Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Serendipity of Friendship

During the Christmas season, I heard from Mary Lu Keef who was once the eight-year-old little girl who gave me many insights into life at Camp Aliceville during World War II. She wrote, "I have to tell you that, as a result of your book, I heard from two former Aliceville classmates that I had not seen or heard from since we moved away (from Aliceville) in 1945! Thanks to e-mail, I am now in contact with them."

In 1942, Mary Lu's family moved from New York state to Alabama so her father could take a civilian employee position at Camp Aliceville during the war. Her mother also worked at the camp hospital, and Mary Lu attended Aliceville Elementary School during that time. It was quite a change of culture and experience.

Mary Lu also wrote that she had recently found her father's Camp Aliceville pass and other ID cards belonging to him at the time of the war. She is considering visiting Aliceville in May 2008, when former German POW Hermann Blumhardt may visit with his friend John Gaffey. Hermann's wife Katie, who also provided many memories and insights for the book, was hospitalized a few months ago with a heart problem, but she has made a successful recovery and plans to visit their children in Michigan in May.

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