Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

UNCLE WILBUR EBERHART

April 25, 2017

Uncle Web

If  you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, then you’ve already met my Uncle Wilbur, aka Uncle Web. Helen received a touching letter from him while they were both in active duty during WW2. And she told Frank proudly that her brother lost a rank or two because he’d decked an officer who’d barged into an elderly German lady’s home to steal the silver candlesticks he’d spied in her window. I had a big fat scene about him, but it was one of many I had to cut, or the book would have run over 1,000 pages. Helen loved her big brother twins, Walter and Wilbur.

Here’s what Wilbur’s son, my cousin Roger, related: Dad earned 2 Bronze stars. I know that one was when they left him behind to resupply ammunition for his 155 mm cannon.  Germans counter attacked with tanks rushing over the hill.  He said that being alone, he has to choose to run or fight. He loaded the shells by himself and fired them like a rifle.  After several rounds, the tanks turned around.  Good thing he still had the strength of a farm boy. Those shells probably weighed about 100 lbs each. His favorite story was after the war ended.  His job, since he spoke some German, was to tour the area and round up stragglers. A young boy was trying to get home.  Dad picked him up.   A Lieutenant stopped his jeep and ordered him to put that boy in the field with soldiers that had surrendered.  As you may have guessed, he chose to ignore that order since the field offered no protection from the rain etc. Instead, he drove him to his parents home. They were so happy to see their boy that he was invited to stay for dinner.  He said it wasn’t much but was still the best food he has eaten in months. Most of his stories were about people he met and not about battles. 

 

 

SCHNAPPS

April 9, 2017

Schnapps (2)

I can easily identify 2 out of 3 in this photo: Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley, Army Nurse, and Schnapps, a true-to-life stuffed dog, whose name was a mystery to me before I read the letters I found in the Army trunk. If you’ve read this far in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you know how the dog got its name.

Mom (Helen) was too generous for her own good. If I complimented her necklace or bracelet, she’d attempt to give it to me. But one day when I was probably 7 or 8, I was playing in the attic and found this cute, black stuffed dog. Thinking I’d add it to my stuffed animal collection, I carried it down and ran to find Mom. “Mom! Look what I found in the attic! It’s kind of beat-up, but the stuffing isn’t leaking.”

She took that dog and smiled at it as if she’d finally run into an old friend from another life. “Take it back to the attic, Dandi.”

“But I wanted to play with it!” I protested.

She smiled again at that curly-haired black dog. “Not this one, honey. This one is special. Schnapps belongs to me.”

I thought about telling her “Schnapps” was a dumb name for a dog. I thought about pointing out that she was too old for stuffed animals. But something stopped me–maybe her expression; maybe having her keep something I wanted. It certainly wasn’t like the mother I knew.

When I came to the first mention of Schnapps in a letter Mom had written Dad in WW2, I’d already started seeing “the mother I knew” as something more–Helen, a young newlywed in a war zone, lonely, missing her husband, caring for so many injured and dying soldiers. Another dozen or so letters mentioned the dog. I finally knew why Schnapps meant so much to her.

As for the real dog in the picture, I have no idea, and you won’t find that one in the book. You’re on your own there.

LITERARY LOVERS’ MARCH MADNESS

March 20, 2017

I love March Madness, except for the fact that Mizzou didn’t make it this year. (We’ll get ’em next year!) So, look what someone else is doing–a Literary-Lovers’ March Madness. And LARA and I made it to the second round. LARGER-THAN-LIFE LARA contains just about everything I know about writing. And since everyone has been bullied and has bullied in some way, readers get the subtle anti-bullying theme. I don’t think I’ve asked anyone to vote for me since I ran for office at  Missouri Girls State…and loss. Round 2 ends Thursday. Here’s the link if you’re up for it: http://readthearc.com/literary-lovers-madness-round2/

BOOK RELEASE DAY!

March 7, 2017

with-love

It’s here! And as if that weren’t enough for me, it’s getting two starred reviews–Publisher’s Weekly and Booklist. I’ve waited so long for this. I thought about dozens of pictures I could post, along with witty, but poignant things to say. But here I am, speechless and grateful, hoping that you like my story.

Check out giveaways at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall  If you’re on GoodReads, will you add the book to your favorite lists and to your shelf as to-read? Thanks!

WHAT’S IN A LETTER?

March 6, 2017

These are only a few of the WW2 letters I inherited from my parents, Army doctor and Army nurse, newlyweds shipped to different countries for the duration of the war. They wrote each other 2-3 times a day and prayed for mail call and the (too often unreliable) delivery of their most precious, vital, real connection–their letters. It was all they had to help their marriage survive. They wrote on whatever was at hand–V-mail (infuriatingly short), bummed stationery, and even abandoned German paper, though only when necessary. One letter was written on a small, brown paper sack. They had worked out a clever code to foil the censors and to arrange rare rendezvous. (Took me a while, but I cracked their code.)

I fear we’re losing our letters to texts and emails. I admit that I rarely write letters, though I’m delighted whenever I receive one. Think of all the great historical and literary collections that wouldn’t exist if their writers had I phones. I can’t even imagine writing WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE without my trunkful of letters. Tomorrow is the official release date for the book!

I’ll be answering questions on Goodreads all week. Please join me there, okay?  Here’s the link: Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

 

IT’S MARCH! In 6 days…

March 1, 2017

WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE officially releases and should be in book stores on March 7. After so many years dreaming about this book, it’s still hard to believe it’s real. God is just so good. I thought these pictures may help you envision some of the moments in the novel. Helen in Rennes, Frank in Marseilles, then on a battle field in Germany. Frank is on the castle in Heidelberg, Germany. Helen is on her way to meet Frank.

If you’ve been reading these blogs, thanks so much for your interest. I would LOVE to hear from anyone who’s reading WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE!

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/38952.Dandi_Daley_Mackall

WARTIME COOKIE JAR

February 25, 2017

cookie-jar

This Little Red Riding Hood cookie jar sat on top of our refrigerator for as long as I can remember–longer, in fact, before I was born. I loved it, but only because every now and then, it would fill with wonderful cookies. It was a landmark day when I was able to reach it and pull out my own cookie, instead of standing on a chair to get one. But the old jar became much more than a cookie holder when I read one of Dad’s war/love letters to Mom: “Darling, you’ll never believe what the guys got us for our wedding gift.”

You guessed it. Dad’s war buddies bought Little Red Riding Hood. The gift meant so much to Dad that he carried it on his lap when he took the train to meet his bride-to-be on their wedding day. And they took it on their honeymoon. The cookie jar, minus cookies, has moved from the top of our fridge to the top of our war cabinet. Wouldn’t it be great if we all asked for the stories that go with family heirlooms? And we can pass along those stories to the next generation…and the next…and the next….

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

 

ARMY NURSES

February 21, 2017

gals-600-2

These are the nurses Mom (Helen) came to know and rely on–well, most of them. Can you pick out Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley? She’s front and center and seems to give off her own light. Next to her (on her left, our right) is her best war buddy, Naomi. Although I never met her, I feel as if I know Naomi. So many of Helen’s letters and war stories included her kind friend. If you read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, I think you’ll come to know her a bit too.

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

Lt. Frank R. Daley, M.D.

February 14, 2017

My dad is the other main character in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. This St. Louis medical student didn’t want to be a hero. There were enough of those in the family. His dad, Dr. Pete, had served in WWI and now spent every waking moment training medics for the Army. Frank’s sister, Dotty, had joined the Army a couple of years before Pearl Harbor and was still in the Philippines as a nurse. His brother, Jack, in the Army in special service, had to be a spy. Even his mother volunteered for the Red Cross, along with daughter Mary, who was married to Charles House, a career Army man.

The carefree and dashing Frank Daley just wanted to finish med school, move to a hospital close to the ocean and tennis courts, and hang up his shingle. Even after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, everyone seemed confident that the war would be over in a matter of weeks, certainly before his deferment ran out. Instead, as soon as he graduated, he was sent straight to boot camp. There, he met a number of colorful Army buddies, some who journey with him through the novel.

Oh–and he also met a spirited Army nurse named Helen.

See more on my new website: http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

 

Lt. Helen Eberhart Daley

February 10, 2017

I think it’s time to meet one of the two “stars” in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE–my mom. Nurse Helen Eberhart approached everything in life with pure determination. She had to, growing up with ten brothers and sisters in Cissna Park, Illinois. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, and with five brothers in service overseas, she decided to enlist as an Army nurse. After all, she did want to see the world. There, her grit and determination were put to the test when she was assigned to care for broken bodies of some of the most severely wounded soldiers. Most the amputees, “her boys,” as she would always refer to them, were the age of her youngest brothers. She spent all day on the wards, assisting in surgeries and bandaging wounds. And she spent many nights with a pair of tweezers, picking hundreds of pieces of shrapnel out of the young solders and reading them their mail. She read far too many “Dear John” letters from their gals back home. As you might imagine, she received dozens of marriage proposals and thank-you letters from her patients. This I didn’t know . . . until I opened the trunk.

http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/