The skies are cloudy. The rain has stopped leaving the grass wet and puddles here and there. A slight wind blows across my yard but it feels refreshing and cool. Sitting quietly enjoying the cool breeze my eyes fall on something in the tall grass. Leaning forward I look closer but can’t make it out.
I watch more intently as the spikes of grass move as whatever it is moves forward. My eyes blur and blinking I slowly raise my hand to swipe over them hoping to clear my vision. The grass moves again.
“I really need to cut this grass!” Is my thought while trying to figure out what this creature is. I know it isn’t a large animal or I would be better able to see it.
Very slowly I leave my chair. Maybe if I can get closer I can figure out what this thing is. Ever so slowly I lower myself down onto the deck floor and lean forward. I can’t see it. Where’d it go?
My eyes scan the grassy area where I last saw it but I can see nothing. The grass isn’t moving. Where’s it at? “Oh, Lord I hope it isn’t a snake. Maybe I better go inside.”
No! I want to see what this is!
Sitting ever so still, the grass moves again. I hold my breath.
Out of the corner of my eye I see something small, large eyes, black and grey fur on the step.
It darts toward me and taking a deep breath I freeze in my position.
It circles me. Sniffing, darting to and fro. It stops and stares at me with big black piercing eyes.
I hold my breath and watch. It darts around behind me and sneaks up beside me and then…
With small claws on the edge of my hand my smile broadens.
A few years ago, I conquered my metaphorical mountain. It was hard. The pain was emotionally, physically, and spiritually excruciating at times. Because survival was my imperative; my beacon, I didn’t give much thought to how I would feel once I processed my repressed memories. Intuitively, I knew that in order to live, I had to discover and accept the congruent timeline of a dark and deeply buried past, and then learn how to manage the triggers that sometimes rendered me feeling helpless and hopeless.At times, I wondered, when my story is told and I am standing in my truth…What will happen next? How will I feel? How would I incorporate living with the effects of my trauma, and the resulting PTSD? Would I go from a person with “no past” to a person who was just a mental illness?I knew I wanted to live my life with my eyes wide open, to let go of the person I was not! I had a desire to own my story, my truth; to work through the torture and come out with a thick gnarly scar that proved to my inner child, my soul, my mind that I made it through.I learned to reach out and ask for help. I learned to be vulnerable, and attach. I learned that my life will probably be learning and relearning coming back to the present when the ice-cold skeleton hands begin to creep up my spine and rock my sense of safety. It was all about healing, surviving, and distress tolerance tools.I’m deeply proud of the courage it took me to conquer my mountain. I white-knuckled it to the top and back down. But didn’t learn the soft skills I needed to comfort and love my inner child, my soul, and my mind. I found that I was in the place of, After the Story-Now What?In the initial phase of my healing journey, I was working on letting go of who I wasn’t, but it did not help me discover who I am? I was in the throes of survival and didn’t have the capacity at the time to leave room for hopes, dreams, maybe’s, affirmations, peace, and contentment at the deep soul level.Today, I was reminded of a wonderful talk by Arthur Brooks at the Aspen Ideas Festival, titled: Strategies for happiness in life. I remember feeling so inspired by the points he made in his talk. In summary, Don’t rage against change, teach others what you know, take away the parts of you that aren’t really you, and surround yourself with love.”After the Story, while standing in my truth I can incorporate the wise suggestions of those who I look to for support, I can trust the difference I can make in the world around me, with the hope it has a ripple effect. I can live a content life, knowing that strong feelings and emotions about my past will come and that they will also go. I can surround myself with a like-minded and loving family and friends. Most importantly for me (presently) is that I can continue to learn and practice compassion and enjoy my insatiable curiosity about life, people, and how we’re all connected.I don’t have to turn away from the mirror ~ I don’t have to run away from the mirror that is held up to me by others.Before I shared my story, lived in my truth, I courageously survived. After sharing my story, I courageously live, and dream, and hope, and affirm that the statement, “I am ____,” is fluid with growth, change, and resilience.
I’m not a history buff by any stretch of the imagination but digging through some boxes I’ve lugged around forever I found some interesting items that piqued my curiosity. I’m at the age that looking back many years ago, when I was born, it made me wonder about World War 2. So I’ve done a little research and wow, hey millennials, you’ve got it easy!
It makes me appreciate what life was like for America as I grew up. Of course we didn’t have T.V. for some time. Nope, no cells phones either. (Praise God.) Journalist were the real thing and would give facts over the radio – facts, not opinions or an agenda to promote. We didn’t have a legal right to murder our unborn babies. News flash – people actually raised their babies or if unable to gave them up for adoption so they would be loved and cared for, not ripped apart for profit or a crazy science experiment.
I do remember in high school there was a few “gay bars” but it was not flaunted with indecent parades or forced down peoples throats so as to feel more accepted in their sins. And oh yes, in the 1960’s there was race riots with curfews, street closures, and a lot of nasty name calling of both blacks and whites.
Most families that went to church were called hypocrites just like they are today, but families on the most part had deep Christian beliefs and family ties were important. Divorce was looked down on and many children were ostracized because Mommy and Daddy didn’t live together any more.
But let’s get back to WW2. Who started it? When did it start? How long did it last? And how did Americans cope, feed their families, work, and try to remain sane in a world that was turned upside down and inside out?
Well, it began September 1, 1939 when Adolf Hitler invaded Poland. Two days later France and Britain got involved and declared war on Germany, which began World War 2. From Sept. 1940 to May of 1941 Germany was bombing the crap out of Britain. The Royal Air Force and Winston Churchill got their act together and eventually defeated Germany when Churchill got aid from the USA through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration in 1941. And soon Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were also involved. By the end of the war Germany, Italy, Japan, France, Great Britain, U.S.A., Soviet Union, and China were all involved. No wonder they called it WORLD War!
So what was Adolf Hitler’s main objective in getting all this started in the first place? He is the culprit that started this mess, him and Stalin. The Soviet Union had vast territory and would give the German master race the “Lebensraum” it needed. (The territory that a state or nation believes is needed for its natural development, especially associated with Nazi Germany) So Hitler wanted to invade the Soviet Union for that territory.
But Hitler also had a second part to his strategy; exterminate the Jews from German-occupied Europe! And he succeeded in murdering more than 4 MILLION Jews in death camps and gas chambers in just three years!
There was great celebration when the war ended September 2, 1945 along with much heart ache and strife. Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away in April 1945 and 291,557 American soldiers were killed in battle. We were a country in mourning and life was tough!
When the war began in 1939 my Dad was 30 years old and wanted to enlist to serve his country, but was told that because of his expertise, he would be of more value as a civilian independent contractor and was assigned to a huge boiler plant as a boiler fireman in Hammond, Indiana. It was during his time checking gauges, making repairs, and whatever other duties he did for the government, that a boiler exploded near him. He was hospitalized for several months with 3rd degree burns covering his face, head, arms and upper body. He died twice during that hospital stay and credited an Army nurse for saving his life, as well as tending to his burns in a way that left him no hair but few horrible scars. Even civilian workers paid high prices to serve our country.
Times were tough! There was shortages of everything. Food, clothes, gas, you name it. People were forced to buy books of Ration stamps because everything was in such shortage that rations had to be enforced. Like the toilet paper rationing during Covid except this rationing was out of necessity to save a country and its people, not because of a greedy few!
The head of the family would have to purchase these books of stamps. These are not like the Green stamps that came on the scene years later. Green stamps were given by various merchants as a promotional idea to get people to buy their product or shop in their store. When so many books of Green stamps were collected then the person could use them to get some item from their catalogue.
No, no, no. Government issued Ration Stamps was an absolute necessity! You could not buy anything without them. Each member of the family was issued a book of stamps and the stamps were for specific items. The stamps in the certain books were specified for milk, eggs, coffee, gas, etc, etc.
The pictures below is the treasures I found in my childhood scrap book when digging through those boxes I’ve hauled around. I’m amazed at the number of people who never knew about ration stamps and even more have never seen any. That’s what spurred me to do this post.
The book assigned for me, baby Sue, was specifically for baby food, juice, and bottled fruit. My older brother had one specifically for his needs as well as one specified for my older sister. In total I found 4 books and another one with only 3 stamps left in it. These books were only good for 4 weeks and only the person whose name is on the front could use them. Use them or lose them! How many books my parents had to buy in those years of war I have no idea. These particular books, I’m guessing, must have been purchased just before the war ended because all but one had several stamps left in them.
This is only one of the hardships Americans went through during this war. Since the war ended about 19 months after I was born I can’t tell you from experience what that life was like. I just don’t remember! 🙂 But I know our country was in turmoil; loved ones were lost or maimed, and families torn apart. If we compare our lives today with all that was going on then; women working in factories 12 hours a day with little to no pay, men on the battle fields or in huge plants doing government jobs, children being raised during a major war, shortages of everything and so much more I think our young people need to be told, hear, and see the truth of what they are NOT having to deal with and hopefully be made aware of the history that so many of us lived. This “cancel culture” is B.S.! We learn from history -we cannot eradicate it!
I’m grateful for what we have now, even in the mess America is presently in, and for all those who have fought all wars to keep us free. Freedom is not free, by any stretch of the imagination. We all sacrifice and suffer if it is lost.