Dear Willy, The Story of a Life Well Lived
Genre: Currently #54032 in Best Sellers Rank for Books, Biographies & Memoirs, Historical
Publication Date: December, 2015
Submitted by author for review
Dear Willy-The Story of a Life Well Lived-Attractive cover conveys content
An example of a real labor of love is the book “Dear Willy, The True Story of a Life Well Lived” by Claire Ohlsson Geheb, the primary editor compiling the letters written by Willy Oswald Geheb to family back home and painstakingly translated from old German script to English.
The book wholly comprises letters to and from Willy and his family from 1914 to 1947, carefully saved and packed in an old suitcase. John, one of Willy’s three sons discovered the treasure trove, describing the desperate search for work, income, safety, living conditions, and later that of WWII and the aftermath. They set about translating and organizing in chronological order the letters that follow Willy’s search for a better world in which to live his life.
Leaving the family farm in the village of Schmirma, Germany, Willy emigrated first to Brazil, then Mexico, and finally to Chicago, Illinois, USA, where he became an American citizen in 1934, found a bride and settled in to raise a family of his own. It is a story played out in touching letters with brief editorial explanations, comments, maps, pictures, and historical side notes along the way by Mrs. Geheb.
What should have been a joyous time of reunion, the end of WWII instead spelled the wrong side of the wall in Germany for the Geheb family, who found their salvation and their very lives dependent upon their now German-American son, brother, uncle, and cousin in their frantic need for goods from food staples to shoes.
It’s a story few of us are familiar with, if or when we read of the life of the Germans following the end of the war under Soviet rule. It’s another whole side of humanity, the story of which is somewhat lacking in all the war stories since. Still, it’s a struggle won by the familial connection never lost of a prodigal son.
This book was given me in exchange for an honest review. Recommended reading for anyone missing “this side of the story” (which is most all of us).
Rosepoint Rating: Five of Five Stars
Author Information: Claire Ohlsson Geheb is the editor of Dear Willy composed of letters to and from her father-in-law to his family in Germany. Though her husband, John, found the suitcase thirty years ago, the early journals and letters required the help of a German script specialist before they could be translated and organized. ©2017 Virginia Williams