May 28

The Prologue

July 1914

One of the most glorious things about Whitby, North Yorkshire County, England, was the miraculous summer sunshine. It turned the four of them to crips to be sure, but there was nothing quite like splashing about in the chilled waters of the River Esk. The four youths could be seen in the river nearly every day of their summer vacation, and they became somewhat of a seasonal fixture. Residents of the nearby buildings would look at them through their recently washed windows and remark to their companions, “Look, if it isn’t those young ones again, but this time one year less young.” And so it went, every single summer. But it was the summer of 1914 when things started to change, unnoticeably at first, then all at once. That was the summer, the last summer, before the war. 

The war changed everyone, of course it did. It left nothing untouched. But for Adelaide, Frederick, Beatrice, and Edwin, the changes were concrete, tangible in their gravity. They all lost something very dear to them, and later they lost many hours reminiscing about their last summer together, before the world set itself on fire and never really stopped burning.