I have been asked to share my experience in writing my book about my father, Ronald J. Linginfelter, and his experiences in WW II. I wanted to write this book for years, and finally got to it about five years ago. Dad was inducted into the Army in December of 1942 and was separated from the Army in October of 1945. The writing of my book became a passion. I mainly wrote it for my family in hopes that it will be passed down from generation to generation. The name of my book is “Come With Me – My Father’s Journey During WW II”.
It took me a little over three years, off and on, to research the book. I started my research from Dad’s Separation Papers. I also talked to Dad quite a bit about his experience in the war, but, needless to say, when writing this book, I wish I would have asked him many more questions about the war. I then read three books that dealt with the 99th Division (Dad’s Division), and the Battle of the Bulge, in which Dad participated. I hit the jackpot when I found a book written by Maj. Gen. Walter E. Lauer entitled “Battle Babies”. Lauer was Commander of the 99th Infantry Division. This book was a treasure trove of information, complete with an itinerary of the 99th. Another book was “Holding the Line at the Battle of the Bulge – Infantry Soldier” written by George W. Neill. Neill was in the 99th Division, and was an infantryman like Dad. From Mr. Neill’s book I discovered the name of the ship Dad went overseas on. It was the ‘Marine Devil’. I even found a picture of the ship on the net.
There was quite a bit of information on Dad’s Separation Papers. As an example, there was a box that had ASR 88. I researched what this meant, and discovered it stood for Advanced Service Rating. This was a Rating Point System for when a soldier was eligible to come home from service. A soldier had to have at least 85 points to come home, and Dad had 88. If he hadn’t had enough points to come home, he might have had to go to Japan.
My research also included watching TV documentaries about the Battle of the Bulge and the internet. The research I printed from the internet was about a foot tall. Many times I would spread out all the material on my dining room table, look at it, and put everything back because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to start writing my book. Then a friend of mine told me I was looking at it the wrong way – not piece by piece. So I then put each chapter of material in a separate folder in chronological order. I then picked up the first folder and started typing. It was that one suggestion that broke my writing block. It took me about 3 months to write the book. Most days I spent 8 to12 hours a day typing. Two nights I stayed up all night and typed.
The book was formatted and printed through the website, “Bookbaby.com’. The book’s cover was designed by my cousin, Dan Linginfelter. When I first started typing, I referenced the material from which excerpts were taken. I then decided that referencing the material was such a bother that I wouldn’t publish my book. I went back to my original reason for writing the book, which was mainly for my family.
My grandson, Preston Bunch, was 10 years old when I wrote the book. He has always had an interest in history. He immediately took the book to his teacher, Mrs. Derringer. She took it home and read it. Then she asked if I would come to school and give a talk to Preston’s class about the book. Preston was so excited that his Grandma was an author and was giving a talk to his class. The teacher let Preston stand by me and pass around the handouts that I had. You couldn’t wipe the smile off Preston’s face!
The picture below is from the day that I gave my speech at Preston’s school. This picture was in his 4th Grade Newsletter. One of Preston’s classmates went home and told her mother that she wanted to be an author like Preston’s grandma. Needless to say, I thought that was pretty cool that I had given a little girl inspiration to write.
I could share much more about my experience of writing this book, but you get the gist. I know Dad is in heaven saying, “Good job, Princess”!!!