(Continued from Tuesday . . .)
I don’t remember seeing my mommy and daddy and little brother for eight months. Did they come back to Kansas City for Christmas? I don’t remember. I do think that Mommy must have written me each week because I have a vague memory of the neighbor lady sitting me down in the kitchen and reading to me.
The one thing I do know for sure is that I celebrated my sixth birthday with my family in early April 1942. I rode a train from Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri, to the train depot in Parsons, Kansas. Mommy and my little brother met me there and took me to the refurbished chicken coop where they lived.
Here's a picture a sidewalk photographer snapped of Mommy and me, with just the sleeve of my little brother’s jacket showing on the left. She’s carrying my birthday cake. Note the handkerchief in my hand. I am having asthma problems. That is probably because I’d slept the night before in the refurbished coop.
I have only fleeting memories of what we did during that weekend.
I seem to remember that Daddy acted strange and talked strange. When I asked Mommy why, she told me he was “disappointed.”
I asked why and she said that he’d tried to join the Seabees “to do his part in the war” and they’d turned him down because he was blind in one eye. She told me that a few years before he’d been in a blasting accident at work and been blinded. Until then, I hadn’t known he was blind in his left eye.
Another memory I have of that time is of me going into one of the rooms and crying because Mommy kept telling me I had to go back to Kansas City and live with the neighbors. I closed the door behind me because I was afraid that if Mommy saw me cry she’d immediately send me away.
That’s all the memory I have. I suppose that on Sunday afternoon they bought a return ticket and put me on the train. Knowing their concern for me later in life, I think they must have asked the conductor to watch over me. They probably gave me cookies or a candy bar or an apple to eat, but I don’t know that.
I know only that I have this posted picture from that time and that Mommy kept it displayed when they ultimately came back to Kansas City and we settled on the farm.
So much memory lost.
One thing I wonder: Did they know then that they would return to Kansas City in August? I don’t think so. I can’t remember them assuring me of that.
I do know that I continued to fear. I thought perhaps I’d see them for my birthday the following year, but not before. I accepted that we’d always be separated and that I’d go to school and that they’d never meet any of my teachers.
(. . . to be continued on Saturday)