When Audrey Syse Fahlberg married her husband, William, in 1938, she’d have no idea that soon their marriage and livelihoods would be put to the test, thanks to events happening half a world away.
“When Will was drafted into the Army, we sold everything we had to live on,” explained Fahlberg, now 92, from her home in Texas. “Then he was called into service. It was a very difficult time.”
Fahlberg recalls those difficulties in her book, “Triumphant Love: A Blink Into Our Seventy Three Year Marriage,” a sweeping account of the Fahlbergs’ experiences and America’s, as the country was thrust into World War II, one of the greatest conflicts the world has ever known.
“I started the book at the end of my husband’s life,” she said of the book’s origins. “He was the one who kept urging me to write about my childhood and experiences during the war.”
The experiences back home most interested Fahlberg, and the publishers. A wealth of material on the war effort is available, but there’s much less on what it was like back on the mainland United States as the country rallied together to defeat the Axis powers.
“It’s my personal story, but it’s also a historical account as well,” she explained. “I write about a plane trip we’d take on Braniff Airways between Austin, Texas, and Chicago. This was a time when the hostesses had to be unmarried and nurses. People who are much younger forget these things.”
However, the centerpiece of the book is William, who was stationed in Italy as a member of the 10th Mountain Division. That division invaded the hostile country in 1945 and climbed through the mountainous Italian countryside that winter.
After the war, the family moved to Houston, where they raised their four kids and William worked as a professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Fahlberg later got her degree at age 44 and became a travel writer.
After 38 years in Houston, Audrey and William retired to Del Mar, where they lived for 20 years and fell in love with the community.
It was in Del Mar where the initial work of the book took place. “I sent the first draft of the book out to three different people,” she recalled. “It was rejected each time. One agency said they didn’t want to take a chance on it.”
After a little updating, Fahlberg sent it out again, and this time she picked up some interest. “The publisher has been wonderful,” she said. “I read them all my letters, and they said to me I actually had two books on my hands. So the next one with his letters is coming out soon.”
As the holidays approach, Fahlberg will once again find herself in Del Mar, this time at her son’s house. She will no doubt be enjoying the fruits of her labor, and looking back on a “triumphant” life.
“I named the book ‘Triumphant Love’ because I wanted a name that would be in tune with the truth about what really happened,” she noted. “I have always felt that God triumphed in our life. This isn’t a Christian book, but we always felt that God was the glue that kept our marriage, and lives, together.”
“Triumphant Love” is available in softcover, hardcover, and e-book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Xlibris online bookstores.