Sunday, August 3, 2014

"My Sweet Willie".........a short story .................by Diane Ogden


"Sweet Willie" 

I was there.  I was there when the radio blared war in our kitchen. We were seated at the table about to say a blessing upon the thick, I think German, macaroni and cheese casserole Mom had prepared.  We, being my brother Jackson, and I, Julianna.
When Father held up his notorious hand it always meant, SILENCE!  That is when we heard the voice of the President of the United States coming across the radio airways with the chill of an icicle on each word he spoke. 
I kept interrupting saying, “Father, does that mean Willie, does it?  Will he have to go?” 

Dad just gave me that old angry I mean it eyebrow crunch, hand up signal. I sat in silence listening to the terrifying words.  My mind racing in so many different directions I lost myself to the place of tears.  Mom was standing behind  Jackson, her baby, crying in like manner.  At first I wasn’t mentally aware of what was happening.  The radio, Fathers anger, Mom crying, Willie, where was Willie?  And to hell with the macaroni and cheese dinner.  I suddenly sprang from my chair running toward the phone.  I lifted the mouthpiece only to find the operator telling everyone they would have to wait their turns. Then a sound that mimicked busy busy busy.  Running or even biking to Willie’s would be faster than waiting for the darn operator.  Once my wits were back I realized those phones would not be available for a month now that war had been declared.  That is when I heard the loud whaling voice of my mother behind me.  “Julianna, wait.  Wait.”  I ignored her and with one hard push I hit the pavement running.  Running to Willie.

Willie and I had been best friends all through grade school and into Jr. High School and High School. We had been through all the normal schoolyard games such as marbles, hoops, skipping, chasing's, hidings. Sometimes I would join the girls for hopscotch and jacks.  Willie would play ball and chase.  We even ate lunch together almost every day.  The other children made fun of us the first few years and then settled in knowing it was probably always going to be this way.  Willie and Julianna. 

Now I am not just running.  I am running scared.  Running for my life.  For Willie.  At the 4th Street Exchange I saw him.  I saw Willie running just as hard and fast as I was.  He had to have heard the news about the same time we all did and as usual we had the same thoughts.  Finding each other.  I fell into his arms sobbing.  We both knew he would have to go fight a war we were too young to know much about.  We would soon realize he was a direct part of it and I was a direct extension of it and all the pain that comes with war.  We walked slowly back to my house arm in arm and the closer we got, it became clear the shadow standing at the front door was my mother waiting for me.  Her remarks were swift and harsh.  She found my interest in Willie overshadowing the fact my own brother would also be leaving.  And possibly our Father.  She was right.  I hadn’t thought beyond my Willie. 
And then he was gone.  I would sing to my Sweet Willie for the next forty years until I would finally meet him in the great beyond.

 I'll be comin home to you Sweet Willie,
I'm comin home to you..

Please don't fear Sweet Willie,
The Time is near,

I'm coming home to you...
For the War is old and forgotten by many...

 It took you from me too soon..
So be patient dear and please do not fear...

I'm comin home to you....

 We have a love that's forever and deep as the sea,
With eagerness I await thee...

Be it death or life, be it you or me...
I'm comin home to you...

 Where the valley light meets the dusk of day,
I'm comin home to you....

 I will never stop till the day is nay...
Where I meet you on the other side...

Be it floods or famine or a gunshot wound,
I welcome the end in sight.

 For my love is like the ocean deep
For it brings us always for keeps....

I'll be comin home to you sweet Willie,

I'm comin home to you...

 When the grass is green and the fields are yellow..
I'll be comin home to you....

I’ll be comin home to you… Sweet Willie

(Photo from WWII The Huffington Post)  I wrote the above short story and the song.  I sing it often and have for many years.  I do believe I lived this story in my past.  And I do believe I will be going home to my Willie some day.  There is but a veil between reality and the typed words from my heart.
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