Lois Herr – Author – Dear Coach
November 17, 2009 Steve Terjeson 0 Comments
Author Lois Herr has stopped by to share with us a letter taken from her new book “Dear Coach: Letters Home from WWII.” Please join me in welcoming Lois Herr.
Thank you for having me! In “Dear Coach: Letters Home from WWII” I’ve compiled together a variety of the letters mom and I stumbled across in the attic written to dad by his athletes during WWII, with pictures, scrapbook clippings, newspaper articles and a wide variety of historical information from the time to paint a picture of what life must have been like for these small-town college men and women as not only their country went into war, but so did their friends and family. I hope you enjoy the following letter written by athlete and pilot Wib Raffensperger (featured on the cover of “Dear Coach”) on February 2, 1943 to my father, Coach Ira Herr.
I don’t think that Mrs. Raffensperger ever thought that her little boy would be spending quite a lot of his time enjoying the horrors of war in North Africa, but strange and fantastic as it all may have sounded a few years ago when Disney, Shirk and a short little jerk, were pounding the boards for you, it has sure developed into a lot of possibilities.
I can’t say just where I am in North Africa, but any time you read of a bombing raid by the same kind of airplanes I flew when I was last home, you just sit back and tell your wife, and all the boys that Raff was in there laying those big eggs on Rommel and making it plenty hot for his boys.
To say the least, Coach, it’s plenty rough between dodging bullets and flak, and keeping warm and healthy. I don’t know which is the toughest for the boys.
What your wife taught me in school really comes in handy. I have sort of a head start on the boys when it comes to meeting the women. As for the women— they’re all for pleasing the American Officers. I always remember what you told me as a parting warning and have been pretty lucky. One of my men got a little careless with the women, and as a result he is now in the hospital and a total loss to us as a crew member. The rate is plenty high and he has lots of company.
Take it easy and give my regards to all the boys and Lilly Mae know where I am. Lots of luck and Bon soir.
While none of my father’s letters written back to the athletes have survived the passage of time, it’s obvious from the above that Dad imparted some “fatherly advice” to a few of his boys. As for the mention of my mother, she taught many of the local athletes French when they were students at Elizabethtown High School and therefore they often included messages to her as well in their letters.
I hope you have as enlightening of a time reading “Dear Coach” as I did writing it. Thank you again to the WWII Blog for having me!
Follow the rest of Lois Herr’s virtual book tour by stopping by her official blog to see where she’s headed next!