I wrote this earlier today. but it somehow got lost in cyberspace. I will try to re-write it as closely as I can, sice the original has been filed away again and I am too tired to dig it out a second time.
I don’t what age you were when you became aware of your first memories. kiddos, but some of mine date bake to when I was very young. They all involve my evil big brother Tony, who has grown up to be a really nice person. But who could have know back then? Nothing will be in order, because as I remember events they are all random.
One thing I remember well is my first haircut. I was born as bald as an egg. Gina, Don, hush. You were also. Mike, I guess you can laugh, since you had a head full of Blandford hair, thick and black. When my hair had finally started growing, thin and fine, Tony and a neighbor boy, Michael, decided to play barbershop one night under the street lamp. I was the customer. We had some very dull scissors Mother gave us for our “art work”, to be used only under her supervision. Tony found them, and I ended up scalped in places. I remember Mother crying when she came home that night. I also remember losing all rights to the scissors, and then my first visit to a hair dresser, courtesy of my aunt, Johnnie May. She told Grandmother my hair would grow back in faster and thicker than it had before, and so it did. But only after a lot of grief for all of us.
I trusted my big brother, not realizing how evil he was at the time. When he and Nelda, the girl who lived on the other side, were making mud pies in the driveway, Tony offered me one, telling me it was a chocolate pie. As I said, I trusted him. So I took a large bite of my personal chocolate pie. When I ran crying to Mother, Tony and Nelda disappeared somewhere, leaving me to listen to her lecturing and fussing about how some people would do anything if they were told to do it. I remember her washing the mud out of my mouth, digging the gravel out, the taste of the stuff. But again, if you can’t trust your big brother, who can you trust? My late in life answer? NO ONE.
My earliest years were during the Second World War. Food was rationed, but I didn’t know it, because Mother could make a delicious meal out of whatever she had. Both sets of grandparents lived on farms, so they were able to supplement our diets with fresh vegetables each summer, and fresh meat in the winter. But some things, like sugar, were hard to replace. Mother received 5 pounds per month. One particular day, after coming home from a shopping trip, and lying down to rest for a while, Tony decided we should play “Hansel and Gretel”, the story Mother had read to us the night before. There were no bread crumbs to mark our path with, but right there, on the kitchen table, was a brand new bag of sugar. So, Tony opened the bag of sugar, and we left a trail behind us all through the house. We survived the game, but I’m still wondering how.
The floor in that house was made of boards that didn’t quite meet, so for the rest of our stay in that house, Mother was forever trying to sweep the sugar out from between those boards. I asked her once what she did for sugar that month, and she smiled grimly, and told me she got some honey from one set of grandparents and molasses from another set. Fortunately they were bee keepers and one set also raised sugar cane for the molasses.
Since we lived in town those first few years of my life, and didn’t have a refrigerator, our food was kept cold in an “ice box” which was exactly that. There was a box at the bottom where a huge block of ice was placed each day to keep the food in the top cold. The ice man came each day and delivered the block, depending on the size that was posted in the window. The lady of the house would write the amount she wanted, or could afford, on a piece of cardboard and put it in the window, and the ice man would chip off that size and take it in to the box. I remember him well, though I doubt I ever really knew his name. The ice was in a wagon, drawn by two horses, and on the hot days he would chip off small chunks for the kids in the neighborhood. We loved those little chips of ice. The bigger boys in the area seemed to always try to annoy the horses, and one day I can remember they made them run away. I was too young to run after them to see the results, but I know they weren’t good.
The last memory I’ll share tonight is of a sunny day in what I now know was August, 1946. Mother had us all out on the front lawn, Steve sitting on a blanket, while Tony and I were sitting on the grass, listening to Mother reading a story to us all. She didn’t stop after Hansel and Gretel, thank goodness. It was a peaceful, sunny afternoon, kind of drowsy feeling in the air, when suddenly all of the peace was broken by church bells ringing all over town, sirens wailing, fireworks shooting off, and then people laughing and screaming. And then our paperboy ran down the street, shouting out the reason for all the noise. “The war is over! The war is over!” Mother laughed, cried, rejoiced. All emotions she could come up with. We knew it meant something good had happened, but didn’t know what. Then we started to understand. Our uncles, John, Vird and Leo would be coming home. The family would all be together again.
Later I learned that day in August was VJ day. It is no longer celebrated the way it was back then. There have been so many wars since that day, it seems now it is all one continuing war, just switching from one area to another as the world fights to live.
I didn’t know anything at that time about atomic bombs, but I know now. Bombs kill. They kill people, but most of all the atomic bomb kills the earth. Where the atomic bomb explodes the earth dies. Guys, please don’t destroy this earth like that. Nurture the land you will inherit. Love it, put affection and love into it and let it live. When our earth is dead, that will be the end of life as we know it. Sorry, you know me, I always have to end with a moral.