About the Author
Earle Kirkbride married Jean in 1961. Many times they discussed writing a book or screenplay about her experiences in Japan and later in the Philippines and Europe where she had worked prior to their marriage. They hadn't gotten to it when she died after a short illness in 1983.
For years it was too painful for Earle to even think about reviewing the many things Jean had done and the places she had traveled, but finally, he decided to tell at least the story of her period in Japan. Not much had been published about the life of Americans, particularly women, who were part of the occupying force in Japan right after WWII. It was then that Earle discovered he had the letters Jean had written during that time and her mother had saved. Also, Earle's daughter had a lot of photos Jean had taken in Japan.
Telling the story in her own words seemed like a tribute to Jean and perhaps a contribution to knowledge about the U.S. occupation - something about which comparatively little was written even as it was occurring. There was a lot about Americans in Europe, but except for publicity about General MacArthur, not much about others in Japan. Also, Earle discovered that there did not seem to have been anything written about the cache of jewelry, gold, silver and platinum in the vaults of the Bank of Japan at the end of WWII. At least, he couldn't find anything.
As a long-time employee of the Federal Government working in navy laboratories, Earle retired from the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D. C. in 1985 where he headed the Technical Information Division for ten years. After moving to Florida, in 1990, Earle spent 14 summers in the mountain west “playing cowboy” for the US Forest Service - five of them in Montana, three in Wyoming, two in Colorado, two in Oregon, one in Washington and one in Utah.
During the years he was helping the Forest Service oversee grazing permits with ranchers, Earle also did free lance articles for publications such as American Cowboy, Rangelands, Scouting, and Fire Management News.
Having made the decision to write what became Letters Home, he has been gratified in the acceptance and appreciation that the book has received. "I hope it fills a useful niche in history," said Earle.
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