The thing about blogging is that I have all these feelings to expel from my poor overloaded psyche, but doing so can be a delicate undertaking. Writing about my own stuff is difficult enough. While I yearn to purge every intimate feeling and memory, the term TMI comes to mind, causing me to reel myself in. But, then there's the danger of making a colorful story, beige, with all the life sucked out of it.
What's really tricky is writing about someone else's story. How can I speculate on how twenty-one year old (give or take a year or so) Jerry must've felt when he volunteered to leave his family, his girlfriend, his world, to go to Vietnam? How does a young man that age step up to that decision knowing his best friend has just died on Southeast Asian soil and his father is in a POW camp there? How did our mother allow her firstborn, whom I acknowledge, with regret, may well have been her favorite, to go? (Jerry, that will be the first and last time I make that "favorite" concession, so don't get used to it.) It would be presumptuous of me to speak for either of them, so I won't.
I could speak for Jerry's brothers and sisters and how we felt about it, but the expressions on our faces make that unnecessary.
This letter that Jerry wrote Jimmy from Vietnam is illustrative of the way he rose to the occasion and explains the otherwise inexplicable partiality Mom felt for him. I hope none of the parties involved object to my sharing this.:
"Dear Jimmy, I hope you realize that March 23 is Mom's birthday; try to make it nice for her. I'm sending some money so you can distribute it to the kids so they can all buy her a present. Make sure she has a cake, even if you have to buy it. I hope everything is alright. Mom said you would be writing soon. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you. One more thing, please make sure Mom doesn't have to scream and yell at the kids on Easter; try to make that nice for her, too. Take care and work hard. Jerry"
Is that not the most precious thing ever? (I know, I know, her birthdate was actually March 22.)