Excerpts from Our Fathers’ War

Georgian Bay, September 1, 1939

The children were playing on the lawn in the dark. Red and yellow northern lights spread like wings above them twenty miles wide over Georgian Bay.

Inside Stone Cottage, a red-haired woman in a black Chinese silk evening gown, embroidered with a dragon in red and gold on the back, was seated at an upright piano playing the rondo of the Waldstein Sonata, while her son Grant turned pages. Eleanor Giovanelli’s right hand repeated the five-note theme while her left pounded heavy bass counterpoint. ‘It’s like stomping ants,’ Grant thought. The boots trudged on, ants running up the bare leg, and he smiled. His mother looked up at his dark-haired head, glad that they were close.

Through the open French doors the shouts of the children came, “Look, it’s a bird.” Eleanor Giovanelli finished the rondo and they ran out the door. “It looks like the German imperial eagle,” said her husband Ferdie. As he said this, his hand rubbed the thick scar on his neck where the German shrapnel had entered, almost killing him at Ypres.

Read the first sixty-five pages.