Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day Memoria

I suspect "memoria*" is not an actual word, but I like the sound of it.

I should be outside enjoying this beautiful weather, but I'm feeling slightly puny, as my mother would say, with a slight headache and general malaise. So, instead of sitting out in the sunshine with the butterflies, I am inside watching Band of Brothers on the History Channel. Even the theme song speaks to me.

When I was in college, I interviewed my father for a writing assignment. We discussed his experiences as a soldier in WW II, and he told stories I had never heard before. I found the resulting paper just a few days ago, and I have copied a few excerpts below in honor of my father and the Greatest Generation and Memorial Day.

"While staying in a small village in England, Alabama-born Elmer Wells and a few other U.S. soldiers visited the home of the local mayor. While waiting in the high-ceilinged parlor, Elmer sat in a straight-backed chair, his friends standing around him. Near the chair was a simple, round stand that held a bowl of fresh fruit and a shiny brass snuff box. Elmer mistook the box for an ash tray and consequently dropped ashes in it from his cigarette. A few moments later, the mayor came into the parlor, greeted his guests, and took a pinchi of what he believed to be snuff. He sniffed it and never knew what it was, despite shocked looks from the soldiers."

"From North Africa, Elmer was sent to Italy with the rest of the troops. They landed in Naples with hopes of driving out German forces. They went as far as the monastery on Monte Cassino but were forced back. From there, they went by ship to Anzio, and with the help of paratroopers, they were able to push the Germans back to Rome.

"Following the victory at Anzio, Elmer was part of a group of soldiers invited to dinner by a thankful Italian family. The soldiers brought shortening to fry rabbits; and the family served spaghetti, parakeets, snow birds and sparrows. Although Elmer wouldn't eat the small birds, he took home with him the memory fo a warm welcome."

*Turns out it IS a word. It's Latin and means memory.

1 comment:

lynn said...

Yes I was going to say it's Latin.

How interesting, Robyn. Reminded me of that tv series in the seventies was it? We'll Meet Again or something? Great. There was an Elmer in that.

Do you know which village your father stayed in, in England? I'd love to know. If it's near me, I'll go and photograph it for you.