One Single Impression: Endure

From Writing in Faith

Reading your letter,
I wonder if you were worthy of my
Great uncle
Not yet twenty
In his third year of service in the US Navy
As a submariner

In the Second World War.

My uncle was a high school drop out.

Passion drove him
And though it horrified his mother,

She was an artist,

She understood,

She signed.

Go, boy. Fight.

He died fighting off the coast of Japan.

Reading your letter, Ruth,
I think you were the bright and flighty voice
Of home,
Of all that was simple and warm and fragrant
With your
Gees and sweeties and sugars
And send me an insignia I can pin to
My suits and jackets
Like the other girls with sweethearts
In the Navy.

You made a boy feel good.

He died for that feeling
And the place it came from.

You and the Japanese
And this boy's mother who saved
Every scrap of her son
In newspaper articles and announcements
Of his friends' engagements and marriages, life and death:

You brought us here.

Note: Recently my mother's aunt died, and my mother came into possession of her Uncle Laurence's high school yearbook.  Aunt Audrey had the book because she and Uncle Bert had named their son after Uncle Laurence, who had been a submariner in the Pacific during World War II.  He died in combat.  His mother, my great-grandmother, was a great saver of everything, and the yearbook contains the wedding announcements of his classmates, news stories about his boat, the USS Herring, other photos, and a single letter from Ruth, Uncle Laurence's girlfriend.  It is a wildly light and rambling letter that seems to be from a world quite distinct from the war zones my uncle patrolled during his years of service in the Navy.  Letters fascinate me for their way of capturing so much of a personality.  This particular letter struck me as a living voice of another time, a strange and sad dream.

One Single Impression


  1. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Heart warming...
    I have seen my great grandma glance through pages of war and combat to seek hidden visions of long long sweetheart, my great grandpa..who too fought in WWII..she died 10 years back...but as a small girl, I remember these visions...she got married when she was 17..but her hubby stayed no more than 5 years along with her..! Your verses were simply inspiring!! Beautiful!

  2. What a beautiful look back and what a wonderful hero he was! Thank you for sharing this, Sandy, it is sad, but is indeed heartwarming! Enjoy your weekend!


  3. letters give us a wealth of info about person especially when we have nothing else from them. I have my mom's love letters from my dad written in the 1930s...

  4. How touching! You've done a great job with this prompt Sandy, I like where you've taken this word.

    Hugs, G

  5. you know, I think what strikes me is how young they were..
    can you imagine?
    my older kids are still in school and no where near living a kind of reality like this.

    it's so terribly sad really.

    fascinating, Sandy

    ( apologies for the absence.. catching up slowly but surely.. kids 24/7 , travel for soccer etc )

    you have been missed.

  6. A very warm and touching post Sandy and I was very sorry to hear of your mother's passing. Both my parents passed 15 and 14 years ago, and I have letters my father wrote to my mother over a period of years that I have never been able to read. Maybe one day. There may be some clues in there as to our family's genealogy and I don't have much information to start with. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post with us.

    By the way, your flowers on the home page are just gorgeous.

  7. This is so nice.
    I also love old letters because they all capture a moment in time that will never be again.
    It makes us see people who we would never see otherwise through their eyes.
    So nice when people keep such treasures.

  8. A beautiful post. It is good to see that the best of the human can thrive amid so much inhumanity.

  9. I get such a sense of how that letter must have been. I can just see the smile on his face and he read it!! It probably made his heart pitter pat for sure!!
    Young love in the midst of such horrors.

  10. Anonymous1:34 PM

    I love this peek into not just another time, but into the mindset of those alive then. Your words reveal deeper truths and insights that we all benefit from. Thanks for an interesting read this morning!

  11. Sandy, it's a wonderful tribute to Uncle Laurence that you have written. It reminded me a lot of Mrs. Jim's brother who was killed in Italy, WWII plane shot down, a few weeks before she was born.

  12. Anonymous2:57 PM

    Sandy, this is so touching and so beautifully done. Thank you for sharing it.

  13. So nice of you to honor him. It's as if you bring forward a piece of the past. Thank you for sharing this.

  14. Sad.painful.
    Loved your way of rendition.
    A wonderful tribute.

  15. what a lovely tribute Sandy I am honored to read about another WWII Vet that sadly died for my freedom.

  16. I love how you introduced us to your uncle through this letter and your poetry. He's kept alive in your blood and with your words. Beautifully done.

  17. This was beuatiful Sandy. I too can get lost in words an images from peoples lives, while I envision their destinies, as they play out in my mind when I gaze at their faces or read their writing.
    I am in love with a soldier that is often stationed abroad and faces danger, so this post spoke to me on a different kind of level as well.
    Well worth POTW nomination, congrats.;))

  18. Beautifully written Sandy!! I love the feelings it emotes!!
    Congrats on your POTW

  19. well done. congrats on POTW.

  20. Wow. This letter says volumes. What a find.

    Congratulations on your POTW!

  21. how amazing to experience your uncle through this book, through this letter, through history. Thank you for sharing this with us.


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