Sir and Miss Annie 

  
"Sir" and "Miss Annie" were the author's parents, Jim (General James Baird) Tipton, raised in the small Missouri town of Senath, and Ann Livingston Little, of Rochester, New York. Both had physician fathers, but the two men were entirely unalike in temperament. Their moms were quite different too, one a strongminded southern lady, the other an independent artist. Ann and Jim's upbringing could not have been more dissimilar, nor their ultimate romance and marriage more unlikely. Sir and Miss Annie opens with a fascinating account of Jim and Ann's family backgrounds.The second part of the book presents compelling, often charming glimpses into their childhoods, youth, and schooling, including Ann's travels in Europe and Jim's years studying aeronautical engineering and playing football on scholarship for the University of Alabama's powerhouse team. But the heart of the narrative is the story of how their paths crossed in Europe during World War 2, where Jim served as a Mustang fighter pilot and group commander and Ann as a Red Cross volunteer. Every love story is uncommon, and this one is rich in details culled from a trove of memorabilia, including a diary Ann had kept and correspondence she posted during the war. In addition the author and her sister Catharine discovered a series of unread letters their mother had written for her grand-daughter Sara shortly after she was born and intentionally secreted away, waiting to be found later when Sara was older. These "Letters to Sara" provide intimate vignettes of Ann's life as a child and young woman. Details of Jim's early years and especially his military career derive from two sources in particular, a lengthy interview he gave for the USAF "Oral History" program and a memoir he had written for a colleague, which reads like a stream of personal musings on WW2. The story of Sir and Miss Annie is thus fundamentally told in their own words: they "wrote" it through what they left behind, and the author, their younger daughter Alice, has supplied the mortar to give the elements an architecture and flow.

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