Flying With Dad
A Daughter. A Father.
And the Hidden Gifts in His Stories from WWII.
by Yvonne Caputo
Written with vivid detail, this encouraging, life-giving book is a tale of a World War II Veteran father and his daughter, who found the relationship with him she’d always longed for.
Do you have a family member who served in the military, who perhaps saw war, and wondered what their experience was really like?
Do you suspect there are past traumas that might be affecting their ability to open up?
Do you wish you could feel closer and more connected to your mom, dad, or other family members? If yes, Flying with Dad will pull you into a real-life story that shows you how.
Award-Winning Finalist: 2020 Best Book Awards
American Book Fest, Health: Aging/50+
At age ten, Yvonne Caputo vied for her dad’s attention. At twenty, they fought about race. At sixty, she struggled to talk with him about what mattered.
In Flying With Dad, Yvonne Caputo charts her journey to her father through the re-telling of why he went from repairing planes to being a B-24 navigator in WWII, how heavy German flak led to post-war nightmares, and why he suffered years of guilt after one particular bombing run over Unterschlauersbach, Germany.
Over the years, Yvonne would ask her father questions about this past. She’d listen, pay attention, and found that he was paying attention to her as well.
As she learned to meet him where he was, instead of where she wanted him to be, the result was an intimacy, a deep abiding respect, and a no-regrets final goodbye.
Flying with Dad is a heart-wrenching and heart-warming story of a daughter striving to understand her father and him opening up about the experiences that shapes so many soldiers and can get in the way of the rich relationships they and their children deserve.
Sneak peek at the table of contents for Flying With Dad
Part I: Yvonne
A Ruffled Hem
The Fishing Team
The Camp Kiss
Sundays at the Lake
Trains and Planes
The Great Divide
Dust in the Wind
All the Applesauce
Part II: Michael
Caputo with a 'C'
Bust 'Em Up
Packed With Planes
The Missing Wing
The Orange Ticket
No Luck at All
A Celestial Rhythm
Band of Brothers
Quite the Game
Perfect Bomb Score
Long Road Home
The Old Shop
Pretense of Normalcy
The Christmas Gift
Flood of Purpose
Part III: Dad and Me
G3JPZ and K3YAK
Pitching the Library
The Phone Call
The Five Wishes
Angels on My Shoulders
Venosa and Potenza
In Flying with Dad (excerpt)
"I felt an eerie calm. I lay down on my right side, the length of my body right next to Dad’s warmth. I put my left arm over his chest and murmured into his ear. “It’s all right. I love you and I will miss you, but you will be with Mom.” And then I recited the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven…” When the prayer ended, I said, “It’s okay Dad, you can go.”
The phone rang, and I got up from the floor. I returned to the kitchen to take the call from my brother Michael. As I was filling him in, one of the EMTs came in. When I saw his face, I knew.
The EMTs put Dad on a gurney and carried him out to the ambulance that would take Dad to the ER to be pronounced. It had begun to snow heavily again, big fat white flakes light against my skin.
For a moment my personal grief gave way and I threw my arms in the air with fists clenched in the sign of victory. To the EMTs who were now staring at me quizzically, I said, “Yes, guys. You have given my dad his wish. He did not want to die in hospital. He wanted to be carried out of his home feet first, and that’s just what you’ve done.”
I stood at the end of the gurney, pulled back the cover, and stroked my dad’s smooth, bald head. It had begun to grow cold. The journey had been awful. The journey had been beautiful. Dad’s face bore a peaceful expression that said, I’m home. I’m no longer in pain, and I’m with your mother.
As the ambulance doors closed, I lifted my face to the inky sky, the snowflakes falling from heaven melting and wet on my cheeks."
"Having worked with thousands of clients who long for even one deep conversation with their parent, grandparent, or uncle about their World War II experience, this book will feel very relatable. For anyone who had a difficult relationship with their silent generation dad, this will be a comfortable and comforting read. If you’re lucky enough to have a World War II relative still living, this might give you the courage to ask the questions you’ve been wanting to ask."
William L. (Bill) Beigel
Author, Buried on the Battlefield: Not My Boy
"An inherently engaging and thought-provoking read from beginning to end, "Flying with Dad" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and college/university library American Biography collections and one that will be of special interest to readers who come from military families."
Author, publisher of Kitty Karma Books
"What grabs you in this engrossing family saga is the fierce connection forged slowly between father and daughter — a long, solo journey of small steps carried out with sensitivity and guts. Captivating! The man who loved a good story would appreciate what his daughter has done in Flying with Dad — as readers will too."
Author of Sisters in the Brotherhoods: Working Women Organizing for Equality in New York City
"This is a great read. Yvonne made the story of her dad come alive-giving insight not only to his days as a navigator in the service, but also to his [roles] as husband and father. Thanks so much for sharing, Yvonne."
"This book is a love story, or, more accurately, several love stories: between a father and daughter, a husband and wife, and even a man and machines. It is very thought-provoking. In reading this book, one is almost compelled to think about their own family dynamics. All in all, it is a great read."