A Book Full of Memories

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A Book Full of Memories

Posted on September 3 by Jennifer Maruno
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I looked forward to visiting the Normandy coast this July, especially after seeing the amazing D-Day commemorative ceremony on television. World War II played a very big role in my life. My father's friends had all been soldiers, my mother worked in London, England during the blitz. I had Scottish relatives bombed in Glasgow, and unknown relatives buried in war cemeteries in strange sounding places like Kuala Lumpur.

My father remained with the militia after the war ended. We visited the amazing armories in St. Catherines Ontario for Christmas parties, where the tree reached the ceiling of the parade hall. We participated in summer picnics and ran races for prizes while the men sat under the trees to "fight the war all over again".

In France I saw a different side of war, the remains of war destruction such as the ruins of the Dieppe cathedral and the bullet ridden cenotaph of Arras in the middle of the town square. I saw the beautifully tended graves of those who did not get back home, the silent crosses that stood above them and the rows and rows of roses that are planted in front of them. In every flower box, store window and village square we saw Canadian flags. School children from all over Europe and Britain had each taken the time to pay tribute to one soldier, covering the memorials with poppy filled wreaths, small balsa wood crosses, poems and letters.

Each day in France I thought of my Dad and how happy he would have been to see the tributes of remembrance and thanks. When we visited the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy I stood in front of the diorama for there he was! A complete replication of what he did as a signals officer.

Kid Soldier was written from the memoires left to me by my father. My trip to France brought it even closer to home and when I returned to find out my novel for children had been nominated for the Rocky Mountain Children's Book Award I felt the circle of memory would now be complete for just like those children across the ocean, the ones on the Canadian side would be able to read to remember.

Jennifer Maruno

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Jennifer Maruno photo

Jennifer Maruno

Jennifer Maruno is a long-time educator and author. Her debut novel, When the Cherry Blossoms Fell, was shortlisted for the Hackmatack Award and the Pacific Northwest Library Association Young Readers Choice Award. She lives in Burlington, Ontario.