Historian Vaughn Bornet, 97 years old, has a new book out.Historians in the News
tags: Vaughn Bornet
At age 97, retired professor Vaughn Bornet of Ashland has published a touching and passionate book of love letters between him and his late wife, Beth, called “Lovers in Wartime, 1944 to 1945: Letters From Then, Insights From Now.”
The love affair began at a party where two lonely young people met and quickly fell in love over the ensuing two weeks — he a 27-year old Navy lieutenant at Naval Air Station Alameda, who could be shipped off to the Pacific war at any time, and she a 20-year-old college student and class president at University of Nevada, who was pledged to finish her senior year before marrying.
The two did indeed marry within months, but exchanged deeply felt letters until war’s end. They were only able to be together for the two weeks of their honeymoon in Florida. They went on to a 66-year marriage with two children, with Bornet winning his Ph.D. at Stanford and joining then-Southern Oregon College in 1963 as a full professor and chairman of the Social Sciences Department.
The book is a charming tale of two people of high intelligence and old-fashioned standards of love, finding the life partner they’d both been searching for, all in the pressure cooker of a global war that held them — very teasingly and sweetly — apart.
The 209 letters are immensely readable as we track the development of their bond, flirting and complimenting each other at first, unveiling their strengths and humor, declaring their terms of partnership — and trying to hold back the gushiness of their longing.
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