In the spring of 1986, I was given an old foot locker with the name Charles Faben Redd and V.M.I. emblazoned on it. Uncle Charlie had just died and the family had gathered in the stately parlor of his home in Studley, Virginia. At the age of 15, I had never inherited anything before and I wasn’t quite sure of what to make of this gift. Aunt Liz made a big production about how the contents of the foot locker were Uncle Charlie’s most prized possessions and he wanted me to have this. I waited until I got home to open that foot locker I expected to find items of great monetary value. What a surprise! Inside the foot locker were very carefully arranged memorabilia from a long time back. A pair of black polished leather boots, a shako, trousers, a thick high collared blouse and coatee. A small box containing VMI collar tags, brass buttons, and a tarnished belt buckle. There was a mouth harp, a bundle of letters, a size-16 pair of track cleats, an old-fashioned Kodak camera, a thick scrap book, and a shoebox full of pictures. My initial disappointment gave way to wonder. I had a perfectly preserved snapshot into Uncle Charlie’s early manhood. The foot locker even smelled like Uncle Charlie. I now had answers to questions about Uncle Charlie I never got around to asking.
Author Robin Traywick Williams offers readers a priceless time capsule in her new book, “The Last Romantic War: How two members of the Greatest Generation survived love and war.” The story centers on the courtship of Flo Neher and United States Army Captain H.V. “Bo” Traywick with the backdrop of World War Two. In the spring of 1942, a young prom trotting girl meets a dashing Army Captain on a blind date at Fort Benning, Georgia. A handful of dates and a daring proposal on April Fool’s day, launch a romance with a fairy tale finish. A three-year pause between proposal and matrimony is punctuated by a roller coaster ride in the events of World War Two. Continue reading