Sentimental Journey - An Evening To Remember

1941-1945: The War Years on Captiva

IMG_6933 copy.JPGTuesday evening, December 7th, the Captiva Island Historical Society once again showed that interpreting and sharing history need not be boring - demonstrating there are imaginative and entertaining ways to learn about Captiva's rich history.

IMG_8280 copy.jpegIn commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and all those who served and sacrificed during World War II, the CIHS presented a theatrical program, which through narrative, song, and imagery captured the War Years on Captiva.

The fictional character Vernon, a former WWII veteran, played by Austin Church, reads
one of the letters he received while overseas from his family and friends on Captiva

An audience of over 150 were safely spread out in the Ballroom of South Seas Island Resort, as the central character Vernon IMG_8284 copy.jpegtook the 1940s fashioned stage. The fictional Vernon, a former WWII veteran, played by Austin Church, read the letters he received while overseas from his family and friends on Captiva. Meanwhile, vintage photos and images of the period were projected on the background screen. Singer and pianist Terri Shaffer brought the story to life with musical interludes of 40s tunes.

IMG_6938 copy.JPGIt was the content of the letters which brought to life what historically was happening on Captiva from 1941 to 1945 - and the effect the war had on the island and its inhabitants.

Singer and pianist Terri Shaffer playing one the many musical interludes

The script was passionately researched, written, and directed by CIHS archivist Queenie Viglione Jensen, and inspired by “Tales from the Rain Barrel,” a children’s book written by Kenneth Sushil and his sister Rita Sushil-Wolfe. The book captures their years as children on Captiva during the war at the time their father Gerald was the general manager of Chadwick’s Plantation (now South Seas Island Resort).

IMG_6940 copy.JPGThe historical content of the letters Queenie composed as the program script was taken partially from the Sushil’s book, as well as the Captiva Island Historical Society online archives.

An inspiring rendition of"God Bless America" 
 brought the audienced to their feet

The one-hour program concluded with on-screen recognition of all Captiva residents who have, and are serving in the military, while the audience joined in for a rousing rendition of “God Bless America.”

IMG_6930.JPG“We are very honored to have a World War II veteran in our audience this evening, as well as Mr. Sushil whose book inspired our salute to the war years on Captiva,” said Tom Libonate, CIHS President.

Ken Sushil, author of the book that inspired the program, signs a copy of his book

The CIHS is deeply appreciative of Dave & Queenie Jensen for their sponsorship support of the program. Also, the CIHS wishes to thank Ken Sneeden for his technical support, and South Seas Island Resort for their support in hosting the program. As always, the CIHS appreciates The Sanibel Captiva Trust Company as our season presenting sponsor.


Bridging the Past and the Present