Belpre’s Cale, 93, has book of poems published

PARKERSBURG – A Belpre woman who served in the Women’s Air Corps in World War II has published a book of poems.

“Little Toes” by Erma Cale is a compilation of the poetry she wrote over the years.

Cale is 93 and resides at Emeritus at Marietta, her niece, Keawana Tuwalestiwa, said. Her hearing is poor and she is frail, “but her mind is sharp,” Tuwalestiwa said.

Cale was born in 1921 in Canaanville, Ohio, the daughter of a miner killed in a slate fall at the Millfield Mine when she was 22.

She joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and served in England and Germany with the 8th Air Force. After the war, she married her sweetheart, Gilbert Graham from Waterford, who sent her the engagement ring by the U.S. Mail.

Graham served in the Merchant Marines and was killed in an auto accident in 1951.

The poems are about her life in Canaanville and living through the Depression and World War II. Cale flew a B-17, the Flying Fortress, during the war. Poetry was Cale’s life-long interest, Tuwalestiwa said.

“Her wish has been to publish her poems,” she said.

The 105-page book contains about 80 poems and was published through Allegra Printing of Santa Fe, N.M.

Among the collection is “Funerals,” a poem about attending her first funeral, her great grandmother’s, and others.

“Once they had a service

Just for a man’s arm.

All the schoolchildren got to see

When they buried it in a little grave

Right under a big locust tree.”

“Gilbert, the Love of My Heart,” is about her late husband.

“Living with memories,

“I live the best I can become,

Remembering that, for me,

The best is yet to come.”

The book is only available through Tuwalestiwa at 740-423-4900 or 240 423-4900. It is $20.

A book signing will be held 11:45 a.m to 1 p.m. May 18 at the Congregational Church, Main Street, Belpre. Books also will be sold there, Tuwalestiwa said.