I’m happy to be a part of the Blog Tour for My Darling Dorothy, a work of historical fiction by Jo Virden.
About My Darling Dorothy:Based on authentic letters from the era, My Darling Dorothy is a timeless love story that transcends both hard times and the brutal impact of war. The tumult of the Great Depression andWorld War II provides the background for a novel about three young people; Tommie, Jack and Dorothy and their challenges, struggles, defeats and triumphs.
Tommie struggles to survive the Bataan Death March in the fall of 1941, clinging to his dream of a gratifying future with Dorothy as his bride. On the frontlines of the European Theatre, Jack experiences the horrors of endless battle. Dorothy,caught between the two, works to maintain her dream of a life beyond small-town Nebraska. The hopes and hardships they share are reflected in the letters that they exchange. Are they remnants of lost dreams, or the foundation for a joyful future? About Jo Virden:Jo Virden is the author of A Passion For Life: Ruth Marie Colville. Her first love is writing short stories. My Darling Dorothy, which started as a short story, evolved into Jo’s first novel. She is passionate about promoting childhood literacy and spends many hours volunteering in reading programs throughout the Denver Metro area. She lives in Arvada, Colorado with her husband, Bill, and she enjoys outdoor photography, long walks in the Rocky Mountains and spending time with her grandson, Cyrus.
Interested in an author presentation at your book club? Contact Jo at email@example.com
Jo opened the top box with trepidation.
She pulled out a grocery list written on the back of an empty used envelope. “Mom!” she yelled, looking skyward. “Really? Did you ever throw anything away?”
“Precious junk,” her mom’s term for the five boxes gathering dust in the corner of the basement, awaited Jo’s scrutiny.
Thirty-gallon, extra-sturdy trash bags sat at the ready. Jo’s practical side begged her to slip the boxes, unopened, into the bags, climb the stairs, go directly to the Dumpster, throw them in, close the lid, and walk away. Yet her inner hoarder, finely tuned through a childhood of watching her parents save everything from broken potty chairs to faded plastic flowers, wangled its way into her thoughts.
What if there is something important or valuable in all this junk? Jo thought as she shuffled through the box’s contents—a 1957 program from Fred Johnson’s funeral; a birthday card from her sister, sent in 1932; a letter from Jo’s great-grandfather to her great-grandmother written in 1896; and la pièce de résistance, a department store receipt from 1975. Any sensible person would have stopped right there, but her inner hoarder reared its messy head. There must be some reason she kept this stuff. I need to dig deeper.
To appease her more pragmatic side, Jo began to create piles of birthday cards, Christmas cards, and letters, and in honor of her mom, a pile Jo labeled “Miscellaneous Precious Junk.” She pulled out another handful of items. A large group of letters wrapped in a blue ribbon caught her eye. She thumbed through them. The envelopes all bore the same handwriting. Her inner hoarder beamed with the satisfaction of victory.
Now we’re talking.
Jo opened a letter. The first page, a rather boring account of the day in the life of a soldier, seemed innocent enough. She quickly lost interest and jumped to the second page:
I wish my year was over. It’s kinda fun to lay around and build air castles and then let them burst. I still have hopes of not having to go over the pond and blow Hitler off the map. But maby I can be lucky. Who knows? We are sure going to have fun when I get out, ain’t we? I’ve got it all figured out; where, when and how.
Maby you think I’m foolish, I don’t know and you may think I’m kidding myself, but I’m not, One – 15 – because when you hear I’m heading home, get ready. That day I land in Nebraska is our wedding day, rain, snow or shine.
The way my brother wrote in his last letter he figures on getting married this summer if they don’t call him to the army too soon. If they do he plans to get married before he goes. I think he’s foolish. I would much rather do it our way, go to army first & get married afterwards. Then, if we get in war & get blowed to bits wont leave a widow. Don’t you think that’s best?
Well darling, I’ve been pondering over this piece of paper for an hour and just can’t seem to think of any more to say. Take good care of yourself. I think about you lots, only wish I could be closer than 1200 miles from you. Remember, I am still looking forward to those pictures you promised me and some more of those nice letters. Bye now
Loads of Love and Kisses,
Tommie? She glanced at the date again: May, 1941. Eighteen months before her parents were married. Who is Tommie?