I am grateful to the many readers of She Called Him Raymond, for their gracious and encouraging comments expressed at events, or by email and social media messages and posts. However, I was particularly moved by a recent message and photograph I received.
Seventy three years ago, Helen and Raymond married on her eighteenth birthday, September 6th. Exactly one year later on their first wedding anniversary and Helen’s nineteenth birthday, Raymond lost his life when his B-17 crashed while on a mission during World War II. Four years after his death, Helen brought him to his final resting place, the lovely Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio, the little city that Raymond grew up in and loved. Raymond no longer has any family in Ironton. As September 6th came and went, I was saddened that no one remained to tend to his grave. Then, I received an email from Sally Arden, a retired teacher from Ohio.
She graciously has allowed me to share, in part, her message to me and the photograph she shared.
“I’m overwhelmed by your book and its timeless love story. Last week I went to Woodland Cemetery and asked a woman working there if she could help me find where Raymond was laid to rest. She gave me a map and within a few minutes, I was standing by his grave. Through the beautiful and descriptive writing of your book, I feel like I know this man.”
Roses were Helen’s favorite flower. Mrs. Arden placed roses at Raymond’s grave on the anniversary of Helen and Raymond’s wedding and sadly, the date of his passing. Thank you, Sally, for your kind words, as well as your beautiful and heartfelt gesture on this special day.