Our lives appear to be a procession of dates marching ever forward, but in reality, Life is a huge collection of moments, each one a little life-cycle unto itself. Each one has a beginning and an end; thus, the arrival of any given moment marks its passing as well. Viewed on this level it is easy to see why Time seems to fold in upon itself, especially as we get older and have collected a greater number of moments.
I was thinking about this recently while making the final edits in I’ll Remember You All, the third installment in The Secret of Their Midnight Tears trilogy. I wrote last month that we have no idea what those moments of uncertainty were like during World War II, but neither do we have any idea regarding the intense joy experienced in that moment when victory over Japan was announced on August 14, 1945. Perhaps, the intensity of that moment can be measured by how tightly, almost desperately, folks on the home front tried to stay in that moment. The celebration here in Winchester, VA began as soon as President Harry Truman concluded his announcement on the radio around 7:00 p.m. that Japan had accepted the surrender terms. There was literally dancing in the streets and people made noise, joyous noise with pots, pans, voices, and anything else that was handy. By midnight the most the police were trying to do was minimize the horn-honking. It was dawn before the final celebrants retired for the night, a time that is quite symbolic. Those desperate moments of uncertainty, pain, and sacrifice experienced during the war had contained the seeds of peace and joy; and now, the joyous moment contained the seeds of other moments. Most of them would be mundane moments, punctuated by marriage, babies, jobs, the first house, the second house, grandbabies. Soon, it was 1946, then 1947, then 1951, 1962, the Bicentennial, the new millennium, and now, here it is 2019. Somehow, that 18 year-old boy who fought in Europe or the Pacific, or that 18 year-old girl who waited at home and collected scrap iron and bought War Stamps and Bonds, looks in the mirror today and sees a 90-something year-old staring back. I imagine that this is a wondrous, but somewhat unsettling thing.
I began The Secret of Their Midnight Tears trilogy because I wondered what that time of World War II was like, and how it affected the kids who saved the world. I concluded it wondering what it’s like right now for those same kids, that is, the few who are left. What they remember and how they remember it is as much a part of their tale as what they were doing on December 7, 1941 or August 14, 1945. Right now is still part of their war story. I’ll Remember You All takes the reader through the conclusion of the war, and then through certain post-war moments in the lives of the main characters, until finally there is one character left to reflect upon those moments of uncertainty, pain, and sacrifice, and that final, triumphant moment of joy.
I’ll Remember You All will be available from Amazon later this month.