My Mother's Lover (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 35 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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After his mother's death, her children discovered another picture behind the first, a snapshot of a smiling, handsome World War II soldier. The photo turned out to be of a man her mother had referred to from time to time as Angus. It was the name she uttered on her deathbed when she said she wanted to be cremated and have her ashes spread on the Pacific, so that she could again be with her Angus.
Evelyn Jane Hawkins Preston Dobbs is described by her son David as a "survivor of the unfound." A successful physician in Houston, the mother of six, Evelyn raised a family, was a dutiful wife and mother and was possessed of a "fearsomely strong" character.
Sixty years before she had also carried on a secret wartime love affair. Piece by piece, war record after war record and photo by photo, Dobbs reconstructs the World War II love affair between his mother and the flight surgeon whose real name was Norman Zahrt and who was shot down over the Pacific by the Japanese during the final days of the war. At the time of his death, he was married to someone else and the father of two children.
It's a soaring story of passion and forbearance as well as love and loss. It's also the story of two families and how they came to terms with the secret wartime romance they never knew about in which "everyone ended up married to somebody they wished was somebody else."
Dobbs is a writer and he digs into the story and tracks down the facts with a reporter's flair for getting at the truth of the matter. His account of his mother's lost love is as deeply felt as it is dispassionate.
This story is very well written--almost too well done. The author clearly keeps his distance even though the subject is his own mother, but does at the same time clearly shows how much he and his siblings loved her. I don't want to give too much away, but I found it heartbreaking that because of what his mother never knew, her deathbed wish was completely off the mark in terms of achieving her real wish. I keep asking myself how I would feel if I'd followed her wishes only to find out what her children after it had been done. The answer is I would feel just awful. Really, I find that the author went in search of knowledge of this man and the relationship that develops between his children and the author and his siblings just a bit creepy, though it was insightful to know how this relationship had directly impacted the man's children. For me, it would all just be too much to want to know. Inquiring minds want to know, however, and all of it together makes a very interesting, heartfelt, even educational story. Who knew it could be so easy to find out so much about a person knowing only a first name, a first initial of a last name and the state they originally lived in? Who knew the letter Z would have such significance? I'm so glad that there are people who can do such amazing things with so little to go on!
I highly commend the author for telling this story. I don't think I could have written about it, but I'm glad the author did. There are likely to be literally thousands, if not millions, of stories like this one. WWII was a crazy time and people threw themselves into love unlike they'd never done before, tossing off conventions like mad. This is a story that is certain to resonate with Boomers, who wonder what secrets their parents have or may have carried from this era. Overall, great story.
The romance part of it I really did like, but as the author eluded to, the reality would have probably been different than the fantasy. (not sure he used these words. Isn't that true with all of us? Our imaginary life is wonderful until we actually live it. Of course she --- well that would be a spoiler so I won't pontificate.
Although there isn't much history in this book, it is another little glimpse into that period of time. For one, you couldn't get a divorce unless both parties agreed to it. One of the spouses could refuse, and if it was yours, you would be married forever. Your spouse would end up with all the benefits that might be available to that person. Just a thought.
(my son is in the Air Force in Wichita Falls Texas.
I highly recommend this book. I've already read it twice. I would give it ten stars if I could.