Perspective. When I was very young I wondered why my Dad never talked about being in WWII. Was he too emotionally distant from us? Back then I thought he just didn’t want to talk to us kids–we were too young to hear about it.
When I was about nine my sister and I were playing dress up with the old costumes in our attic. I accidentally found a LIFE book about World War II with hundreds of photographs of planes, American troops, weapons, bombed out buildings. It was fascinating but a little scary. But then more photos– dead bodies, concentration camps, piles of bodies. At that I had to shut the book and actually hid the book way in the back of the attic near the pink insulation even though I knew it would itch and make me sneeze to touch it. Maybe Daddy didn’t talk about the war because it was too scary. Was the war emotionally too close to him?
When I was in my late thirties I asked Dad how he felt when he was in the war. He answered by asking me a question. “How did you feel when you heard George died in Viet Nam?” He paused. “How did you feel when you found out Kenny was a POW in Viet Nam?” He paused. When I looked at his eyes, they were not their usual twinkly grey. They were sad. He didn’t seem to need me to answer. Another perspective?