War Bonds

War Bonds Hero Dies on Memorial Day Weekend

War Bonds Louie Anderson

On Sunday, May 27, Louie Anderson slipped the bonds of Earth and flew to be with his beloved Barb.

He and Barbara enjoyed 71 years of marriage and because they lived close to my home, I got to spend quite a bit of time with them.

The photo below watched over me from my filing cabinet as I wrote War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.

Louis and flight crew 1944 low res

It shows Louie and his flight crew looking impossibly young and irrepressibly confident. Their 22-year-old leader, first pilot Louis Anderson sits on his haunches in the front row, far left. The photo was snapped as the 10 young men prepared to depart for Chelveston, England. It was May 1944 and the crew of the G-model Flying Fortress eagerly anticipated getting their licks in against the enemy.

Thirty-five missions later, Louis returned home, having lost only one of his original crew. Amazing because he said, “There was only one mission that we didn’t get shot at.”

Below is an excerpt from their chapter, “Keeping Time.”

“A ship in our left wing got hit,” Louis said. He and his men watched in dismay as the ball turret gunner fell from his turret and hung suspended by his foot. Many B-17 crew members considered the ball turret the worst position on the aircraft. The gunner was confined in a sphere fastened to the underside of the plane.

Louis cleared his throat. “I had to explain to the fellows that he was no longer with us.” After 45 seconds the gunner fell from the aircraft.

“We had quite a bit of difficulty talking the crew into getting back in the plane to fly a mission the next day,” he continued. “We had to have several conferences with the chaplain to explain that the gunner hadn’t been hanging there, suffering.”

When Barbara died in November, Louie’s already declining health, worsened.

He just wanted to be with her.

And he got his wish, but not before he was awarded a special Quilt of Valor made by the quilting group at Fairwood Retirement Community. Barbara was an avid quilter and she would be delighted to know of Louie’s gift.
He received the quilt, Saturday. He passed away Sunday.

And on Memorial Day I will be thinking of them both.

War Bonds with the Andersons at Fairwood

 

 

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War Bonds

Still Things She’d Like to Know

War Bonds at Fairwood 1

Had a wonderful reading/signing event Saturday, at a local retirement center. The crowd was enthusiastic and engaged and asked wonderful questions. But the best thing was that three very special people live at Fairwood.

War Bonds with Melba and the Andersons  War Bonds Louie Anderson

Melba Barton (left) is featured in chapter 16, “The Farmer’s Wife,” and Barbara and Louis Anderson’s story is told in chapter 28, “Keeping Time.” As you can tell from the photo above, Louie is still just as dapper and handsome now as he was in 1943 when he served as a B-17 pilot during WWll.

I was very moved during the Q&A Barbara said she’d learned more about Louie’s war experiences during the interviews for War Bonds, than she’d learned in 69 years of marriage. She added, “But there are still things I’d like to know– still questions he hasn’t answered.”

And Louie smiled and looked away.

A special thank you to all who’ve purchased, read or reviewed War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation. Because of you, these stories live on.