The Reluctant Blogger
I didn’t intend to post anything today. At the end of my last blog on December first, I informed my readers that I was planning to take the rest of the month off. It’s the holidays, and we’re all busy (or most of us are, at any rate). Finding time to write blogs and read blogs can be problematic in December. Better for all of us to come back fresh in January, right?
But, today is my birthday (that makes me a Capricorn), and it’s kind of a biggie. It ends in a zero. It’s the seventh time I’ve reached a birthday that ends in a zero. (I’m confident you can figure it out.) If I think long and hard, I might be able to remember some or even most of those zero-ending birthdays. When I was much younger, celebrating a birthday four days after Christmas meant one thing for sure—I was never in school on my birthday. And my birthday presents were always under the Christmas tree, wrapped in birthday paper, waiting for the twenty-ninth to roll around. Mom and Dad always made sure it was a special day for me.
All my blogs are supposed to somehow tie into World War II or connect to my novel in some fashion. I think I’ve found a couple of ways to do that today. Are you ready?
Ten years ago, I celebrated my birthday (also ending in zero) in New York City with my husband, three of my siblings, a sister-in-law, a couple of cousins, and a dear friend. Joe and I had tickets to see Mary Poppins on Broadway, and I slept through a good part of it. (We’d gotten up very early that morning to catch the train in Lynchburg. By showtime that night, I was a very tired puppy.) Before we all met for my big birthday dinner at Uncle Mario’s, our favorite pizza joint in Manhattan, some of us spent some time at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum at Pier 86 on the Hudson River. The ship has been there since 1982. (That's Peter, Amy, Sally, Joe, Nancy, and Chris to the right.)
The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid was built at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company in southeast Virginia and was launched in April 1943. She saw plenty of action during World War II after joining the U.S. Naval Pacific Fleet in early 1944. Over the next nineteen months, she survived five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike.
The USS Intrepid saw duty during the Cold War and the Vietnam War, and also served as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s. More than 50,000 men served on board during the ship’s time in service, and 250 of those men made the ultimate sacrifice.
On December 29, 2017, in Cabin 12 at Claytor Lake State Park, I began writing My Mother’s Friend. That afternoon, I wrote Chapter 56, the final chapter of the Algona part of the story. (In the next chapter, we’re in Berlin, Germany in 1991.) I chose to write that chapter on that date because the action takes place on December 29, 1945. My story has seen an abundance of revisions over the past four years, but that particular chapter remains pretty close to what I wrote that bitterly cold December afternoon at the lake. I was inspired, I guess.
Just for grins, I’ll toss in a few of my favorite kid pics. Clearly, they weren’t taken on my birthday. I’m pretty sure the two beach shots are from Gull Lake in central Minnesota where our family used to vacation back in the dark ages.
I’m not a “reluctant blogger”—promise! I just like the title. I love blogging—most of the time. Along with all of you, I’ve learned so much this past year. It was all so unexpected. With my blogs, I’ve been able to touch some of you in ways I hope you’ll be touched by My Mother’s Friend when you finally get to read it. And I hope you’ll let me know if and when you are—touched.
Happy New Year and blessings to all.