Royal portable typewriter (Photo credit: alexkerhead)
My first story was written by hand and then typed on a small, Royal portable typewriter. I lived in Spain at that time, in an apartment just outside the gate of Torrejon Air Base. My husband was in the U.S. Air Force and with our children we lived in a three-bedroom, second-floor apartment. My story was based on my experience of living the nomadic military life and my concern about its effect on our children. At that time, we had a son and a daughter; later we had another son and another daughter.
My first title to that story written in Spain, was “A Home for Jimmy.” It has not been published. Markets for that type of story changed before I had a chance to offer it for publication. When I entered it in a contest, I titled it “The Air Force and Daffodils.”
Still in my files, this story has a home somewhere — perhaps it will help fill the pages
of a collection of Short Stories by Freeda Baker Nichols. That’s my aim. 🙂
Oh gentle breeze that waves my country’s flag
to greet the dawn with red and blue and white.
Please keep Old Glory high—don’t let her sag—
and keep her flying through the darkest night….
When morning has broken, oh breeze blow hard–
unfurl the Stars and Stripes into the air.
While we were sleeping, Armed Forces stood guard
to see that our flag kept waving up there.
With pride may our country honor the cause
of freedom for which we take a brave stand,
remembering the scarlet beneath the gauze
that binds the wounded in a war-scarred land.
If ever your stars become still as stone,
goodbye . . . farewell . . . America, my own!
A U.S. Air Force Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter (s/n 52-2630) RAF Mildenhall. This aircraft is today on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Boeing B-47A Stratojet 49-1902 refueled by Boeing KC-97. (U.S. Air Force photo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You carried a duffel bag
and carbine rifle aboard the KC-97.
As your plane taxied for take-off,
I held our baby son
more tightly. See you in a little while. Your words beat inside my heart
louder than the plane’s big engines
which roared into another country
some hours later.
Your letters came regularly, at first,
abruptly. Missing in Action the uniformed
officers came to tell me.
Your name is engraved
on the Wall of Vietnam Veterans,
forever in my heart
and in the heart of our son
who enlisted yesterday. See you in a little while. His words echoed yours
as he departed.
My words stuck in my throat,
reached into my heart and
chipped at the ice caked there.
I watched another determined
young man report for duty
and I begged, oh, please
Dear God, please.