Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Ways of War

Mary Ellen snapped this photo of Uncle Tom and me just after his 91st birthday last December.  We were discussing the battle of Anzio Beachhead in which he participated during World War II. 
During the course of our conversation, I asked him if he still dreams about the war.  "Well," he said, a faraway look in his brown eyes, "Every now and then." 
Although I was five years old when the war ended, I can still put myself back in that time and place:  Uncle Tom's tiny, slick V-mails, Mother and Daddy huddled near our big battery-powered radio listening to President Roosevelt's fireside chats, Mother tearing rationing stamps from a strange little book, the look on Daddy's face when he learned one of his best friends was a prisoner of war.  
But what I remember most vividly is the gaunt look on Uncle Tom's dark, handsome face and the restlessness and nervous energy surrounding him when he returned home.    
I pulled up some of those memories and wrestled them into a short story, Because of the War, which was published in the spring 2008 issue of Straylight Literary Magazine.
I think it is very important that all veterans (particularly World War II veterans) leave behind their personal accounts of war.  My former boss and treasured friend, Frank Chambers, wrote his.  And Uncle Tom recently published The Ways of War, which was edited by Mary Ellen. 
Congratulations, Uncle Tom.  God bless you and veterans everywhere.


C.S. said...

Excellent! I was a too young to remember much about that era, but my grandparents often told about their experiences...not just the WWII time, but of the 30s Depression Era. My grandmother could make the depression so real, I often feel like I lived through that time.

When I was at the newspaper, writing Lifestyle articles, I did several features on local veterans of WWII. I was always fascinated by their experiences, but the most memorable was a WWII army nurse. She was so very independent for that era, and at even at 90+, still quite the independent woman!

Brenda said...

Thanks, C!

What an interesting job you had. There's nothing I love more than stories of days gone by.

My grandparents often talked about the Depression, too. "Corn was ten cents a bushel," Paw Paw said many times. He was a farmer and also owned a small grocery store in Southern Illinois. Most customers had to put their groceries on credit; when they couldn't pay, his business went belly-up.

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley