My MARY CRANE and Pompey Hollow Book Club series was our world, at the time – it was my friends…our rural America – our imaginations.
…even today it’s hard to explain what it was like growing up anywhere in the world during the near decade when seventy millions lives were taken worldwide.
Whether you were living in London at the time, waiting for the nightly bombs to drop from the sky to shatter your world – or you lived anywhere in Europe knowing that your mere existence was at the whim of a world tyrant – it’s hard to imagine the world coming to a halt for almost ten years while it grappled against certain annihilation from all points on the globe. Nearly 32,000 people a day, for more than six years – were killed. Triple that in just one day, by just one bomb in Japan. Can you just imagine?
It wasn’t on our shores but believe me, the U.S. felt the impact too. (Although nearly 1,400 Japanese firebombs kept SECRET landed inside the U.S. borders during the 1940s.) I remember going to school in the first grade with a knowing that an empty desk typically meant that a brother or a father had been killed at War that week and wouldn’t be home for Christmas.
The nice lady from Germany wrote me…
“…My last project at the (German) School Museum was to collect the photographs, artifacts and documents of the generation living through the Nazi years and World War II as children and teenagers. I conducted three hundred interviews (and the result was a big exhibition at the Town Hall), so I know what I’m talking about when I say that I have never once come across the kind of memory that you display in your books of your childhood, so rich in detail about your world, relationships, feelings. Thank you, dear Jerry!”
Her very nice letter gave me great pause. Children are kindred spirits worldwide. I just know this to be true. I’ll keep on writing about my childhood friends growing up in the shadows of WWII.