Defining Moments : A True Story of War, Family Conflict and Reconciliation

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-07-11
  • Publisher: Textstream

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"Defining Moments" is the compelling true life story of one American soldier's adventures in the South Pacific during World War II. it is a captivating tale of war behind the front lines as revealed through the prism of the more than 300 letters this young G.I. from rural Ohio wrote to his family between the years 1940-45. This memoir, written by the soldier's eldest son, captures in vivid detail Bill Dustman's transformation from a boy into a man. The book presents, In candid detail, The "defining moments" which shaped this young man's life after he was freed from the bucolic, but cloistered environment of his rural hometown to experience an unfamiliar and uncaring world over which he had little control. "Defining Moments" graphically and honestly paints a word picture of Bill's romantic liaisons, his conflicted relationships with fellow G.I.'s, The bizarre, humorous, and even tragic moments that he encountered during his exciting odyssey through the mosquito-infested jungles of Fiji and Solomon Islands To The more inviting tropical beauty of the Philippines. "Defining Moments" traces not only Bill Dustman's physical journey through war, but also his psychological and emotional sojourn as he battled to cope with fear, anger, frustration, self-doubt and sadness because of his long separation from family. This book will resonate with every reader on some very personal level. The portrait that emerges is of a man in search of himself And The meaning of his own existence in a world that no longer made sense to him. But this is also the tale of a family in crisis, whose love and respect for another, So strong during the war years, was severely tested in the post-war years and beyond. We have a front row seat To The drama of a family from America's heartland as it struggles to retain the closeness that once bound them together, but which began to crumble due to unfortunate and unforeseen, but preventable, circumstances. This is an inspiring story of survival, sacrifice, faith, hope and in the end, reconciliation.

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The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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The center of my father's universe, As a boy growing up in Bucyrus, Ohio, was his family. His parents instilled him early in life with an abiding respect of and appreciation for family. The Dustmans did everything together. They ate together. They worshipped together. They spent their evenings together listening To The radio or playing games. They visited relatives together on the weekends... the realization that America was at war had started to sink in. Camp regulations were getting stricter. Amenities, like radios, irons, electric razors, sheets and pillow slips gradually were taken away. Dad reported that the present conditions in camp had been reduced To The bare necessities. "I never thought a sheet could mean so much, but now that I know it might be months before I see one again, it seems that those two sheets on my bed, As dirty as they were, have gone from me like a departed friend," my father lamented. The road ahead, he knew, would be tough, but it would be a great experience and one this young country kid from the Midwest would remember For The rest of his life... "My saddest moment as a child was when Bill went overseas," recalled his sister, my Aunt Dort, during a conversation I had with her in 2010. "It was a very sad and troubling time for me." My Aunt remembers her mom whistling as she went about her daily housework, but it stopped when her son shipped overseas, not to resume until five years later, when an older, and much wiser Bill Dustman walked through the front door of the family home on East Street... If medals were awarded to G.I.s who made the most trips To The infirmary, my father would have been the most decorated soldier in World War II. His pervasive health problems ran the gamut from ring worm to ear pain, sinus trouble, dry sockets from tooth extractions, gum disease, stomach infection, An ear fungus and a lip blister caused by blowing on his saxophone. The good news was there was no mention of hemorrhoids as one of his afflictions... During his tour of the South Seas' Islands, dad came across many interesting characters. For instance, there was his laundry lady, Fanny, a big and robust native woman who stood about six feet tall and tipped the scales at around two hundred twenty five pounds, with most of her bulk pure muscle. "Her biceps are twice as large as mine and as solid as a rock," dad noted, very impressed with Fanny's physical stature. "She wears no shoes and her feet are very wide; I'd say about 16 EEEE. She does a fair job of washing our clothes and loves gum and cigarettes." When dad made reference to Fanny's tremendous size, she replied: "Big woman no good. Sweat too much. Always hot. Big coconuts (breasts) always get in road."... One of my father's favorite things to do in the Philippines was to stop at the Chinese market on the way to his friend, Pablito's home on Antonio Rivera Street. He enjoyed browsing the myriad of booths where a variety of items were sold. Passing through the market one day, a gasoline lantern caught his eye, since he only had candles to rely on for light at night. Dad was leery about even asking the price, since he had had problems in the past with what he called the "profiteering Chinese." Finally mustering up the courage he asked the Chinese vendor, "How much?" Without any hesitation the Chinaman quoted a price of one hundred and sixty pesos, which despite its Swedish brand name and apparent high quality, still was not worth more than fifty pesos to frugal Bill. "So I gave him my offer of fifty bucks," dad related. "He not only refused my offer, but turned his back on me and chuckled. This made me angry, no damn Chink (Oriental Jew) can laugh at me and get away with it." Dad made a bee-line to Pablito's to tell his friend how he had been insulted. Pablito strapped on his gun, called a couple of his friends And The four of them headed back To The market to confront the vendor. "Paul (Pablito) was walking faster than usual and he didn't utter a word, So I knew there would be some action," dad reported. "By the time we reached the Chink's stand there were at least twenty people following us." Dad saw a look of terror in the Chinaman's eyes as the group approached his stand. Pablito yelled at the trembling vendor for a few minutes. Then one of dad's group, a guy named Agung, let go with a terrific right cross To The Chinaman's eye which left a black mark and severe cut. Pablito told dad to lay down fifty pesos and take the lantern, which he did... the next day dad and a few of the men walked the battlefield, which was littered with bomb craters, fallen trees And The bodies of dead Japanese soldiers. The G.I.s came upon Japanese warehouses filled with rice and other supplies, even a baby buggy. "There was also evidence of women there," dad observed. "Their army carries girls called Geishas For The men. Some women snipers were also used. I thought I'd bring back a lot of souvenirs. They were plentiful, but I brought none." A few days after the U.S. military took Munda, The Marines came in with their tanks and other equipment. Life magazine photographers captured the moment for posterity as young, able-bodied Marines made their triumphant landing on the island. "The things I saw yesterday filled my heart with sadness and turned my stomach, So much so I had to leave," dad recounted of his battlefield tour. "I had heard war is hell and have experienced a very small part of it. it caused me a restless night."... Dustman Coal & Supply Company continued to flourish in the post-war period. The business attracted new customers, revenues increased and profits soared. The pendulum began to swing the other way with the advent of natural gas. This new method of heating homes and businesses began to take its toll on the old coal yard, As impending doom hung heavy in the air. Natural gas was cheaper, cleaner and more efficient than King Coal. Grandpa's customers began to desert him in droves and took with them the much needed revenue to keep the lights on, The trucks moving And The employees working. However, The rapid reversal of fortunes forced cutbacks in staff and wholesale reductions in other business operations. The demise of the business, which he had poured his heart and soul into for nearly twenty years, caused profound changes in grandpa's behavior. Always a moderate drinker, George T. started to drink more often and in greater quantities--at home, at work and in public. John Barley Corn became grandpa's best friend and constant companion. The once jovial, out-going and charming man everyone knew and respected became a man imprisoned by alcohol... My aunt, who already had her plate full caring for a husband and three kids, asked my father for his help. Dad told his sister that their mother was her responsibility and he wanted nothing to do with it. My father's belligerent attitude was a sharp contrast To The loving son and brother who had written such adoring letters to his mother and sister during World War II...

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