Sunday, May 5, 2013

Louisville Saturday by Margaret Long

 My mother was a war bride and sailed to the US either in 1945 or 1946 after she got married in Belgium to my father, a GI, and settled for a while with his family in Ohio. Her library is a treasure-trove of old American books. Having visited Louisville briefly I picked up Louisville Saturday, by Margaret Long. The book was first published in 1950 as a Bantam book. I enjoyed Long's writing. Her descriptions of time and place just before I came into this world was enlightening. The strength of men, the keen observations about relationships, the meaning of doing one’s share in the war effort, the babies as a result of it all in colorful detail. Basically she describes in a serious way the effects of war on American women in that time. In it’s time it may have shocked some people that finally a women’s perspective was heard: lonely women and soldiers, all looking like heroes in their military outfits, the longing, the heartbreak, the drunken quarrels between a couple with harsh beatings, prejudice, the fierce longing for independence of these women, the longing to be all they could be. Louisville now known for the Kentucky Derby has an aura of ‘class’ nowadays. Yet in the second part of the 1940’s the proximity of an army camp influenced the whole town. Male longings for some one to love and be loved by, for some one to mold so that they would be exactly as they like their women. The strong if mostly futile effort by women to do what their soul demands and the dichotomy, the chasm between the two that is the real subject. By the way, don't you just love the old covers of pocket books?

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