Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack,
A True WWII Teenage Love Story
Outrageous Tales of Romance & Redemption
By Laura Lynn Ashworth
Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19,
and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1946.
Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship.
Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio
shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific.
Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while
holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends.
Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.
Sal is 19, smart, handsome, Italian and ready to enlist in the Navy in the midst of WWII. Loretta
is 15, introverted and lovely, living at home with her widowed father and older sister, Delores.
Both from the same Chicago neighborhood, Sal and Loretta’s interest in each other is just
budding when he gets a gig in the communications office on a minesweeper in the Pacific,
which is destined for two dangerous operations, D-Day and the Battle of Okinawa.
What are two teens on the verge of love going to do? See for yourself when you read their uncensored, real-time letters in Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack.
Well, this might seem a bit strange (of course it really depends on how you look at it) but I just
wrote you a letter three or four days ago (I'll be damned if I can remember which). It just so
happens that our faithful reliable and what not mail plane ran into a slight accident and had to
discard the mail it was carrying from our little “pebble” into the deep blue sea. As I was about to
say before, I don't know for sure whether my letter addressed to one sweet chick was on it or
not but just to be on the safe side I'm dropping you another line. After all, I can't afford to break
our “love affair” once we have it rolling again after a twelve month recess, now can I?
I went over to the other island this afternoon to listen to our Navy Band out here and man, are
they really mellow. They were (the band of course) all from big time bands before the war broke
out and they know their business. They have a few sweet arrangements of “G.M.” (Glen Miller)
and boy, when they play them how do I long for Chicago and old times. Getting on the jumpy
side, they have “G.M's” “American Patrol,” Count Basie's “One O’clock Jump” & Bobby
Sherwood's “Elk's Parade.” When I hear the above three records (pardon me, I mean
arrangements) my blood starts tingling and my toes start doing handstands ‘cause they are
really “alreet” and three times as mellow. I have seemed to forgot, slightly, the knack of rug-
cutting but with a sweet chick like yourself to put me back in the groove again it wouldn't take
me over three seconds. I hope I'm not taking a lot for granted but I'm sure counting on you to
help me steer myself right (steer—I don't mean cattle, either), seeing that you're getting to know
the art of “toe-tangling”(dancing) backwards, so don't leave me down.
There's nothing on this island but lovely moonlight and nothing else. It really is a shame to leave
it to go to waste like this, but that's old Mother Nature for you. I had better close for now but my
love for you is quite perpetual so write again but soon.
Love & the Sweetest Dreams, Sal
August 11, 1944
Just received your letter and was very happy to hear from you again.
Say, did you know that Dolores has a new steady boyfriend? Yeah! She's at it again.
But this time it's quite for keeps. He was wounded, but in France about three weeks ago.
Both of his legs are in a cast and he has a “slight” chest wound. Dolores expects to marry him on his next furlough. I'm going to stand up at the wedding. (Some wedding.)
Say did you really mean every thing you wrote in your former letter or were you first “spoofing”
me? By the way, are you old enough to go to nightclubs now or am I kidding? Say, Slabby, I
came to think of it, did you know that you were the first fellow I ever kissed?
And, remember the “helluva” time you had trying. Spelling games and such.
And you know, you asked me something else, but at that time I didn't know what you were talking about. But I know now and it makes me laugh now as to how dumb I was then. Oh yes! I'm changing little by little. Now don't think I'm throwing hints but my sister and I made a little wager of five “bucks” that I would have a “steady” by my eighteenth birthday and I say I will. She thinks I'll never get one because I'm so “cold” towards the fellows. But I think I know what I want, so why “play up” to ever T.D. & H
(Tom, Dick and Harry).
I'll have to close this letter now but I'll be expecting to hear from you P.D.Q. (Pretty Damn Quick)
Love and that one kiss from me,
The Romance & Mystique of Letter Writing
It’s funny…I put together a book of real time, real life letters between two passionate young
adults from the WWII era, who go through a tremendous amount of drama and life threatening
circumstances, and the comments I get most frequently from readers and reviewers alike are:
“can you believe people actually wrote letters back then?”
Yes, there was a time when letters were the only means of affordable communication for the
middle class and for the romantic at heart…thank goodness. Not only do love letters allow you
to preserve the sentiment, but you can read them over and over again in a way you wouldn’t
think of doing with a text or email. Each time you read that letter, you once again grow flush
with feelings of love and closeness.
Add to that, the hint or perfume or aftershave dabbed on the letter and the familiar aroma makes
you feel that your loved one is in the room with you no matter where else they may be.
But the true joy isn’t just receiving a love letter, it is also in writing one. Perhaps like Loretta did
in the book, you turn the lights down low and put on your favorite romantic music and begin
writing. All the while feeling you are with that person, in person, You almost don’t want to stop
writing because you’ll break the connection when you do.
Nothing quite engages the senses, the imagination and has so many benefits for both the
sender and receiver as a love letter. Not to mention, the exquisite agony of waiting for the letter
and the ecstasy of receiving one. Well, it can just about put you over the edge and into a love
It really wasn’t so long ago when love letters were the only way to communicate with your
paramour whether far or near. In fact, I have a whole closet full of love letters that (thank
goodness) I hung onto. I plan on rereading them when I am ancient (or having them read to me
if my eyes are bad) so I can relive my younger romantic days and the people I loved so dearly
over and over again. What a lovely way to go and what a lovely piece of history to leave your
descendants…just like what Sal and Loretta did for all of us.
So put down your cell phone, close your computer, grab a piece of paper and a pen and write
the one who has grabbed your heart a letter. It may take your relationship to a whole new
level…and make history as well…if you’re ready for that.
Having myself exchanged letters with men serving in the military, and enjoying historical novels, both nonfiction and based on real events, I was interested in how the author would pull the letters together into a story. What I found was the chronological exchange of the letters... In the beginning I had the impression that Sal had dated Loretta's sister and Loretta had a crush on him. The letters were friendly and playful in tone. They would talk about the other people they were seeing. Friendly banter which did show insight into the activities and lingo of the era. Occasionally they would flirt and of course Sal always asked for photos. They were prized possessions among the sailors. And there were gaps, both because of poor mail service and because each got busy with other interests. ..
These letters would be a wonderful addition to a study of the times.
These letters would be a wonderful addition to a study of the times.
See my full review on Goodreads and Amazon
adults, consistently delivers tales of outrageous romance and redemption to passionate readers
of romance. Her first book, Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack, A True WWII Teenage
Love Story, has received rave reviews from critics and readers alike for its freshness, romance
She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago and is working on her next
romantic novel: Beauty and the Beasts.
Website: http: www.lauralynnashworth.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Lynn-Ashworth/e/B00QPEC0BW