The Book: How it All Began


 

Long Way Home:  A World War II Novel is historical fiction and I have been at work on the project for more than five years.  The idea began in a very informal way after a series of conversations with a friend’s aunt who was a WWII veteran and one of the 150,000 members of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.   Her memories of life at the Ft. Huachuca Army base  provide the novel’s setting and emotional center.

My father also served in WWII as a Private First Class.  He enlisted in 1943, just shy of 18 years old and worked in the Transportation Corps.   We spoke only a few times about his army service but he recounted fondly the many places he’d seen during his service, among them: New Orleans, San Francisco and Liverpool, England.   He wasn’t one of the “stand out” black soldiers of WWII–like the Tuskegee Airmen or naval hero Dorie Miller–he was just a regular soldier.

After Ken Burns’ produced his iconic The War series (amidst allegations of omitting the contributions of Latino soldiers*) I began to imagine there were many men and women, like “aunt” Lil and my father, who never won Medals of Honor during WWII or even got to the front lines, but whose service was nevertheless honorable.

PFC Sam McGarrah (my father)

The research that was required of the storytelling was daunting and many times I thought I’d bitten off more than I could chew.   Ultimately, doing the research  became an exhilirating treasure hunt.

Long Way Home has romance, conflict, celebration, humor and also detail about the tenor and tone of a segregated Army experience that is a microcosm of the Negro experience in 1940’s America.

 

* Hundreds of thousands of Hispanics served in the military during WWII; and 13 Hispanic servicemen were awarded the Medal of Honor for their WWII service.

Long Way Home is available as an eBook

updated July 2013 (original post April 2011)

Fort Huachuca-Home of the African American Soldier

Note:  This post was corrected on December 4, 2013.  The previous post erroneously listed Ft. Huachuca’s acreage.   In actuality, during WWII the base was more than 71,000 acres and today is some 73,000 acres.   Thanks to  Major General (retired) John M. Custer for the correction.

Two-thirds of my work of fiction, Long Way Home:  A World War II Novel is set on a 73,000-acre, army base in southeast Arizona that still operates today as an army installation.

Fort Huachuca has been significant in the training of black soldiers since the late 19th century and during World War II served the largest concentration of African-American (Negro) soldiers.

SoldiersatHuachuca

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A Reflection on the George Zimmerman Verdict

A boy died (again) last night.

Taken from the bliss of his teenage invulnerability.  The reason was something that wasn’t love.

20 kids died on a recent morning filled with promise.  The serenity of kindergarten shattered by something that wasn’t love.

A President, no two, no three…more.  Even a King.  Shot.  Down.   Love forgotten in the frenzy triggered by long-held ideologies.

Love and life denied by high-powered, concealed, semi-automatic, long-range, rapid-fire fear.

Long Way Home


 

It is 1943 and America’s involvement in World War II is at its heights.  The paths of two young dreamers cross on a segregated army base near Tucson, Arizona where they fall in love, fight personal battles and complete their journeys of self discovery.

Book Cover

Nearly one million black soldiers served in WWII and most never faced combat.             Long Way Home imagines the daily lives of these men and women, far away from the front lines, whose struggles and triumphs paved the way for America’s civil rights movement.

Available in the Kindle Bookstore.

Musings: Chard

Chard is a leafy, green vegetable often used in mediterranean cooking and is considered to be one of the healthiest vegetables available. It’s often called Swiss chard.

It’s nutritious.  And, it’s pretty.

                                                                      chard3I cooked chard recently chard1and, Good Golly Miss Molly, I fell in love with it.  I sauteed it in olive oil with diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, and assorted spices.     Here’s a  Recipe using chard from the Christian Science Monitor.

 

Then, there’s Little Richard.  He’s  also pretty.

Little Richard

Little Richard