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161[aloha-donblanding] Re: Stowaways In Paradise

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  • David W. Nicholas
    Jan 29, 2000
      rsrichmon-@... wrote:

      > Dave, that book's (Stowaways in Paradise)the focus of my interest,
      too, ever since my mother read it to me and my sister in 1944 . . . . <
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


      The coincidence is remarkable, if not actually beyond probability.

      I think it must have been the same year (1944) that I read the book. I
      don't recall how it happened to be in the house; if my mother had other
      Don Blanding writings, I was not aware of them. I just happened to
      pick it up one day, and was immediately entranced. I would have been
      nine years old, perhaps younger than the intended audience, but somehow
      the writing struck a chord in me, and I have remembered the experience
      (though with imperfect recall), lo these many years.

      I know how a place and time can capture one, and it's obvious Hawaii
      had that effect on you. It's sad to think you were forced to leave,
      apparently never to return until what must have been a wonderful, if
      all too brief, experience in 1991. Neither Paula nor I has ever been
      to the islands, but we are mindful of the "pull" they can effect on
      those who love them.

      It's interesting you should mention the casual (as opposed to
      deliberate and purposely hurtful) racism reflected in the book. I,
      having not read it for nearly sixty years, and then having filtered it
      through the glasses that a youngster would have worn at the time, have
      no recollection of anything that made me uncomfortable. Clearly, I
      might have a different reaction today.

      I doubt I will be the one to write the sequel you crave. It would take
      someone, I think, who had "been there and done that." I'm not the one,
      and the great American novel in me has not introduced itself in a way
      that allows me to grasp its imperative import.

      You refer to your mother, sister and yourself as "army dependents". We
      in the Navy, the senior service, always preferred the term "Army
      Brats"; we called ourselves "Navy Juniors". And so it goes.

      You're only across the mountains, which happen to be impassable
      tonight. Swing by and say "hello" one day. Paula and I keep an open
      door, and a warm hearth.

      Dave Nicholas
      Fairview (Asheville), NC
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