Making Love Not War

I am anxiously awaiting for the printing of my third novel “The Illusion of Certainty.” It has been almost a year in the making. The editing process is completed. We are now beginning the design phase for the cover and overall look and feel of the book.
My publisher and I are still targeting a July 1st launch for “The Illusion of Certainty.”
In the meantime, I have become immersed in another writing project. I am writing a short memoir of my wifre’s parents. The inspiration for the memoir came recently when I opened an old trunk which contained a stack of letters, all written in the summer of 1941.
My father in law had taken a job with the Department of Defense in Washington D.C. Meanwhile, his future wife and my future mother-in-law was living with her parents in Utah. My father-in-law, Ted wrote letters almost every day to the love of his life, Lenore. He longed for the day when he could “send for her” and have her join him in the nation’s capital. They planned and schemed about when she could take the train to be with him. The plan was that they would be married when she arrived in D.C.
His letters are filled with passion and the anxiousness of young love. He spends the hot Washington nights longing for his love. There is one huge cloud hanging over their plans to rendevous and marry–the outbreak of World War II.
In the summer of 1941, much of the world is already at war and the United States is still mostly on the sidelines. Ted wonders if he will be drafted and sent overseas or will he remain in the nation’s capital working at the Department of Defense. The year 1941 is a very tough time to be in love and try to plan your future.
There are several comments which make you winch. We know what will happen later in 1941 and the young lovers do not.
My father-in-law expresses the hope “that the war will not get any worse.” There are also comments about a time timetable for the lovers to reunite and be married. A few times, the hope is expressed, “maybe December, 1941 would be a good time.”
As we know in hindsight, the war would get way, way worse and December, 1941 was not going to be a good time for anything after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th.
The poignant letters touch on the very essense of what I love about writing. There are so many wonderful stories to tell that are just waiting to be unlocked by writers. It is pure joy for me to discover this story and bring it to life.
Despite the long extended war which was just ahead for the whole world, the lovers, Ted and Lenore, had a happy ending. At the end of the long, hot, tense summer in pre-war Washington, Lenore rode the train to Washington D.C. to join Ted and marry him.
They were married for over 50 years. Fortunately for me, they had three children because I married their third child.
These lettters have all of the drama and angst of a bestselling, well-written novel or a four star movie. It’s been my pleasure to untie the ribbon from the stack of letters and be transported in a time of great upheaval and war but also discover a wonderrful love story.


About gregmessel

I've written six novels and am working on a seventh. My first three novels were "Expiation," "Sunbreaks" and "The Illusion of Certainty." I'm now working on a series of mysteries set in San Francisco in the 1950s. In 2008, I retired from corporate life and so I can spend more time writing. I spent over ten years in the newspaper business. I now live on Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, just north of downtown Seattle.
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