Pegasus to Paradise - kindle ebook by Michael Tappenden

Pegasus to Paradise is based on a true story about a real family. An
ordinary but also quietly extraordinary family. One of millions who
experienced the shock and torment of the Second World War and having
survived, then experienced the shock and torment of the peace that
followed. They could have been any family at that time, or families
before or since, but in fact they were my own. Welcome to the world of
Ted and Florrie Tappenden and their two sons Oliver and Bobby (one of
whom must be me. I'm not entirely sure which). What I do know is that
after several years of writing, of tears, laugh out louds, concern and
frustration, I do now know who they really were and who I am. The
privilege of the writer is coming face to face with issues that normally
swill around unresolved in the firmament of the mind and then tackling
them through the end of your pen or your keyboard.
The research was deep, rewarding and at times puzzling. How can it be
that men returning from theatres of war thousands of miles apart and
cultures even further apart behave in the same way? How can the marine
from Ohio fighting in the Pacific have the same stoical, buttoned-up,
heightened sense of duty (even though that same duty may destroy them)
as Ted, the Airborne soldier from London fighting in Europe? Don't
believe me? Read 'Bringing Mulligan Home' by Dale Maharidge. Is this a
universal truth about all men, at all times? Does this still happen,
returning from Iraq and Afghanistan? Maybe. The reviews (see have been generous and interesting for it is the men
who admit to tears on reading my book and not the women. So what does
that say?
Shortly after the book's publication, I attended a book signing at a
military fair. Lots of armoured vehicles, dust and loud bangs. It made
sense to be there. Ted is often described as a war hero (having served
in the British Army I would say that they were all heroes and still
are). However Ted landed by glider at sixteen minutes past midnight on
6th June 1944 to successfully capture Pegasus Bridge – vital to the main
D-Day invasion yet to arrive. The first Allied action of D-Day. I say
landed. The gliders were heavily overloaded. Imagine coming of the road
at ninety miles per hour except your car is made of plywood and fabric.
So it made sense to be there. At the military fair. However the men were
far more interested in counting the number of rivets on a tank or
dressing up as 'wannabe' soldiers. It was women who wanted the book and
that's because this book is about relationships, relationships badly
damaged by the demands of courage, duty and loyalty. How ironic is that?
My mother Florrie told me that when Ted came home, physically unscathed,
she didn't know who he was. So how did they cope with that until the day
they died?
Incidentally, I used to visit the Airborne Museum at Ranville, France
with Ted and again after he died. On my last visit the curator offered
me the chance to climb inside the exact replica of the glider that Ted
flew in, which sits in the Museum grounds. I had in my hand a copy of
the original seating plan and sat in his seat. My logic told me one
thing; my emotions something quite different.