Book Review: Almost Forever by Maria Testa

January 22, 2011

Almost Forever is a book written by Maria Testa.

I love this book. It is a remembrance stone in the wall of my life, though I did not experience this particular situation, others in my childhood came flooding back. The way it is written is so authentic to a child’s eye view , the thinking that kids do in the privacy of thier own hearts.

The book is written in the perspective of a 6 year old girl in 1967, as she and her brother experience the deployment of their father to Vietnam. The father, a medic, copes with his connection to family, as the family at home works to stay afloat. My experience as a military mom and grandma, allows me to say that this is a powerful, authentic, though short read, and the realities are all there.

As a child of divorce at this very age, I found myself again able to recall vividly the experience of a fatherless home, and the lonely ,unstable feel of it.

The mother in this book, like my own did, works hard to make it all work. I cannot give away the part that wretched my  heart most, but then perhaps it would be different for others  anyway. There are places where you think you know what is happening, to be surprised that you were wrong.

Written in a prose, the language is stark and powerful. There is no overt political commentary, but only what a 6 year old might pick up from what she sees around her.  At a park and her mother comments ” lucky kids, I wonder if they even know anybody in Vietnam.” You know they are protesters, but it is not said. The ending is one you will not soon forget.

The child’s eye view is so much more complex than people know. This book is universal , about life, and how we figure out what to do next when we don’t know what to do next. If you want to get a glimpse of the heart of a Military child, a read of Almost Forever, is well worth your time.

You will know even more clearly why we say We Serve Too!

New Year for Camo-N-Kids!

January 16, 2011

Wow, so much has been going on I realized my last post was about Christmas cookies! Sorry all!

Paula and I have been invited to go to San Antonio for an  Army National Guard Yellow Ribbon event the first weekend in February. That means we have lots of work to do to get ready.

We are nearly finished with our newest book The Homecoming Box, which we will be presenting there in Texas. It is going to print, we hope by the end of February, and so the San Antonio group will be the first to pre-view it.  I have had so much fun illustrating this one!

The We Serve Too! kids are growing at about the rate of our grandchildren. As I draw, I can’t help it, they have a life of their own and they are getting older.  I am able to hold back on the growth  somewhat with the drawings (wish I could keep the real thing small a bit longer!)

The kids now have a new batch of friends that are involved in making The Homecoming Box. Our granddaughter Devon decided to name them . I will have to introduce them to you by name when we unveil the book after printing.

We will have a coloring page up on the website of our good friends at Operation We Are Here with all the new kids pictured too, later in February, in time for Valentines Day. Check that in in addition to all the other wonderful resources they have there.

One that our kids have found is fun in the Brat Town Bugle. You can download pages that are like a family newspaper, and then the kids can fill in and send off to their deployed loved one. It is fun for the kids because they can choose what pages to do, sports, school, events, pets, and many others. Here is the link to their menu page for the kids: http://www.operationwearehere.com/Children.html

Happy New Year (OK, so it was two weeks ago…better late than never!)