End of a Not-so-long-ago Terrible War

While cooking a dinner I’ve made for years — udon and broccoli and a spinach omelette — I listen to NPR and wonder, like any reasonable parent, what kind of world my daughters will live in when they’re my age.

At dinner, our conversation bends around to current events — the man in the White House — and then to history. I tell the girls I remember my father telling me about the end of World World II. Although they won’t know each other for years, he and my mother were eight-years-old. World War II seems such an infinity ago that my daughters are amazed. This puts that terrible war within not only their grandparents’ lifetimes, but their memories, too.

Really? my older daughter asks.

Really, I answer. I wasn’t there, but that’s what I hear.

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

— Sir Isaac Newton

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

3 comments

  1. I grew up with my Grandfather who was 2 when the “Spanish flu” swept the nation and a married man with children by the time WW2 started, he grew up with his Grandparents, a Civil War Veteran (Jasper) and Trail of Tears survivor (Ethel). jasper’s Great-Grandfather fought in the Revolutionary was and his Grandfather was a child beaten by British soldiers. History seem so far away when we get disconnected from it, but so close when we consider it.

      1. “I used to have to wait for each zero to go all the way around in a circle when I dialed a number… uphill, in the snow, both ways!”

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