You Betcha She Did! Business Tips for Women Entrepreneurs, Leaders, Coaches and Rad Women

62 | Decoding WWII Mysteries and her father's D-Day mission with Louise Endres Moore

November 07, 2023 Ladies First Digital Media Company Season 4 Episode 62
62 | Decoding WWII Mysteries and her father's D-Day mission with Louise Endres Moore
You Betcha She Did! Business Tips for Women Entrepreneurs, Leaders, Coaches and Rad Women
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You Betcha She Did! Business Tips for Women Entrepreneurs, Leaders, Coaches and Rad Women
62 | Decoding WWII Mysteries and her father's D-Day mission with Louise Endres Moore
Nov 07, 2023 Season 4 Episode 62
Ladies First Digital Media Company

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Prepare to be captivated as we journey through the hidden narrative of a World War II infantryman with our illustrious guest, Louise Endress Moore. Louise brings to life her father's secret service as a heavy weapons machine gunner, a tale she painstakingly unearthed following her mother's death. Get ready to navigate the murky waters of wartime secrets and discover how Louise cracked the code on her father's involvement in D-Day, revealing the honor bestowed upon him - the French Legion of Honour.

Our conversation with Louise doesn't stop at her father's gripping war saga; we also explore her journey to publication. In a world where many capitulate to the pressures of popular opinion, Louise stands out as an author who chose her path, finding the perfect balance between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Learn how she battled discouragement, honed her instincts, and spearheaded the design of her book cover and webpage. Hear first-hand how her book was received and the invaluable lessons she learned through the process. Louise's story is not just a testament to her father's courage but also a roadmap for women navigating the writing and publishing world. Come, be a part of this riveting journey!

Connect with Louise:

  • To contact, purchase, or for photos and information, visit www.AlfredtheBook.com  
  • Follow along on Facebook.com/LouiseEndresMoore 

Get your Top 10 Podcast Equipment Essentials Guide here = https://podcaststartupguide.com/
Happy Podcasting!


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Buy Me a Coffee

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Prepare to be captivated as we journey through the hidden narrative of a World War II infantryman with our illustrious guest, Louise Endress Moore. Louise brings to life her father's secret service as a heavy weapons machine gunner, a tale she painstakingly unearthed following her mother's death. Get ready to navigate the murky waters of wartime secrets and discover how Louise cracked the code on her father's involvement in D-Day, revealing the honor bestowed upon him - the French Legion of Honour.

Our conversation with Louise doesn't stop at her father's gripping war saga; we also explore her journey to publication. In a world where many capitulate to the pressures of popular opinion, Louise stands out as an author who chose her path, finding the perfect balance between self-publishing and traditional publishing. Learn how she battled discouragement, honed her instincts, and spearheaded the design of her book cover and webpage. Hear first-hand how her book was received and the invaluable lessons she learned through the process. Louise's story is not just a testament to her father's courage but also a roadmap for women navigating the writing and publishing world. Come, be a part of this riveting journey!

Connect with Louise:

  • To contact, purchase, or for photos and information, visit www.AlfredtheBook.com  
  • Follow along on Facebook.com/LouiseEndresMoore 

Get your Top 10 Podcast Equipment Essentials Guide here = https://podcaststartupguide.com/
Happy Podcasting!


Support the Show and Rayna's Work to Elevate MidWest Women!
Buy Me a Coffee

If you love the show, please subscribe, share it with your friends, and leave us a positive review 🙂Follow You Betcha She Did on Social Media

Speaker 1:

Did she really do that? You, betcha, she did. Hello, and welcome back to another episode of you, betcha, she Did. The podcasts were female leaders, entrepreneurs and changemakers, especially from Wisconsin, share their wit and wisdom. Today in the studio I have Louise Endress Moore. She is a great example of someone who did something that maybe is a little unexpected, a little bit against the grain, something you would say you betcha, she did that.

Speaker 1:

Louise grew up on a farm in Lodi, wisconsin, and her dad had fought in World War II. It wasn't until her mother's death that her father really started to talk about his experiences in World War II on the front lines. When she shared some of these stories from her dad with others, they talked about how that couldn't have been true. Your dad probably didn't do that, but upon doing research, she discovered that her dad's story was unique and very valuable and she went about writing a book about his experiences, and that novel is called Alfred, the Quiet History of a World War II Infantry man. And again, she had a lot of obstacles when she was writing this book, a lot of things that maybe told her to go a different direction, but she decided to follow her instinct and it led to a good cause. So, louise, welcome to the show.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Speaker 1:

I'm excited to have you here too. As you know, this episode is going to come out right before Veterans Day, November 11th, and I think it's always important to honor the past and learn from the past and history and your dad's story is definitely unique. I mean World War II, I think, is an area of history that's fascinated into so many. There's been so many documentaries about it, so many great novels, real biographies, things like that. What was it about your dad's story that was unique?

Speaker 2:

I think the unique part was that we understood he had been a barber, a chauffeur and a translator. But after my mother passed away, a family friend came and we looked through his army trunk and that person knew by the number on his discharge papers that he had been a heavy weapons machine gunner and that's something we had never known and that was kind of shocking. And in general he never spoke of the war. So that kind of opened a door. We had a small booklet that was the history of the 320th Regiment and it was like four to five inches. You know it was a small booklet and a lot of it was pages or photos. I should say A lot of it was photos. So there really wasn't a whole lot there.

Speaker 2:

I thought I could place his few comments into the context of that book and I didn't think it would take very long. I thought I would have like 10 to 20 pages and I would send it out to relatives as an email, you know. And what happened is I entered a rabbit hole and then it just kept going and going and going. After about five years I nominated my dad for the French Legion of Honor, which is important. It's important, but also you have to be alive. So all those soldiers that died on the beaches, they're not eligible.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, let's backtrack for a second. So for those of us who aren't familiar with the French Legion of Honor, explain what that is. And is that just a reference to D-Day and landing in Normandy during World War II, or is it?

Speaker 2:

No, it was for any time, you're right, any time during the war and about 60 years. So they started it 60 years after the war, which would have been probably 2005 when they started it, and anyone who was alive who had served significantly in France, and they had to be nominated, and my dad would never have nominated himself. So I nominated him. But anyway, you needed those three things, so you needed to be alive, which is significant Versus all the, all the ones in the first 60 years who had passed away. Anyway, so I nominated him.

Speaker 2:

Someone from the French consulate in Chicago came to the nursing home in Lodi, wisconsin, and we had a party and it was it was pleasant day. Except what happened on that day is that I stood in front of a hundred TV, a hundred people, two TV cameras and the little Lodi enterprise and I said my dad was not involved in D-Day or the beach landings, but arrived in July of 1944, so D-Day is in June. But I said that in front of all those people and the French consulate asked me does he understand? And I said, oh, cognitively fine, he just can't walk because he had broken his hip. Then, when I watched a video, I realized why she asked that question Because he had such a blank expression. And I've seen other people. If you see someone who gets awarded the French Legion of Honor and it's in the paper, they're beaming, they're really happy and proud and my dad was just flat affect.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, why do you? Why do you think that he was?

Speaker 2:

there Because they sit in front of a hundred people and said he wasn't involved in D-Day, and that's when he realized they don't know oh, Okay you don't know the whole story.

Speaker 2:

So I said what he had done and it was significant enough that he got the French Legion of Honor, but I diminished that other aspect. But we didn't know and a two months later I Was with him again on a Saturday at a nursing home. I had like about five and a half years of Saturdays with him and it was typically just the two of us and I said I asked a question and all of a sudden he spoke of dead bodies floating in water and that triggered okay, so I'd been researching for five and a half years and then that opened up a whole another thing of trying to understand what he meant by dead bodies floating in water.

Speaker 1:

Right. So that's when you started realized like oh my gosh, maybe he was.

Speaker 2:

I have another part of this research and I have to figure out how he could have been on, whether whether he'd been involved in the landings. And at one point I Looked at an envelope from my grandmother which was from 1944 and they couldn't find them. It was, she sent it from Lodi in May of 44 and they couldn't find him in Europe and it took till September. It is a long story, anyway. Anyway, they couldn't find him till September and one of the first Addresses on that envelope Was the 325th GLDR INF and that's the 325th glider infantry of the 82nd airborne. Okay, that was not within anything I'd been researching. So I called my dad and I said well, I went on the line and they had been there more at the D-Day landings and I knew my dad had not been a glider. I knew that right. But anyway, I called my dad and I said you weren't in D-Day, were you? And he said no, and he wouldn't have said anything else. And I said when did you go? And he goes the day after, and that's when it opened it all up. It was like, oh my, and I realized he had been a replacement. Okay, so what that means is that he had been in a group.

Speaker 2:

I made a. I made kind of a large mistake. I thought he had been with the 35th division the entire time, like I thought he had trained with them, gone to Europe with them, served with him and came home with them. And after this whole thing came up about Beach landings, I realized he served with the 44th, went with an unknown group, served in June with an unknown group, them served at the 35th and came home with the 63rd. That's all that I had to figure out and that was hard to do. People might say, oh, go to st Louis and you they have their records. But there was a fire in 73 and it destroyed, destroyed most everything. As you started to dive deeper and deeper into your father's story.

Speaker 1:

You were like, wow, this isn't just something I want to share with relatives, I want to write a book about this. This is amazing. And at one point you said you Were communicating with fort bragg About some of the details and they told you that what you're saying couldn't be true.

Speaker 2:

Right, like expand on that a little bit and so after my dad mentioned d-day plus one, because the 325th of the 82nd, that is fort bragg, that's, that's a group coming out of fort bragg I called them and they were very, very nice to me and they always were helpful, they always were. But on this particular day they were talking to me and then they said when did your dad arrive in europe? And then they said when did your dad arrive in europe? And I told him I was a little hesitant and I said june 2nd and they said it's not possible. It's not possible for him to have been on the beaches after arriving so close to the landings, because he landed in Wales and they have to process you, thousands of people. Then they have to get you south to the southern shores of England and then they have to process you again, puts you on ships, then you have to transfer and then you go across, you know, transfer to smaller and then land.

Speaker 2:

And I understood that. I understood. But that's when I said to them you don't know my father, he wouldn't make it up and I had to prove it. I had, I just had to prove. I knew my dad wouldn't make it up and I had to somehow prove what he said was valid and the way. And I asked the 35th Division and they told me also that it really they hadn't done D-Day, so that my dad's words really weren't valid. So I didn't like that either.

Speaker 1:

Exactly most people would.

Speaker 2:

And then there was another person out on the East Coast and he said he had 400 books on World War II and he said I would have said the same thing. You know, he agreed it's not enough time to get you into position. So I was really upset for about three days and I thought what do I even know? I thought I knew everything about this particular 35th Division and my dad. And after about three days I came up with a new plan. I told my siblings I'm back on the horse again, and back on the horse and I decided to get his friends discharge papers and find out what Albert Simon had done. And I couldn't just get those papers, but they would. He wasn't married or didn't have children, and that's how you usually get them. So I asked his niece. I knew his niece and I asked her and I found somebody I guess I would say yeah, somebody who was willing to give me the papers through the niece. She maybe wasn't even supposed to Mom's the word.

Speaker 2:

It took several months and the niece sent me the papers. I look at him, he's on. He left the United States the same day. He arrived in Europe the same day and then down when it was toward the bottom of the discharge papers where it says awards, he had a bronze arrowhead, and a bronze arrowhead means that he landed on D-Day and his name is on the internet. At 6.30 AM he did the worst possible landing, oh geez. And the other thing that's interesting about him is that they always say 18, 19, 20 year olds did the landing and dear Albert was 38. Oh, wow, which is surprising. Yes, I guess they were drafting. I've learned more recently they drafted up to 36. And so he was just in that cut off and my dad actually was 26 when he landed, but they were older than some of the younger people. There were younger people, but it wasn't all.

Speaker 1:

Yeah well, I'm glad you followed that persistence and kept up with the story and were like, okay, let me check a good friend of my dad's who had the exact same or, if not, similar, experience, which just goes to show it was possible.

Speaker 2:

It was possible. I couldn't prove exactly and I kept looking for different groups that he could have been with. I'm not certain. Second division is the one that I thought seemed more most that fit and I found people. I found lots of people. Whenever I'd see an article where a World War II veteran commented on their experience if it fit in with my dad's at all I would contact them, usually, wrote him a letter, gave him information and said you don't have to call me but if you would like to, because I knew that some of them probably didn't want to talk and that's okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally.

Speaker 2:

But they typically called me.

Speaker 1:

And how many years of research and connecting with people were you doing?

Speaker 2:

I say it took about 17.

Speaker 1:

Wow, I know.

Speaker 2:

The hardest part was just trying to document that landing and then finally accepting the fact. Just you found out it was possible and that's possibly the best you can do.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yeah, exactly. That's the best you can do. I mean, you've definitely dug in and found as many connections as possible. When you first started, you weren't thinking of writing a book about your dad's experiences. It was more like, oh, I just want to get him to share these stories because they never came up when mom was alive. But all these things are coming up. I want to share it. At what point did you decide like this is a really valuable story that I need to share with people all over, and especially one that other veterans not just in World War II but like modern wars can connect with? Like at what point did that come about?

Speaker 2:

I think it just kept evolving, like as a rabbit hole that just had more and more information, more and more veterans, and I had to put it together because I was going to lose memory of it a little bit if I didn't put it in a final form. I would lose it even within my own because there was so many parts to it. I think that's when I decided, just when there was so many different aspects to the story, that I needed to write it down yeah, yeah, I love that.

Speaker 1:

What are some of your takeaways in terms of writing a book? I mean, that is a big endeavor and I know at first People were a little discouraging. You know they're like oh, another world war two, memoir or by biography.

Speaker 2:

We don't need that.

Speaker 1:

So like what? What did you learn about writing it and what made you continue that persistence?

Speaker 2:

Well, one of the early things that made me continue is that I mentioned to someone that I was. They said what are you doing? And I said I'm researching World War two and what my dad did, and I said he was pained by it all. And that person said to me well, some people can take it and some can't.

Speaker 1:

Oh, geez, and that.

Speaker 2:

I know, I know I actually don't think she's read the book yet.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, probably not.

Speaker 2:

But she said that and that was some motivation for me to find out. I knew who my dad was. I knew he was pained by war. I think we all it's like part of ingrained in us that he didn't like war, that war is a bad thing, even, as you know, young children we don't. He didn't really talk about it, but we knew that. What else was I going to say?

Speaker 2:

And there were other things that were just discouraging. Some people said it doesn't matter. I had somebody say that, you know, there were things that were said and I just had to ignore those. Right, I did have to ignore those. But then there's also times when you have to listen very carefully to what you don't think is correct and you have to Give consideration what the person is saying and I one of the issues with that. There was a Don May who would visit my dad in the nursing home and he told me and my brother, I think separately that he thought my dad had landed on D day or the day after. And I was like, no, you don't know the history of the thirty fifth and I do, and I kind of I didn't listen to him, but I needed, I needed more information. I needed that letter that had all. It had about 10 addresses trying to find him in Europe. And I needed that letter to say OK, wait, he wasn't. He wasn't an easy find, you know. Kept looking all over in different groups.

Speaker 1:

Right, exactly. Yeah, it's hard when you have people you know telling you not to do this and saying discouraging things. It takes a lot of guts and motivation to stay on the path that you have predetermined and say no. I'm going to share the story, I'm going to write it down.

Speaker 2:

How did you and I had to think of the things that were different to one of one of my friends said, oh, my dad never talked about it either. Yeah, until my daughter asked about it for a history project in high school and I gave that some thought and then I thought her father didn't talk about it. My father couldn't talk about it. He really didn't give me much information. And toward the end of his life, you know there's a whole.

Speaker 2:

If you've been visiting someone for five and a half years, you have a little system to how you leave, depart, and I would say, you know, by dad, see you next week. And you'd say goodbye, and one day, one Saturday, toward the end of his life, I said by dad, see you next week. And he said good luck. And I think what he was saying was and he waited till I was almost out the door, he knew I was gone and he said good luck. And it was very deliberate, very clear, and I think he knew he was approaching the end of his life. He didn't really fully understand what I was doing, but whatever it was I wanted to achieve, he wanted me to get there. He would never have expected his name and photo to be on the cover of a book.

Speaker 1:

He was a farmer. Yeah, Koi farmer kept himself, you know.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. I think about my family, my siblings. And if he had been alive when the book was published, I'm sure that we would have put a sign on the door at the nursing home that said Alfred does not want to talk about the book. I know he does.

Speaker 1:

Don't go there. He does not want the attention. Nope.

Speaker 2:

Nope, he doesn't want the attention, he doesn't want to go there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Well, talk to me also about the whole endeavor of getting a book published Like. What was that like?

Speaker 2:

You know there's self-publishing and then there's traditional publishing. I'm somewhere in between, where I asked someone to help me Kyra Henshel of Milwaukee. Okay, I couldn't take much more rejection, so I couldn't do the traditional. We send out hundreds of letters, yeah, hundreds of letters. Totally, I'm like I can't do it. I have to finish this because it's absorbed too much of my life and self-publishing sounded too technical for me, so she helped me publish. She read it, you know, offered suggestions, all of that. There's so much to it, though, just so much.

Speaker 1:

Well, that sounds like a really nice middle ground because I know, I mean, self-publishing sounds really daunting. And then, yeah, the whole finding a publisher, like you said, oh, that's a whole other endless endeavor. So I'm like that's a really great middle ground.

Speaker 2:

I have someone kind of and the other thing about a traditional publisher is, if you sign over the rights, they have the right to change the story to make it sell better, but then it might not be as truthful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no one wanted that they might embellish.

Speaker 2:

They might embellish, and I was fortunate I have two daughters. They're both creative, so one daughter designed the cover of the book and the other daughter designed my webpage.

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's awesome.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I was lucky with that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, definitely. And once the book was published and out in the world, what was the reception to the book?

Speaker 2:

The very best location for selling the book was in Lodi and Dane. Dane is a very small village and that was my first place. I mean, 50 books is quite a bit actually. And then maybe a week later I did Lodi and that was about a hundred. You know, people knew the guy and it was easy within those areas, even after the beginning, because I think they would talk about it and they'd say he did what. You know, like I knew that guy, he did not seem. He never said a word about that. Or somebody might say, yeah, he did mention that once to me, but if he mentioned it, it's very few people that it was said to.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah, kept it close.

Speaker 2:

So Lodi and Dane were the best. But then you know, just in general it's an interesting story. And then there's people, like you mentioned before that, there's people from other wars Iraq, afghanistan, vietnam and there were some of those veterans who contacted me and said you're writing about your father, but it's exactly how I feel. And one of the people from Vietnam said he was touched by the book because he didn't know that my dad would feel about war the way he did. You know that there was a connection there and there was a woman that wrote to me from she had served in Afghanistan, iraq, and she said you got all the details, you know and it applies and it's dead on for what, how they feel about it. But it is. It's about my dad, but it's kind of every infantryman, the frontliners really take a lot of the most severe I mean frontline troops, they take the most combat.

Speaker 1:

I know and I think the book's probably timeless in that aspect, like describing that experience and relationship to war, and my husband never served in the military but he loves military history, Like he's read tons of books about World War II, and we were in France last spring and we had to go to Normandy, we had to look at all the beaches and I learned a lot just through him and his knowledge and all the great museums. I think you know, even if you haven't been in the military, you can find lots of value and worth from reading about others' experience.

Speaker 2:

We were fortunate to. There was a woman at the Lodi nursing home whose daughter worked at the Luxembourg Embassy the US Embassy in Luxembourg and she would always try to find World War II Battle of the Bulge veterans. So my dad served in the Battle of the Bulge too and she was visiting her mother once and she said are there any Battle of the Bulge veterans here? And somebody told her go check on Alfred. She was very kind in lots of ways she was supportive to my dad. My dad said to her they remember. And she said, darn right, they remember.

Speaker 2:

And that was important to them to make it feel like it was significant years after. And then she invited us over and I decided, I that my family, we needed to go because it was an opportunity to have someone show us around the Battle of the Bulge grounds where my dad had been. She took it upon herself to research the 35th Division so when we went over there she could go to the exact spots where he had been Little villages, where forest, where there were big bomb craters, you know things like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, to experience it firsthand. Did you have goosebumps, I think?

Speaker 2:

I feel like I'd be like whoa you know when you actually get to see a place and smell it. What a wonderful opportunity.

Speaker 1:

And for her to be specific on my father yes, Before we wrap up, I just wanted to ask if you had any advice for women. You know, I guess, a whole bunch of aspects If you're thinking of writing a book, or how to deal with following your instinct versus listening to other people. What advice could you offer women in that broad category there?

Speaker 2:

Well, one of the things I would say is that it's best if you to write a book about something that you know about Good place to start I knew my father, but that's all I knew.

Speaker 2:

You know, I knew my father, but the whole military thing was totally new for me. So if you're writing about something you know that's beneficial, don't expect it to be an easy gig. But if you're writing, if you have a specific purpose and you know what your purpose is, write the book. It's important for your family or for you personally and that's enough of a reason. But as far as making a lot of money, that doesn't particularly happen and that's not always an easy sell. There was a bookstore in Waukesha. I hate to be discouraging, but there was a bookstore in Waukesha and that woman told me. She said many people think writing the book is the problem and she said I think marketing it is, and I didn't want to hear that at the time. It's hard to get it out there. Books. There aren't as many bookstores. They're not as willing to take things on because there's a limited amount of space. Amazon is helpful and they do take a pretty big chunk of what they sell.

Speaker 1:

Okay, yeah, good to know.

Speaker 2:

And I don't have to describe all of that, but when we first were selling it on Amazon, they weren't printing it for us. And because they weren't printing it for us, they kept 55%.

Speaker 1:

Oh geez, yeah, that's good to know.

Speaker 2:

It's like and then my publisher needed a certain percentage and then I still had to pay for the printing and I didn't really have enough money to write You're like.

Speaker 1:

that leaves nothing Like what's left here. I was paying people to buy my book.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and if you switch to their printing, then it, then it, and you have to make sure you price it so that you're making money. Okay, I had a time.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's a good insider tip, though that's things they don't tell you that are helpful to know.

Speaker 2:

And there are. If you're interested in writing a book, there are a lot of different groups that would help you do that. Sometimes at libraries there's author groups and others, even outside of libraries it doesn't have to be a library that's doing it different groups where you could get encouragement, support, all of that.

Speaker 2:

Excellent Another aspect that I did was I did an audible. When I was doing the audible, I thought there's people who climb mountains. I did an audible. You know it felt the same, but that's that's harder to do than what you'd expect. Of course, you're doing this right now. You're doing it all the time with people.

Speaker 1:

But if you're not used to it, yeah, getting in the world of audio editing, reading your own work.

Speaker 2:

It's just more difficult than you know for hours. More difficult than you'd expect.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yep, yep, good to know. Well, louise, thank you for being on the show and sharing your father Alfred's story with us and the persistence that went into digging deep and kind of going against the grain to get this story out into the world. If you're interested in checking out Louise's book about her father Alfred, I'll have it linked in the show notes. Please check that out, as always. Thank you for listening to you, betcha, she did. If you like what you're hearing, don't forget to share the show with a friend, a neighbor. You never know who might want to know about this story. Until next time, take care.

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