Hello! I’m Laura Lynn Ashworth, author of the newly released book, “Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack, A True WWII Teenage Love Story.” I have been invited as a guest blogger, an opportunity, which I appreciate. Thank you, Andi of Andi’s Young Adult Books Blog.
“Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack,” is a true story of two teens, Sal, who is on a minesweeper in the Pacific during WWII working out of the radio shack (communications office) deciphering code. His friend, Loretta, is a 15-year girl from his neighborhood in Chicago. They exchange countless letters between 1943-1945, during the final terrifying and climatic years of WWII. Readers get to experience, in real time, what it is like being a teen and young adult at sea during D-Day and the Battle of Okinawa, and what it is like being a teenage girl, juggling jobs and trying to enjoy all that Chicago had to offer back in the ‘40s with friends (while most of the guys her age are fighting overseas). Sal and Loretta talk about their budding romance, family, friends, politics, etc., with frankness and humor. Not many WWII non-fiction books will get you to laugh as much as this one, all while drawing you into romantic twists, turns and drama of one of the most memorable war periods in history.
I have a question I would like to pose to readers of Andi’s Young Adult Books.
Pretend a Hollywood Producer comes to your door (it could happen) and says, “We’re producing this fabulous movie, Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack, and we heard you might be perfect to star in it, trouble is, we aren’t sure which role you would like to play. You have one of three choices. Who would you like to be and why? (Gender doesn’t matter.) Would you be:
Sal, a handsome 19-year old, intelligent and funny. He goes after what he wants in life without a second thought. This includes Loretta and a job on a minesweeper deciphering code for the Navy. He takes no guff from anyone and goes through all the skirmishes of war and life as cool as a cucumber and telling it like it is.
Loretta, 15, who lives with her widowed father and aunts and uncles in a three-flat in Chicago that her extended family rents. She too is intelligent, goes to business school when her friends are going to high school and works as a bookkeeper and stenographer at the various large corporations in the city while her friends are working in factories. She spends nearly every night after work going out with her older sister and friends to jitterbug or play sports like volleyball and basketball.
Your third choice is to be a Hollywood star like Bob Hope or celebrity musicians like Artie Shaw, Bennie Goodman or Cass Daley from the Big Band Era. They travel with the USO (United Service Organization) entertaining American troops around the world from appearances and from radio shows, keeping morale up and making everyone feel closer to home when they are so far away.
Let me know who you would choose to be, especially after you read, “Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack.” You can order a signed copy of my book on my website at www.lauralynnashowrth.com or go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or any estore for an unsigned copy. Ten percent of my proceeds will benefit the USO and VFW (Veterans of ForeignWars).
Excerpt from Book
(Sal is talking to Loretta in one of his letters. He is at the Navy’s “Radio School” at a University in Idaho, learning Morse Code.)
Well, you probably noticed on the envelope that I moved from the land of the Indians to the land of the co-eds. It's only a hick town out in the wilderness, but these “barbecues” out here are really sweet. Get liberty (time off) every Wednesday night for three moldy hours but have every other Saturday and Sunday off.
When I don't get the whole weekend off, I get either Saturday or Sunday off. That's what I call a rosy life. Some nice looking girls go up to these U.S.O. dances. There's only a few that can really wheel it out (dance well), but as long as they have what it takes that's all that counts.
This university is really a nice looking place and I don't know what I'm doing out here. I guess I'll find out sooner or later. We have school eight hours a day and our evenings are rather crowded. If we're not washing clothes, we are compulsed to see a movie. Beefing, beefing that’s the action word in the Navy that really makes you enjoy it. You don't care if you’re here today or shot tomorrow as long as they keep throwing grub at you.
Speaking of grub, it really is delicious and I don't mean maybe. I'll probably come out of here fatter than a hog with all the butter you want and you can just about take a bath in all the milk they sling you. No siree, home was never like this (during the Depression).
Going to school is really a riot. We have two periods of typing, two of procedure and four of code. That code takes quite a while before it's pounded in one's head, especially when it’s as thick as mine. I've just finished my first week of school and I came out all right. Every Friday we have tests in spelling and procedure and I got 3.8 on both. The highest mark you can get is 4.0 so that isn't bad.
Well, “Duchess,” I'm on guard duty right now and I better end this data before I get caught and thrown in the “hoosegow”(military prison).
Lots of Love, Sal
Thank you Andi’s Young Adult Book readers for letting me visit with you for a while. Keep an eye out for my next book, “Beauty and the Beasts…Outrageous Tales of Romance and Redemption.” It should be out by Christmas 2015.
Letters to Loretta From the Radio Shack, A True WWII Teenage Love Story
by Laura Lynn Ashworth
LETTERS TO LORETTA FROM THE RADIO SHACK, A True WWII Teenage Love Story
Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19, and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1946.
Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship.
Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific.
Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends.
Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.
Laura Lynn Ashworth is an award-winning copywriter and political cartoonist. While helping an elderly family member with veterans administration paperwork, she ran across “the letters” and instantly knew of their rarity, freshness and historical significance. Although she received three publishing contracts within two months of sending the letters to major publishers, Ashworth decided to publish them herself on the advice of best-selling authors. She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago.
10% of author proceeds will be donated to the USO and VFW in loving memory of Sal and Loretta.
Online store: http://lauralynnashworth.com/store/
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