A TALE OF GRATITUDE
In the film, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey longs to hear the sounds of “anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles.”
These were the sounds Patrick Logan (Thailand 1984-86) also longed to hear. To his father, however, they meant separation from the things he held dear. He’d fought in Italy during WWII and had survived through luck and by writing letters almost daily to the woman he’d married just before shipping out.
In contrast, his youngest son eagerly sought overseas adventure, initially as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Once in Asia, he stayed. Following his father’s death, Patrick inherited those wartime letters, and in them he learned much about the man from whom he’d grown distant, emotionally at first and then geographically. He decided to trace the route his father had taken through Italy, guided by passages from those letters, and by books on his father’s division’s combat history.
Along his way to Desenzano in northern Italy, Patrick encountered many with their own memories of the war: Angelo Filosa recalled members of the 349th Regiment handing out chocolate in Trivio; and the frail, white-haired woman in San Miniato’s church of Santissima Annunziata told him she’d been called “pretty, like a German girl” by the Wehrmacht soldiers occupying her town.
Other encounters were more poignant: the two elderly women of Campodimele who kept their backs to the chilly north wind and their wartime memories to themselves; and the man walking slowly along Rome’s Via Rasella, who paused to share his own personal tragedy — the execution of his father by the Nazis.
A blend of memoir, history and travelogue, Every Day Since Desenzano details a son’s discovery of his father’s greatest gift: the importance of gratitude. Patrick had wanted to hear George Bailey’s anchor chains and crossed the world in search of them, only to realize later (through his research and writing of the book) that his father’s words and deeds had become anchor chains, not ones to hold him back, as he had once believed, but chains that have given him a kind of philosophical mooring.
The book includes forty-two pages of excerpts from his father’s wartime letters and journal, making it a collaborative project.
Money from the sale of the book will go to charities in Laos.