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Karen Ross Epp

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Member Since: Mar, 2009

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· Corn Rose: A Novel

· With Love Stan: A Soldiers Letters From Vietnam To The World


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· Flyover People Daily News

· The human face of war

· Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum

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Books by Karen Ross Epp
Flyover People of Kansas
By Karen Ross Epp
Last edited: Sunday, March 08, 2009
Posted: Sunday, March 08, 2009



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Recent articles by
Karen Ross Epp

• Flyover People Daily News
• The human face of war
• Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum
• Press Release
           >> View all 5
Comments by Cheryl Unruh, Flyover People Web site.
Karen with her author friend Beverley Olson Buller


March 11th, 2008 at 8:15 am

4 comments">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/with-love-stan-the-column/#comments">4 comments
 
 

Today’s Flyover People column:

stan-ross-eating-c-rations.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/stan-ross-eating-c-rations.jpg" />

Stan Ross in the jungle, eating C-rations.

“WITH LOVE, STAN”

Stan Ross trudged through the jungles of Vietnam, a knife in one hand, rifle in the other, the enemy lying in wait.

It’s not a pretty story, war.

But I read the story anyway. I read about the rats, jungle darkness, homesickness, snipers, swamps, worrisome sounds in the night, and coming face-to-face with the enemy.

“With Love, Stan: a Soldier’s Letters from Vietnam to the World,” by Karen Ross Epp of Newton, includes about 100 letters that her brother sent to family and friends. Stan Ross was one of the more than 58,000 Americans killed in the Vietnam War.

stan-and-karen-ross.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/stan-and-karen-ross.jpg" />

Stan & Karen, circa 1959.

Karen Ross Epp is the eldest of four siblings who grew up on a farm in southeast Iowa near the small town of Mt. Pleasant. In 1968, Karen’s brother, Stan, enlisted in the Army.

Stan, 19, fought on the front lines and wrote home nearly every day, often scribbling lines from a foxhole, a rice paddy or a bunker.

Karen turned his letters into a complete story by adding family background information, photographs, and recollections from Stan’s army buddies. But much of the book is in Stan’s voice.

Karen had never read most of these letters until 2004 when she gathered them from Stan’s footlocker, kept by her parents.

“I don’t think I had ever truly grieved or mourned for my brother until I started typing his letters,” she wrote.

Apr. 23, 1969: “In this part of the country, booby traps are our worst enemy. I’m really going to watch my step.”

May 15, 1969: “We’ve been on the move every day. They bring us water and C-rations by helicopter. Talk about being in the middle of nowhere. This is it!”

June 8, 1969: “Well, I hardly know how to write what I want to tell you without scaring you. But I’ll try. Today we were out on a mission, and we spotted some VC (Viet Cong). Well, like always, we had to go after them. …”

Stan was wounded in that battle, shrapnel in the right arm, which earned him a Purple Heart.

He tried to protect his family by not fully disclosing the dangers he faced. And he’d usually sign off with “Don’t worry.”

July 10, 1969: “I guess I’m telling you too much, aren’t I, Mom? The way your last letter sounded, you’re going to end up making yourself sick, worrying too much. … But in the infantry, nothing happens that isn’t bad news, either someone gets killed or hurt. That’s all a person sees. Believe me, it’s hard to write a letter of good news.”

Karen told me in an e-mail, “As I gathered facts and talked to his buddies from the 199th, Charlie Co., all of them said, ‘Stan kept much of what happened from your parents. It was much worse!’”

stan-buddies_sm.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/stan-buddies_sm.jpg" />

Stan Ross, front left, with his squad, 199th, Light Infantry Brigade, Charlie Company 2/3. Fire Base Cam Tam, Vietnam.

Stan’s letters are not necessarily grim or gory, but he occasionally mentions contact with the Viet Cong, and what it’s like to go for weeks without taking your boots off, to be out in the rain for days on end, to long for a bed with sheets.

“I could only type two or three letters a day,” Karen said, “It was just too emotional for me. One letter comes to mind, where he talks to my mom about being lonely. I think I cried the hardest that day.”

Aug. 23, 1969: “Believe me, I get so damned lonesome at times when I’m in the field sleeping in a wet foxhole, it’s beyond words! But all we can do is take it. … I don’t know of anything worse than being torn away from your family.”

While reading the book, I couldn’t help but think of the current war, and our military men and women, many of whom surely face emotions similar to Stan’s.

As I read his letters, I wished I could go back in time and change things; I wanted to save Stan from the misery, from the loneliness, from the bullet.

The story of Stan Ross is one I will not forget.

***

30-stan-in-dress-uniform_sm.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/30-stan-in-dress-uniform_sm.jpg" />

Stanley D. Ross, PFC

In August 1969, he was promoted to Sergeant.

***

stan.jpg

">http://www.withlovestan.com/">stan.jpg

“With Love, Stan” is available at Emporia’s Town Crier Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Author House.

">http://www.withlovestan.com/">“With Love, Stan” is available at Emporia’s Town Crier Bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Author House.

karen-epp-ross.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/karen-epp-ross.jpg" />

Karen Ross Epp

For more information, check out Karen’s website: www.withlovestan.com.

">http://www.withlovestan.com/">www.withlovestan.com.

***

All photographs were used with permission of the author.

***

Cheryl Unruh writes Flyover People, a column about Kansas topics, published every Tuesday in The Emporia Gazette. Copyright 2008 Cheryl Unruh.

">http://www.emporiagazette.com/search/?sortby=date&q=flyoverpeople.net">The Emporia Gazette. Copyright 2008 Cheryl Unruh.

columns, other people's stuff

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/category/columns/">columns, other people's stuff

 

a book I’ll never forget

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/a-book-ill-never-forget/">a book I’ll never forget
March 1st, 2008 at 9:33 am
8 comments">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/a-book-ill-never-forget/#comments">8 comments
 
 

Have you ever wanted to know what it was like to trudge through the jungles of Vietnam, a knife in one hand, rifle in the other, death looming around you?

Well, me neither.

But nevertheless, now I have a better understanding of what the Vietnam War was like. I read a first-hand account of the rain and the heat, the jungle darkness, rats, homesickness, bamboo rash, sounds in the night, and coming face-to-face with the enemy.

epp.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/epp.jpg" />

Last night I finished Karen Ross Epp’s With Love, Stan: a Soldier’s Letters from Vietnam to the World.

">http://www.withlovestan.com/">With Love, Stan: a Soldier’s Letters from Vietnam to the World.

Karen Ross Epp (who taught school for 30 years in Newton) and her three siblings grew up on a farm in southeast Iowa, near the small town of Mt. Pleasant. In 1968, her brother Stan, 19, enlisted in the Army.

Stan Ross fought on the front lines and wrote home nearly every day, often scribbling lines on paper from rain-soaked foxholes.

From July 10, 1969: “I guess I’m telling you too much, aren’t I Mom? The way your last letter sounded, you’re going to end up making yourself sick, worrying too much,” Stan wrote.

“But in the infantry, nothing happens that isn’t bad news, either someone gets killed or hurt. That’s all a person sees. Believe me, it’s hard to write a letter of good news.”

The letters are not necessarily grim or gory, but you do hear what it’s like to go for weeks without taking your boots off, to never be out of the rain, to long for a bed with sheets.

I wanted to go back in time and change things; I wanted to save Stan from the misery, from the loneliness, from the bullet. I got to know Stan Ross through these letters he wrote to his family. The letters reflect a sweet and thoughtful young man at 19, 20. Stan was well-liked and respected by his fellow soldiers, many of whom Karen has located and interviewed in recent years.

In the book, in between Stan’s letters, Karen adds some personal and family background information, comments from Stan’s army buddies, and also details about the war that she found in other books written by soldiers. But much of the book is in Stan’s voice.

I don’t want to say too much about the book right now because I’ll be writing a column about it, and because I’m still wiping tears from my face.

I recommend this book. Highly.

other people's stuff, writing

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/category/other-peoples-stuff/">other people's stuff, writing

 

With Love, Stan

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/with-love-stan/">With Love, Stan
February 24th, 2008 at 7:35 am
2 comments">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/with-love-stan/#comments">2 comments
 
 

I heard from a friend of a friend the other day. Karen Ross Epp sent an e-mail. She knows Beverley Buller who wrote From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White.

">http://www.newton.k12.ks.us/sch/ch/From%20Emporia.htm">Beverley Buller who wrote From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White.

Karen Ross Epp told me a little about the book she wrote about her brother, Stanley Ross, who died in Vietnam in 1969.

">http://www.virtualwall.org/dr/RossSD01a.htm">Stanley Ross, who died in Vietnam in 1969.

stan.jpg

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/stan.jpg" />

With Love, Stan: A Soldier’s Letters From Vietnam to the World is filled with letters that Stan Ross wrote to his family from the time he was in basic training until he was killed in the war.

">http://www.withlovestan.com/">With Love, Stan: A Soldier’s Letters From Vietnam to the World is filled with letters that Stan Ross wrote to his family from the time he was in basic training until he was killed in the war.

Well, just the thought of putting together a book like that makes me cry, but it does sound like a fascinating story. Haven’t read it yet, but I’d like to.

Anyway, besides that, Karen’s letter got me thinking - why don’t I have a blogroll for Kansas writers? I kind of did once upon a time, but merged that with Favorite Blogs. Now, I’ve decided to start a separate listing on the right of this page for Kansas Writers.

Kansans, writing

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/category/kansans/">Kansans, writing

 

Author Extravaganza

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/author-extravaganza/">Author Extravaganza
June 5th, 2007 at 7:23 pm
4 comments">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/author-extravaganza/#comments">4 comments
 
 

This Saturday, June 9, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., 40-some writers will be at Emporia’s Town Crier, 716 Commercial.
">http://www.towncrierbookstore.com/">Town Crier, 716 Commercial.

I know! How do you fit 40 authors into a small bookstore?

Scheduled to appear ….

Alice Bertels, Anna Zernickow, Barbara Baldwin, Deborah Raney, Debra Stufflebean, Denise Low, Doc Carson, Don Coldsmith, Donald Pady, Doris Johnson, Duane Hermann, Jamie Hill, Jerry Engler, Jim Hoy, John Scott O’Shea, Joseph Collins, Judith Miller, Ken Ohm, Kim Sawyer, Lee Killough, Linda Madl, Linda Spry, Lisa Harkraker, Mary Jo Amirault, Mike Everhart, Mike Williams, Polly Basore, Robert Collins, Roy Bird, Sheri McGathy, Stephen Farney, Susan Fowler, Tom Parker, Rod Beemer, Jay Davies, JB Cheaney, Mary Lucus, Jackie Lakin, Karen Ross Epp, Debbie Brock Bateman, and Tom Mach.

I’ve met a few of these writers. And there are others I’m looking forward to meeting.

E-town, events, other people's stuff

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/category/e-town/">E-town, events, other people's stuff

 

My special treat for the day was to meet Karen Ross Epp of Newton. Last winter I read her book, “With Love, Stan: A Soldier’s Letters from Vietnam to the World.” Her brother, Stan, was killed in the war.

">http://www.withlovestan.com/">Karen Ross Epp of Newton. Last winter I read her book, “With Love, Stan: A Soldier’s Letters from Vietnam to the World.” Her brother, Stan, was killed in the war.

For the book, Epp transcribed letters that her brother had written from the rice paddies and jungles of Vietnam, added personal and family details, and also included memories from the men who served alongside her brother.

A book can turn you inside out. “With Love, Stan” touched me deeply.

At Town Crier, Epp had some of Stan’s actual letters with her, letters stained with mud from Vietnam. The handwriting and the muddy smears made me sense Stan’s presence.

There’s often a silent bond that forms between writer and reader. And when you meet an author whose work has made a lasting impression on you, it’s a happy day. Amen.

###

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/karen-ross-epp-and-beverley-buller.jpg" />

Karen Ross Epp, author of With Love, Stan, and Beverley Olson Buller, author of From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White, a 2008 Kansas Notable book.

***

Cheryl Unruh writes Flyover People, a column about Kansas topics, published every Tuesday in The Emporia Gazette. Copyright 2008 Cheryl Unruh.

">http://www.emporiagazette.com/search/?sortby=date&q=flyoverpeople.net">The Emporia Gazette. Copyright 2008 Cheryl Unruh.

 

columns, other people's stuff

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/category/columns/">columns, other people's stuff

 

Meet the Authors

">http://www.flyoverpeople.net/news/index.php/archive/meet-the-authors/">Meet the Authors

 

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