In Janet Lambert's WELCOME HOME, MRS. JORDON, the author uses this actual military fort as background for recurring characters in her many books that follow two large military families through the 1940s, into the 1970s. In this book, recently-married TIppy (Andrea) Parrish and West Point graduate Peter Jordon, on his second assignment since graduation, are ordered to Panama, where they are stationed at Fort Clayton. The United States Armed Forces returned the Fort Clayton land to the Panamanian government in 1999, and the buildings are now part of an educational complex, Ciudad del Saber (City of Knowledge); relatively unchanged on the exterior, except that United States Army insignia and flags have been removed. Actually, Panamanian nationalism is very strong here; the field across from the main complex was literally covered with Panamanian flags on poles the day I visited.
I (Marney) have long loved Janet Lambert's books, and this opportunity to actually see a location that was the inspiration for two of her titles (the other, WITH A SONG IN THEIR HEARTS, is the sequel to this title) was too good to pass up. Upon arriving at the Fuerte Amador cruise terminal I had no solid plan for getting there; I was thinking of a cab (regardless of the expense) and was delighted to find that Ciudad del Saber was a stop on the Hp On Hop Off bus. Couldn't be simpler! However, it's not a frequently-requested stop and to my horror I realized the driver was not going to stop there; I recognized where we were, but he was trundling right on by and the bus tour guide who spoke English was upstairs! I couldn't get her attention until we reached the next stop the Miraflores Canal stop just a few minutes away, but the bus went back to the missed stop and the guide showed me how to cross the highway and then where to pick up the bus for the return trip to the cruise terminal.
The text below is taken directly from the book to show how closely Janet Lambert matched her story to the actual location. All of Janet Lambert's books are still in print, available through Image Cascade Books
and there's a Janet Lambert Book Group online; contact me (link in the menu bar) if you want details.