The daughter of an American GI war bride who compiled a book of her parents’ 2,000 love letters came to Lisburn this week to meet relatives and visit her mother’s former workplace.
Melanie Ippolito from New York is the writer of ‘I’ll Be Back When the Summer’s in the Meadow’.
The book is a compilation of beautiful love letters sent between the pair during Second World War.
A graduate of the University at Buffalo with a BA in Sociology, Melanie will remain in Lisburn for the next week before she returns home to America.
Melanie met relatives at Hilden Court this week, and visited Harland and Shorts former building in Tonagh where her mother Muriel Mitchell worked as an office clerk.
Harland and Shorts was forced to move to Lisburn after it was targeted during the blitz.
“In her letters,” Melanie recalls. “She would have mentioned about her work and described the thatched cottages and the countryside she could see from the window of the office. I went to see it but it is very built up and it is a lot different now from how she described it.
“I am staying in a local hotel in Lisburn and have visited my cousin and plan to see other relatives over the next week.”
Melanie’s book was inspired by the love letters between her mother Muriel from Belfast who met and eventually married American soldier Raymond Friscia from Lockport, Niagara County, who was initially stationed at Musgrave Park Hospital during World War II.
They met at a dance hall in Belfast and their romance blossomed despite Raymond’s departure to England and then to France.
After thousands of letters the couple finally reunited, married in September 1945, only to be separated for another six months.
The couple continued with their struggle to be together, finally succeeding when Muriel made her way to the States in 1946; there she remained to raise her family.
It was only when Melanie’s parents died that she found the letters that inspired her book when she discovered the depth of her parents’ love for each other.