'Letters from a Hoosier Pilot': Wadesville man's story planned for Evansville Museum | Events
Cheerio and Best Wishes: Letters from a World War II Hoosier Pilot, is the true story of a young boy from Posey County, Indiana, who had a dream to fly. The outbreak of World War II enabled him to fulfill that dream. The story is told entirely through the letters Ralph Schneck wrote to his family and friends, with detailed narrative and commentary that provides explanation and background information.
Ralph’s parents had only ever traveled from Wadesville to Evansville – a mere 16 miles – and he promised them that if he ever got a chance to travel, he would write home and tell them everything he saw and did. True to his word, he wrote hundreds of letters, which describe his adventures as he goes westward to California and New Mexico to be trained to fly bombers. From the United States, he travels via South America and North Africa to England and serves with the Eighth Air Force. The accounts of his journeys and experiences are detailed, ranging from entertaining to spine-tingling, with moments of high drama intermingled with the mundane nature of war.
But the story does not begin with the outbreak of war; it begins in the youth’s formative years, growing up near Wadesville and later working in Evansville. Life was very different in the 1930s. Personal and family hardships were the everyday-way-of-life as Americans dealt with the effects of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. It was these years that molded millions of ordinary citizens into the Greatest Generation.
Don Schneck, co-author of the book, will present a look back-in-time at the 1930s and early 1940s. His presentation will focus on how young people grew up in the rural communities surrounding Evansville, their migration to the “big city,” what they did before leaving to go to war and the role Evansville played in the overall war effort. The presentation will be held at the Evansville Museum at 2 p.m. on June 30.