Mary Beth Writes

The photo is from Paula V and the little boy is her grandson. 

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So today is December 7th. Today is America’s and Roosevelt’s “day which will live in infamy.” Today is the 79th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

I think Pearl Harbor Day is a bigger deal for us who are baby boomers, than it is for our kids and grandkids. Our parents had come through WWII, so their trauma, stories, and attitudes percolated through our childhoods. I guess enough intense events have happened since then that Pearl Harbor no longer resonates as loudly in our national psyche.

I once asked my mom if she remembered that day and the answer was “Oh, yes.” She had just turned 21, she was in her bedroom in her parent’s house working on a program for church. The radio interrupted its programming to announce that Hawaii had been attacked.

I don’t know where my dad was or how he found out. He would serve in Italy with the 8th Army during 1943-44. He told us that he lived in a tent in rain and mud for months upon months, which is why we didn’t family camp; we tried once, that’s was it.  

It’s interesting that my not-outdoorsy childhood was one of the outcomes of WWII. How many aspects of our adult lives can be traced back to the trauma of our parents’ and grandparents’ lives?

That’s my wondering for today. Do we understand how far and how long trauma lasts? The year we are in now will resonate for a long time going forward.

And the flip side, did someone tell our great grandparents, as youngsters, that they were resourceful and brave? Is that why we live in the US now and not in all the places our people came from?

Light and darkness travels from generation to generation to generation.

Paula V

“She loved them (her grandchildren) so much that she felt a kind of hollowness on the inner surface of her arms whenever she looked at them- an ache of longing to pull them close and hold them tight against her.”
― Anne Tyler, A Spool of Blue Thread

“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
― Paulo Coelho, Eleven Minutes

“What happens when people open their hearts?"
"They get better.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

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 Paula V.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
― Criss Jami

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Paula V.

“Light is warmer than darkness.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

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 Paula also sent this poem:

“Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower” by Rainer Maria Rilke 

Quiet friend who has come so far,

feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

 

from Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29. Translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Great pictures and words!

My parents were celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary when the attack happened. Not to make light of that horrible event, but my dad often said "Another great battle started on that day"!

We were at Pearl Harbor approx 20 years ago. Very moving. Great pictures and quotes.

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Waukesha's Holiday Parade & Us

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