Tuesday, October 24, 2017
September ??, 1943: And... Scene
Letter from Opa to Grandmother
This is the last letter I am going to write to you for a while. Reports have come in that the U.S.O. limits membership to those specimens of the female sex who behave themselves above reproach. For this reason, your warning does not scare me a bit.
I certainly took advantage and am taking advantage of this my last week of freedom and liberty. Last Wednesday I had the privilege of watching over the sound sleep of approx. 300 gals. I had some difficulty awakening them after getting through with my talk. Sunday night another bunch of bags will be exposed to my cacophonous disharmonies.
Arsenic and strychnine don't appeal to me as a reasonable facsimile for a veterinarian. The unfortunate consequences of such vile chemicals had been shown to us too extravagantly in that never forgettable theater play of last year. If you remember the recipients of the above solutions, you may gather my unwillingness to indulge in such luxury.
The rotten eggs, stinking tomatoes, drawn bayonets, and sadistic black shirts which I arranged for the ceremonial event of your arrival next Monday, have just passed the dress rehearsal.
This, as you will have noticed by now anyhow, is not a letter, but just an attempt at jumping to undesired convulsions. Please don't pull the trick we pulled the last time you were on the Rocket.
P.S. You can tell this isn't written by Tom all together. He dictated it to me. I did my best to write it as he wanted it. You will notice a few mistakes. I told him I should read the letter in which I was answering, but he would not let me. Perhaps it for the best?
of T.W.D., Esq.
September 21, 1943 was a Tuesday. Opa wrote in that letter that there were 138 hours until he saw Grandmother again- which is 5.75 days. In this letter he marked as "Today" he mentioned his activities on a Wednesday in the past, and refers to Sunday as the future. Grandmother arrives on a Monday. SO- "today" is likely Thursday-Saturday. I am going to take a guess that it is a Friday, or maybe Thursday. That way he can write and she may still get it before she leaves. My guess is that the letter was written on September 24th. Let's go with that.
I don't know why I felt compelled to nail down the date.
Opa is literally writing down a stream of consciousness trail for no other reason than to mark the occasion of Grandmother's arrival as being CLOSER. He cannot freaking wait.
You know what I just realized?! We won't get any letters of that time! So all this build up to a reunion that we will not witness! I may have to make up some scene in my mind to satisfy my need for some closure.
Train station, 3:55pm, The Rocket is on time.
Opa is standing on the platform, anxiously waiting for Grandmother, holding a bouquet of daisies wrapped in a blue ribbon. He has taken care to dress nicely, with tan slacks and a crisp pale blue button down shirt (short sleeve?). It is still warm in Kansas in September, and he is starting to sweat a little bit. He is thinking to himself (the narrator is the hot main guy in the old South Pacific movie- go with it).
"Will Margie still feel the same way about me?"
"Has absence made the heart grow fonder, or will she see me and realize that she actually DOES want to marry that loser Archie?"
"I really love that crazy woman."
"I hope she wore that skirt I like."
Cut to the train, make a scan of the scenery, a flat landscape that Grandmother has managed to enjoy looking at. Then pause on the window pane that has framed Grandmother's pondering face. She is thinking to herself (have Judy Garland narrate her voice).
"It's been a good summer, but I am so glad to be going back to school."
"I can't wait to feel Tom's hug, words have been nice but it'll be wonderful to hold his hand again."
"I hope my guilt about Archie melts away."
"Is there hope for a couple like me and Tom? Will he be able to stay here in the United States? What will happen to us if he has to leave?"
Train rolls up, too fast at first, so that Opa thinks it might just keep going and leave him behind. It slows to a stop, now too slow as he can't hold his fiance until the train has completely stopped and the steps are arranged for the passengers to disembark. Opa resists the urge to pace.
Finally after a few frumpy fellows get off the train, followed by some women of equal disinterest, there she is.
Opa: "She wore the skirt! She's tinier than I remember! My face feels hot. I hope she likes my flowers. Should I have done roses?"
Grandmother: "There he is! He's taller than I remember! I forgot how handsome he was. Oh, I love daisies, what a happy flower."
Together: "He/She has a beautiful smile."
Grandmother tries to manage her cool and walks slightly faster than usual into Opa's arms spread open for a giant hug. She can't help but smile her biggest smile and melt into his embrace.
They turn and walk hand and hand from the station.
Opa says out loud "It's about time you got here, been waiting all summer!"