For those who may not know, I’ve been working on abridging the 269 letters my grandfather wrote my grandmother while a bomber pilot for the U.S. Navy, stationed in the Pacific during WWII. I’m calling the book, all in letters from him to her, Letters Home: A WWII Pilot’s Letters to His Wife and Baby from the Pacific. These are three possible back cover descriptions. If you have the time to read each and vote on a first, second, and third choice, that alone would be a giant help. If you’re comfortable leaving specific impressions and/or constructive criticism that would also be helpful. You can post these in a comment or in a private message. You can reach me at my facebook author page, here: https://www.facebook.com/GregMetcalfAuthorPage?ref=hl
But I understand thinking of just what to say can be difficult, so feel free to just vote that really will be a big help.
Rex and Kate, newly in love, just married, part when Rex ships out as a member of the inaugural crew of the USS Shangrila, bomber pilot for the U.S. Navy, fighting in the Pacific theater against the Japanese during WWII. They make a lovers’ pact to write each other every day. This romantic gesture, these letters home, become more and more vital as the distance between them widens, as the months slowly pass, as the strain of war deepens. Rex tells his war story through what he discloses to his wife and, in a state of immense stress, through what he fails not to disclose to her.
Your letters have been shorter lately and so have mine. For myself I am discouraged and almost disgusted trying to say the things that I so much want to say to you personally. Writing seems so futile when my heart is so full of things that I am unable to put in words. I want only the chance to show you. Perhaps you have troubles for somewhat the same reason. Don’t worry if your letters are short for I understand. Just write all you can for they will become more important all the time. I will try to do likewise. When you have trouble just write what you are thinking. Any thought that comes to your head. Just write darling and I will know that at the time you are thinking of me. – letter home, April 4, 1945
The letters Rex Jones writes Kate begin filled with assurances of his safe return, but the bitterness experienced by a man stuck in a war erode away his optimism. He maintains his commitment to write daily, to write honestly of his thoughts and feelings. The pressure mounts as the war stretches on, as news of his wife’s safe delivery of their first child doesn’t come, and on July 23, 1945, the SBC2 dive bomber Rex pilots is hit by anti-aircraft fire during an attack at Kure. The explosion blows the lenses out of his goggles and breaks the hydraulic line, spraying fluid into the cockpit, blinding him. He is guided by a fellow bomber pilot over the Shikoku mountains and crash lands in the Pacific near a destroyer. He misses writing one day and then returns to telling his story in letters home.
I’m very sorry for the letters I have been writing lately darling because I know they are going to cause you to worry but I can’t help myself. I can’t hide my feelings when I write and if I didn’t write you would worry more. I am nervous. Not only because of what happened to me but other things and the whole damned mess in general. It all seems so futile and unnecessary and contrary to everything that is right. You may wonder then why I insisted on being scheduled tomorrow. Well, I’m not any more nervous and disgusted than the rest, so if I stay on the deck it means someone going up in my place. All I can say to keep you from worrying is that I will be the same as ever once I am with you again and can hold you in my arms. I’ll be able to forget all this for a while and live like humans should live. – letter home, July 29, 1945
As Rex Jones waits out the big three: the war’s end, word of his wife’s delivery of their first child, and his coming home, his letters reveal a man struggling to boost his wife’s morale by assuring her of his safe return while shielding her from the bitter effects of his experience of war. Days after his daughter’s birth, long before he will hear that news, anti-aircraft fire enters the cockpit of his SBC2 dive bomber and explodes. The lenses of his goggles are blown out and hydraulic fluid blinds him. Another bomber pilot guides him over the Shikoku mountains, and he crash lands near a battleship. Missing only one day, having written a letter aboard the battleship that he couldn’t read the next day, he returns to writing daily, assuring her, still, of his return but committing, as well, to honesty, to write what he thinks and feels. The result shows a man courageously questioning and internalizing the torments of war, experiencing the elation of its end, and allowing the bitter effects to remain, vowing to apply these harsh lessons to their shared future, to living “in direct contrast to the way these past months have been,” he writes in a letter home dated August 27, 1945. “I don’t want any thoughts, moods or acts in my personality that are even remotely related to the attitudes of war. Instead of hate, killing, destruction and fighting I want love, peace, quiet and the chance for us to construct our lives around these things.”
Thank you so much for reading and voting! I’ll keep updating here and at facebook as the book gets closer to being ready. My hope is to be able to gift copies to all interested in reading. Anything under this is from wordpress.