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The time was 1942 when the world was at war. It's easy to forget that there was such a time, but I remember it well. I watched as my family was whittled down from seven members to three. My two brothers and a sister joined the armed forces. My other oldest sister married a soldier and moved away, and that left me alone with mom and pop. However, it wasn't until my boyfriend told me he had joined the air force, that I really went to pieces.
Don and I had known each other since sixth grade. He graduated high school just this year and now he was going off to war. I was 17 and in my senior year, and would graduate at the end of the year. When I was 15 Joey kissed me for the first time and I knew I would never want anyone else ever. I adored him. I was crazy about his good looks, his black wavy hair and blue eyes. We used to wonder how our kids would look because I had light auburn hair and green eyes. The night before he left for duty I went all the way with him and lost my virginity. That may seem laughable for today's kids, but back then it was different.
I was so afraid my parents would find out, but I was willing to take the chance because I really loved Joey so very much. I couldn't bear the thought of him leaving, it was the most traumatic event of my life. I could hardly remember a day without seeing him, except maybe on vacations. Even when he went out with a few other girls, saying we had to see how we felt with others, I still saw him. He would tell me all about the date, I would hurt inside, but wouldn't let him see it because I was so glad he shared it all with me.
It only lasted a few girls then he stopped seeing anyone else telling me that I was the only one he wanted to be with for the rest of his life. As for me I only went on two other dates both of which were boring. Neither of the boys could match up to my Joey. When he knew I was going out with another boy he came over to stay at my house until I got home. My parents would say "what is going on with you two". Of course they knew that Joey and I were in love and would marry one day.
The day he left I was in constant tears and trembling. I was there to see him off at the train station, along with his mother and brother Jake.The last thing he did before boarding the train was to take me in his arms and kiss me hard and long. Then he said "Mom, Jake, take care of Annie for me, I'm going to marry her when I come home. I was so proud of him.
After he left with promises between us to write and stay true to each other, I went on with school and my part time job at the department store as file clerk in an office. Everything I did seemed to be robotic. I lived only to read his mail. I would go to see Joey's family every so often, but they weren't outgoing like Joey, even though I knew they liked me. They were very introverted. Jake wasn't, he was more like Joey, but he too had gone into the service. I hated the war! It went on this way for 6 months before Joey came home on leave. I was at the sation to meet him and he came off the train and came straight to me crushing me in his arms and kissing me. I was so thrilled to see him but I told him to go hug his mom who was there also.
It was three days before Joey and I were able to get together by ourselves for an entire evening. He borrowed his father's car and we drove out of town to a motel and we made love for 7 straight hours. We were wrapped in each others arms and Joey said " I missed the smell of your hair. You are so beautiful and your skin is soft like rose petals." I laughed and said " Joey are you making that up or did some older woman teach you some things while you were away." He smiled and said, "what if I said yes there was another woman." I said then i would choke you like this and I rolled on top of him and put my hands around his throat.
I squeezed hard on purpose and he grabbed my hands and said "Hey that hurts woman, you really mean it." Then he rolled me over and lay full weight on top of me and said, "I could crush you like this." I said "Go ahead I would love you to crush me." He did crush me with love, and I was taken to such heights of pleasure with Joey, I could hardly bear it. I never knew that it could be like this, so totally intense and emotions so strong that the passion you felt was close to spiling over from ecstasy to rage.
Before we left I began to cry and said "How am I going to live without you here?" He said, I feel the same way baby, but this war will be over soon and I'll be back to marry you and have that home and kids we always talk about. In the meantime just hold on tight to this night and remember that I will always love you Annie and only you, and I'm coming back." I felt a shiver of fear run through me, but all I said was, "I live for that day Joey." He pulled me close and kissed me till we both were filled with desire and made love one more time before we left. It was close to 3:00 a.m. when I got home, and I prayed no one would hear me.
We saw each other again several times , but always with others around. We managed to get alone for a few hugs and kisses, nothing else. We got to talk about our plans for the future and both families got together one night for dinner so we could announce our engagement. Joey bought me a small diamond ring and I was in seventh heaven. Everyone said we were too young, but they alsoi knew we had our minds made up so there were no real objections. When we went to see Joey off this time it all seemed like a dream to me. I didn't want to face it I guess, so I sort of distanced myself from it. We kissed good bye and he was gone.
That was the last time I saw my Joey. I didn't even get to see him in a casket, his plane and everyone in his crew were blown to smithereens. I still love him to this day . I did what he told me, I held on to the memory of that night which wasn't hard to do, because I became pregnant that night. In 1943, if you were an unwed mother you hid. There was no such thing as agency's for help either. When I began to show enough that people said " Annie your gaining weight, aren't you" with a suspicious smile, I replied with a smile " What else is there to do around here.?"
luckily I had just graduated high school, and was working full time. I quit my job with the excuse that I was going to move to Iowa and live with my aunt so I could go to college there.
It was only half a lie, I did go there , but not to go to college. My aunt Frieda was my mother's sister, and I really loved her , she was a good person. I liked her husband Carl also. they had a farm and their only son, my cousin George was away at war. War, war , war, it was ruining everything I loved and killing all the good young men and women in the world. I hate it!
I worked on the farm with them until the baby came. A precious gift from God, a boy that looked just like my Joey. I named him after his father, of course. I stayed there another year, and finally felt I had to go back home to California. I missed my family and I loved it there. My mom and dad wanted me to come back and were willing to put up with whatever shame it might cost. Theywere anxious to see their grandson. They told me that Joey's parents couldn't wait to see him too. Jake was away at sea, but knew about his nephew also. I felt strong enough in my mind to face down whatever people in my neighborhood, or friends and other family members would say or do.
So I left Iowa and took the long train trip home to California, with my son Joey. He was a delightful baby, and everyone was charmed by his good looks and his pleasant ways. He had thick wavy black hair and blue eyes just like his dad, and everytime I looked at him it was through tears. Still those tears did not stifle the joy or the gratitude I felt towards God for having him. As the train took us over prairies and through tunnels and along rivers, and lands with majestic mountains and mighty trees, I said a prayer that this would be a new start for me and Joey. I was looking forward to a good life for the both of us, with the hope and prayers that the war would soon end.
That was twenty years ago, and Joey is now in college. I got married when Joey was seven years old and have two other children. The man I married is Jake, my Joey's brother. When he came home after the war was over, he started to come and see me and little Joey. We got to be very good friends. He first asked me to marry him when Joey was four years old. I told him I didn't think I could ever marry anyone. He understood my love for Joey and he was determined to wait for me knowing that I would see that it could work between us. He said he loved me and was willing to wait for me to love him. I finally did and we had and still have a wonderful life. My Joey is well remembered by us all.
Eileen T. Waldron 2002 ©
Reader Reviews for
"A War Story"
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|Reviewed by Neale Sourna
|The eerie thing about all this, is that you read my poem "Tief" ["Deep"] and I came here to read and get a glimpse of your mind. Oddly, I have a similar story [novella, I think] that I'm working on, of two teens in love but too young for marriage and sex but not war, of the duration and aftermath of war, and the two brothers she's involved with, set in 1947 but starting in 1941.
The point being of how interesting and cool to find that emotions, if genuine, are accessible to us all. Overlapping and the same, yet not the same, expressed like a prism by each and every one of us. Good show, Ms. Tiger Lily.
|Reviewed by Peter Wiggin (Reader)
|i didnt live through those times, though my grandma tells me stories about planes coming in lines and dropping bombs. ur story was very touching, and well hopefully wasnt true, i hate to think of all those who lost their loves in the war, and hopefully i can do my part in the Canadian Army and keep the peace in the world. Great story... i give u props for it.|
|Reviewed by Chuckie Finn
|These are the kind of stories that reach down to the very depths of your emotions. A truly touching piece! It took a very special person with inner strength and character to face the challenges of that critical period in history. My sincere compliments.
|Reviewed by Tom Hyland
|Eileen - Well done, Lass! From the heart and with deep feeling!
When you were 17, in 1943, I was just 3. My oldest sister, Adele, was
14 years older than me. My other sister, Rose, 13 years older. They both lived through the same time period and similar events. It was a very trying time for all American families.
I am truly glad that you and Jake and little Joey became a family - I know Big Joey would have WANTED it that way!
If you get a chance, take a look at my intro to my book, Bawlmer Boyhood, it begins with that time period, and ends with a touching
God Bless! Tom.
|Reviewed by A.R.David Lewis (Reader)
|A wonderful story well written, and so true of many war time romances.A s one who served throughout the war, and was fortunate to live through it all, most of the time married (1941)and still together, it was good to see a happy ending.
|Reviewed by Robert Blackwell (Reader)
|My parents grew up during WWII, and it was a treat to read this beautiful glipmse into your life.
|Reviewed by m j hollingshead
|Reviewed by Henry Custer
|Wonderfully expressed emotions Eileen. The tears are still flowing. Having lived through this era I understand your feelings.
I find these kind of things very difficult to write, as I'm sure you do.
My best to you and the Son you must be very proud of!
|Reviewed by Shelly Hollar (Reader)
|This is a great piece. Thanks for sharing this with me so I could read it.|
|Reviewed by Peter Adotey Addo
|A very touching story..|
|Reviewed by Tim Rouse
|Loved it Eileen! Very touching.|
|Reviewed by Florence Fry
|A beautiful story. I could see it all happening, and remember well how things were in those days :)|
|Reviewed by Trish
|A lovely story... very well written and told. I enjoyed it very much.
|Reviewed by Masarat Daud (Reader)
|Amazing...! U've got a true writing talent...all ur written works have a class...none can be said as mediocre...ur the best! Keep it up!|
|Reviewed by Grass Hoppa
|Fantastic!! oh, honey, this is wonderful :)|