In Along Came A Soldier,the long awaited sequel to Father Was A Caveman and We Were Vagabonds, June Harman Betts continues the heartwarming story of Burrel Harman and his family. At the end of World War II, when a brash young soldier comes into the life of the teen-aged daughter, romance, laughter, adventure and zany antics abound.
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Along Came A Soldier is a page turner in the style of June Harman Betts' first two books, Father Was A Caveman and We Were Vagabonds. It recreates the life of an American family immediately following World War II into the turbulent years of the Vietnam era.
At the end of the war, when the world is again at peace, the young girl has no idea she is the answer to a dying old man's prayer when along comes a soldier into her life. Whether it is the power of the unknown prayer or the persistence of the brash young man, that chance meeting changes her life and that of her family forever.
People that readers have come to know and love in Father Was A Caveman and We Were Vagabonds are back. They are joined by fascinating ,spicy, new characters that the author brings to such vivid life that you feel you know them or wish you did.
The young couple live through the days of change. They witness the transition of propeller driven planes to high-speed jets, of radio and theatre to stereo and a TV set, of leisurely neighborhood strolls around the square to galactic space flights and moonwalks. They experience the advent of baby boomers, rock 'n' roll, the cold war and other unwinnable wars. They don't think of themselves as being part of history, they are simply going about the business of living their lives as the world changes around them.
As a loving family , they deal with things that go bump in the night, runaway children, a stranger's attack on a daughter, and the loss of loved ones. On a happier note, the soldier's sense of fun ensures that there are few dull moments.
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Father Was A Caveman, We Were Vagabonds and Along Came A Soldier are all available in electronic book form, as well as soft and hard cover editions. They can be purchased directly on-line from the publisher Author House.com or from the author at Juneharmanbetts.com, Amazon.com. Barnesand noble.com or through your local bookstore.
She heard a sound like The Midland Theater popcorn popper coming from the street outside. Looking out the window, she saw a slim man sitting astride a motorcycle, his face and hair hidden behind goggles and an aviator style hat. When he looked up, she recognized his cocky grin.
Her soldier who had gone on a mission to buy a car quipped, "Still not enough cars rolling off the assembly lines, but motorcycles are. This one sure is a doozy!"
"It sure is," June replied. "Did you buy it?"
"Yep. We just joined the mobile society."
In a few minutes, her arms wrapped tightly around her husbands waist, they barreled around the courthouse square. This was her introduction to their new two cylinder Czechoslovakian "Chek" motorcycle. Happily, they were unaware
that an incident with the Chek would soon set the police on their tail.
Before that happened, they discovered an aggravating problem with this vehicle. The gas had to be mixed with the oil before being poured into the tank. If even a speck of dirt or lint got into it the motor would stop. Then Dick would have to clean the carburetor before it would start again. This quirk was inconvenient, but on their trip to Mansfield to see June's family it went beyond that to something more disturbing.
About ten miles into their trip they stopped in the village of Utica for gasoline and then they were on the road again. By now total darkness had descended. This didn't bother them as the headlight on the motorcycle cut a bright swatch through it.
A couple miles north of Utica, the light suddenly dimmed, and the motor coughed, sputtered, and stopped. "Uh, Oh!" Dick muttered as they found themselves sitting on a motionless vehicle. After they hopped off, he pushed it to the side of the road. The flashlight he took from the saddlebag barely gave him enough light to begin to work on the carburetor. He'd no sooner said that he must have gotten some dirt in with the fuel when they saw a car approaching from the south.
"Good!" June exclaimed. "Maybe someone can can give us a hand." But what happened within the next few minutes showed her that she had been too optimistic.
First they found themselves surrounded by a bright light and then heard a deep, pugnacious male voice ask, "What are you doing out here with a girl that young at this time of night?"
At first they were too blinded by the spotlight to make out the speaker's face. When the light was doused, Dick could see the Utica police emblem on the car door, and the uniformed men in the front seat. Relief in his voice, he explained what had happened and concluded by saying, "If you would flash that spotlight over here, I could have this thing cleaned out in a few minutes, and we could be on our way."
Instead of helping him, they berated him for having June out on a lightly traveled highway this late at night. "Don't you know how dangerous that can be?" the tall beefy one demanded.
Then his partner, turning to the frightened young woman snapped, "Does your mother know where you are?"
Intimidated by his size and the sight of his hand resting on his revolver, June's eyes widened as she stammered, "No sir, not exactly," This seemed to bring more of their wrath down on Dick's head before the larger of the two men sternly ordered her into the cruiser.
Before the door was slammed after her, the driver told Dick, "We're taking her into town. When you get your little problem fixed, you can come to the station." Then with June seated in the back seat, they drove away and left Dick stranded along the dark highway. She felt like a lost child when she looked out of the rear window and saw the pitiful light cast by his flashlight disappear from her sight.
A few minutes later when the officers made their way into the small town of Utica, the burlier of the two asked, "Young lady, what were you doing out there?"
June's response, "My husband and I were on our way to my mother's house in Mansfield," dropped like a bomb in the darkened interior of the patrol car.
First there was a stunned silence from the front seat,before the questioner stammered, "Your hus-hus-husband! You're married?"
The second man muttered through clenched teeth, "We'll just leave you here at the restaurant where you can have a coke while you wait for him. I'm sure he will be along soon." While these words rang in June's ears, they pulled over to the curb long enough for her to scamper out of the back seat.
As she stood on the sidewalk and looked after them, she felt in her pocket for the nickel it would take for her to buy a coke. When her hand came out empty, she turned away from the restaurant and started back to where they'd left her husband. As she walked along the dark, deserted street, she thought of how much fun she and Dick had been having before the cycle had died and then how unexpectedly she had been plucked away from him by the policemen, then unceremoniously dropped like a hot potato on this lonely patch of street.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a loud gunshot. Feeling her heart race in pure terror, she ducked into the safety of a store doorway. The sound triggered a memory of a horrible night when she was a little girl and her family lived at the cave house. As she cringed in the doorway, her mind flashed back to that night and her father's cry of, "Help, Priscilla. I've been shot." She still had nightmares of the sight of her father stumbling into the kitchen and the blood seeping through his white shirt and trousers and pooling on the floor at this feet.