War Bonds

War Bonds at Spokane Veterans Forum

Cindy Hval with Myrt and Walt Powers and Harold and Shirley Tucker.

Last night, two couples featured in War Bonds Love Stories From the Greatest Generation were guests at Spokane Veterans Forum.

The Veterans Forum is a group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers who serve as mentors to men and women coming through the Spokane Veterans Court.

The Spokane Veterans Forum (SVF) provides training support, fellowship,
camaraderie and help to veterans from  any Veterans Enhanced
Therapeutic (VET) Court.

Organizers showed the Northwest Profiles video featuring the two couples and then I facilitated a discussion about relationships during and after military service.

The veterans and their mentors proved to be a warm and responsive crowd and gave the Powers and the Tuckers a standing ovation at the conclusion of our discussion.

How wonderful to see these members of the Greatest Generation honored, respected and valued for the wisdom they have to offer us.

War Bonds

Sharing Hearts– and War Bonds!

War Bonds Sharing HeartsI had a wonderful time in Davenport, Washington, where I was the guest speaker for The Lincoln Hospital Foundation’s annual Sharing Hearts Luncheon.

The organizer had adorned the stage with  her father-in-law’s WWll uniform and her mother’s wedding dress.

War Bonds Sharing Hearts Book Table

They had this beautiful book table set up for me and I ended up selling every copy of War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Genereration, I had!

War Bonds Sharing Hearts 2

The people of Lincoln County are gracious and generous. It was a delight to be a part of their yearly fundraising campaign.

War Bonds

This student deserves extra credit!

Young War Bonds reader

 Christy Woolum, who teaches school in the Inchelium school district in Washington, sent this photo of student, Nathan Loer, reading War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation.

She writes, “I think this student deserves extra credit for reading your book in class.He proudly showed off the story about his great- grandparents.”

I absolutely agree!

One of the reason’s I’m so passionate about this book is evidenced in this photo. Younger generations need to know about the sacrifices and struggles their grandparents and great grandparents endured during and after World War II.

Though not geared toward young readers, War Bonds is certainly appropriate for them to read. If it’s not in you school library, don’t you think it should be?

War Bonds

Meet an Eyewitness to the Beginning and the End of WWll

Bud GarvinI had the incredible honor of interviewing Bud Garvin, 99, this week. Bud was eyewitness to the beginning of WWll at Pearl Harbor and was liberating a concentration camp in Germany when the war ended in Europe. BudOmaha Beach– The Battle of the Bulge– Bud was there. Though he’ll celebrate his 100th birthday next month, his recollection of his time of service is still sharp. He is a gracious, funny and generous man and I count myself beyond blessed to have spent time with him.

War Bonds

More wit from the Greatest Generation

This weekend I called the wife of a 99 year-old Pearl Harbor survivor to schedule an interview. She repeated the details back to me and I said, “You’ve got it.”
She laughed and replied, “Honey, I lost it so long ago, I don’t even remember having it!”

When I’m an old woman, I don’t care if I wear purple with a red hat, I just want to be as fun and witty as these folks are. How wonderful to retain the ability to see the humor in life, even when other vision fails.

War Bonds

Thankful for those who serve

This Thanksgiving I’m so very thankful for the 35 World War ll veterans and their wives who shared their stories with me in “War Bonds.”
Folks like Melvin Hayes, pictured here with his son, Butch while home on a brief leave.
Hayes on leave with son Butch, 1945, low res
Melvin was 27 when he was drafted and had to leave his wife and son behind. Holidays are an especially difficult time to be separated from loved ones.
Tomorrow, as you gather ’round your tables, perhaps one of the things you might be thankful for are the men and women who served or continue to serve, their country so selflessly.
I know I am.


War Bonds

Amazing Women Served in World War ll

Vi, 1943Violet Shipman Roskelly

Women like Violet Shipman Roskelly donned uniforms and served their countries with grit and determination.

This British war bride met her husband when they were both serving their respective countries. She wasn’t too impressed with American GI’s. “They were a bit too friendly for me,” she said.

That changed when she met Fenton Roskelley while on a walk in Cornwall. You’ll read their story in Chapter 3 of War Bonds, “The Luck of the Draw.”

For years after our initial interview my phone would ring and this lovely British voice would say, “Cindy? Darling, it’s Vi. How ARE you dearest?”

Vi died July 27, 2012.


War Bonds

Dying Vet Rallies

001 The most amazing thing happened yesterday. I’m still processing it. This summer I wrote about my visit to WWII Vet Nick Gaynos. Nick was on his deathbed. Here’s the column I wrote about that visit.

Yesterday, I went to return his photos. His caretaker met me at the door. “Come in,” she said, smiling. Her eyes sparkled. “Nick’s at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. He’ll be so happy to see you!”

Stunned, I just looked at her. “But. He was dying!” I said. Shaking her head she said, “I know! But not anymore. He’s 96 and the only medication he takes is vitamin supplements!”

I walked into the kitchen and there sat Nick, now with a scruffy beard. “Hello, there,” he said. Tears filled my eyes. I said, “Oh, Nick, I came to see in July, but I don’t think you knew I was here. I just held your hand for a bit.”

His eyes clouded. “Tex died, you know.” (His wife had died on June 3rd.) “Yes, I know. I’m so sorry.” He sighed. “She was an amazing woman.” I spread out the photos that will be used in War Bonds.

He lingered over Tex’s picture. “Oh, I knew I was in trouble when I saw her.” I pointed to a photo of him with two other soldiers. “Ah,” he said. “California. Those two had come down from Washington to inspect my operations.”

Laughing, I said, “It sure looks like you were in charge.” He replied, “Well. That’s the way I always looked.”

We visited a bit and I promised to return to bring him his copy of War Bonds. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

So am I, Nick. So am I.

War Bonds

Never Forget

Wayne said, “We followed a lot of fighting as we went up the island. The Japanese were still strafing Kadena.”
But he did as he’d been taught and laid face down in a bunker when under fire. He didn’t lose any of his wire team. “We lucked out,” he said. “The other part of the company lost a couple guys.”

He grew quiet and glanced out his living room window. “Some parts you don’t remember– some parts will be in your mind forever.” ~ Wayne Best.

From chapter five of War Bonds. Thank you to our veterans. May we never forget.

War Bonds

Greatest Generation = Greatest Sense of Humor

Betty Driscoll Ratzman low resBetty Driscoll Ratzman

Caught up with this lovely War Bonds bride this afternoon while returning the photoss she’d loaned me for the book.
I told her the publisher is still hoping for a Valentine’s Day release of War Bonds.

She replied, “Well, they better hurry up with that. Dean just told me he never wanted a 90-year-old wife. I told him, ‘Well, I never wanted to be one!'”
They’ve been married 68 years!