IVANO SAYS: Some time ago I spoke with Barbara via telephone. Barbara, known back then as Barbara Silva , and I go back a long way. In fact all the way back to our Laurel School days. In our conversation we discussed some of her memories re: WW II. I suggested to her that she write them down and send them to me. She finally did, and now that we are at the ten year anniversary of 9/11, I thought it most appropriate to publish them on the LNostra-Costa Blog. These are Barbara's memories of another War, however; one can imagine that our servicemen and there families are experiencing the same happenings. as described by Barbara:
Well, guess I'd best start w/Laurel School kindergarten. I don't remember if you were there or did you start 1st grade at Laurel? Anyway, I remember that I would go to Pacific Cleaners on Pacific Ave., next to Sam Wo Laundry after school to wait for my Mom to get off work. While waiting, I saw and talked to a lot of the servicemen when they came into the cleaners to get their uniforms pressed. Some were missing limbs, others had their heads bandaged. They were all young and missed their families and home. A lot of them were from the mid west and had never seen an ocean before. They told stories of the corn growing so high, and how they worked the wheat fields. I knew that their surroundings were different from mine, but I soon realized that the people they were talking about were the same, caring individuals that I knew here.
Some had small children and missed them terribly. I could tell this by the way they talked with tears in their eyes. As young as I was, it hurt me and I was deeply touched.
On one occasion, we were on our way to Monterey for the Portuguese celebration. My Dad was driving down Main St. in Watsonville. There, in front of St. Patrick's Church, we spotted a soldier hitch-hiking. Dad stopped to give him a ride. Being a Sunday, the soldier was on week-end pass from Fort Ord, He sat in the back with my sister and myself and started to tell us about himself. He said that he had a little girl, about my age, and how he really missed her; how she wore a bow in her hair like mine. Before we knew it we were at the gate at Fort Ord. The soldier offered to pay my Dad for the ride and gas. Of course, my Parents said no. In a way, it was their way of thanking him for his service to our Country. They expressed their pleasure in visiting with him. I remember those words so vividly. They stuck in my mind, even to this day, even though at that age, I didn't know completely what it was all about.
What happened next left my Mother in tears. The young soldier turned around, bent over where I was sitting, took the propeller insignia off his uniform and pinned it on the bow in my hair. He kissed my head, said thank you so much and walked off ... I never knew his name ... but I do remember his smile and the slight smell of liquor on his breath, to help him ease the pain of what he and others were going through. God bless him where ever he may be ...
I will send another short story regarding the war and troops on Western Drive and Santa Cruz in general if it's OK. Don't want to bore you or tell too long of a tale, LOL Take care, Barb
IVANO SAYS (CONT'D). Thanks Barbara: We'll be looking forward to your next installment, right her on the LNostra-Costa Blog. These kind of personal memories are never a bore and remind us all that we should never forget our servicemen, especially during this time of remembrance.