War has come close to me for the first time in many years. The best friend of my grand daughter’s husband died in a helicopter crash… not from enemy fire but of course it will take awhile for the reasons to be published. His name has been in the paper every day. A grand parade occurred in this town. The outpouring of love was wonderful… but the insanity that this wonderful young man had to die… for what? I am still trying to figure out why.
I was young during WW II. I was in grade school when my dad enlisted in the Navy. He was assigned to Philadelphia for the duration and worked in the supply corp. He was too old for overseas duty, and for that I am thankful.
An amusing side line to our move to Philadelphia was that he grew up there. He had told us how he walked five miles to school and back every day. How he lugged the trash cars… well you have heard these stories I guess. The joke was on him when we drove past his former house and the trash cans went down hill full, up hill empty and it certainly was not five miles to his school.
I have very fond memories of those years. My parents must have worked hard for those good memories we were given. We packed up and moved to Pennsylvania. We left our house fully equipped to a family also on the move and with a daughter we met briefly. We were assured Nikki would take care of our toys stored in the attic. We stayed in a very small house before we could go into the house we would rent “for the duration”. The house was so small that when my mom and Dad sat in the living room, there was no room for us. The bed room my sister and I were to occupy had one bed and a crib. I was ten, Mary 12… we argued over who would get the crib.
There were children in the neighborhood and for our brief stay there we played with them. The girls had very kinky brown hair that I wanted to touch, it was so different. It was years later that I realized we were in a black neighborhood.
Our move close to a Quaker school made the walk to school easy. We strolled across the hockey field in our back yard to the small school where Mary and I were in the top two grades. I recall discussions of where we would go to school when we outgrew this school but the war ended and we moved back to Mass, where Nikki had played with our doll house and all was fine. Two years was all it was, and I think my parents did not tell us of the horrors of war and there was no TV to show it to us. I do recall listening to Roosevelt on the radio news programs.
High school was the Korean conflict, as if not calling it a war helped. I do recall classmates joining the army and I remember hearing of one person I knew who did not return.
College years and my husband- to- be worked hard to stay in school so he would not be drafted. Then he went to work for the Navy Department after college and wrote to tell them of our first child so that he could get a deferment. He designed the PT boats used in Vietnam and later moved to Washington state where they were built.
Now we see daily events of war and destruction. .We watch countries erupting looking for a new government. When…please when, can we have peace? When can the people of this and all countries get along? When can our bright young men and women be home to enjoy their families and we can stop seeing all this mayhem on the TV?
Good bye Dan. I met you only once and asked if you would take me on a helicopter ride over the lake when you got home. You gave me a beautiful smile.