Mary Lee Coe Fowler was a posthumous child, born after her father, a submarine skipper in the Pacific, was lost at sea in 1943. Her mother quickly remarried into a difficult and troubled relationship, and Mary Lee's biological father was never mentioned. It was not until her mother died and Mary Lee was a middle-aged adult that she set out to learn not only who her father was, but what happened to him and his crew, and why - and also to confront why she had shied away from asking these questions until it was nearly too late. Fowler searched through old ships' logs, letters, and naval communiques; visited submarine museums, the Naval Academy, and other pertinent sites; interviewed old friends and crew members who knew her dad and mom or served concurrently; and slowly reconstructed the world in which they lived. Beautifully written, Fowler's memoir reveals what she eventually learned: of the perils and harships of submarine service in wartime, of the tragic irony of how her father's sub was probably lost, and of the long-term damage experienced by the families of those who do not come home from war.
Mary Lee Coe Fowler is a writer and teacher of English and ESL living in Maine. Author of Growing with Community Gardening, her work has appeared in Other Voices, Mother Earth News, and Bloomsbury Review.