The Writer's Cramp 8/6/21
Pat, Joel, Mary and I snuck up the stairs. The grownups were busy. Uncles were busy watching football. Aunts were in the kitchen playing poker for pennies. Grandma and Grandpa sat in their chairs asleep. We were on our own.
“Quiet, be quiet,” I whispered to the others. “We’re not supposed to be up here.”
So we tiptoed to the forbidden room. Uncle Johnny died in the war, they said. On a ship with others, they said. All his war stuff was in this room where no one was supposed to be, but we liked to sneak in and look around. One thing we liked to look at were his medals. They were in a drawer with letters. Forgotten and left in an old dresser.
“Do you think he was scared when he died?” asked Pat. He always asked that question.
“I don’t know. No one talks about it,” I answered.
Mary laid on the dusty bed covered in the blue spread. She liked to lay there, and look at Uncle Johnny’s picture on the wall. He was in a Navy uniform. He looked happy.
“Maybe he didn’t know, maybe he was talking to his friends.” Mary rolled over, looked at us.
“Is he in the cemetery?”
“No, Joel. He died in an ocean. He is buried in the water.” I had to explain some facts each time we came to the room.
“But, how do they know where he is? Does Gran and Gramps go to the ocean to see him?”
Me, Joel and the others never did quite figure out what happened. No adult ever told us, just that we were never to go in that room. We just figured it out from reading the letters and looking at the forgotten medals. A forgotten hero.