“Chance and Happenstance” – a World War II-era short story

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and catapulted America into the war, Ella was just past her seventeenth birthday. Up until that very moment when her quiet Sunday afternoon had been torn apart by the steady but frantic words that poured through the radio speakers, the war was just something she heard Pa talk about in passing. Life inside their small but neat brick home outside of the Indiana town of Greensburg was unaffected by the news on the front page of Pa’s paper or before Mama’s favorite dramatic radio show. Living in a house tucked against the woods and surrounded by farmland that was thousands of miles away from the action meant that it had very little impact on the Lansing family. On that Sunday when it all changed, though, they were sitting around the big table that filled the dining room to near-capacity, eating dessert, drinking coffee, and talking about Pastor George’s Sunday sermon. They paid no mind to the orchestral concert playing on the radio; it was just background noise. The signal was scratchy that day, clouds thick between there and where it originated in Indianapolis, but the moment those words, “We interrupt this broadcast…,” cut through the calm reverie of the music and blasted into the room, all conversation ceased. Mama, Pa, Ella, and her younger sister, Louise, all sat ramrod still as the news poured in. Ella covered her mouth in shock but even right then, she knew that she wanted to help.

She meets him in a field hospital in Belgium in 1944. The Battle of the Bulge rages nearby but in his eyes, she finds a small respite from it all. Once he returns to the line, though, will she ever see him again or was it all just chance?

Full story located HERE


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