Decades ago, I took notes from my dad on his experiences in the US Navy in World War II. I intended to turn them into a book. In rereading my notes, I realize that Dad used some of the same skills I now teach.
He kept sight of his primary interests. When things didn’t work out as he would have liked, he picked himself up and looked around to see what he could work with to address those interests as well as possible, even if he couldn’t address them perfectly.
Now, more than ever, I feel compelled to share Dad’s story and am moving ahead with his memoir as my next book project.
William Anderson served on the USS Vestal 4, the most decorated non-combat ship of World War II. Although equipped with artillery, the Vestal was a repair ship. She would lie on the outskirts of a naval battle, and after the battle was over, would move in to perform emergency repairs on damaged ships so that they could make it to port for any further work needed.
When we were growing up, Dad’s war stories rarely involved blood and guts and high-risk heroics. Rather, they depicted bravery of a different kind, though he might not have thought of himself as brave.
Close to thirty years of age, Dad had to leave his own small business when he enlisted in the Navy. His stories involve how he coped in a boot camp populated mostly with eighteen-year-old kids, how he found humor and camaraderie, and most of all, how he maintained a healthy sense of self.
He survived a sever case of pneumonia before he even finished basic training. He got a kick out of watching a Cherokee shipmate “shave” with a coil spring. He took pride—and amazed his officers—by hand-making a metal part that everyone else thought could only be done with machining tools that weren’t available on board. And much more.
I hope to have this memoir finished and published by late 2017 or early 2018. If you want to receive notice of publication, the best way is to subscribe to my blog in the space provided to the right.