In “25 Sugarland Road: Letters of Love and War, 1943-1945,” the latest release from the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) Press, author Judy McBride Bentley tells her parents’ story through excerpts from more than 200 letters filled with wonder, anxiety, yearning and a strong sense of family during a time their views of the world and human nature became shattered by the realities of war.
Bob and Luella McBride had been married two months when 20-year-old Bob was thrust into a global war as a medic with the Seventeenth Airborne Division, including helping to defend against the last-gasp German offensive at the Battle of the Bulge. Luella Hart, 19 when she married, relied on her sisters and Bob’s parents for support as a wartime single mother.
As Bentley notes in the book, her father’s letters home “recounted the platitudes about food and weather that would pass the military censors, the radio shows he listened to, the antics of his buddies, the rigors of basic training, and the boredom of waiting. The letters he received from home — from his mother and father, his wife, his mother-in-law, his brother, his grandmother, his aunts, and his friends — sent news of babies, church, canning food, hogs, chickens and relationships under stress. They told of rationing, worries about the draft and those missing in combat, and the comic relief of a baby playing with her toes.”
“25 Sugarland Road: Letters of Love and War, 1943-1945” is available through IHS’s Basile History Market and other places books are sold. For more information about the book or the IHS Press, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.
About the Author
Judy McBride Bentley was born in Indiana. She earned master’s degrees in American Studies and educational psychology and worked in publishing. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington, where she taught English composition and literature for more than 20 years. She is the author of 15 nonfiction books for young adults and two history guidebooks.
Title: 25 Sugarland Road: Letters of Love and War, 1943-1945
Publisher: Indiana Historical Society Press
Size: 6 x 9
Publication Date: March 2021