Friday, February 13, 2009

A War Time Valentine...

As you know, my father was in WWII. He was gone for almost two years.

I'm not sure you will be at all interested in this, perhaps this post is more for me. I have a Valentine letter that my father sent to his mother during WWII. I will not bore you with the entire 8 page letter, but I will give you a little of it. I don't know, I think it's kind of sweet and sad.

February 22, 1946

...In the past few mails I have received several Valentines...all sweet and I enjoyed receiving them. I had forgotten all about St. Valentine's Day as did all of my buddies. We have lost track of everything since we have been so far from home. Half the time we don't even know what day it is and I'm not exaggerating in the least. But those Valentine's set me thinking. Valentines Day is the day you send some little something to the one you love. There hasn't been evidence of much love for anybody or anything in the would these past few years and I suppose that is why we fellows over here slipped up on our Valentines Day. I haven't got much of anything these days, none of us over here have, but we still have the ones we love and that's some consolation. I suppose if I had remembered St. Valentines Day I could have had Dad or someone get you some candy in a big, red, heart shaped box or something but I want something else. I want to send you something right from me over here - something that I have touched with my own hands. It's a little late, I suppose, for Valentines since the Saint's feast day was nine days ago. And I have no pretty paper to write on, but I do have a little poem and I want to dedicate it to you, Mom.

To My Mom - My Valentine

Mom's battle is the toughest one,
'Cause it's the kind that's never won,
It's not a fight with sword of gun,
It's all day wondering, "Where's my son?"

It's not a war, it's a fight within;
It's where I'm at and where I've been,
Am I gaining weight - am I getting thin?
Am I steering clear of hell and sin?

The things I said, the things I did,
When I was nothing but a kid,
It's all these things that haunt Mom's mind,
It's a battle of a different kind.

A day never starts, a day never ends,
Without a prayer that dear Mom sends,
To the Heavenly Father up above,
That He'll watch over her fondest love.

So I think I'll be on my way in a couple of weeks or so. At least I hope so...and I wont have to do any more dirty work while I'm waiting on my orders to come home. I'll let you know everything that turns up...

Well, his orders to come home did come through a few months later. They told him one day that he served his time and that he was free to go home. How was he to get home. That was for him to figure out. So he hitchhiked across France depending on the kindness of strangers who could barely communicate with him and finally made it to the base he was to go home from. He didn't come home to ticker tape parades or mobs of people (strangers) cheering him. By the time he came home the war had been over for months. He walked down the street toward home with the neighbors he grew up with cheering him home. And to his mother running out the door of their home screaming and crying! I can't imagine how hard that must be for a young man to be so far from home and to miss his family so very very much for so long. I look at Jason and it's hard to imagine that when my dad left for duty he was only a few years older. I don't know how I would cope with saying goodbye to Jason - knowing he was off to war and then not seeing him for almost two years. It makes me think of all of the mothers who currently have sons and daughters fighting a war far from home.

So, Happy Valentine's Day friends. I'm going to go hug my creepy kids and enjoy a Valentine dinner with pinkish-red milk, pinkish-red mashed potatoes, and heart shaped dessert tomorrow and I hope you have a good day/weekend with the people you love too!


Clevelandgirlie said...

Oh Mary - that leaves me speechless. (sniff, sniff)

Happy Valentine's Day to YOU.
And I will think of you eating your pink mashed potatoes and drinking pink milk. Hey, anything pink for Howard????

Jane said...

Mary....I lost my Mum on the 27th of Jan 09 and until now I've not really been able to cry, but your latest post did it, the dam burst.
I could hardly read the screen for tears.
It is a lovely letter and you must feel very proud.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

Jackie said...

That was a beautiful post thank you. Very moving. i often wonder how i would have coped if my sons had to go and fight, and i wonder how the mothers of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan are feeling.
By the way Valentines day goes by totally un noticed in our house and has done for 32 years!

randi said...

What a sweet post! I can't imagine what I would feel like if I had a son in a war-zone. I don't even like to think of it!