Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not Suitable for Children

A couple of years ago, some of us in Blogville played with the I Am From template (here is what I did). A week or so ago, I sent that template to my mother, sisters and nieces and asked them all to fill it out so we could compare our results.

My mother's will be the most unique because she is from another era and has a different approach to the world. For example, she's still working on the piece, but so far she has said to be "from toil and trouble." And she has written about being from World War II and the return of soldiers, including her brothers.

A lot of boys in her high school didn't graduate with the class because they joined the army instead, and quite a few of them never came back. That marks a person, I think, especially a young person who is just forming her view of the world around her when all hell breaks loose, and people she knows die half-way around the world.

My father came back from his time in the War with some souveinirs—a couple of medals, some traumatizing memories and a postcard of Mussolini after he was killed. Mussolini and his girlfriend were assasinated, and then their bodies were dragged through the streets and hung up for everyone to see. My father didn't witness that event, I don't think, but according to my mother, he traded some cigarettes for a postcard that commemorated it. And he kept that postcard in the drawer where our telephone book was kept, of all places.

When I was a kid, I would dig around in that drawer for all sorts of things—a deck of cards, loose change, a pencil—and now and then I would unearth the postcard. It was nasty to look at, and so I couldn't stop looking. You know how that is—it's just too terrible to turn away. I'm not sure if it was the kind of photo a little kid should see. Life can be unspeakably miserable and is for millions and millions of people all over the world. But that doesn't mean you should let an otherwise happy and cared for child see some of the ugliness too early.

I'm not permanently marred by the whole thing, so maybe it was OK that I was allowed to stare at the picture when all I really wanted was a trinket or a dime for the ice cream truck.

I looked for the postcard the last time I visited my mother but couldn't find it. I was going to show it to my daughters now that their view of the world is already formed. I found it online, though, so I'll show it to you. What do you think? Is it suitable for children?


kyle said...

Much of life is not suitable for children but so much of life IS. Christian children are encouraged to look at the image of Christ dead on the cross.Children should know that we do kill one another, sometimes it evokes joy and hopefully it mostly evokes sorrow.

dive said...

They'll see worse on the news every day, Robyn. At least this commemorates the end of a time of horror and the start of something much better so it could be woven in with that story to make it less traumatic.

Shazza said...

If there is an explanation of what happened along with the photo I think it would be fine. I agree with Kyle that they should know that we kill on another.

I don't know if I really understood the finality of death until someone I knew actually died and I didn't see them anymore.

lynn said...

If it's explained, it's ok I think. Not tiny children though.

MmeBenaut said...

Gruesome! Did your father explain what it was at the time or did you stuff it back in that drawer and not mention it until you were older?