The Adventures of Wesley Jackson
1942 Wesley Jackson, an eighteen-year-old resident of San Francisco, drafted into the army. He loves the song “Valencia”, reads a lot and reflects. His parents had long since separated. Mom and his younger brother Virgil went to their relatives, and where now the father, Wesley does not know. Wesley writes a letter to Mrs Fawkes, a Sunday school teacher in San Francisco, which describes her life in the nine years that they have not seen each other. A month later, a letter comes from the priest of his church, in which, in addition to reporting the death of Mrs. Fawkes, it is said that Wesley has a talent for the writer. The priest urges Wesley to continue in the same spirit: “Write, my boy, write.” Wesley writes a story in which he describes everything that happens to him in the army.
Wesley does not want to serve in the army. He does not like army orders, when for the slightest violation of small boring rules, which, moreover, so easily violated, threatens with the death penalty or a dress out of turn. Wesley and his friend Harry Cook are caught by the Colonel and one civilian who turned out to be a journalist. The journalist is interested in their attitude to the army. Private Cook answers honestly that he does not like the army, and leaves. Wesley, wanting to justify his behavior, tells the colonel that Harry is upset because of his mother’s severe illness.
It takes five days, and the army everyday life comes again: drill, guard duty, watching educational films, from time to time some entertaining evening with compulsory attendance and, of course, dismissal.
Mid December 1942 Wesley Jackson finishes basic combat training, and he is sent to continue his service in New York. Wesley says goodbye to friends, found in the military camp, and sits on the train. A trip to New York through the whole of America, lasting two weeks, is one of the most wonderful events in Wesley’s life.
Wesley meets Christmas in New York, receiving as a Christmas gift pneumonia.
End of January 1943 Wesley leaves the military hospital and gets to know a new duty station. The new part consists mainly of people with connections, with the situation – representatives of the world of cinema (the film company “Universal”, “Columbia Pictures”, etc.). All the black work in the company is performed by ordinary Wesley Jackson. They are forced to put up with this, frightening the sending to the front in North Africa or the Pacific.
Wesley meets a bar with a very modern woman, escorts home and remains with her till the morning. They start dating. Thanks to her, Wesley discovers the music of Brahms.
Suddenly, a father appears – Jackson the eldest. Wesley tells him everything that happened to him over the past year. The father approves of Wesley’s desire to find a girl, to marry and have a son.
Wesley neatly corresponded with his friends who fell into other garrisons, knowing from experience that letters for a soldier mean more than anything else except for demobilization and returning home. Wesley finishes the military administration school, where they study topography. He gets a table with a typewriter and starts printing various notices and reports for his sergeant.
Wesley is sent to the military part of Ohio, where he goes with his father.
He gets acquainted with this writer and writes at his request and instead of his first script.
Unexpectedly, as always, the father disappears. In search of him, Wesley wanders through the snow through the night city. He meets a nice woman who sings “Valencia” – a favorite song of Wesley and his father. She invites him to her house, where he spends the rest of the night. A woman saves Wesley from arrest for her unauthorized absence, and later helps her return to her unit in New York.
Wesley reads his “Letter to the Father,” published without his knowledge in the journal New Republic, and does not know if he wants to become a writer.
On September 25, 1943, Private Jackson celebrates his nineteenth birthday, carving his initials on the arm of the Statue of Liberty.
In early December, Wesley Jackson is sent for special training in New Jersey. Later, he sits on a ship, sails and sails in England.
Wesley sees bombed-out residential quarters in London, families living underground, and is attached to the science of air defense.
Wesley walks around the city and meets the girl of her dreams. Gill Moore is not yet seventeen. She has just arrived from Gloucester. She ran away from home, because she could not get along with her mother, and her father died. She has no money, she goes to Piccadilly, and the first soldier she turns to is Wesley Jackson.
Wesley and Gil get married. After a while Wesley finds out that he will be a father.
On June 6, 1944, an invasion of Europe begins. Wesley goes to the front. Finally, the war comes to him.
Performing another combat mission, Wesley unexpectedly falls into captivity to the Germans.
Private Jackson is in a prisoner of war camp. He sees there is a lot of funny and amazing, beautiful and disgusting.
On the first of September, Wesley, like other prisoners of war, discovers that he is free, as the German guard escaped. Having loaded with food, he sets out on his way, hoping to find his own part. On the way, Wesley learns that his squad has fulfilled its mission and returned to London. After much toil, Wesley finally gets a chance to return to his unit in London.
He sees with horror that the house in which he lived with Gil does not exist – the whole street is in ruins. Wesley asks God to make Gil stay alive. And then she finds out that she is alive and now lives with her relatives in Gloucester. Wesley immediately goes there, and they regain each other.