Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pink Shoes

My grandfather was a veteran of WWII. He never talked much about what it was like over there, and as I've gotten older, I wish I had asked him more about it. I know he made sacrifices and one of my favorite pictures of him is my grandparents' wedding picture in which he's wearing his service uniform.

My mother was born in November 1945 while my grandfather was still overseas in Belgium. Before she died in November of 2012, she shared with me a few special mementos, including this telegraph my grandfather received letting him know of her birth.
It was folded in the exact shape of a pocket on a shirt. I do not know for certain, but knowing the man my grandfather was, I can only imagine he kept it there, maybe even until he was able to get home and hold her for the first time.

Along with the telegraph was a stack of letters all addressed "Dearest Edna and Carol," (Edna was my grandmother and Carol my mother) except for one which was addressed
 "Dearest Edna and Daughter."   This letter pictured to the right told of how my grandfather felt upon learning about the birth of my mother. His tender words melt my heart and leave for me a legacy of how to love my wife and children. There are more letters like this one and I cherish them.

 A final item left to me by my mother is a box of pink deer skin baby shoes. In the letter, my grandfather mentions these, the first baby gift for my mother. After reading the letter, holding the telegram, and finding the shoes- a poem was born. I wanted to share this poem as it helps commemorate my mother's life and discusses the love two men have for her- my grandfather as he looks ahead to a life of being her father and me, as I look back to her as her son.

Two men, from very different generations, both shared an immense love for the same woman.

Pink Shoes
It’s Belgium, 1945
An American soldier far away from home
Reads again from a telegram bearing news of his newborn daughter
He walks away seeking solitude
To cry- tears of joy for this baby girl he longs to hold.
Oceans away his heart longs to be with wife and child
Anticipation of birthdays, bicycles, balloons brings hope
Begins with a gift
Not much to buy there, but then he sees it-
Folded telegram pressed in front pocket by his heart
Tears again as he holds the box
A pair of pink shoes

It’s a bedroom, not too long ago
A middle-aged man in his childhood home
Looks again at photos chronicling the life of his deceased mother.
He walks away seeking solitude
To cry- tears of sorrow for the woman he wants to hold him one more time.
Worlds away his heart longs to be with momma
Memories of birthdays, bicycles, and balloons bring hurt
Continues with a chest
Too much to sort there, but then he sees it-
Faded photos pressed in hands by his heart
Tears again as he holds the box
A pair of pink shoes

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