Residents at Woodland Pond, a continuing care retirement community in New Paltz, just released Wartimes Remembered, a collective array of true stories based on their personal experiences during World War II and the Korean War. The 178-page book is available for purchase on Amazon and contains 37 memoirs from seniors recording historical accounts in a new light. Woodland Pond will host a launch party on July 4 at 3:30 p.m. to celebrate the release of the book and the collaborative effort it took to make the publication possible.
Two Woodland Pond residents, Ray and Anne Smith, initiated the project. Pete Johnston, who had previously worked for the United Press and the New York Times, volunteered his services as managing editor for the project.
“When the veterans and residents in the community found out about the book, we were all eager to contribute our stories,” said 80-year-old Jay Bishop, a Korean War veteran. “I submitted two stories — one from my childhood experience during World War II and the other from my time serving in the Korean War. We all had fun assembling the stories together. After 13 months of hard work, the book is finally made available to the public.”
Wartimes Remembered is a compilation of unheard stories. It includes protecting and saving art during the war, extreme cases of collecting scrap metal, civilian work in Japan after the war, the impact of 1940s photography on children, stories of loved ones lost at war, family travels from Europe to America, missions overseas to deliver supplies and bring home troops, and warfare efforts on the home front.
Halema Hassan also worked closely with Johnston on writing projects in the community. She learned of the project through Johnston, and contributed her time and energy to interviewing veterans, as well as compiling and editing their stories. Hassan described Johnston as beloved by all in the close-knit community where everybody knows each other. Johnston passed away a few weeks before the book was officially available. But before that, the Smiths were able to present him with the first hard copy proof of the book. As a way to honor Johnson and recognize his contributions, the residents chose to dedicate the book to him.
All of the proceeds from the book will be given to the Woodland Pond Foundation to benefit residents at the community.