Maxine Clamage 

Letters to a Lost Soldier – Daddy’s Home for Father’s Day 1945

Dear Daddy,

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(I originally wrote in June, 1945) Happy Father’s Day! I’d like to serve you breakfast in bed, but Mommy says, “No. Don’t wake him. Leave him alone. He needs to catch up on the sleep he lost when he was a Prisoner of War.”  I’m patiently sitting in your chair in the living room. I’m glad you enjoy sleeping in your own bed with clean sheets and fluffy pillows. 



I thank God you are home again. I know you’re still a soldier and must report for duty when your furlough ends.  I hope you’ll be reassigned on August 18 to work in the United States instead of going to Japan.

When we received a telegram that you were Missing in Action, Uncles Eddie, Lester and Bob immediately starting including me in their family activities.  They visited often to see how we were doing and gave us extra rationing stamps for necessities like new shoes when I outgrew my old ones. I consider them my father-uncles because of their kindnesses. Also their jokes.  They kept me laughing when I wanted to cry all the time, like Mommy.

I also need to thank Mommy’s father, Bepa, for living here while you were away.  I wasn’t afraid of him when he was mean and threatened to whip me with his razor strap or send me to boarding school if I fought with my sister.  I knew he was helping Mommy pay the bills and I ignored him instead of talking back. He didn’t touch me. Mimi says his bark was bigger than his bite.

I sleep better at night because you are home. I’m losing weight! Thank you for telling Mommy to get medical help for my fat condition. The doctor put me in the hospital for a basal metabolism test and discovered that my thyroid is low. He gave me thyroid pills.  Also thank you for taking me to my first dental appointment and first eye exam.  I could see the blackboard better at school with my new glasses.

I was proud when you visited my school in your Army uniform and thanked the teachers and principal for taking good care of my education and me while you were away. You expressed happiness about the letters I wrote to you with their help.  Everyone liked seeing the Indian chief headdress with feathers and beads you received as a gift from a local chief.

I shopped for a Father’s Day present and realized you have everything.  I bought a similar item you already use, but this one’s a little different.  I also thought of a present that doesn’t cost money. It’s to listen to you and Mommy and not contradict.  I’ll ignore my sister when she taunts and bullies me behind your back. 

Mommy says I aggravate her with my questions, so I am using the encyclopedia more and trying to figure things out for myself.  I am not pestering you, because I see you need to regain your strength for your next Army assignment. I help clean up after the guests who come here with food. I never saw so many crumbs on our living room carpets before, but I like using the carpet sweeper.  I’m not complaining.

It’s fun having you home, Daddy.  Every day is like a party because of the cousins, aunts, uncles and neighbors who keep dropping by to welcome you back.  I know it tires you to keep telling your war stories, and how you survived being a Prisoner of War in Nazi Germany.  I will do my best to help you any way I can. I want your life to be easy, effortless and enjoyable while you are here.

 I wrote a little poem for you for Father’s Day, Daddy:

Since you came home from the war, I don’t mind hearing you snore. Don’t go away in the morn, since my heart will be torn. Mommy says to be quiet, and I am achieving a diet. I buy it, you try it and tie it. I promise not to run riot.

Happy Father’s Day!

Love and wishes for a speedy recovery,

Maxine

 

 


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