Who we found under the couch

When we pulled out the sofa bed from the RV, we uncovered a few things under it. A stack of paper plates, several boxes of envelopes, an ancient roll of paper towels and behind it all, a large box of pictures, letters and memories. 

 

I was immediately intrigued by the box and its contents. As I began to rifle through it, the first thing I pulled out was a leather bound navy album. 

It was filled with pictures and captions all dated around 1945. 

I love looking at these old photos! Look at that camera!

The album was full of memories and photos, a newspaper clipping about two young men who were fined $15 each after they had taken a car from in front of the general store and drove it 6 miles away before leaving it and skipping town. 

There was also a collection of hand colored photos, several of the same young woman. 

Lots of other fun pictures, some old and some newer. 

This was one of my favorites:

"Thanks for memories. Alyce"

"Thanks for memories. Alyce"

There were a few letters addressed to someone named Willo. After reading this one (it cracked me up!) I started to realize that she was a writer.

I decided to google her, and I was shocked by what I found. 

Willow Davis Roberts wrote over 95 books! She was an award-winning author and wrote many wonderful books for young adults, mostly mystery and suspense novels.

I also found out that she and her husband, David, lived and traveled the country in a motorhome. OUR motorhome.

She won several awards for her books, including two Mark Twain awards (she's pictured above, receiving her award in 1988). 

I did a quick Amazon search for her name and found a bunch of books by her. One of them caught my eye, for obvious reasons:

I actually purchased the book and read the whole thing the day the mailman delivered it. It's good! The book is about a 17 year old who drives the RV from California to Texas to visit his brother. He gets involved with some criminals through no fault of his own and is struck trying to figure out what to do. It was so strange to read the book as it describes the motorhome and know that I'm getting ready to live in the exact RV she's writing about! I'm looking forward to buying more of her books and reading the where she wrote them, in the RV!

After figuring out who the RV belonged to, I started to research Willo Davis a little. She married David quite young and they tried to make a living on their dairy farm in California. They struggled a lot and worked very hard during this time. Willo often mentioned how she is grateful for challenges she's faced in life because they gave her something to write about. However, she never wrote about farming, never used those experiences as fodder for her books, because she said she "Still cannot recall them with a sense of humor". 

During this time, they began to fall deep into debt. Willo, who enjoyed writing and was desperate to help her family, tried to market her books. Again and again, she was met with rejection. Soon after, she began working as a nurse in a hospital. It was then that she learned about the popular genre of 'nurse fiction'. Willo took her favorite manuscript and rewrote it with a nurse as the main character. She sold the book for $1,000. She quickly transformed the heroines from her already-written mystery novels and quickly sold those books as nurse novels. Soon, she was able to find a publisher and sell her books as suspense novels. 

I am so impressed by Willo's determination and drive to do what she had to do to take care of her family and provide for them. She was creative and persistent, two personalty traits that I strive for! 

Willo had always dreamed of traveling and after her success with her writing, she and David began traveling the US and Canada, researching, writing books and visiting schools. 

A quote from Willo: "I love writing. I love learning about many things, both from meeting other people and by traveling to places we've never seen before. So far our travel has been restricted to the United States and Canada, because we enjoy the motorhome so much. When we get too old to go that way, we'll try ships and planes to more distant places."

Willo and David visited every state except Hawaii in our RV and loved it very much. When Willo passed away in 2004, David sold their house and moved into the motorhome until he got sick in January 2015. He passed away in June. 

I was able to contact Willo and David's daughter so that I can return this box of memories to her. She was very grateful and also thrilled to hear that her parents' pride and joy would be loved by another family!