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Read an excerpt from Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack: A True WWII Teenage Love Story by Laura Lynn Ashworth

JANUARY 1, 1945

Hello, Honey:
Happy New Year, sweets, and may this one reunite us together again “for better or worse” (preferably the former, without any doubt whatsoever). How's that for starting off the year with nothing else but a letter. Well, that's about all I can do out here, although I wish I could think of something to remedy the situation. About ten minutes of 1945 has already passed and can you imagine I'm soberer than a judge could possibly ever think of being. Well, it isn't my fault if they locked up the paint locker and thus removed my last chance of having any intoxicated drink. Maybe you don't know it but this now makes my third Christmas and New Year's Eve in a row that I've been soundly sober. What a Hell of a habit to get into, don't you think?
First one in “boots,” second one on Midway, this one on the sea and now I'm hoping on the fourth one will be back in “Chi” in ‘45 but still alive. After all, I just have to get out of this monotonous habit or I'll be swinging at bats in my belfry.

I just wonder what you're doing about this time, oh well, what I don't know, won't hurt me (I hope).
I just received three letters from you just about three hours before midnight and was I ever happy, Honey. Those pictures were like two quarts of Haig & Haig to me, and the way you said “especially of the two hoods,” was really flabbergasting. Of course I was happy to see their friendly faces again (what did they just get through drinking, a barrel of wood alcohol?), but not one tenth as tickled as when I saw that chic picture of you again on that bicycle and in a bathing suit to boot. My, my, ain't that lovely. But what's the idea of saying “do you remember the bicycle?” You're just a natural born “kibitzer,” you sweet angel.

Say, don't go throwing the kisses at too many of my friends or else they'll soon be my enemies. By the way, do you still remember that number (very mellow) from a few years back called “Jealous”? Very “neat,” indeed, and that applies to the receiving end of this letter also.

I just got off an eight to twelve watch and what a way to end a year, don't you think? I should really be getting some “rack-time” since I have to get up very early today, but I'd willingly give up almost any amount of sleep (“without strain or pain”), just to be nearer to you in some way or another.

Before I forget, you never told me that you were such a talented artist. I sure liked the way she fit in the dress. Don't be afraid to send a few more sketches in the future ‘cause I just “gobble” them up.

I'm sure glad that we more than made up after that silly parting the last time I was home (that was just about when inauguration of Lincoln was taking place, I believe). But “you can believe you me,” that you're in for the time of your life when “We'll Meet Again” (“Woodchopper Herman's” arrangement), and I have reason to believe it'll be not so far away.

Well, Honey, my “blinkers” are blinking a bit too much so I had better put them out of commission for a few hours.

Con Amor, Amor, Amor, Slabby

About the Book

Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19, and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1945. Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship. Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific. Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends. Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.

About the Author

Laura Lynn Ashworth is an award-winning copywriter and political cartoonist. While helping an elderly family member with veterans administration paperwork, she ran across “the letters” and instantly knew of their rarity, freshness and historical significance. Although she received three publishing contracts within two months of sending the letters to major publishers, Ashworth decided to publish them herself on the advice of best-selling authors. She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago. 

You can reach Laura via: Website | Facebook | Twitter Goodreads



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