May 24, 2009

Me, Mike, and E.C. Childhood buddies and close friends throughout our lives. All sharing a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn childhood in our small remote Ozark town. Outdoor toilets. Milk cows. Creeks to wade, swim, fish in. Caves to explore. River bluffs to climb. And all colored by our missing fathers and uncles and older cousins away, working at war plants, marching and saluting in National Guard units, and fighting and some dying across wide, wide oceans (which we could only imagine) against even more unimaginable evil bad guys called Germans and Japs. We did our share. Wore sailor caps, soldier caps, helmet lines, carried wooden stick guns, learned to stand at attention and salute, pulled our wagons and collected scrap iron for the war effort, helped our moms hoe and weed our gardens to help with food rations, built model airplanes, collected our own toy soldiers, drew comics with our own superheros doing their share. We were at war! The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, one day before my 7th birthday! Something awesome had happened! We did not know what but we knew all grownups were in awe. Atom Bomb? We thought it was "Adam Bomb" - Adam from Adam and Eve. We definitely knew it was of Biblical proportions.

We wanted to grow up and do our own share. Mike and E.C., 2 years older than me, joined the service as age 18. I joined at age 17. E.C. served 20 years in the Navy. Mike and I chose the Army. We both served in Germany during the 1950's at the height of the Cold War. 30 months tour of duty. Mike and I even got to visit each other while stationed there. (We were in different units. Stationed about 50 miles apart.) World War II. Actual vets? No. But as kids, in our minds, our dreams, our nightmares, and our lives, we served. E.C. died some years after retirement. He had became a jounralist. Mike and I both attended art schools, and also wound up in journalism. Today we are entering our 70's. Still dreamers. Still artists. And still remembering. And thanks for Memorial Day.