Tuesday, April 26, 2011

World War II Memory. A very personal story.

My Dad was in the Army in World War II.

He was in the infantry and combat and had some stories to tell. Many of them involved weapons and mortar shells and fox holes and death and harsh living conditions. I'm positive that the things he saw stayed with him until the very end of his life in December 2010 at age 89. I could tell by some of the things he was talking about that those memories were alive and well and never too far from the surface of his mind. 

But in 1944 my Dad received this telegram from the Red Cross.

It's old and crumpled as you can see. 
I'm sure it was wadded up and thrown across the room. 
 I can also see him punching the guy that had the unfortunate 
task of handing it to him.
 I know he did that. What else can you do with 
that anguish when it's handed to you.

I'm sure he then picked up the telegram, smoothed it out and 
carried it home with him and cried over it. I'm sure a DNA test would
find salty tears imbedded in the fibers.

In case you can't read it, here's what it said:
Dr states wifes diagnosis eclampsia.
Caesarean section Dec. 19
Twins. One Dead.
Wife oxygen tent. Prognosis guarded.
Urges presence.
No other problem.

Well....both twins died. 
I'd say there WAS another problem. 
Two boys that would have been my older brothers died.
Boys that already had names picked out. 
My Mother came close to death as well. 

(But I'm happy to report that she is still alive and although grieving heavily for the loss of my Dad this last December, she is surviving and continuing the journey.)

My Dad got to come home from the vicious war and 
was allowed to stay for just a brief time. 
Then he had to go back to the war.

As the years passed and they both reflected on this terribly sad time in their lives, they looked at it as an event that very possibly spared my Dad's life. Where he was at that particular time when he received this telegram was a very dangerous place. 
There were many lives lost.

It may very well be so. 

I personally believe that our lives are more 
planned out than we are aware of. 
We are just living our story. 
That's how I look at it.

Maybe one of those twins finally made it down here. I know I finally got a brother 3 years after I was "baby boomed" into this world after the war was over.

I think it's special that my Dad saved this piece of our family history. He put it in a frame with a V-mail love letter that he wrote to my Mom and that she had saved. 
 (This photo was taken shortly after
my Dad and Mom married in the early 1940's.)