Debra Kristi and I were chatting online not too long ago and she mentioned something she planned to do for her series when it’s nearer to completion. It got me wondering what I could do in preparation for the release of my newest book on April 23, 2012, and this is what I’ve come up with. So every Monday between now and then, you will be meeting the characters from the novel as they correspond with far away friends and family.
My dearest Mother,
How are you? And Father? I hope that it’s not as cold in Indiana as it is here in Michigan today. The wind is so bitter that I nearly decided to stay home, but here I am. As of yet, and it’s nearly noon, I haven’t had so much as one customer walk through the door. Apparently they have more sense than your son.
When we entered the war this past spring, many of the business people in town – myself included – feared our profits would decline greatly, but that just hasn’t been the case. Surprisingly enough, the opposite has proven to be true. Shoes are selling like hotcakes. Most days anyway.
With Christmas just a few weeks away, the children are excited. Meg and I have already gotten gifts for Jonathon, Charles and Kathleen. The little ones are easily pleased. Richard, on the other hand, is a bit more difficult. He’s at that place between leaving boyhood behind, yet not quite the man he’s so anxious to become. And Elizabeth – Well, she claims that all she wants this year is for women to be given the right to vote.
I swear I don’t know what’s gotten into that daughter of ours. You know that until a few months ago she was the kindest, most tenderhearted child you could ever hope to know. And then a young man started a local chapter for the suffrage movement. Now Elizabeth is like a stranger. She is moody and angry and we’re just not sure what to do about it.
Charles is growing like a weed and talking more every day. Most of the time we even understand what he’s trying to say. Kathleen, as always, is just the sweetest child, as gentle and loving with her dollies as any real mother would be with her babies. Richard has entered into the awkward stage that has plagued every teenage boy since the beginning of time. His voice has begun to change and he’s quite embarrassed by it.
And then there’s Jonathon. You and Father would get a kick out of his latest escapades. He’s convinced that Mr. Mertz, an elderly gentleman who lives next door, is a German spy. My son, it would seem, fancies himself another Sherlock Holmes and is constantly spying on the poor fellow. It frustrates Meg to no end, but I find it all extremely entertaining. He writes in his journal incessantly, taking notes on every move Mr. Mertz makes. I’m not sure what he intends to do when he has enough ‘evidence,’ but he’s very diligent in the gathering of it.
Meg, wonderful woman that she is, continues to knit sweaters and socks for our soldier boys, as do so many women about town. She also writes letters to some of them. At first we wondered if they were even keen to correspond with a family friend, but they write back regularly. She couldn’t be more pleased, knowing she’s doing something to help make their lives a bit nicer. Sometimes, watching the way their letters make her smile, it makes me wish I enjoyed writing more than I do.
We all do what we can to support the war effort, from saving peach pits and nut shells, to keeping the automobile safely in the barn and using the horse and carriage to conserve gasoline. I know from what you wrote last month that everyone there is doing much the same.
Well, Mother, I see a long time customer outside, stomping snow off his boots. I expect he’s wanting to buy his wife a pair of shoes for Christmas. Shoes she will exchange while he is at work the day after he gives them to her. Every year he buys them two sizes too small, and every year after he leaves the store I set aside the correct size for her. I inquired once as to why she didn’t just tell him and she said if he wants to believe she has tiny feet, she’s not going to put him any the wiser.
Until the next time, I send you and Father all of my love.
P.S. Having just sold the too small shoes I wanted to add that we’ve been talking about closing up shop for two weeks this coming summer and taking the train down for a visit. I’d like to introduce you to your youngest grandson before he starts school.