I grew up in the upscale extremely affluent town of Palo Alto Ca. Of course I didn't know they were affluent, I just knew everyone had more then I did, and my grandmother and I lived in a little pink house next door to other little houses across from the courthouse. Along with the rest of the not so affluent families of Palo Alto. Still, I didn't know we were poor or different, I just thought my grandmother was frugal. Yes I was naive.
I remember playing in the park, walking to school, going to a friends house a being amazed at how large it was; how nice it was. How clean it seemed.
My Grandmother worked in one of these large clean houses. At the time, I remember she worked for a professor at Stanford, a doctor, and the president of General Electric.
The families were nice enough, they used to invite me to come over and go swimming in their affluent pools rather than the public pool, it was such a treat to go over and swim with just their kids. Instead of a thousand kids in a public pool.
And so life went. Quiet. Uneventful. Naive
His visits were a big deal to me, I planned and planned. I would sit for days watching for him out the front window.
So the day he showed up expectantly I was beside myself. For a minute.
He was wearing a uniform, instead of his usual jeans. A military uniform and he looked very important.
He had something to tell me-so we went for a walk.
As I have tried to stress before, naive was my byword, then. I was aware of a war, but not the way people felt about it. So, Walking next to him, puffed up and proud..it took me by surprise to have someone yell at him and call him names.
He ignored it and walked on. At that time, I began to notice the ugliness. The graffiti written on the walls regarding the war and those who fought it. I do not know, why, until that day I have never noticed what the words said. I noticed the graffiti but not the words.
He explained to me, he was leaving for overseas. I cried because I knew people died in war, but he promised me other people did, not him. A lady well dressed in bright yellow, and a large hat., came up purposely to my brother, it was quite apparent she had something to say.
"Yes, mam>' he said quietly. What I remember most is, he took his hat off when speaking with her. Somehow he knew.
She went on t tell the story of her husband, who had just returned. What a hard time he had, and the fact he returned minus his legs and spirit.
"These people." she gestured around the park, "don't care whats going on over there, or over here."
She was quiet a moment, then she said...."it almost hurts more to be here...."
"Taking a deep breath, "Good luck to you, Sailor."
"We serve because we care, in a family such as ours: we must stick together and stand for each other. Because in the end, there is not glory, not great cause of freedom: you are fighting for the man standing next to you and he for you." She bowed her head.
" and all of us, for them" she glanced over at the graffiti "in families such as ours" she whispered.
It is interesting today, we go out of our way to thank the soldiers for their service, for giving their lives so we may be free. Today, when I think about then and how that lady felt...I am almost compelled to thank whatever soldier, sailor, marine I see.
We met another lady that day, this lady this lady told my brother she hoped he was killed for killing little babies.
I remember that lady to, mostly because my brother was killed and never came home again.
I wrote about her in another post.
I remember asking my brother what she meant by families such as ours, it was oblivous she was of the affluent family while we were not....
He said quietly "she means, military,"
Isn't it funny how quickly being naive dies? How your eyes are opened, and you see clearly?
I was now aware of my surrounding, and I made sure I, at least, thanked a soldier when I saw them.
I still do.
Keep the faith.