A chance encounter with a girl at an Army air base and an inspiring high school teacher led Betty Hatcher down the path toward becoming a writer.
Hatcher, 96, recently had her book, “Her Innocent War,” published. The book is the product of an encounter with a young woman at a U.S. Army Air Corps base during World War II. The woman, whom Hatcher met while stationed at the base with her husband, stayed on her mind for years.
“She came out of the sand and the pines of North Carolina,” Hatcher said. “She was a real hick from the sticks. But then the second time I met her was some weeks later, and her heels were high, her skirts were short, and her makeup was perfect. She just haunted me, and I thought about how she changed and what she went on to do with her life.”
The 340-page book was published this year. Hatcher spent her career as an executive secretary. She occasionally wrote poetry and short stories, some of which were published.
Her love for writing was the result of her creative writing teacher at Classen High School, from which she graduated in 1936.
“I wrote mostly poetry, but she steered me into other directions,” Hatcher said. “The sad thing is, the last year she taught she was very ill and knew she was going to die. She wanted to find a student that would carry on her passion for writing, so she interviewed all of her best students. She wanted to find someone who could become a spectacular writer. I don’t think she found someone like that, because I was the last one she talked to, and I saw her crying afterwards.”
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