This couple is especially dear to me. They attended every book signing they could make it to, shared their story on public TV in a Northwest Profiles episode, and fielded questions from military service members past and present at the Spokane Veterans Forum.
It hurt Tom to speak of the things he saw when his ship, the USS LaGrange, was bombed two days before the end of the war. But he spoke of the wounded and dying men he tried to help. It was important to him that their sacrifice would be remembered.
Following his service during WWll, Tom became one of the first motorcycle police officers in Spokane, Washington, and despite the seriousness of some of the stories he shared, he always made me laugh.
First my beloved Marine, Myrt Powers, died. The story of her marriage to sailor, Walt Powers, is featured in chapter 30– and is unusual because both she and her husband served in World War ll. This couple were also featured on the television show Northwest Profiles and shared their story at a local veterans support group, following the book’s publication.
I last saw Myrt in March 2016 when my husband and I ran into her waiting in line for coffee in Hawaii! She and her husband wintered on Oahu for many years.
Feisty, upbeat and absolutely adorable, Myrt is everything I want to be when I grow up. My heart aches for Walt and for all of us who knew and loved her. Though she was tiny, her absence leaves a huge hole.
Cindy Hval with Myrt and Walt Powers, 2015.
And then last week, Jack Rogers died. A lifelong, prolific artist, Rogers taught all four of my sons during his tenure as art teacher at Northwest Christian School.
The story of his courtship and enduring marriage to his wife, Fran, is featured in chapter 20 of War Bonds.
He was still painting up until the last week of his life as he decorated wooden tailgates for Personal Energy Transporters for the PET Project.
“I was given a gift and I want to share it,” he said.
And here’s where words fail.
How can I possibly convey the depth of my admiration and love for these people? How do I sum up the gratitude I feel for having been a small part of their lives and for being entrusted to share their stories with the world?
But I can say I will miss them and treasure the memories of the hours spent with Myrt Powers and Jack Rogers.
I hope that I’ve given readers of War Bonds a snapshot of how they made the post World War ll world, a place of hope.
Rest in peace, beloveds, for you have surely earned it.
Here are Harold and Shirley Tucker being interviewed by producer Bob Lawrence. The Tucker’s chapter is titled “Romance on Wheels.”
Have to admit I teared up when Harold said, “We love each other now more than ever.”
Bob Lawrence made sure to get their autographs!
Then it was out to Cheney where Myrt and Walt Powers were interviewed. They have a unique story “The Marine and the Sailor.” Myrt was the Marine. Or is the Marine. As she said, “There are no ‘former’ Marines.”
This six-minute segment will air at 7 PM on Thursday May 28th on KSPS TV. The stations coverage area includes Western Montana to Central Washington and from Oregon north to Central Alberta.
Hope you’ll all tune in to hear and see these amazing people. You’ll be glad you did!