I have become convinced the sins of my war will be visited upon another generation and that it is my ancestral home that shall once again ignite the flame.
Just after dinner Louisa shared with me a letter written by her Oklahoma uncle to her mama that had circuitously wound its way into her hand. The letter relayed calamity galore in both personal news of the uncle’s foreshadowed foreclosure of the homestead as well as dark tales from relatives in Austria: Relatives who detailed the war mongering reality of Hitler’s demented dream, a dream fed on the bones of Germany’s generation of starvation that were the deprivations of reparation, a nightmare I fear will consume us all as the end-days gallop towards us.
Hoping to calm her fears I spoke of my unscathed enlistment in the Great War, how I arrived in Europe after six weeks of Basic Training at Thomas E. Selfridge Field September 26, 1918 and had barely set foot in France before the armistice ending hostilities was agreed upon.
I shared how Papa had soldiered through the War Between the States, neglecting to add that he would no doubt have remained a spectator rather than a participant in the war of rebellion if not for Oneida’s brothers enlisting en masse in March 1863. I likewise remained mute concerning his failure to quietly acquire the $300 required to purchase one’s way out of the draft.
Papa and I had both “volunteered,” if one will grant an expedient born of inevitability as worthy of said title. As Louisa departed I feared my words had done little to assuage.
Late tonight I stood outside glorying in sweet Selene’s game of peekaboo with the dense clouds, clouds that glowed high above my head. I watched as Louisa entered the Human Salamander’s wagon and then listened beneath their open window, my entirety enraptured by the sounds of their love play even as my dreams of winning her were simultaneously occluded by the merry romp within.