Les and Lois’s chance meeting at a party during their first week on campus seems destined. Though from vastly different backgrounds, the attraction is instant. While both had been reared in the Christian faith, Lois’s fundamentalist beliefs are a radical change for him. Still, he is eager to learn and promises to attend her church for the first time on December 7, 1941. Early the next morning, Les hitchhikes to Maxwell Air Base in Montgomery, where he intends to enlist, but officials there recognize his greater value as a pilot and send him back to finish the academic year, with the addition of ROTC.
By year’s end, Les leaves the campus and enters pilot training, while Lois abandons her schooling and takes a job at a tin mill in Birmingham. The agony of their separation is relieved by letters declaring their love and repeating the vow that once they are married, “There will be blue skies from then on”. When Les finally has his wings, he returns to his parents’ home in New Jersey to await orders. Lois joins him, and they marry in a simple ceremony at the Clinton Street YMCA in Trenton. Orders then take them to Sebring, Florida, where they spend the happiest times of their young lives. They love Sebring because of its location and because this assignment means that Les is destined for Europe rather than for the Pacific.
After a series of mini disasters, Les and his crew finally fly across the Atlantic to join the Eight Air Force. The beauty of the English countryside and the warmth of her people create a second home for Les. He makes friends with a local family, especially the oldest son, Timothy. Even that, however, is destroyed by a German V-2 Rocket.
Les now goes on almost daily missions over Germany in an old B-17 called The Millie K. The goal of their eighth and most dangerous mission is to destroy Germany’s synthetic oil refineries. However, more than one plane is lost that day. Flak pierces Les’s hand, and when the plane suffers irreversible damage, all the crew bails out. Les's feet have hardly touched ground when a captor appears to declare, “For you, the war is over”.
After an eerie train ride, Les arrives at Stalag Luft 1, where he spends one of the coldest winters on record. The men have little to eat and suffer greatly from the cold, but anecdotes of their comradeship as well as their original stories and poems are recorded in Les’s journal. Liberation arrives in May of 1945. With thousands of other men, Les arrives home on the Queen Mary but must spend a year in the hospital at Fort Dix. Still with no cure on his horizon, he opts to go home and enjoy what remains of his life.
Les takes a temporary position as a teacher while he earns a degree and discovers his real passion for the ministry in Lois’s church. Their growing family now demands a larger house, and they build their “dream home”. Les's health deteriorates, however, and Les dies only eight years after returning home, leaving Lois a single parent of four.
Remembering the happiness of Sebring, Lois returns to that town with her children. She tries to fit into the community, but the happiness of that previous life no longer exists, and she begins the ardurous trip back to Florence, stopping at a church along the way to ask for guidance in how to support her children. Once back home, she shares her plans and officially opens the Happy Days Day Care.
Once her children have all graduated, she calls them together for an announcement. As they stare curiously at her, she unfolds and begins to read a letter from the Academic Dean at The University of Alabama. With their scholarship they have awarded her, Lois earns a diploma in social services and spends the remainder of her life helping others.
|Publisher:||Ruth C. White|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)|
About the Author
For the first time in her life, Ruth learned that she didn't have to search for stories; they would find her. A drive down the Natchez Trace Parkway revealed tales from every bend in the roadway, and a stop at a country store yielded secrets lurking in its darkened corners. People's stories were everywhere in her native Deep South, even in a dream that resulted in her first novel.
Once the stories appeared, she turned to writers' conferences for help in telling them. It was there that she came face-to-face with the basis of all good writers. Putting the pen to paper or the hands on the keyboard is the first and most important step in the thousands to come. Today the impetus remains the same...for someone else to read and hopefully understand what the writer is saying about the human condition.
For Ruth, that process had begun many years before when she first picked up a book by a fellow named Charles Dickens. Throughout her formal education, Ruth sought out those with different backgrounds and with different stories, learning as much as possible about the human spirit. From day one, she fell in love with ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and that concept has lured her like a siren perched on a rock in the Rhine. This concept remains a theme in her work today.
Interpreting life through stories has supplied Ruth with the most wonderful friends on the planet--writers. Although very few become famous, all are special. She believes that writers, along with other artists, have that rare ability to see beneath the surface of human behavior and into our very hearts.