Following the 2006 death of her father, Aarol W. "Bud" Irish of Saginaw, Teresa Irish opened the Army trunk that had resided in the family home her entire life.
There, nestled in row after row, were her dad's nearly 1,000 letters from World War II. Visited only by him over the course of six decades, the letters were postmarked from November 1942 to December 1945.
The fragile and yellowed pages were written to Bud's parents back in Hemlock, and to the sweetheart who would later become his wife, Elaine Marie Corbat. From lonesome, moonlit nights listening to the Hit Parade, to the foxholes and front lines in Germany where Bud would receive the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, to correspondence with the heartbroken mothers whose sons died by his side, this is a moving and historic story of life and loss, hope and perseverance, unwavering faith, and true love.
"A Thousand Letters Home, One WWII Soldier's Story of War, Love and Life," written and published by Bud's daughter, is comprised of 320 of his poignant letters and 104 corresponding photographs.
Teresa Irish will give presentations on the book next week at three local venues. She is scheduled to speak April 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Alpena County Library and April 10 at 4:30 p.m. at Alcona County Library, Harrisville branch. She also will do a "meet and greet" April 10 from 10:30 a.m.-noon at Olivet Book & Gift in Alpena.
Hardcover and softcover copies of "A Thousand Letters Home" will be available for purchase and signing.
Author Teresa Irish
'A Thousand Letters Home'
- April 9, 6:30 p.m., Alpena County Library
- April 10, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Olivet Book & Gift, Alpena
- April 10, 4:30 p.m., Alcona County Library, Harrisville branch
The firsthand account through the eyes, heart and words of one soldier mirrors the journeys of many who served in WWII. At every opportunity, Bud poured his thoughts and feelings into his letters, all amidst reassuring words to loved ones a world away.
Unable or perhaps reluctant to recount what they had experienced, many veterans chose to spare their loved ones the detailed atrocities of war these would be their own personal burdens to bear for the remainder of their lives. Bud foreshadowed this in a letter to his parents written from Europe on Feb. 4, 1945: "Heaven knows they [soldiers] don't want anything more on earth than to get it over and go back to their loved onesWe don't want anything extra when we get home, but just want to find everything as we left it and forget everything that's happened or we've seen over here"
"A Thousand Letters Home" was named Reviewer's Choice by Midwest Book Review, Small Press Bookwatch. Teresa Irish has been a featured speaker/author at over 60 events in five states in 2012, and appeared on ABC News, NPR, The National Defense, Veterans Radio and Military Author Radio. The story of the "journey of the letters" has been reported in newspapers throughout the country.
The book's introduction, as well as letter excerpts and a photo gallery, may be viewed at www.AThousandLettersHome.com.
A resident of Northville, Teresa Irish is the third youngest of the 10 children of Bud and Elaine Irish. She graduated from Michigan State University in 1984, and has worked in higher education administration, the staffing industry, and most recently as a vice president for a national home healthcare and hospice company.
She retired in April 2012 to devote her time to sharing the positive, life-affirming message of the "journey of the letters" through speaking engagements and book signings at various venues. Irish is married to LTC Bradley J. Foster, USAR, who is currently serving as chief, Joint Training Operations, U.S Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C.