Archive for the ‘quotes’ Category

WITH LOVE. . . In War

April 18, 2017

 

Imagine being crazy in love, marrying in haste because you might not be together until the war ends, then being shipped overseas to the front, but to different countries. With nothing but their letters to keep them together for months at a time, Helen and Frank (aka Mom and Dad) wrote each other 2-3 times a day, often signing: With Love, Wherever You Are. Delivery of those letters was unreliable, with no word for days and days, and then a flood of 14 letters.

These V-mails were supposed to travel faster than letters. Both Helen and Frank hated the V-mails because there was never enough room to say all they wanted to say. I had much the same reaction to the tiny V-mails, though for different reasons. Their handwriting had to be so tiny that the letters are hard to read. Thankfully, they discovered that the infamous V-mails traveled no faster than their regular letters, so they went back to writing letters.

Food ration stamps, mail stamps, and even matches bore war slogans. Frank wrote his bride: “War gets into every corner.”

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/

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/

 

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/

 

Uncle Jack the Spy

February 6, 2017

Move over, 007, and meet John “Jack” Daley, my dad’s big brother. Uncle Jack signed up in 1939, when the government appealed to accountants to help organize the armed forces from the inside out. The select group of pencil pushers were called “Thirty Day Wonders” because that’s how long they committed to serve in the US Army. Only the “wonder” came months later, when thirty days stretched to ninety, then to a year. None of them got out of the Army for years, so Jack was still in service when his little brother joined him in Europe. In WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, it’s fun to see Jack pop up unannounced and know everything, but tell little. He became part of the OSS, Office of Strategic Services, the first organized effort by the United States to implement a centralized system of strategic intelligence. The OSS was the predecessor to the Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Special Operations Command, including the US Navy SEALs and the Green Berets. Even though he delighted in dragging his little brother into a couple of dangerous adventures, I remember Dad saying that his brother was the most generous person he knew.

As for the German stationery with the hateful insignia, it helps to know that Jack the Spy likely swiped it from from a Nazi and put it to better use.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/100384.Most_Anticipated_Christian_Fiction_2017

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

Aunt Dot, Army Nurse

February 3, 2017

Happy February! I’ve decided I’d like to introduce you to some of the characters that populate WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. This is 1st Lt. Dorothea Daley Engel, my Aunt Dot, the same one who sent her younger brother the cartoon. When the Japanese overran and bombed the Philippines, Dotty and a few other nurses cared for their patients in the jungles. That’s where she fell in love with “Boots,” a soldier she’d met before, but only gotten to know when he had malaria. As she wrote to her brother: What kind of world is this when the one you love contracting malaria is good news?” Her heroism earned her the Medal of Honor, which was presented to her by President Roosevelt and pinned on her by Eleanor. She never talked about it and didn’t even tell her family about the ceremony until it was too late for them to attend . . . except for my Uncle Jack, the spy. He’s next on my agenda of characters.

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

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/100384.Most_Anticipated_Christian_Fiction_2017 Please add WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE to the list! Thanks again!

 

In the Army Now!

February 1, 2017

cartoon

In case you can’t read the punchline, it says: “It isn’t necessary to hang up your medical diploma, Lieutenant.” This is a cartoon sent to my dad, who had only recently gotten his medical degree and joined the Army. His sister, Dorothea Daley Engel sent it, and I’ve included several letters to and from my Aunt Dot in the novel, WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. She was Army nurse stationed in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Immediately after, the bombs landed on her outpost. Surviving nurses had to carry the wounded into the jungle.

But I’ll fill you in on these “characters” through the month of February, so please stay tuned! And don’t forget to check my new website. http://www.dandibooks.com/with-love-wherever-you-are/

And it would be wonderful if you hopped on over to GoodReads. If you haven’t been there and you like to read, you’ll love it. If you have been to GoodReads, you’ll already know what I’m going to ask: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30974604-with-love-wherever-you-are?ac=1&from_search=true  That’s the link. If you know a shortcut, please clue me in. Anyway, if you could put With Love Wherever You Are on your shelf and add it to your favorite lists: Anticipated Releases, Literary Fiction 2017, Most Anticipated Christian Fiction 2017, that would be great-Thanks!

WAR MEMORABILIA

January 30, 2017

I continued to delve into the treasures of the trunk. Besides the myriad of letters, I unearthed a note sent to Mom from Dad. I could have picked it out as his from a hundred notes. “Happy Birthday, darling, to the best wife I have.” Dry wit from a man who would remain happily married for over fifty years.

There were postcards and war rations and a few things I won’t post for fear of having the items misunderstood: a propaganda pamphlet in appalling English, with Goebbles; Nazi stationery neither of my parents could bring themselves to write on.

I recognized one postcard from Dad’s longtime buddy, Bob Balfour, who served with Admiral Halsey. The card was sent from the U.S.S. Missouri, postmarked Sept. 6, 1945, just after Japan surrendered. Aboard (besides Balfour), were high ranking admirals and generals from China, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and, of course, Japan. General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, stood before an array of microphones and declared before the world the hope of mankind that a better world would arise out of the blood and carnage of the past–“… a world founded upon faith and understanding, a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance, and justice.”

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

WWII MEDALS

January 26, 2017

wartime-medals-cropped

My parents had never mentioned their medals or what they did in World War II to merit medals. Yet when I delved into the trunk, I unearthed small blue boxes of medals, suggesting stories I hadn’t heard . . . yet.

I could guess what some of the medals represented. The black, red, and white medal that said “Germany” at the top had to be Dad’s. I knew he had joined a battlefield unit that pushed into Germany. I knew, as an Army doctor, he had set up a battalion aid unit in Germany toward the end of the fighting. But what about the medal with bars that read: Marksman, Carbine, Rifle, Submachine? Or the one with soldiers on front and a very large bird on the back? Was that my mother’s? I loved the medal that read: Freedom from Fear and Want, Freedom of Speech and Religion. And a Purple Heart. That one surprised me, though I had a good idea where it came from.

I knew I would never know the whole story of each medal, not until I’d read every letter in that Army trunk.

 

THE TALKING TRUNK

January 24, 2017

On my knees in front of the open trunk, I stared at the stacks and stacks of letters, most written while both of my parents served overseas A few of the letters had been penned from the States, as they waited in different staging areas of the country. I picked the nearest stack and carefully wriggled one letter from the boot strings. The envelope said it was from Lt. Helen Eberhart to Lt. Frank Daley. My hands shook as I lifted out the letter are began reading.

One sentence (“I miss you so much, my darling.”), and I had to return the letter to its envelop, into its stack, its home for over 70 years. I couldn’t hear those voices–not yet.

Fortunately, there were other treasures in that chest, discoveries that intrigued me, rather than sent me into tears. Each soldier had been given a Bible, and President Roosevelt sent a letter to each soldier. In case you don’t have “eagle eyes” (an expression Dad used frequently), here’s what it says on that Bible page:

THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON  To the Armed Forces:

As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel, and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest experiences of the human soul.

Very sincerely yours, Franklin D. Roosevelt

And yet, there were even more intriguing artifacts to discover in the old, but enduring Army trunk….