First Memories

My first conscious memories occurred during WWII. My very earliest memories revolved around domestic life – visiting grandmom, playing with our neighbor’s miniature china, wondering why everyone kept asking me if I wanted a baby sister, crying every time that my mother combed my long curls, hearing my mother sing as she combed, staring through the back yard fence at the orphans next door who stared back at me, repeating the jingle for “Tums” that repeated itself on the raido, etc.  One day I realized that some where in the world, while I  was deciding whether or not I wanted a baby sister or not, or was playing with our neighbor’s china, children my age were dieing because of a war.  I asked my mother if war was a continuous state (not my exact three year old words) .  She told me that when she was a little girl, there was a war going on across the ocean.  I thought about that.  Later, I asked my mother if war went on when you were little then stopped when you grew up.  She smiled and said, “Not exactly.”  Little by little, I began to understand chronology.  I remember uncles going off to war, returning on furlow, then returning to war.  And, of course, I remember VE day – the hugging and kissing of strangers – the dancing in the streets!

Eventually, I learned the causes of war, who was on which side, where important meetings were held, the immediate, long term and unintended results of war.  Over the years,the details shown in black and white Movetone Newsreels became muted and jumbled.  Some slipped far back into my subconscious.  More than sixty years later, details of WWII shot back into focus through one experience which I will describe – later.


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