|At the end of World War II, Ron Jessip had seen but a few months of actual combat. So it was late in 1946 that he came home. Home for him was a squalid little railroading village in south-central Pennsylvania. Ron's homecoming was a complexity of the emotions and experiences that were common to many. Deep inside him was a decent kid who had a plethora of demons. Some memories of the War; some of his own invention. Many were inherent to the society that was his lot. Early in his search for acceptance 'somewhere', Ron met a girl. Many years before, she'd idolized him from a distance as her secret 'silly school-girl crush'. This wallflower, several years his junior, had grown into a lovely, innocent, unbelievably sweet yet knowing young lady with a driving ambition and proclivity to become a nurse. Possibly not since Nordhoff's and Hall's The High Barbaree (1945) has a love story of such tenderness and simple beauty been told of WWII. |
Norma Lee (the aspiring nurse) managed to 'chase' many of Ron's 'demons'. She was able to build a bridge across the schism in Ron's past life which denied him solace at home. She simply accepted without judgement, his past social transgressions.
However, 'happy marriage' was not theirs to attain. Several horrible quirks of merciless fate forced Ron to grope for 'Home' in a totally unexpected quarter. Not until the Epilogue does the reader 'see' the young lovers possibly realize their very personal secret slogan, "Love Eternal."