Toward the end of his life, I asked my 'Uncle Allen' how he met his wife. He shared about how he met 'Irene' at a church social in their neighborhood in New Orleans in the early 1940s. He had been seriously wounded in Guadalcanal in the South Pacific as a young Marine and was using crutches to get around as best he could. He had many inner wounds which needed time to heal, too.
He had no way of knowing when they first met that Irene had suffered her own wartime tragedy. She bravely sought to keep her grief locked away deep inside because thinking about her loss caused her even more sorrow. She needed to be strong because she was the breadwinner for her small family.
Times were tough, but these two unique individuals made it through each day with faith, fortitude, determination, and the sincere hope of something greater just over the horizon. This inspirational short story follows the growth of Allen and Irene's relationship beginning with their chance meeting and leading forward to a lifetime spent together. 'Handmade Hearts' was created to honor this unique couple's love for and devotion to each other in a relationship which spanned seven decades.
This book is completely clean in language and content.
New Orleans, Louisiana
October 20, 1944
Allen wrestled with his heavy wooden crutches. Each step was agonizing. He grimaced as he labored up the stairs of the church's fellowship hall proudly wearing his uniform—a uniform he’d dreamed of wearing since learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
In addition to the almost intolerable and constant pain, the three bullet wounds received from a sniper in Guadalcanal two months ago had wreaked havoc with his plans for his life. Well, at least I still have a life . . .
Dozens of his fellow Marines had not made it out of Guadalcanal alive on that horrendous, life-altering night. Allen felt himself slipping into the abyss of traumatic memories once again. The vivid memories that plagued him daily flashed in front of his eyes. His pulse quickened, and his heart pounded loudly in his ears. He felt clammy and nauseous, and both legs began to tremble.
A woman's melodic voice roused him from his memories of the ambush.
"Good evening, Lance Corporal. May I hold the door for you?"
Allen wondered how long she had been speaking to him before her voice drifted through to his subconscious. He blinked as the details of her face came into focus.
"Uh, what? Yes, I guess you'd better," Allen snapped.
When he recognized the hurt expression on her face, he turned toward her.
"Sorry if I sounded gruff. I just feel so helpless being dependent on these blasted crutches!"
"No need to apologize or explain," she answered in a soothing voice. "Let me introduce myself. I'm Irene Carston."
The author shows that, with love and understanding, hearts can heal, even under the most trying of circumstances. There is a significant meaning to the title Handmade Hearts that makes this tale a tender and inspirational read." ~Patti S., Amazon Reviewer