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Here's an interesting letter from a website visitor seeking information on a particular song.

A big thank you to all of the wonderful people who were involved in trying to help me find the lyrics to "A Door Will Open". For all of you who like a happy ending - I am pleased to report that they will be on their way to my Mom tomorrow!

Many of you forwarded my letter to others you thought might be able to help. Those people contacted others and just last week I received an e-mail from a couple in a small town in Maine who had a copy of the sheet music and knew the wife of one of the composers (John Benson Brooks)! I called immediately, had a wonderful conversation, and the husband (who is a collector of rare books and music) generously agreed to copy the music for my Mom. In addition - he made a cassette tape for her. The tape includes a very rare recording of the song - and several hours of programming made by the Armed Forces Radio Network to broadcast to the troops overseas... The so called "One Night Stand" radio shows were not aired on commercial stations and it might be that my Dad listened to one of these very broadcasts. I offered to reimburse him for the tapes and postage and this is what he wrote... "I am most happy to do this for your mother and any payment would spoil it. It is a small thing on my part, quite small compared to what your father went through in the war. Your mother too - we can only begin to feel what women like her went through, all the worry and uncertainty that was part of their day to day life - not knowing. This is a tough place to be and to be there for years. We can see how important a song can be. "A Door Will Open" was one of a wonderful output of ballads that expound on the loneliness of separation during wartime.... Again I enjoy being able to help your mother in this small way. They gave up so much during those dark years."

A Door Will Open
Lyrics by Don George
Music by John Benson Brooks

The world I look out on holds so many confusions,
impossible for a simple soul to figure out;
but the world I look in on holds no doubts or illusions
for I can see so clearly what will come about.

A door will open, sometime, somewhere,
A door will open and you'll be there;
You'll step inside and kiss me, hold me fast
and in your arms I'll know you're home at last.
A door will open, your eyes will gleam
while I make sure that you're not a dream.
I'll smile and take you in my arms once more
and then we'll close the door.

The same day I received the tape and the lyrics - I received this from my Mom. It's her story .... I first heard that song over fifty years ago - Dick Haymes was singing it - and it came to me over the air waves that were my constant companion for all the years your Dad was gone to war. I always loved music but during W.W.II it became a life line for me. I listened and listened and memorized song after song. Each song had a different meaning or helped me to recall a different memory. Today I still remember a lot of them - in fact, I remember most of them, but this one particular song seemed to always be on my mind. Why could I only remember the first few lines when it had meant so much to me? It had been my assurance that, after waiting so long, your Dad would come home to me. We met in the fall of 1941 at the skating rink. He was so tall you couldn't miss him out there on the floor cutting didos on his skates...

I guess the story began when I came from Omaha to live and work at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. All of the students at Mercy "stagged" it to the dances on Friday and Sunday nights - and of course I went with the crowd. When all of my friends transferred back to Council Bluffs for psychiatric training, I had no one to go to the dances with (you know it was the time of the draft and finding eligible partners wasn't easy). So, I started going to the skating rink. I hadn't roller skated since high school but it was somewhere I knew I could go by myself. You could skate alone if you wanted or you could take a chance in the "Paul Jones". In the "Paul Jones" you skated and then waited for a whistle to blow. When it blew you skated forward to the next partner... that's how I met you Dad.

I saw a lot of him that fall. Occasionally he would ask me to skate but he already had a girl and I was writing to a fellow in the 34th Division who had already been called up to Camp Clairborn. One night, a friend of his was walking me home from the rink and asked if I would like to stop for a bite at the local grill. As I walked through the door the first thing I saw was him, sitting there with his girlfriend. One of his arms was resting on the back of the booth and his hat was resting on the back of his head. He was smiling and making one of the clever remark he was known for. I thought he was so cute ... but he already had a girl! Towards the end of December he finally asked me to the movies. It was a Sunday and it had been snowing all day long. I remember thinking "Well, there goes my date", but in spite of the weather he showed up and we walked downtown - about ten blocks. We did a lot of walking after that - to the skating rink or to the movies. I met his folks and eventually found out that he was a year younger than I was - that's why he hadn't been drafted yet. By the end of the following August we knew we were in love... and he gave me a ring. Of course, we decided we would be sensible and would wait until the war was over to marry. Well, we weren't and we didn't!

Like every, or almost everyone, we eloped in October and his draft notice came shortly thereafter. By January he was gone and I wouldn't see him again for nearly three years. He was in the states for three months, from the west coast to the east with no furlough. From there he was shipped to England with Company "B" of the 850th Aviation Engineers... then into France with the invasion... then on to follow Patton's army across France and into Germany. "Sentimental Journey", "White Christmas", "I'll Be Seeing You", "Till the End of Time" - I learned all the words to all those songs, but "A Door Will Open" was the dream I would hang onto.

I found us a little apartment and filled the empty hours furnishing it and fixing it up. I hoped and prayed and waited for the day he would come back and make it a real home. One day, two years and eleven months later, my dream came true. I opened the door and there he was, as I always dreamed he would be. I had known he was back in the states but had no idea how long it would take him to make his way to Iowa or on what day he would arrive. I slept in my clothes for two nights to be sure that the apartment and I would be ready for him! Even now, I can close my eyes and see him standing there.

We had a wonderful life together with all the ups and downs and had four great kids. Then one day it all came to an end... he was gone after 27 years. Cancer did what the war couldn't do and I lost him all too soon. "A door will open sometime, somewhere..." is still the dream I hang onto after all these years... it's what I still hope and pray for everyday... "A door will open and he will be there..."

Thank you all so much,
Carol Finney

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