Doris Gruber was born February 17th 1925 in Savannah, Georgia. At age 17, she left Savannah to enter the Nursing School at Mercy Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland. Graduating in 1945, she practiced as a Registered Nurse in various hospitals in the Baltimore – Washington area. In 1950 she married John Mullings, and over the next 42 years, they made their home in Landover Hills, Maryland. Over time, the couple bore 9 children; 5 girls and 4 boys. After John’s death from lung cancer in 1992, Doris lived in the house alone for a while. In 1994, an opportunity came to sell the house to one of the daughters, Priscilla. Packing all the furniture and household items she thought she might need, she drove her Chevy down to Greensboro, North Carolina, following the rental van driven by her grandson, Justin Paige. Her newly acquired condo awaited her, and she looked forward to a new start at the rest of her life.
Liz is a 17 year old girl from Savannah Georgia. She enters Mercy Hospital’s Nursing School in Baltimore Maryland. It’s Fall of 1941 and the city is fully engaged in preparations for war. Ship-building railroad troop transportation and the presence of several military installations in close proximity keep Baltimore busy. Liz’s room-mate Jo Brennan introduces Liz to a friend of hers Jimmy Stuart. Jimmy is a Corporal in the United States Fifty Army and is stationed nearby at Fort Meade. The two are attracted to each other but find it difficult to meet often due to the pressures of their vocations. Liz has classroom instruction as well as floor duty Jimmy’s duties at his base allow him an occasional week-end leave. Just as their romance warms up it is cooled by the unexpected deployment of Jimmy’s unit overseas. Liz is stunned by this incident but seeing it happen to many of her friends helps to lighten the blow. Her own duty calls her to diligence in study and instruction both in the classroom and on patient floors. Much of the learning is done in Medical Doctor guided tours of hospital wards using patients as the best way for the nurses to understand what the textbooks can’t convey. As the weeks of separation stretch into months letter-writing and photos become the only way to continue the relationship which Liz and Jimmy have established. The letters reveal sometimes in vivid detail how different their lives have become. They are carried along by the history-making events of a World War and the consequences of that event are completely unknown. Following the lives of these two young people is the stuff of this story. Will Jimmy survive the bloody battles that he is facing? Will he come home whole and hearty will he come home at all? And Liz – will she still find Jimmy the smiling blue-eyed sandy haired soldier she’s come to love?
Joseph M Knight