Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Red Letter Day

Among my siblings, I've been one of the most reticent and stubborn about publishing anything from Mom's diary.  I'm going to do so here, because it seems to me that this entry may be representative of the hope and uncertainty every POW family feels as they wait day in and day out for Something to comfort them.  I hope Mom wouldn't mind.



" Feb. 4, 1967
I wish I had a red pencil because this is a red letter day.  We got a letter from Jerry.  Thank God.  He says he’s all right and seems all right.  His message is short and written on a greeting card – he didn’t have room to say much but all the important things are there.  I believe he is all right.  Also today Fr. Darkowshi came down from Wash and showed me a letter from Cdr. Jenkins saying intelligence sources have said Jerry has been seen in a POW camp the end of 1966.  Very sensitive and secret.  Both in one day.  And how wonderful to know they (Navy intelligence ) have that much of a watch over them.  Janie Tschudy called this AM to say she received 2 letters (1 card 1 letter) from Bill today.  I did not expect any.  I wrote my letter to him, so did the children, and I took it to the PO.  When I got home I looked in the mailbox and there was Jerry’s letter lying there all by itself.  I saw the envelope, didn’t look at the address, the handwriting or return address but just knew it was Jerry’s.  I reached in for it, restrained myself and tried to look casual – there were children in the yard and I wanted a private moment with it and I was so glad I had found it.  Walked in the house.  Madeleine was on the porch and I couldn’t resist whispering “We have a letter from Dad.” And we burst into the house and suddenly everyone knew it.  I told them to be quiet and give (this next section is written on a separate sheet of stationery, tucked into the diary, because she ran out of room on the page for the date.) me a few minutes.  I came up to our room, closed and locked the door.  I sat down and tried to collect myself – I held the letter relishing every second.  With gloves I opened it and read the dear, dear words.  He’s all right.  I really believe he is.  He said so and also his writing looks good and even and strong and just like it’s always looked.  After I had it to myself for a little while – not very long because the children were waiting – I called the children in.  They all stood around me in a semi-circle to hear.  Mary Beth was standing directly in front of me.  I started to read and saw her little earnest upturned face and stopped to be sure she understood.  I said “This is a letter from your Daddy.”  With complete sureness and alertness she said “I know.”  I read it to them and they were all wreathed in smile of joy and relief."

5 comments:

Kimmy Coleslaw said...

I'm crying - enough said XOXO

Madeleine Doak said...

Incredible, isn't it? Her diaries are fascinating from many perspectives. At the beginning, she was innocently hopeful that he'd be home by Christmas or whatever and it went on and on for years.

Unknown said...

Can't keep the tears back....a mom and her kids. I am always amazed at how humans can find comfort in the most trying times....

Danielle said...

Can't keep the tears back....a mom and her kids. I am always amazed at how humans can find comfort in the most trying times....

Madeleine Doak said...

Hi Danjelle! How kind of you to visit me in my loneliness. JK - just wanted to quote the wicked Witch- she said something like that to Dorothy.
I miss you. Come home!