One gray November morning, Jeanette and Stephanie Wiltse walked along the Hudson Riverway at Albany, NY and found themselves where the WWII Destroyer Escort Slater is moored. The restored ship reminded Jeanette of things near and dear. The proud daughter of a Navy man, she asked a crewman just coming ashore if he knew of her father's ship, the World War I Destroyer McCall.

Larry Williams, electrician and tour guide aboard the floating museum, greeted them warmly. He hadn't heard of the McCall, but assured her that the Slater’s historian and director, Tim Rizzuto, would be very interested to see any naval memorabilia she might want to show him. The World War II vet's enthusiasm was infectious.

"He inspired me to look into my father’s log. I’d inherited it years ago, but had never tried to read it. No need - Dad had already told me all his sea stories." said Jeanette.
Thanks to this chance encounter, she discovered that the tiny,
pocket-sized notebook had become too fragile for a 'show and tell.'
The writing was fading away. If she were ever going to revisit her father's memories, much less share them with anyone else,
something would have to be done.

" I made the effort and transcribed it all into my laptop."
When she was done, the retired church secretary had amassed enough memorabilia to fill a book.
" Then my daughter got into the act."

 

 

Stephanie, a long-time desktop publisher, chimed in: "How many of our ancestors have gone from living memory
to just faceless names
in a family Bible
… or nameless
faces in a
photograph?
This was a
golden
opportunity
to preserve my
grandfather’s
memories for
posterity."
The transcription of Roy Moore's log, a poem to his wife and a letter home, 45 photos and mementos were indeed enough to fill a book. Jeanette added a foreword of her own and Stephanie wrote an epilogue – a portrait of her grandfather by a then "four-year-old handful." Their book, "Sailor - A World War I Log" had become the combined effort of three generations.

 

Mother and daughter hadn't forgotten Larry or the crew of the Slater, nor could they forget the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. They dedicated their work on “Sailor” to them. "We wanted to honor my grandfather's military service, as well as the men and women who are still going to war for all our sakes."


Letters home from war are still being written today, much the same as what
Roy Moore wrote to his wife in 1917:

"I think of you both, my dear, every day, and during my night watches, and fully realize that yours is the greater sacrifice, as you know not where I may be while I have a very good knowledge that you are as safe as ever... You must not forget that one does not go from this world a minute ahead of one’s pre-destined time - so I am as safe here as anywhere."

“Sailor - A World War I Log” is available directly from Cinemind or wherever fine books are sold.

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