"The War We Knew" is a collection of WWII stories as told by residents of RiverWoods.

The War We Knew: RiverWoods Remembers World War II

Seven of the 75 authors of the book, "The War We Knew; RiverWoods Remembers WWII" were recently featured on the program "207" on WCSH-TV 6 out of Portland, Maine. Click the link below to watch their story. Amazing.... "The War We Knew" is a collection of WWII stories as told by residents of RiverWoods.


Book description from back cover:

Contained within these covers are the wartime experiences of members of what is known as The Greatest Generation , and in reading these stories, we once again understand why. Out of the embers of the Second World War emerge stark stories of combat, tender tales of nursing and support services, and the shortages and sacrifice of the crucial home front, and while the narratives cover a panoply of places and people, the themes of patriotism, hard work, humor, terror and an overwhelming desire to oppose fascism shine through like a beacon in a blacked-out landscape. From profound experiences of struggle, loss and victory, to the everyday and mundane, cast into high relief by the background of a World War, there is so much to learn from this book that readers will come away both proud and hopeful that the spirit of this generation resides in us yet.   

-Samuel A. Southworth   Historian

Behind the scenes: The making of "The War We Knew"

A book written, edited and published by RiverWoods Residents.

Some background on technology and the publication process from the editorial team of RiverWoods residents Marilyn Wentworth, Jack Taylor, and Katherine Southworth 

 We seniors struggle with email, computers, photo enhancements, searching the internet, etc. Your editors were able to use some of this technology to speed up the production of our book, The War We Knew .

Reflections from "The War We Knew" Editorial Team

Jack Taylor, Katherine Southworth & Marilyn Wentworth

The War We Knew: RiverWoods Remembers WWII Editorial Team

We used lots of emails to arrange meetings and share copies of stories and photos. Jack estimates that there are over 1000 emails in his file and many versions of the photos which appear in the book. The treasured photos submitted by our writers were computer-scanned and then enhanced electronically.

Our word processors helped immensely in producing the final text. They helped find typos and some grammatical errors, and enabled us to always have the latest version available.

For final editing, we projected the latest version from Katherine Southworth’s laptop onto the screen in the manner you see in the photo. The three of us looked at the copy together, with one reading aloud. Even each punctuation mark was called out by the reader, usually Jack. When we decided a correction was needed, Katherine made it on her computer and we all could verify it immediately on the screen.

Jack Taylor

Incidentally, we each had read the stories individually several times in earlier versions, but we still laughed together at the humorous parts. We also choked up in the same stories that had moved us previously. These are stories of heartwarming situations, humor, and heroism in battle.

We also used Google on the internet extensively. With it we could locate maps, timelines of events of the War, and photos for possible use in a cover design. We did some fact checking on the internet, such as whether the name of a ship should be preceded by USS. A future use is a PowerPoint presentation of the wartime pictures of the writers.

Katherine Southworth

We had a concern with all this computer use. What if a computer died or was damaged by a flood? To guard against that we made copies on other computers, disks, and memory sticks. We kept these in our two apartments and in the Wentworth cottage as backups.  

In Their Own Voice

 "It would have made history if the torpedo had downed the plane!"
-Stephen Richardson, British Merchant Navy

"The soft roar of planes overhead lulled me to sleep. It was the night of June 5th, 1944."
-Gail O. Bates, Red Cross Worker, in England

"Corporal Henry Kwacz saved the lives of his lieutenant  and four of his fellow soldiers that night."
-Judd Alexander, Armored Infantry

"Older family men and untried 18 year olds were arriving as replacements."
-Fred Jervis, Battle of the Bulge

 "Two fellows, each with a crutch and one leg, raced down the corridors daily..."
-Marian Smith Sharpe, Army Hospital Worker

"Wheee-oooh-wheeee-ooooh-wheeee-ooooh... THE SIRENS. That is the first thing I remember when I think of my childhood."
-Irene Hyland, in Belgium