I scrawled the following lines in 2004, about my parents during WWII. They married in 1941 and had six months before my father had to report for duty. Between March 1942 and October 1945, he served under General Patton in four European campaigns: Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, and Central Europe. In the picture below he was on furlough — shortly before the end of his service.
Six-month reprieve on which to found
War trains to Fort Bragg, Fort Sill.
her train to Temple, Texas. Thick billowing soot
dyes her new yellow dress—black
before she reached you and Camp Hood
tank destroyer center.
Ships passage. You left
for four campaigns: service under
Patton. She waits, like other wives,
and finds your letters home
come ten-days-worth at a time. For you,
rooftop snipers and crooked paintings
rigged to explode. Americans
have crossed the sea.
And still, she waits and fills her days with busy
wartime work —
while where you are
butcher, mortician, and pharmacist tend to triage.
And in the afternoon, a German officer
walks into camp, surrenders weapons, medals:
to keep ahead of Stalin.
Yet more she waits,
ten days of letters come,
and yet, more letters, snipers, and more days
before Fort Bragg and home.
1945 320th in K.D.F. Stadt Germany