May 31, 1943
She was too late.
Heidi Wetzel paused at the corner to catch her breath. A line stretched out of the greengrocer’s market and snaked halfway down the block, ending four feet in front of her. She’d hurried for nothing. Deflating with a sigh, she took her place at the end.
The clerk at the creamery had mentioned a delivery of fresh strawberries, her first chance of the year for the tasty treat. Her mouth had watered at the thought of biting into a plump red berry, its juice dribbling down her hand. She shook her head to dislodge the craving. With a line like this, by the time she got inside they’d likely be gone.
A small bottle of milk and a wedge of cheese resided in her shopping net. She needed to get them home, but she’d wait. Wait and hope. At least she could get the one egg allowed her during this ration period.
As her mother often admonished, she must be grateful for what she had. The war threatened to drag on a lot longer; these shortages would get worse.
The woman ahead of her raised a baby to her shoulder. Big blue eyes blinked at Heidi, prompting her smile. A tiny hand clutched his mother’s sleeve. Heidi stroked a gentle finger on the soft skin. The baby giggled.
Tears sprang to her eyes. The happy sound slashed at her soul like knives. If only he was her child. Motherhood threatened to remain an elusive dream as long as the war raged.
The first Girl Scout badge I received was the Writer. I enjoyed writing stories in notebooks which, thankfully, have not survived. These days I write historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest (Book 1) and 2013 First Impressions (Book 3), as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist (Book 2). Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, I live in Wisconsin where my research included going for a ride in a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.
Friends and Enemies was inspired by a batch of letters written in 1947-48 by distant cousins in Germany who were receiving care packages from my grandparents. I don’t know anything about their beliefs concerning Hitler and the Nazis, but I created a family to be proud of. I elected to feature the B-17 because airmen were the only Allied military men in Germany at the time. (They ended up in Germany because they were shot down.)
Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps me occupied as an associate editor.
World War II rages across Europe, particularly in Germany, claiming the life of Heidi Wetzel’s husband. In a bid to escape her grief and the frequent bombings of German cities, Heidi and her sister flee Hagen to a farm in the German countryside, where they help care for orphaned children. While there, Heidi comes across an American airman, Paul, with whom she spent time when her family was living in Milwaukee during her high school years. When Paul’s plane is shot down over Germany, his only thought is survival—until he hears God’s voice guiding him to his late wife’s friend. Aiding a downed airman is punishable by execution. What should Heidi do?