Matt & Maude Falls
(’round about the first time he “died”…)
My dad died in July of 2008. It’s still really weird to say that. I’ve been thinking about him a lot, lately, and I haven’t yet told the story about the first time he died, which was a few years before I was born.
Except he wasn’t really dead… just… the whole town thought he was. It’s like a sitcom episode.
A Letter from Overseas-1944
Taken June 18, 2009 with Canon PowerShot A550
In three days’ time, my father will have been dead for a year. I have a hard time believing that.
Sometimes, it feels as if he’s been gone forever. Other times, I hang up the phone mid-dial, when I remember that he won’t be there to answer whatever question I wanted to ask him – usually about World War II.
I didn’t ask him enough questions…
A while ago, I wrote here that I was going to publish all the letters Dad wrote home to my mom. I’ve since had the chance to read them, and truthfully (surprisingly), they don’t make great blog-fodder.
Instead, I will publish just this one – which my mother has given to me to keep, as it seems to have just a little bit of everything in it. It’s very strange to read my father’s words while he was courting my mother (while my mother was courting somebody else – gasp…!); he sure was a tease – I can just hear his voice when I read this.
Anyhoo… I’ve kept the syntax the way he wrote it – some sentences may need to be read twice to get the proper gist – but I’ve taken the liberty of breaking things up into paragraphs. I guess paper was at a premium, and he didn’t want to waste it.
He was training in England when he wrote this.
July 19, 1944
#1 C.O.R.V. C.A.O.S.
Dear Teacher –
I received your letter and pictures to-night so here goes for a start at least. I don’t know when I’ll finish this.
Say how do you manage those pictures anyway? That ‘close up’ of you alone looks like Dorothy Lamour. They were all very good and Thanks a million for sending them. Now I’ll have something to spend my spare moments at gazing.
There was a buzz bomb went over a few minutes ago and of all the jobs I had to doing. By the time I realized what it was and got outside it had gone past.
I thought it was a squadron of our own planes until it was right above us – one of the fellows here has had his camera ready for a couple of weeks intending to get a picture of one but they seem to be too fast.
They make a terrific noise and fly very low and fast. It is only a few seconds from the time you first hear them until they are gone out of hearing and at night look like a ball of fire in the sky.
This place seems to be charmed or something. There has been any number of them went over but none have taken a notion to stop here yet. The closest were a mile or so away and just shake the windows and doors.
Well I wouldn’t mind if I could get a couple of weeks leave on the Island now. I can imagine the nice weather you would be having there. I am kind of disgusted with the weather over here. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the winter and summer.
We had a few weeks nice weather the last of March and since it has been raining about three parts of the time. The fogs are beginning to start now & also the blackouts again.
I wouldn’t mind so much but through what nice weather there was we weren’t allowed any leave and by the time this course is over the fog will be so thick we’ll have to carry a shovel with us to make a way for us. Of course that shovel would be handy to have along for the B.S. too wouldn’t it?
This is a sort of gloomy letter I guess it’s the army blues.
I hear they are going to give the 7 day leaves soon (I hope. I have 16 days coming now). They have already lifted the ban on train travel & the 20 mile limit. Before we had to ride on the buses or hitchhike as the trains were supposed to be reserved for the evacuees. I guess all the small towns are filled with them now.
Bill (Ahem…* Sorry to interrupt: Bill is my mother’s brother) thinks England is O’K. eh? To tell the truth I like it a lot better than Canada too as far as army life goes. I’d sooner be in Canada just for the sake of being in my own country though.
The stuff isn’t rationed as much now as it was. We can get most of the things you can in Canada but only in small amounts and they use you more like a human than an animal.
With the odd bomb around and France not far away you’d be surprised the difference it makes to the N.C.O.’s & officers. There are very few A.W.L’s here. Fellows that were always away in Canada never think of going loose here.
For one thing there really isn’t anything to go on the loose for like Canada. No means of travel and no place to go or stay or eat if you did go.
Say I hope you don’t get tired of reading this monotonous thing supposed to be a letter and throw it away before you finish.
I had a letter from Edith, my sister-in-law last week. You should see some of the queer English expressions but I’m getting used to them. I suppose if I’m over here another year I’ll be completely “Limetized”. There is a Limey camp right near us and we see quite a few of them often.
Did you know Jack MacMillan from Cockburn Island? I met him in the canteen last week. He is here on an A.F.V. course. I had quite a chat with him. It almost seemed like going home.
Well I haven’t been out of camp for a month now. I think I’ll go on a “bender” at the wet canteen and then settle down for the duration of the course and get ready for trade test Bay. It is only 4 weeks away now. It’s nearly three months since I came here and it only seems about three weeks.
By the way don’t let Eiro tickle you too much (I HOPE). It makes me nervous and I’d hate to have to tell the instructor some day what is wrong with me. ha. ha.
Let me know how your pictures of you and Helen and you and Helen and you and you and Helen, turned out eh? If I were you I would move my shorts around and get all sunburned the same. That would feel too much like shaving only one side of your face (Of course I’m not you though).
How are you and the cows getting along in the mornings?
Well I guess I’ll close as there isn’t anything else I can think of. In fact there was nothing to write about in the first place: Write soon & long.
I’m getting so I can almost start an argument with myself eh?
A Doctor in Sequatchie Valley in Tennessee was called to examine the young wife of an elderly, deaf mountaineer. “Your wife is pregnant” he told her husband.
Mountaineer, hand behind his ear, queried, “eh”?
The doctor shouted, “I said your wife is pregnant.”
Finally the doctor screamed, “Your wife is going to have a baby.”
The man walked to the edge of the porch, spat out a mouthful of tobacco juice, and drawled, “I ain’t a bit surprised. She’s had every opportunity.”
Excuse the writing. It is slightly worse than usual as there is a poker game going on, on the next bunk & every once in awhile somebody just has to step back & shake my bunk.
I would dearly love to know what “job” it was that my dad was doing when that buzz bomb went over. I don’t know if he started writing the next sentence without realizing he hadn’t finished the last, or if it was something a little embarrassing and he didn’t want to say. Perhaps, he was in the latrine…?
My mother still remembers writing to him about that sunburn she got, from laying for too long in one position. And how her father used to give the girls holy hell for going out in public wearing shorts. He thought it was shameful.
And I guess one might have to be a man to figure out how shaving one side of your face might feel the same… does shaving hurt like sunburn?! I wanna know.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” – Meatloaf
Taken August 9, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Ky’s finally sleeping again, and is back to school for her morning classes, which is good. I’m assured by the school that she’ll manage to get those credits without a problem – music class, which is hardly surprising (the principal tells me she’d have passed that one based on her talent, never mind that she doesn’t bother with any assignments – I don’t know whether to be proud or pissed off), and geography. Now, that surprises me.
Two credits is better than no credits, though, I guess, isn’t it? I’ll try to be proud.
My own sleeping is not happening again, now. I’m a little concerned about my job. I’m getting there, but it’s difficult. Luckily, I don’t have to drive to get there, so no lives are in danger – unless I blow the place up, but there are safeguards in place against idiots, so maybe that’s not such a big worry…
I need to finish the latest novel. That’s that “hard” one I mentioned a while back. It’s still got a lot of the same elements that the sitcom had in it, but the entire pilot plot has pretty much disappeared, along with a character or two. I’ve kept the bare bones of what would have been the first season. I tried to change the main characters’ names, but they just will not be renamed. All I’ve managed to do is steal away their last names completely.
I had a lot of false starts trying to pick this project back up again. There was a time that I ate, slept and breathed it. That turned into boozing and smoking it, and I think I just wanted it to go away. Working on it kept bringing up nasty, bad thoughts that I didn’t want to think.
I lamented about this to Ky one day, and she surprised me by telling me I should be getting it done and over with. When I told her I didn’t want to listen/watch/write my main characters anymore, she rolled her eyes.
I told her I’d noticed she wore the one and only promotional t-shirt made for the project all the time, even though she’d once told me she was glad it was dead in the water so what’s up with that, huh?! And then, she made me laugh by paraphrasing Holden McNeil: “They’re fictional characters, Mom. Fictional characters. Am I getting through to you at all…?”
So I’m working on it. And it gets a little easier (and a little closer to done) every time I sit down to it.
My blog is turning back into a place to air my grievances, and although that’s part of what it’s for, I really want to get back to telling the Ruby stories (there’s a ton of them), and The Father Chronicles (there’s a ton of those left, too).
And I talked to my Mom today, and she’s feeling a little lost and lonely without my Dad. She said it’s gotten worse, lately, and she’s been rereading his letters from World War II. At first, they made things worse, but now she finds them a comfort and is glad she saved them…
Wait a minute…. “You have letters from Dad during the War…?”
All his letters…?”
Wow. I didn’t know this….
“Can I read them…?”
“Ummmm…… can I blog them…?”
So as soon as I can get myself down to Teeny-Tiny Town, I will have a new category here: Dear Maude…
Another worry is my imminent move. Far, far away.
I’m not certain how imminent it is, now, considering new and ugly turns of events of legal and financial persuasions that may (shudder) bankrupt me (not if I can possibly avoid it), but I will be moving to Vancouver and will be there for at least a year, once I manage it.
I’m going to be going back to school (yes, again), in an accelerated screenwriting program at the Vancouver Film School. I chose this program, because a Canadian school somehow seems more “doable” than trying to get into one in the States – although I’d rather be in the States. I have more friends there. 🙂
It’s going to cost me a mint, though. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from, yet, but then again, I bought the Prissy-Van with money I didn’t have yet, and so far, so good, she’s still mine. I’ll manage this. Somehow. Gulp…*
I didn’t think I’d be able to convince Kyla to go with me, so was working out an alternative arrangement for her, but when I told her about it (actually, I let it slip in a moment of upset over all this stress), she surprised hell out of me by telling me she would love a change of scenery.
It’s amazing how fast things change.
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Black Coffee” – Ella Fitzgerald
Taken March 1, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
I found this bear claw in a box full of little trinkets and treasures in my father’s closet nearly a year ago. It was in the same box with his pocket watch, along with some other neat stuff.
This was during my Walk-About days, when I would hoof it all the way across town once a week, to see my parents at The Old-Age Home, have a visit, a meal and a story, and then hoof it all the way back. I had a tight ass, then, dammit. Not even a year ago. Man, things change fast.
Taken July 7, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Yeah, yeah, I know I said I *hate* these things not two posts ago, but…The Best Memes in Life Are Stolen. Elle said that, so it must be true.
Stole this from Elle, who stole it from Angelika, who stole it from Why Are You Stalking Me?, who stole it from someone else. 😀
1. Do you like blue cheese salad dressing?
2. Favorite late night snack?
— Mashed potatoes. And beer.
3. Do you own a gun?
4. What’s your favorite drink at Starbucks or other specialty coffee shop?
— Here in Canuckia, it’s Tim’s, and it’s either a black coffee, or an English Toffee something-or-other.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
— Not anymore.
6. What do you think of hot dogs?
— I try not to think of them, or it puts me off them. Have eaten them. Will most likely eat them again.
7. Favorite Christmas song?
— Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
— I wish I had the nerve to say beer. It’s coffee, though.
9. Can you do push-ups?
— I can… but will I? HA!
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
— It’s a toss-up between my Grandmother’s little silver “broach-watch” thingy, or my father’s wristwatch. I wear neither of them, though. Or any other jewelry of any other kind, for that matter.
11. Favorite hobby?
— Digital Photography.
12. Do you have A.D.D.?
13. What’s one trait that you hate about yourself?
— I procrastinate. A lot. I probably stole this meme weeks ago.
14. The last disease you contracted?
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
— I can’t possibly be expected to untangle THREE of them considering I might have A.D.D.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
— Coffee, coffee and beer. Although ‘regular’ on beer has become more ‘few and far between’. And that’s a shame, if ever there was one.
17. Current worry right now?
— None. I refuse.
18. Current hate right now?
— See above.
19. Favorite place to be?
— I haven’t been ANYPLACE, yet. I’ll have to do something about that.
20. How did you ring in the New Year?
— I seriously cannot remember.
21. Like to travel?
— I hope so.
22. Name three people who will complete Sunday Stealing this week:
23. Do you own slippers?
— Yes, I do.
24. What color shirt are you wearing?
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
— Haven’t the foggiest. Probably not.
26. Can you whistle?
— Can so.
27. Favorite singer/band?
— Impossible to attempt to decide.
28. Could you ever make it 39 days on the show Survivor?
— I’ll betcha I could. But what the hell for?!
29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
— I don’t. The Idiot Child does though. And in the sauna. And in the “bathroom”. And in her sleep sometimes.
30. Favorite girl’s names?
31. Favorite boy’s names?
— Hmmmmm…. Matthew for my father, maybe?
32. What’s in your pocket right now?
— Nothing right now, but a few seconds ago there was a hand in there!
33. Last thing that made you laugh?
— How fast “Hand in My Pocket” started playing in my head after I typed the above answer.
34. Like your job?
— I do.
36. Do you love where you live?
— If you mean my apartment – yes. If you mean this town – not like I once did.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
38. Who is your loudest friend?
— “Real Life” friends – The Fly-Girl. “Imaginary Friends”, as my mom calls anybody I know online, I haven’t a clue yet. But it’s probably Suzi, now that Sheikh is gone… 😀 / 🙁
39. Do you drive the speed limit or speed?
— I always drive the speed limit. Unless I think I might have cocaine in my pockets.
40. Does someone have a crush on you?
— If so, I hope it’s a movie producer in need of new scripts…
41. What is your favorite book?
— Can’t say… too many. I like anything by Madeline L’engle. Or Douglas Adams. Or Robert Heinlein.
42. What is your favorite candy?
— Just gimme the candy.
43. Favorite Sports Team?
— At one time, it was the Edmonton Oilers, but then Wayne defected.
44. What were you doing 12 AM last night?
— Dancing in the parking lot.
45. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up today?
— I haven’t yet woken up today.
So, steal it if you want it. 😀
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Gyasi Went Home” – Bedouin Soundclash