Last night, as perhaps many of you did, too, we watched D Day, which is the impetuous for today’s post.
I was born in 1944, and yes, that’s a few years after D-Day, but is nonetheless, within the span of WW11. This is an obviously old photo of that time. My father, John, mother Jeanette, older sister, Judy, an me, the baby in Mother’s arms.We are on the steps of our house on Bertita Street in San Francisco. I don’t know who took the photo.
While I don’t remember much about that time, I do remember, oddly enough, snapshots of that time. I remember blackout curtains on the inside windows, and I remember two of my mother’s brothers, my uncles Lawrence and Kenny, coming to visit us as they were preparing to ship out, both on Navy vessels. I remember me standing at the edge of my crib, sides pulled up and me reaching out arms for one or the other uncle to pick me up.
I find it odd that now I can barely or rarely remember where I put my glasses, but I remember the uncles and reaching over the crib rail to be picked up.
My father and mother had moved to San Francisco when my older sister was somewhere around a year old. Before that, they had lived on a farm in Kansas but when the oldest child, a son, was killed in an accident, and Mother very pregnant with Judy, I expect they had to get away from that reminder. I know where the accident occurred, a small culvert bridge on the road not far from our current farm, which I’ve written about previously.
My father also wanted to assist in the war effort and tried to enlist in San Francisco, maybe that’s why we moved there, too. But he had flat feet and the Army wouldn’t accept him. And so, he did the next best thing and became a Merchant Marine. I don’t have many memories of that, in fact, none, except he wasn’t home for long stretches of time. I know he got as far as Hawaii because there are some very old letters I’ve found and saved which he’d sent back to Mother.
I don’t know how “celebrating” D Day is exactly a celebration. Hundreds of young men died in the conflict, on all sides. But it is my early history and for whatever reason, I’ve written about that time in other posts. Maybe I’ve even written this one, or at least had the photo in one or another. I remember writing about Mother wheeling me in a baby stroller and Judy running alongside as we climbed a hill to where there was a playground.
And looking at this photo, I wonder how it is that I’ve now reached 77 years of age.