Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Military Reminiscences

By Chester Campbell

I thought about writing a Memorial Day article, but that was yesterday. Anyway, Ben and Mark have done a more than adequate job of covering the subject. Also, make sure you check out Pat Browning's Memorial Day blog here. If you happened to be around back in the day, as they say, it will evoke lots of memories of times you witnessed. It certainly did for me.

In fact, it got me to thinking about writing a lighthearted memoir about my own military adventures, starting with the events as a kid that led up to my decision to volunteer for pilot training in World War II. War is no joke, but the things our warriors do at times can be pretty hilarious.

While out walking tonight about dark (it's still Memorial Day as I write this), I even came up with a title and an opening paragraph. The title is A Date with Destiny. Now is that dramatic, or what? Here's the first paragraph:

"When I began searching for a title that would capture the essence of my military 'career,' I immediately thought of A Date with Destiny. It seemed to fit. The only trouble is I can't remember her last name. In fact, I'm not even sure her first name was Destiny. But I did date a girl once while I was in the Army Air Forces back in 1945. I don't remember much about the date, except that I was my usual bumbling self. The girl was nice, and I displayed my best behavior. You see, her father was a general at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where I was a lowly Aviation Cadet at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center."

I don't know if I'll keep it, but that's the tone of the project. I wish my memory were a bit less rusty. I can't recall all the circumstances. It was a blind date arranged by another cadet. His girlfriend wouldn't go out without someone to link up with the general's daughter. I think I called her after a day or so, but I never saw her again. I was in love with a girl back home and wasn't interested in any casual relationships.

Come to think of it, that may doom the book from the start. I don't fit the stereotypical picture of the soldier who hops in and out of beds as he travels from place to place. Will a book without sex sell?

What do you think? Should I bare my sole (a soldier travels on his feet) for the world to see? Or should I be a sensible guy and stick to mystery writing?


Ben Small said...

Gotta have the sex, Chester. It's like the frequently seen post on message boards, "It didn't happen if there aren't any pics."

Mark W. Danielson said...

Chester, any story that can humanize what soldiers have gone through is a story worth writing. That's what made Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys such notable reads. If nothing else, do it for your family. Good luck with it.

Chester Campbell said...

Thanks, guys.

Helen Ginger said...

How about doing both? Since you can't remember it clearly, put it in a mystery. Ooh, there are a lot of possibilities!

Straight From Hel