19 May The Greatest Generation
You can probably tell that I have strayed a bit from the main purpose of my blog, which is to document my journey to become a published author. That is mainly because I am experiencing a few days of lag time, while I am waiting to receive the hard copy draft of my book, Hattie’s Place. Very soon I will announce the publication date!
In the meantime, I had just posted my blog entry on Boomeritis when I was looking through a box of old pictures and found a framed poem that my mother had written to my father, dated January 9, 1943. At that time,they were engaged to be married the following September. My mother would join my dad in Louisville, Kentucky, for his final year at Southern Seminary; and, after graduation, my dad would enlist in the Navy and train as a chaplain. He would be assigned to the Pacific, as a part of the campaign to take the Japanese mainland, when atom bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and the war ended. As a result, he was redeployed to North China as a part of the Allied Occupation there. He began his tour when my mother was three months pregnant with me and returned home safely when I was eight months old.
The poem is not only a testament to the deep love my mother felt for my father; it is beautifully reflective of the concerns of the members of the “Greatest Generation,” as their lives were disrupted by war, separation, and the unthinkable reality that many of the dearly loved would return home injured or may not return home at all.
I copied the poem for easier reading, as it was in script and the print has faded over the years. The picture is of my mother and father’s wedding on September 4, 1945. The bridesmaids are my Aunt Mary on the left and cousin Dottie on the right.
To thee I come and humbly pray,
That all my joy and happiness
With coming years may ne’er grow less
But like a river in its flow
The fuller, deeper, broader grow.
O, thou who hearest when I call,
Bless him, my love, my life, my all.
O, lead us Father, by the hand;
Let me in all things by him stand.
Oh, keep us worthy, as today
Each of the other’s love, I pray.
Oh, give us Lord of earthly store
Enough; I ask of thee no more,
A home all free from sin and strife,
A home of love; harmonious life,
With all the clouds along the way,
Silvered by thy sunshine’s ray.
And may our hearts, with one accord
Own Thee as our exemplar, Lord
Our home an altar raised to thee,
And love its sacrifice all free
From selfish motives each to each,
Thy patience and forbearance teach.
And may the home begun someday
The sweeter grow along the way.
And latent love, as yet untold
Like fragrant flowers in May unfold.
Perfected when beyond the sky
Thou takest us some by and by.
And Lord, if at his country’s call
He at her altar places all,
Keep him from deadly missile free,
Bring him unwounded back to me.
I love him, Lord—thou knowest then,
For Thou art Love. Amen. Amen.
(To Bob from Katherine, 1/9/43)