As I drafted this book, I struggled to fill some gaps in the story. Had I captured all of the critical events? What were Raymond and his family’s thoughts during the war? How did his mother, sisters and friends react when tragedy struck? I began to believe that I may never know with any certainty. It was at that point, that Providence moved.
I received a call from Stephanie House Colton, the eldest daughter of Raymond’s sister, Ruth. Stephanie and her cousins, Randy and Jackie Miller (son and daughter in law of Raymond’s other sister, Marjorie), found some letters that they thought I should see. Not wanting to chance the loss of these letters in the mail, Stephanie and her fiancée, Steve, met me in Batavia, New York, about half way between my home in Saratoga Springs and her home in Ohio.
Stephanie brought more than one hundred letters written 70 or more years ago by Raymond, his mother, his sisters and others. Writing letters by hand is an art that is disappearing. These letters convey the hopes, dreams and love of a family. Sadly, some letters bear the fears and heartache of the consequences of war.
Reading these letters and feeling the emotion behind them, clarified what poet John Dunne intended when he wrote, “More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”