Now that our mother has died, almost exactly four months after father, it has fallen to me to stand in as the family archivist. At first this seemed a daunting task. After all, they were married for seventy years, and after our grandparents died, mother became the keeper of their prized belongings, namely pictures and correspondence dating back to the turn of the century. So, here I was with over a hundred years of family history to sort through. Daunting. Yet....as I sat amoungst yellowed boxes of cards and letters, from airmail wartime correspondence to envelopes addressed only by name and town (as that was all that was necessary), the dots connected and the lines crossed. I sat in a living room emptied of their physical presence yet stacked to the ceiling with the lives they led and the people they touched, and the task became easy.
Following is a poem I found with dad's pictures from India and China and Tinian in the Mariana Islands from where the air assault on Japan was staged during WWII. I will continue to share their lives and accomplishments that this might be true: "Not all of me will die".
Here I Am
Here I am, sitting on my G.I. bed,
My G.I. hat upon my head.
My G.I. pants, my G.I. shoes,
Everything free, nothing to lose.
G.I. razor, G.I. comb,
G.I. wish I were home.
They issue everything we need,
paper to write on books to read.
They issue food to make us grow,
G.I. want a long furlough.
Your coat, your shoes, your G.I. tie,
Everything free, nothing to buy.
You eat your food from a G.I. plate
buy your needs at a G.I. rate.
It's G.I. this, and G.I. that,
G.I. haircut, G.I. hat.
Everything here is government issue,
Gee, I wish that I could kiss you.