Kickass, the doorstop dog, reports that the keeper will be talking about his novel “Margaret’s War,” today before the residents of Vista West where he and Phyllis live. It promises to be a tough crowd, including such luminaries as Ted Tibbits who guided the UW project of growing potatoes in space.
The keeper will revive his book-promotion performance of several summers ago when he and Phyllis travelled to libraries all over the state to tell the “Margaret’s War” story that is based on how thousands of German POWs were suddenly face-to-face with the civilian families of the American soldiers they had just been killing.
There were a half-million POWs in the US at the end of WW II, most of them German, and they occupied 38 seasonal camps in Wisconsin communities. One of those communities was Barron where the keeper was born and raised. He has faint memories of the POWs, and of being secretly in love with his Aunt Margaret as she struggled with separation from her young soldier husband who was with the Infantry in Europe.
It took him 50 years or so to do it, but the keeper finally made a novel out of it, and while it got some good reviews, it suffered the fate of most novels from small publishers; and has been relegated to the author’s basement shelves. He will put a copy in your hands if you order one through billstokesauthor.com at the bargain price of $15 plus postage of $4. (That price may not hold once the “Margaret’s War” movie is out.)