||MJR Publications, LLC
||November 2, 2005
Original title was "For Love and Country." When my dad went home to be with the Lord on October 16, 2011, I changed the title, cover and added additional stories from family and friends.
"For Love and Country" is a short story, which takes place in the year 1945, near the end of World War II. It is based on a true account of how my parents met and fell in love, and the events that led to a marriage proposal.
To order a copy of "For Love and Country," please email your request to Melody Ravert at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific ordering information or if you prefer, you may send a check in the amount of $7.99 (includes tax) plus $3.00 for shipping and handling to:
c/o MJR Publications, LLC
PO Box 7784
Baltimore, MD 21221-0784
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Chapter One The year 1942... Richard Ashley rose early in the morning, as he did each day. Even when he was quite young, way before he was drafted into the US Army, he enjoyed waking up with the birds. Lying on his bed in the barracks, he glanced over at his fellow comrades who were just starting to stir. Apparently their internal alarms also worked well. Richard was just thankful he was still alive. He remembered the day he and his best friend, Buster were both drafted. ******* "Hey Richie. How about that! Both of us get a draft letter the same day." Buster folded up the official document, stuffed it back into the envelope, and slipped it into his pocket. Richard was quiet. He was afraid. Only eighteen, he couldn't remember when he had ever been away from home for a long time. He knew he would miss the comforts, but mostly, he was afraid he would be killed. Buster playfully jabbed his shoulder. "Richie, you okay?" "Yeah." He attempted a smile. It was weak. "I guess I'm just thinking of all those girls we’ll miss dancing with on Saturday nights." "I should have known," Buster said laughing. "Maybe you will meet a cute lady." Richard blushed. He had already met a girl from Winchester, his hometown. Her name was Marie, and sooner or later he would have to break the news to her. They were dating, but he hadn't promised to date only her. "C'mon, Richie. Don't worry about it. It will work out. In the meanwhile, it’s Saturday night, time for our weekly square dancing down at the Old Mill." Richard smiled and nodded. It was a saloon with a dance floor in the back of the building about ten miles outside of Winchester. ******* Richard sighed as he slipped his arm behind his head. The other men in his outfit were beginning to get ready for another day. He missed Buster who was originally in the same basic training outfit in Ft. Custer, Michigan. They went their separate ways when, in Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, Buster had been transferred to a different outfit. Richard also missed Buster's family. His sister, "Ginny," whose real name was Virginia Patterson Hensley, would later be known to the world as the famous country singer, Patsy Cline. (2) At that point, though, she was just “Ginny” and part of Richard’s home world. The Army was a whole new environment for him. He really enjoyed the travel. He had visited much of Europe, France, Paris, and England. "Hey, Ashley." Most everyone was called by their last names in the military. Richard nodded in acknowledgement and stood, ready for whatever that day held. Chapter Two Newly wed, Warren Delcamp smiled as he wrapped his arms around his wife’s waist while waiting for a bus in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Staring deep into her eyes, he saw the seventeen-year old girl he had just married, as well as envisioned the woman she would become. It was exciting to think about. They had shared four incredible days together, celebrating their new life as husband and wife, and now the cruel realities of war were about to sever their physical oneness, though he knew it could never separate their souls. "Warren, do you have to go so soon? It’s still our honeymoon." Kathryn pleaded with him. "I'll always love you. I'll write every day." He kissed her softly on the lips. Fighting back tears, she watched as her husband grabbed a suitcase and boarded the bus. It would take him to an airport, where he would board a plane for New York. Kathryn was glad she still had her best friend, Thelma. Her husband was also drafted and was a cook in the same outfit as Warren. The days were long and the nights lonely. Kathryn worked in a factory that made parachutes. She anticipated her husband's letters and, as promised, she received one each day. His most recent letter, one month after he’d left, told her that he’d moved to a different location in South Carolina and that she could come and visit him. She could hardly wait to tell Thelma! Hopefully she had gotten a similar letter, and they could go together to visit their spouses. It wasn’t long before Kathryn found out that Thelma had also gotten a letter, and was excited about taking the trip. The women traveled by train and each spent one blissful week with their husbands. In time, the men then moved to two other locations, first to Tennessee where the women joined them and stayed a week, and finally to Columbus, Indiana where the ladies stayed one month. Chapter Three It was one evening after work a few months later when Kathryn went to visit Thelma and found her sitting on her doorstep, her arms hugging her knees and her head lowered. As Kathryn approached the front door, Thelma looked up; her eyes red and puffy, her face long. Kathryn sat next to her friend and put her arm around her. "Walter's dead!" Thelma cried, covering her face with her hands. Kathryn’s throat started closing on her, the fear palpable. "What happened to him?" It took Thelma several moments to compose herself. "Well, you know Walter is a cook..." "Yes," Kathryn said, encouraging her friend to continue. "He and some of the other men in the outfit were in some kind of a cave and..." She began to weep again. Kathryn continued to hug her friend, offering her the support to continue. "...and they were killed in a bombing from a plane overhead. But it was friendly fire. Their own men took them for enemies." Thelma wrapped her arms around her friend's neck, and Kathryn cried along with her. 'War is a terrible thing. I hope it will soon be over,' Kathryn thought.
My parents met in 1945. Both World War II and the Holocaust were about to come to an end, though of course no one knew it at the time. Boris Karloff's The Body Snatcher (1) just made its debut, and the cost of a first-class stamp was $0.03.
This story is dedicated to them, Richard and Kathryn. It’s a love story that began during the worst of times. Now happily married almost 60 years, they have seen their seeds of faith mature as they raised three children and four grandchildren into a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Mom and Dad--I love you and thank you for your love and commitment to God, to your country, and to each other.
Special Childhood Memories By daughter Brenda Stoehr
Right from the beginning, I was a daddy's girl. He and I were both early risers and Brian and Mom were always up late and liked to sleep in. Dad would fix me breakfast, usually toast and hot tea, and sometimes sardines with mustard sauce. We knew that Mom would smell it and get mad, so Dad would take the can outside and throw it away before she woke up. But of course, she always knew.
In the evening the way we had family time was for me to sit in Dad's lap on the chair and Brian would sit on the couch with Mom and watch TV. I would play games with Dad, even though he wanted to rest, but he would do it to pacify me. We usually went to bed early while Brian and Mom would stay up and watch shows like King Kong and Alfred Hitchcock. Everywhere Dad went, I was his shadow.
In my teen years, my dad was always my hero. I remember one night specifically, when Brian went out and Mom wanted him home by a certain time. She didn't see him come in, so Dad went looking for him. He found a man who was being robbed by three men. When the men saw Dad coming, they ran. He saved the man's life. When he returned home, he found Brian home safe in bed.
Another time, in the middle of the night, courageous Dad heard a noise in the drive-way. He ran outside and saw a long-haired young man backing out of the driveway with his car. Dad immediately got his rifle and told the man, "Get out of here!" Scared to death, the man jumped out of the car and ran. Then Dad said to Mom, "Kay, I've got to get bullets for this gun."
Many times Dad was a caregiver. He took care of Ralph Listy, our foster brother who was physically disabled, for my mother (for many years), and in 2005, he insisted on taking care of me after my heart surgery. So, it's no wonder that when his health started failing, I wanted to be there for him. He lived with me for three years while going through many medical challenges. That's when I really got to know my Dad. His strength was so strong, he kept bouncing back after each trial which brought amazement to everyone. He taught me so many things which I'll never forget. He asked me why he had to go to the hospital so many times and I told him, "There is somebody there that needs to know about Jesus." Yes, my Dad, Richard Ashley was definitely in the hospital ministry. Up to the very end, he was a true example for Jesus Christ. I could see the peace of God all over him as he transitioned from this life into Heaven. I know that if anybody is in Heaven, my Dad is. I promised him that I would continue to carry the torch.
Dad, I'll always love you!
The First Man in My Life by daughter Melody Ravert
The Bible instructs parents to Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (3)
My dad, Richard Ashley applied this truth by example. Not once did I hear him say, "Do as I say, not as I do."
He was the best role model. His strength and character was evident even though he was meek and mild-mannered. As we both matured, I discovered a powerful and bold side to his personality as he frequently and openly shared his Christian testimony with others.
Mom and Dad were always supportive of us children and encouraged us to pursue our dreams and goals in music and writing.
Dad shared his love of animals with me and taught me that real men are not afraid to show their soft side through tears, sentimental moments, and how to treat others.
Thank you dad for your love, encouragement and support. Most of all, for showing me how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ!
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