History Comes Alive in Fiction

History fascinates me, and recently I’ve immersed myself in everything World War II.  I’m fascinated how people survived such a savage experience. Men dealt with the hardships of battle, but the roles of women changed drastically. Not only did “girls” live without their “boys”, they took care of their children, dealt with rationing, planted “victory” gardens, and went to work.

Most women had never worked outside their homes before, and now they were operating lathes, punch presses and other heavy equipment. They became welders, electricians, and mechanics. They built planes, tanks, ships and all kinds of other war materiel. These were amazing people!  In my own family, I had an aunt who became a nurse and went to South Africa. I had a mother-in-law who ran a heavy punch press. I had another aunt who riveted airplane wings and another who made heavy shells for the big guns.

On the male side of the equation, during my life I heard first-hand stories of a man who fought at Iwo Jima and another who landed in Normandy in the first wave. And they all look at their accomplishments as “job doing their job.” These people sacrificed for our free way of life, and soon they they will all be gone because the lucky ones have come home, raised families and have grown old.

So , my characters perpetuate the past. They want their stories to be told, and through my fiction, I am doing just that. They keep me awake at night, telling me what they will and won’t do. The girls  in the “Apple Pie and Strudel Girls” series are a bunch of feisty gals, and believe me, they speak their mind. And their men are strong enough to keep up with them.

I’m thankful my characters came alive and keep whispering in my ear, so I can bring you more stories of a time when communication was carried in letters and  futures were so uncertain, which made life so precious.

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3 thoughts on “History Comes Alive in Fiction

  1. I also enjoy learning and reading about history. Your comment about communication being carried in letters in this time period touched me. Right now at The Sixth Street Theater in Racine there is a play showing now about just this, called The Cedar Chest Letters. The playwright is actually my mother, and the play is based on letters she found in a cedar chest of my grandmother’s. The letters were written to my grandmother during the Depression and World War II. You may enjoy it. The show is in it’s last weekend (Aug. 10-12). If you’re interested, tickets are available through the Sixth Street box office (262)632-6802 and online at http://www.overourheadplayers.org/oohp15/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=42:tickets&layout=blog&Itemid=58

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