Memorial Day

Memorial Day

When I was 8, Memorial Day at our house began as it always had-- in controlled chaos. As if by a call of revelry, our downstairs and upstairs doors swung open. Exiting from above was Grandma Rose, a little dumpling shaped woman, carting our picnic supplies down to our shared hallway. Like giant tin soldiers, Guardian-Ware cooking pots were lined up at the wall in size order. The tallest was a soup pot that reached my knees. It’s thick silvery bottom sat on a mat made of ice cubes wrapped in saran wrap and folded into a towel. Inside was potato salad made the night before for today’s picnic. The heaviest was the stew pot; squat, bumpy and chilled the same as its neighbor pots, but with its lid tied down by cotton cord. It made me giggle to see this metal man with his hat-lid and ear-handles wrapped like he had a toothache. Inside were dozens of chicken parts; drumsticks and thighs, breasts and wings all soaking up my Dad’s secret barbeque sauce*.

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Memories and Memorials: The Goldstein’s Down the Block

Memories and Memorials:  The Goldstein’s Down the Block

In the years that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Grandma Rose sent off her two sons and son-in-law, all her nephews and the sons of her cousins, along with witnessing the deployment of sons of friends and neighbors.  The war was a great equalizer.  It captured the sons of Christians, Jews, African, European, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans.  Even though, in those bygone days, ethnic and racial groups were segregated, America sent all its sons, whether the apple of their parents’ eyes or orphaned.  The promise that they’d return to a better world was delivered to most returnees at the war’s end.  For others, it would take more waiting and for some, the wait would last for generations. Still, while we wait, our futures are brighter than anywhere else on earth.

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