Step inside the past with a new Vintage Daze Short Story, To Miss Gail Reynolds. This snippet is written for Tuesday Tales, where a group of authors write to a word or picture prompt each week. This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘deepen.’
To stay on target for 2021 writing plans, we’re starting a new story this week. It’s based on some true-life V-Mail letters to Miss Gail Reynolds, from her suitor George Tweed, during World War II.
What’s unusual about this, is the letters I obtained. I’d gotten two other V-Mail letters from two different antique stores – one in Roanoke and one in Watauga. I’ve heard it said that it’s not a ‘collection’ until you have three items. So, I went to the wild world of Ebay to find my third letter.
There I found a collection of 19 V-mails, all to Miss Gail Reynolds. I wanted those letters! I watched that sale like a hawk and ended up getting them. When the letters arrived, I saw that they were sent to Gail when she lived in Munday, Texas – only 160 miles from where I live.
What’s even stranger is where they’re buried. When I started checking into Gail and George, I found that they’d married and moved to southern California at some time. They’re buried next to one another in Riverside National Cemetery – 22 miles from where I lived in California. And even more bizarre – that’s the same cemetery my ex-MIL and ex-FIL are buried in!
Enjoy the snippet here, then go check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.
To Miss Gail Reynolds
Gail Reynolds sat at the piano, sifting through the stack of sheet music, looking for a tune that caught her attention. She hadn’t played anything for several weeks. She knew she should practice something, but she wasn’t in the mood for any of the songs in front of her.
The rumbling of a raspy truck wheezing down the road came into earshot. Gail froze, cocked her head to one side and listened for a few seconds. In a flash she dropped the pages on the piano bench beside her, jumped up and headed towards the door.
A young, nasally voice called to her from the davenport on the opposite side of the parlor. “Running to see if you have a letter from your beau?”
“Oh, Martha, you shush!” Gail tried to keep her irritation from showing in her voice, but she knew she wasn’t successful at it. Her younger sister annoyed her to distraction sometimes.
As she skipped down the path towards the mailbox, plumes of black billowing smoke rolled from the back of Mr. Blair’s postal truck. Usually, she grumbled about the catastrophe that delivered the daily mail, but for once she didn’t mind. The vehicle did announce its arrival in an unruly manner which made it easy to keep track of when the mailman made his stop.
Before opening the box, Gail paused, closed her eyes and sent a quick prayer up to the heavens. Please, Lord, let there be a letter from George. Let him still be safe and alive.
Opening one eye, she slowly opened the door and retrieved the handful of items that Mr. Blair had dropped in their box. Holding her breath, she sorted through the pile, heaving a sigh of relief when a square tan envelope boasting a return address ‘War & Navy Departments, V-Mail Service’ was sitting behind the advertisement for the local department store.
Gail slid her letter into her cardigan pocket and skipped back to the house, kicking fall leaves hither and yonder as she went. She wasn’t going to announce that she’d received a letter, but she knew that her sister would ferret it out anyway, just from the smug smile on her face.
Inside, she dropped the family mail on the kitchen table and hurried to her room where she could read the tiny, cramped lines without prying eyes around her.
After carefully unsealing the flap that held her precious pages inside, Gail sat down on her bed and proceeded to devour the two copied pages enclosed.
October 10, 1944
This being the autobiography of one George Washington Tweed, it is respectfully suggested by the author that you find a nice soft chair in which to recline: it will prove comfortable when you drift off to sleep.
Gail chuckled as she began reading. When George enlisted and went off to war, she knew she loved him. But as she read his letters her love deepened even more as she saw his humor showing through the lines sent across the miles.
Check out the other delightful tales you’ll find at Tuesday Tales.