Something light and happy is promised for the next post. Really! Thank you readers for signing up. I acknowledge you all.
Written for my mother who would have been 95 in June.
My mother, Jean married her small town sweetheart, Karl. He was sent to war and died in 1945. Soon after she lost her husband, she miscarried his baby. A few years later, she met my father and right away he got shipped out to Okinawa. She had to wait almost a year for him. Uncertainty became a daily condition.
The woman in a Red Cross uniform
Cradles the telegram in her trembling hands.
Her man, name listed, will return no more,
His body returned to the earth, by war.
The woman in her daily work
Hides her flooded eyes from others
The tall husband, his gaze, his looks
Are tucked into photos among her books.
Busy officials dictate to bobbed secretaries
As they type, zipping out letter after letter.
The telegrams and crackling phones
Announce the men who won’t come home.
The broken purple endless fray,
The ribboned medal delivered to her,
As morning light dawns, shedding the fretted night,
She searches for something to make it right.
© 2013 by Susan E. Rowland
Journal suggestion: take an old photograph such as the one above and enlarge a section. Study the faces of the soldiers. Then do a free write. Give them names. What do you imagine about their personalities? Are there any men of color or women in this group of officer candidates? What was the sociopolitical climate among soldiers in the 1940’s?
Consider: what would you write about in a letter to the soldiers?