Turner shares book 'Red Wing to Hong Kong'When Peggy Turner opened her mother’s cedar chest in the fall of 2010, she began to read the letters brother Don Seiz wrote to their mother 1940-1946. Turner hadn’t looked at the letters since 1946.
By: Mikayla Cota, The Republican Eagle
When Peggy Turner opened her mother’s cedar chest in the fall of 2010, she began to read the letters brother Don Seiz wrote to their mother 1940-1946. Turner hadn’t looked at the letters since 1946.
“It was mainly out of respect for my mom that I didn’t read them. Even after she died, I probably would have felt wrong if I had looked through them,” said Turner.
As she began reading, an idea came to Turner.
“I began to think that some young people would be able to learn a thing or two from my brother Don, things about the Army, life, and family,” Turner said. So she decided to sort all of the letters and make them into a book. Thus the idea for “Red Wing to Hong Kong” was born.
The letters describe Don’s life from college at St. Thomas University to his days as a pilot in the grips of World War II. The letters are straight from the cedar chest and no alterations were made to the content for grammatical purpose or otherwise.
“I wanted to have people get to know the kind of man Don was,” Turner said. “You can’t get that accomplished by changing the letters. “
That was only the beginning of her story. In an effort to better understand her brother’s world for herself and her book, Turner began to do lots and lots of research. Books, museums, the Internet — Turner used it all in her quest to tell her brother’s story.
One of the most interesting moments of the journey, she said. was when she went the history museum in Sauk Rapids, Minn., to see her brother’s things from his days as a pilot.
“At the time that I donated Don’s possessions I never imagined that I would be writing this book. Life is funny like that,” Turner said.
Upon finishing the book, Turner ran into the problem that every author had at least once in their career and that is finding a publisher. However, she found one, and now her book is seen at Popple Creek Air in Sauk Rapids, the Red Wing Airport, Goodhue County History Center, Loons and Lady Slippers, and the Christian Bookstore. Turner purposely publicized her book in Red Wing in memory of her brother.
“Don loved Red Wing. He loved the town, he loved the people. I feel like I am honoring him by spreading his story through Red Wing,” Turner said. Another part of Red Wing that is near and dear to Turner is the Veterans’ Memorial in Central Park.
“That monument is the only place in the 50 states that has Don’s name on it,” writes Turner in her book, “there is a marker for him in the Philippines, but at age 90 it is unlikely I will get there often.”
Turner visits the memorial when she is in town with her son. They both live in St. Cloud, Minn.
“Throughout this journey, I have seen a change in my mother,” said Rolf Turner, Peggy’s son and co-author of “Red Wing to Hong Kong.” “She became younger and more vibrant with every passing day that she made new discoveries.”