Times Past, Times Remembered
When I started to school in 1950, I already understood that many of our fathers had gone to a war we couldn’t quite remember, and some hadn’t returned. Being patriotic wasn’t questionable in any sense—rather, patriotism was ingrained in us from birth.
My hometown in West Texas had been the home of an air force base (it remains today) and a bombardier training school (now the regional airport) where my father flew a desk until he shipped out to
await the invasion of .
Fortunately for him and hundreds of thousands of others, the men were ordered
off the ship and back to barracks because the war ended before sailing got
My mother kept the newspapers from December 7, 1941, V-E Day, and V-J Day. They are full of pictures of young men who were not so fortunate as my father. The brittle yellow pages, crumbling now with age, are still a reminder of a generation to whom we owe so much.
Though I got the idea for Dancing with Velvet from an old photo of a now-demolished hotel where people, both young and old, danced to the music of live bands in the Roof Garden overlooking the quiet downtown streets, there was no question the story would take place during an era that shaped my life and those of my friends—the years known as World War II.
Today, when I fly in or out of the small airport, I am greeted by an oil painting prominently displayed: two brothers, Jack and Mark Mathis. Jack received the Medal of Honor posthumously and is buried in the local cemetery. Shortly afterwards, Mark’s plane went down on a bombing run. His body was never recovered.
Read their story at http://www.homeofheroes.com/wings/part2/05_mathis.html It’s a long story but well worth the time.
Dancing with Velvet is a love song to my hometown and a salute to the brave young men who passed through it from 1942-1945.
In the waning days of the Great Depression, Celeste Riley wonders if life will always be the same: going to work, coming home to keep house for her widowed father who ignores her. She clings to her married sister, Coralee, and the recurring dream of a blue velvet curtain and a faceless lover who beckons her beyond it. Then a blue velvet dress in the window of a local department store seems to promise the change in her life she so desperately longs for. When she dances in the arms of traveling salesman Kent Goddard at the Roof Garden, she is sure she has found the man of her dreams and is crushed when he disappears from her life. Then, soon after Pearl Harbor propels the
into war, he returns in uniform as a student at the new bombardier training
school. A wartime separation threatens their deepening relationship. Then
Celeste realizes that what she doesn’t know about the man of her dreams may
become her worst nightmare. United States
With the world at war, it’s tempting to live only for today, because tomorrow may never come. But Celeste wants more. Read the first chapter of this vintage romance and view the video trailer at my website.
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