The Road Home

When he turned eighteen on December 10, 1942, Andrew knew his draft notice would soon follow. It took seven days, arriving on December 17. His older brother Frank had already shipped out. The two brothers fought in different parts of the world, Andrew mostly in occupied Italy and Frank in Asia.  As the war raged on they never communicated directly, hearing only snippets of information about each other when letters arrived from home. 

Uncle Frank and Dad, 1946
Unlike many families, theirs did not suffer the ultimate loss. They both survived the war.  In a circumstance that seemed written for a movie, after being unsure of the other’s condition for some time, they were discharged within days of each other and arrived home on the same day.

  After returning from the war, both brothers lived with an uncle in New Haven, Connecticut. One day, to his horror, Andrew’s cousin came home from work and informed him she had volunteered him as a senior prom date for a girl who worked with her.  He was livid, telling her he had no desire to go on a blind date or, at age 23, to take anyone to her senior prom. She told him she had talked him up to Elsie, telling her young friend how nice her cousin was and that they would make a perfect couple. She prevailed, convincing him to at least meet the girl. He agreed, and to his surprise, liked her enough to take her to her senior prom. In October of 1949 they wed. I was their second child. Good thing his cousin convinced him to meet her.

Mom and Dad October, 1949

Stories with those kinds of twists, turns and what-ifs are in every family. We all know accounts of almost missed opportunities, and the consequences. We’ve heard stories about people in our families who observed or even played a part in the major events of the twentieth century. It takes a little listening and asking a few questions to flesh out the accounts, but it’s worth it. The stories you gather are priceless and part of who you are.

     Second Avenue Story Club is dedicated to the idea that you cannot make up the things that really happen to people.

     In the weeks to come we’ll open up a conversation about writing family memoirs, whether actual accounts or fictionalized, as is the case in the novel Warming Up. We’ll discuss finding these stories and we’ll talk about how to tell them. The story teller’s art is in all of us. We just have to cultivate it a bit.

     Second Avenue Story Club will also include interviews with friends who have shown a knack for telling a story, and from time to time we’ll share some of the stories we gather.

     So, think about the unbelievable accounts you’ve heard from all the amazing characters at your family gatherings. You'll be sure to think of stories that need to be told. Maybe you'll become your family's historian.

     Thanks for reading. See you again soon.

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