the company, Computer Resources, Inc. to become an acknowledged pacesetter in-home care automation in 1985 and his investors exercised their option to acquire the company. He spent $2,000 for the company in 1975, sold it ten years later for $4,000,000 and retired.
A few years after Hollis retired, Marie was diagnosed with Scleroderma. The disease attacked her lungs and slowly shut down her air supply and, as Hollis put it, “took early retirement”. But, she was Hollis’ anchor and motivation.
After Marie’s death, Hollis became involved in several new ventures that failed for one reason or another. One morning, after losing everything and hitting the bottom, Hollis said he knelt at his window to pray, and a beautiful robin flew straight at his face then sat on a limb below the window and started chattering at him. Something about that Robin’s action was like a slap in the face; and caused Hollis to look up, with clear insight into his own past and brought him “face to face with God”. After that, he decided to return to the classroom and has been living the life that Hal portrayed in Struggles of the soul for 15 years.
Currently, at 80 years of age, Mr. Arban teaches math, works out with his school’s tennis team and is working on another novel.