Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Home From the War
For the last two weeks we’ve been moving and unpacking boxes. Some of the boxes had things in them that I haven’t unpacked for almost two years. One of the treasures I found was a portrait of my grandmother, Mary Sue. It is a photograph taken in a park in downtown Amarillo on her graduation day. I was so proud to find the perfect spot in our new home to hang her picture.
My Mema told me lots of stories when I was growing up about how she would make a big deal about special events. There was always a new dress, new flowers and a trip to the beauty shop involved.
My favorite story was about how she prepared for my Pepa to come home from WWII. They married after her high school graduation; then not long after, Pepa joined the army. He spent a lot of his time in Japan after the war had ended climbing into the caves to tell the Japanese soldiers in hiding that the war had ended.
While Pepa was in Japan, Mema worked to make their first home and she told me about how she put their names on the list to own a car once production began. She was so proud to tell Douglas (as she called him) about all she had done. When word came that Pepa would be arriving the next day on the train, Mema went shopping.
She bought a new dress, new hat and had her hair done. “Mother and Daddy drove me to meet Douglas at the train.” She remembered. “Douglas, anxious to be home, tried to catch an earlier train. The only problem was this train got delayed.”
Mema waited all day at the train station before receiving word that Pepa wouldn’t be arriving until the next day. She described how her disappointment turned into anger, “I fumed all the way while Mother and Daddy drove me home. I went in my room, threw down my new dress and hat and told daddy, ‘He’s just going to have to find another ride home tomorrow!’”
Her mother and daddy (as she called them) wasted no time giving her a straight talking to. “Mary Sue!” they said, “You’re husband has been away AT WAR! Now he’s coming home to you. Tomorrow you will put that dress and hat back on and MEET HIM AT THE TRAIN!”
The next day when they arrived at the station, there he was, the man Mema described as, “The most handsome man she’d ever seen.” And she sure was glad she didn’t make him catch a cab home.