Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days: Grandma's Wisdom~ Fort Ord

After enlisting in the United States Army, my Grandpa was sent to Fort Ord for his training.  Since they were living in French Camp, California they were lucky that he was only about 140 miles from them. During his time at Fort Ord he was able to get a few weekends off.  Grandma was determined to see him and for his son to be with his father as much as possible.  I'm sure the emotions were heightened also by the pregnancy hormones of expecting their second child as well. They had a car, so she traded for gas rations every chance she got, saving them for when he had a weekend pass.  Sugar?  Who needed sugar?  Not when there was a husband 140 miles from home about to be deployed!


This picture at Fort Ord is not one of my Grandfather's company,
but was taken around the same time that he was there.

Grandpa was being trained communications.  It was his job to connect the radio wires to ensure the communication stayed open between the front lines and the back lines.  He was also training to be an artillery spotter within his position. I'm sure he didn't share this information in great detail with my Grandma, for his job (like any job during war time) was a dangerous one. He was paired with a team mate, to work side by side running wires together.  They were training around the clock, preparing for the worst.  They ate together, slept together, worked together, sweat together, and possibly even worried together.  So when his opportunity to leave for the weekend came, I'm sure Grandma and Donny were a sight for sore eyes.  How would it be to hold the woman you love not knowing if you were ever going to have the chance to hold her again...  This was is life at Fort Ord.
And then I put myself in her shoes.  Chasing after a toddler, middle swelling making everything just a little more difficult.  When she lay down at night and smelled his lingering scent on the pillow case did she shed a single tear or flood her pillow?  The letters coming in the mail frequently, but not frequently enough for the one left behind.  As she prepared meals for herself and Donny, did she occasionally forget and set the table for three?  Was she packed and ready to go days before it was time to leave to see him? I would have been.  It's often times easier for the one who does the going, the one who has a job to occupy their thoughts and actions.  But for the one left behind... worry... fear...daily routine...anxiety, swirling in her mind like cream being stirred into coffee.  Infusing her life.
But she is strong.  She's determined.  She perseveres.

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