June 1, 2018

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The Most Romantic Scene of WWII

ON THIS DATE 1943, the most romantic scene of WWII occurred at Fresnes Prison, in Paris.  As Captain Peter Churchill strolled the prisoner exercise yard that day, he heard the sound of women's voices.  "Pierre, Pierre," he heard one woman yelling, "your Odette is here!"

 

Looking up, he saw an open window in the women's section.  The woman continued shouting, "Your Odette is here!"  Odette Sansom was his SOE courier, captured with him in April.  She was also his love, and his heart burned to see her.

 

In the cell next to the woman's, Odette stood on a chair, waving a paper to catch Peter's attention.  Her main window didn't open, though, and it appeared that Peter couldn't hear her cries. There was a small window near the ceiling, however, which she hoped would allow her to hear him.

 

"Can you see her waving the paper?" the woman yelled at Peter.  He scanned the windows and his heart leaped.  "Yes!" he shouted back, waving at Odette.

 

"She sends her love!" the woman hollered.  

 

Peter beamed.  "Tell her to listen," he yelled back, "and I will sing her my reply."

 

As Odette and several of the women in adjacent cells watched and listened, Peter serenaded Odette with the 1935 hit, "You Are My Heart's Delight," a song made famous by the day's most popular tenor, Austrian Richard Tauber.  Since Odette was French, Peter sang the tune in her native language:

 

You are my heart's delight,
and where you are, I long to be.
You make my darkness bright,
when like a star you shine on me.
Shine, then, my whole life through.
Your life divine bids me hope anew
that dreams of mine may at last come true,
and I shall hear you whisper, "I love you."

 

In dreams when night is falling
I seem to hear you calling.
For you have cast a net around me
and 'neath a magic spell hath bound me.
Yours, yours alone,
a wondrous air is your beautiful hair.
Bright as a summer sky is the night in your eyes.
Soft as a sparkling star is the warmth of my love.

 

You are my heart's delight,
and where you are, I long to be.
You make my darkness bright,
when like a star you shine on me.
Shine, then, my whole life through.
Your life divine bids me hope anew
that dreams of mine may at last come true,
and I shall hear you whisper, "I love you."

 

Odette and the women watching brushed back tears.  And without spoiling the story, suffice it to say that Peter's dreams did, at last, come true.

 

 

The entire story of Peter and Odette's ordeal, and romance, is revealed in Larry's upcoming nonfiction thriller, CODE NAME: LISE:  The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII's Most Highly Decorated Spy

 

To hear Richard Tauber's original soundtrack of "You Are My Heat's Desire," click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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© 2012 by LARRY LOFTIS