Mary E. Adair
This is the month that marks the 60th anniversary of VJ Day, September 2, 1945, when arms were stacked and the long road to recovery began. Comparatively few WWII veterans are still among us with memories of those war years, and even those of us who were children are stretching to recall what it meant to us at the time. John I. Blair, a pre-schooler in those days, examines some memories in two of his poems..."Genesis IV" and "Fragments"... both of which reflect his perspective then and now.
The battle in his "Genesis IV" also had your editor recalling some coal-bin battles we girls had when we moved to Washington state with Mom and Dad who joined the war effort. There was an Irish family living across the service area from us...we were housed at the Bagley Downs (former race track) that the city fathers had hastily used to throw up duplexes for the influx of workers to the city. For heating and cooking, Soft Coal was used ... never a Texas product, thus new to us kids, and ever so messy and satisfying to chuck at someone. Back doors opened onto the service area and the tall square bins were lined down the middle in double rows, back to back aproximately 15 ft from the houses. The Murphy kids had set claim to those bins... all of them, as their 'trenches' and the entire area to the back door with its little concrete 3'x3' porch slab was no man's land... or in our case... no Carroll sister's land. If we barely peeked out, we were pelted soundly.
Finally our uncle, Mom's brother who had come to work in the Kaiser Shipyards too, had a couple days off, and was inspired by our distress (in trying to play with our dolls outside) to come up with a plan on the second day. Before daylight, he had us, and a bunker of mattresses from our twin bunks and about six coal shuttles of lumpy amunition prepared. Every time a Murphy head rose above the horizon, we fired away in a less than expert method, but as the day wore on our aim and exultation both flourished. About dark-thirty, a dirty white flag showed above the further coalbin, and MRS. MURPHY, a rather imposing shipyard worker herself, negotiated a 'truce' with Uncle Jackie... Our little band of 'Allies' ruled the trenches thereafter. But heck, no one else seemed to have that Irish tendency to fight back.
Not long after, my youngest sister fell ill with double pneumonia and the doctor said she needed to have sunshine and lots of it which was sadly lacking in the Vancouver area, so we were returned to west Texas to live with Grandmother until March of 1945 when Mom and Dad came back to Texas also. Uncle Jackie had been drafted in '43, and to tell the truth, they were homesick to be back in the sunshine with us kids. Thanks, John, for spurring this little bit of personal historical reminiscing.
Blair has other poems this issue which fall into the remember when category as well, with "Dad's Boat," and the romantic "Thirty-eight Years Ago Tonight," a loving tribute to his own anniversary with Clara. More recent times are detailed in "Possum at Twilight" and the harsh self-analysis shown in "Old Bear."
Sheila Keith submits "If You Come Across An Angel" which sounds like pretty good advice.
Bruce Clifford really brings us into the 'now' with his "Katrina," and recites "The Same Old Song," for his second offering this month.
Bud Lemire adds a neat picture of the subject of "The Diving Gull," which is near the vicinity of three of his accompanying poems: "Lake Shore Drive;" "No Power In The Tower;" and "The Traveler On A Bike." His other two poems sound more inspirational: "To Help You Through" and "Your Song."
Gregory Hargrave, aka Yopo, opens our view on a different segment of the world of music with "The Harp." His comments about the poem add depth and provide additional resources on the topic.
A few years back, we published a different story, The First VJ Day, which occurred that famous second of September. You can read that at the above link. For those who may not understand how happy we were "the war to end all wars" was over.. ... here is an article we carried in October of 2004 with mention of some of the harrowing experiences soldiers endured.
CAF American Combat Airman Hall of Fame
There was, of course, a WWI preceding the previously mentioned conflict, and Jerry Vilhotti helps us view the result in his own surrealist styling. As with all stories, articles, etc., there is a commentary block that follows his Lit pre`cis: "A Rose for Picardy." Please use it for your own analysis of the subject. Authors generally appreciate feedback.
The other two stories for September are continued from previous issues. "My Journey Home - Part Two" concludes this month, and if you missed the first part of this experience set in the Gulf War, there is a link at the top of the page. "Teen Titans- My Own Story -part 8" adds another chapter by Brooke Clifford. You can access a list of previously published work by the writers by clicking on their byline, which will also display further information about them by all authors who sent in autobiographies.
There are two articles -- the first, "Truth" is by Diane Lynch, new to our ezine. The second, "Writing in Peace and Quiet," has our familiar LC Van Savage revealing her personal solution to the dilemma.
Of course, LC heads the list of columns too, with "Consider This." Leo C. Helmer, who wields a mean pen, also shines wielding a cast iron skillet for a tasty recipe found in "Cookin' With Leo."
Mattie Lennon returns in "Irish Eyes" with a piece you may not dare to try reading aloud. Go ahead, and let us know if you could. Better stick with Gerard Meister's "Thinking Out Loud," if you want to be able to pronounce most of it. "Eric Shackle's Column" tells a tale of a Texan, and said Eric Shackle clued us into it nearly a month ago, knowing your editor resides in that state. Indeed, not far from the town mentioned. Thank you, Eric. All of the links you included are well worth following, and increase the scope of the story.
Our itinerary for September includes a visit to the new WWII memorial in Washington DC. We may have some pictures next month. See you then.