This is for all the families who wait and worry while their son, husband, father, brother, nephew, sister, daughter, wife, nieces are serving our country.
Thank you too, for your sacrifice!
Last night while going thru an old box of pictures and memorabilia, I came across this note/story written by my Great Aunt Tommy that I want to share, but before I do I am going to share a quote I found this morning in a NONFICTION book I'm reading (the book is a memoir called 'Stepdog' by Mireya Navarro)
When you live apart from the family you love, by choice, nostalgia only grows with time.
I find this to be so true of myself!
My mother must have felt the same way---she was sentimental, but I never really knew that until she passed away and we cleaned out the house.
In an old dark basement, stored safely away in many trunks, were letters and photos and documents of family members that are invaluable to me. I love them!!
Especially when I come across stuff like this essay (I'm not sure what to call it) by Aunt Tommy.
My great aunt Tommy used to scribble all kinds of things on pieces of paper---with some 'romantic' embellishments or writing styles, but that makes it all the more meaningful to me.
She didn't date this, but my dad's cousin Gene was a lot older than he and was born sometime in the early 20's. He served in WWII. As did my Great Uncle Bunk (see this earlier post), but that was the other side of the family.
Anyway, We know this was written sometime in the 1940's.
She wrote it when he was overseas during the war when you could do nothing but wait for letters and worry and pray --- things family and friends of military personnel still do today.
I'll call it
Ode to Gene
Aren't you so glad it's not my professional job to write book titles? HA!
When my dad and mom were first married and in the Marine-Corp, in 1958ish, they lived with Gene and his wife Ruby in Southern California for a short while, until they could find housing.
Ode to Gene (a Veteran) by Aunt Tommy
The years are short-the minutes so long.
The bedroom door opened and Grandma stood there smiling "It's a boy" she said, "my great-grandson--and he weighs six pounds."
His name is Gene. That was what he was named 23 short years ago.
There was not a sign of hair on his little round head and he was all of eleven months old before any ever appeared. His eyes were blue.
Would they stay that mysterious shade, so peculiar to small babies, or would they be brown?
Not until he was a year old did we know they were definitely brown.
He grew so fast --trying, it seemed, to out distance the fast flying years.
His first tooth, the first un-certain, momentous steps, the first trip to the barber shop. The baby was gone forever, but there, in the babies place, a dear little, round boy.
He never talked baby talk--just one or two words like elephant and sneak were beyond him.
His first long pants and he little blue sleeveless vest that look so very small now.
School days -- and his teachers saying "He's such a smart boy. It's no effort for him to learn and his grades are perfect. He will certainly make his mark in the world."
High School --president of the student body--his first dates --working after school and on Saturdays in a grocery store.
Then graduation and going away from home for his first 'real' job.
Advise from Dad-- "Better not get married son, until you are a little older."
The promise - "I won't get married without your consent, Dad, until I'm twenty-one"
Two days before Christmas-- the telephone and Gene saying, "Dad, I'll be twenty-one tomorrow and I wanted to tell you I'm getting married on my birthday. I kept my promise though. I've found the girl and you'll love her, I know. Will you come to our wedding?
The months--January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August -- and the notice "Classified 1A"
The good-byes and the boy turned overnight into a soldier.
The letters marked 'free' in the upper right hand corner--from Utah, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, California, Florida -- then the message "Leaving for Port of Embarkation"*
V mail letters, Air-Mail letters -- from North Africa-- "I'm well. Have gained weight, the cookies and candy were so good."
Homesick, homesick, homesick between each line.
The letter, written on a plane -- "On my way to Italy. My first airplane ride."
Then -- no letters.
The weeks, days, hours, minutes are so long.
Where is he?
If only we could hear from him.
At long last, a letter, "I'm okay. The food isn't so good here."
Again the days, hours, minutes drag along.
Our Father in Heaven, keep him safe. Watch over him and let him come home soon.
He's so young, so very young.
It was only yesterday he was little baby and Grandma was saying
"It's a boy! and he weighs six pounds."
My dad's cousin Gene's brother Bob! (I couldn't find a photo of Gene in a uniform, but Bob--just because an ode was not written about him, doesn't make him any less special --was a military man too!)
**I wasn't sure what Embarkation meant so I looked it up:
Embarkation: The geographic point in a routing scheme from which cargo or personnel depart. This may be a seaport or aerial port from which personnel and equipment flow to a port of debarkation for unit and non-unit requirements it may or may not coincide with the origin.
Thank you Veteran's and your families!