Kate Stewart, AZ
Kate is a third-generation librarian, historian, and novelist from Kansas City. She graduated from Vassar College with a BA in history and women’s studies and from the University of Iowa with master’s degrees in history and library science. After working in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress and the U.S. Senate, she moved to Tucson, where she is still a political junkie and fan of the Washington Nationals. She loves nothing more than uncovering and bringing to life an unknown, inspirational story.
As a StoryTerrace writer, Kate interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
My grandfather Jack used to make the same joke about D-Day every summer when we visited my grandparents in Lubbock: “That was the day I captured your grandmother!” he’d say with a grin and a twinkle in his eye.
The Allied forces liberated Rome on June 4th, 1944, close enough to be “D-Day” for his grandkids who didn’t know the real history yet. That day, Jack marched into the ancient city with his fellow GIs in the 349th Infantry Regiment of the 88th Division.
Jack had arrived for boot camp at Camp Gruber from Oklahoma City, a 20-year-old so talented at trombone that he had been asked to skip high school and join the WPA-funded city symphony during the Great Depression. Of course, he was immediately accepted into the army band.
After infantry training, the 88th was shipped to Algeria to prepare for the Italian invasion during Christmas of 1943. Their first battle in the coastal town of Minturno was so fierce that they achieved the nickname “Blue Devils” by the Germans.
Passing out chocolates to kids from their tanks, the American soldiers were hailed as heroes by Italians cheering in the streets of Rome. One of those boys was my grandmother Mina’s younger brother, Attilio. He dragged his whole family down to the street later and mistakenly pointed out my grandfather, who looked just like the American man he had met earlier.
It was love at first sight. For Jack, anyway.
He couldn’t stay long in Rome, but immediately after the war ended, he came back, playing tennis with Attilio and going on picnics with Mina and her family. He proposed several times, but she kept saying no. In 1948, he hopped a freighter in Galveston back to Rome to convince Mina to marry him once and for all. She finally said yes, and they were married at the Campidoglio wedding hall on the Capitoline Hill.
She was in for the shock of her life when she arrived in Oklahoma City. “The joke was on me!” she laughs.
Jack was a lifelong Italophile and he did everything he could to bring a little Rome to Oklahoma and Texas for Mina’s sanity: opera records, wine with dinner, and tennis almost every day.
Their marriage lasted 65 years. Not bad for a case of mistaken identity on “D-Day.”
Get in touch today to work with Kate!