Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sepia & Memorial Day

Have you ever put off writing a post until you took care of another one that had been waiting, and you have not done that one, so you really should not do any until you can pull yourself together and just do it RIGHT? Yes I have procrastinated, and that is the truth. I have been wondering what I could say about a month long absence from The Keeping Room other than "School just takes up all my time!" I have been busy, mostly with work, but also with just having a wonderful time which I will tell more about in the coming summer days.

For now, I am ready to tell you about my Sepia girl, a day late for Sepia Saturday, but on time for tomorrow. The little girl you see above posed for the camera some time in the early 1930's. She was eight or nine years old. I believe this was taken before scarlet fever rendered her deaf. Elsie, named after her mother, was a bright and industrious student. She had two brothers, William and Thomas. Her father was an accountant for Tennessee Coal & Iron and her mother a loving homemaker. After high school, she earned a scholarship to Gallaudette University that she never used. However, marriage was foremost in her plans, and she married just as America became involved in World War II. Her older brother William, First Marine Division, died on an island in the South Pacific, in the spring of 1944, just weeks before her first child was born. Three years later, she had a daughter. Her younger brother Thomas, 11th Airborne, fought and died in the Korean War. His body was never recovered.

Before Elsie died in January of 1981, that first born son, my husband, known to my readers as the Colonel, promised her (as she no doubt had promised her mother Elsie) that he would make every effort to bring her little brother home. True to his word, he has pursued this goal through the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office. (Click on the blue to read all about it!) He and his sister have sent in blood samples to have their DNA recorded. He has attended their regional meetings and heard some amazing stories much like one that aired on NPR (click in the red to listen) last month. Due the the location of Thomas's last battle above the 38th Parallel (the dividing line between North and South Korea) the chances of any attempt to find his remains are remote. Dealing with North Korea is a political barrier that only time can remove. This organization was born out of the efforts of families of the Vietnam POW's and MIA's. I hope that it endures. Perhaps some day Thomas will be sent home.

William was awarded the Silver Star posthumously. He is buried with his parents in Birmingham. The Colonel and I inherited his coffin flag and the one that was also given for Thomas. I composed a poem inspired by the story of Elsie, her brothers, and the two flags. I will post it on July 4th.

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat