Thursday, April 3, 2008
Cry when you're feeling blue is more like it!
Man, I can't sleep now. I finished a library book (before it was even due back which is an amazing feat for me). It was the latest title by my very favorite writer in the world, Elizabeth Berg. The book is called Dream While You're Feeling Blue and I didn't especially think that I would like it. I've always shied away from "period pieces" and WWII and anything to do with icky yucky war didn't appeal to me much... with an exception of Thelma Harper's rendition of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" from one random episode of "Mama's Family". But because Ms. Berg wrote this book, I caved. And let me tell you, not only did I thoroughly enjoy the read but my conscience has really been given a severe beating. I guess because my Dad was in the Vietnam war, I have always avoided even THINKING about combat, soldiers, battle, ammo... all of that "stuff". He told me from a very young age about boys having their brains blown to bits right next to him and I suppose I felt as if I'd had enough exposure to that type of violent imagery for one young lady's life time and that I would just dismiss myself from really ever going there again. I knew that the war changed my dad. I knew that it was probably because of the war that I ended up a total basket case with no self-esteem and a really screwed up relationship with both parents. I knew that war was ugly. That it was senseless. That it was pointless. I KNEW this from a very personal place (i.e., the couch in my parents' house where I would receive the hour long tongue lashings that often drifted into details descriptions of how lucky I was because _____, ______, and _______ didn't happen to me today so shut the hell up and be thankful for what I had). But how filled with self-righteousness have I been to let that be the end of my relationship with war? How unfeeling and uncaring am I to not be thinking about "our boys" today... over there in some foreign country fighting a war for what reason and being killed to prove what was it again? During the 1940's, there was propaganda everywhere to keep "the boys" at the forefront of the minds of the people in this country. What was happening to the soldiers fighting that war was not glazed over by media, was not ignored by citizens. Everyone had a hand in that war and everyone gave a flying flip when one of our soldiers didn't make it home. This is not about whether you are "for" the war or "against" the war. It's just a matter of... did you notice that there is a war going on? Because I'll be the first to admit that I have barely noticed. And I am going to make darn sure that I remember once in a while what is happening in this world. I'm going to ask more questions. I'm going to read stories once in a while. Maybe I'll start writing letters to a soldier. I'll have the kids send him or her a picture that they have drawn. I don't know. But I'm going to do something. So, thank you Elizabeth Berg for your wonderful, powerful story. And thank you for knocking some sense into me. I sure hope I'll be able to sleep tonight. If I do, I will most certainly be dreaming about Miss Kitty, Ms Louise, Michael, Julian, and Hank.