Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Longing of a Sister and Mother

“Will I ere forget that fateful day when we came home and found our loved ones gone; no happy children scampering here and there? The bassinet where slept our newest tiny. Tis emptied of its precious load, but the pillow still waits, and quilts and blankets in readiness for her return. And little golden-haired Janice, with her dimpling little body, energetically scampering hither and yon; her darling round face, either bubbling over with smiles, else clouds and tears, so fast changing from one to the other with her little joys and sorrows.

“Joe Billy and Charles’ bed is empty of two little boys- blue eyed, teasing and roguish-cannot be seen anymore, with the little cars, playing make believe, doing what they’ve seen dear Daddy do. Jimmy too, with his ‘some treasured’ toy he carries around, and refuses to put away, even when bedtime comes. His chair is empty now, at meal times, like all the others, where two rows of little ones sat at the table, where the happy din of voices asking for food, with thank-you’s and pleases. Then there’s Regina; her highchair is also lacking; that little chunk of fairest face, and blue eyed sweetness. O why? Oh why are they gone? Is this not America? Her little crib is empty also, waiting her return.

“And my little Mary! The one who would cling to me so, who always came scampering to me when I came back, who loved to sleep in my bed. Oh Mary! The tears are falling fast! The swing in the shade of elm trees seem to be waiting for someone. The neighbor’s twins come sometimes but they cannot keep it filled, and the sand pile had your footprints still there when we came home, and your playthings still lay by. Little Hallie comes in, searches the house with her eyes and then goes out, without seeing whom she had come to see. You!

“Well, then there are the larger ones of the crew—Dorothy, ten, with her dark blue eyes and her saucy chin, and two great braids of blonde hair, quick of movement and anxious to learn to cook, embroidery and sew—Thelma, her sandy complexion, clear-eyed and beautiful, dainty to the minute and anxious to be neat and sweet. Oh, how we miss you here my lovely ones.

“And Laura, fair like our little Regina, with white braids of hair falling far down her back. Her smile was ever fair to see, like a beam of sunlight in her room, it came ever so regal and free. And Hannah, her “old way”, though only six, so quaint, also fair of face, sweet of countenance and full of grace, so full of mischief at times, and fun and sorrowful at others.

“Then there are the boys, Neil, Terry, and Dwight—we miss you coming and going, your work, your play, your happy voices, and there is a vacancy here where you should be. The mountains speak of you, the fields and gardens miss you, as also the pup; he’s growing up too fast. Dear little sons, pray and be patient for this is a long, hard fight.

And the dear beloved mothers of these babes, I love them with all my heart and soul, and cry, “Oh GOD, let me have them back, we will do better!” Oh Arizona [Texas], one star in the constellation of the blue, is yours, in our dear flag. Are you going to defile it, darken it’s sacred beauty by blasting the hopes of some of your citizens, by separating little ones from their dear mothers, and separating children and mothers from their dear fathers? And why, O why? Arizona? [Texas?] When our fathers came and fought and died for freedom, who, God-inspired, composed the Constitution, which insures the rights of liberty and freedom, and of religious worship to all in our fair country?”

-Myrtle Vera Cooke (1953)

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