No worries if you haven’t gotten, yet, to your copy of Letters Home. If you’ve started it and are finding it isn’t holding your interest, no worries there, either. If you’re finding the collection of letters too repetitive, you’re not wrong, I just don’t agree with you. Some of the repetition from the original two-hundred-sixty-nine letters was left in intentionally. That was part of my goal in capturing the experience of him trying to maintain a connection with her while away at war.
(Not trying to be a defender. Perhaps I should have cut more but was too close to the material, though rereading the book again, I wouldn’t change a thing.)
I did promise, at some point, to post the “crib notes” version of the book. I meant to do it sooner, but as this date approached, I decided to time posting this with the abridged version’s beginning date.
On page 42, the June 13, 1945 letter, written seventy years ago, to the day, opens with “Since our presence out here isn’t a secret any longer they have relaxed censorship regulations and we can now write about our activities up to May 10.” He goes on to describe providing ground cover for the troops at Okinawa.
On page 52, letter July 9, 1945, he compares personal anger to be “just as silly and futile as this whole war only on a smaller scale.”
On page 55, the journal entry of July 18, 1945 compares nicely with the following letter written the same day.
Following that, on the same page, the July 20, 1945 letter is a favorite of mine.
Pages 57-61 coincide with his getting shot down on July 23, 1945.
Page 62 and 63, journal and letter describe atomic bomb.
Page 64, letter, August 10, describes rumor of war’s end and his opinion that we should accept Japan’s one condition we don’t treat the Emperor as a war criminal. “…if there is anything human in us we certainly should.”
Also August 11 letter
Page 67, August 15, journal entry: end of war entry, called back from strike on Tokyo
Also end of war letter, August 15
Page 68, letter August 16, 1945, description of getting shot down. “There were so many tracers and bursts around me I could have gotten out and walked on them.”
Page 71, letter August 19, 1945, word received of birth of Lynne Dalee Jones, my mom!
Page 74, letter, August 20, 1945, to daughter, Lynne
Page 76, letter, August 23, 1945, describes homecoming he imagines.
Page 78, letter, August 26, 1945, describes flyover of Tokyo and prisoners’ barracks.
Page 82, telegram falsely reporting baby’s death and corresponding letter.
Page 87, the end of the book, letter my grandmother wrote my mother years after my grandfather’s passing, in which she describes his actual homecoming when he first saw his daughter.
I personally don’t believe in spoilers for a nonfiction book like this. So I would say feel free to follow this guide and read through the key moments listed. This might satisfy you or your interest might be piqued enough to go back and read the whole book straight through.
If you don’t have a copy of Letters Home, you’re welcome to purchase one at Amazon, either paperback or Ebook form, you can purchase one from me, you can borrow one from me, or I would be glad to gift you one. I appreciate the interest in my grandfather’s story.
Here’s the link to the book up at Amazon:
My other books available for purchase include Flowers on Concrete, a novel, and Hibernation, a short YA thriller.
Links below from wordpress