|Crew of "Colleen," just four months before they went down on Guam. My great-uncle, Leslie Evans, Jr., stands on the back row, far left. I do wish I could have met him.|
Below is an excerpt from my picture book manuscript, Won't Be Long, retrieved for Veteran's Day from a file on my computer (because really, it will be long before this thing that I love so much gets published).
It's Veteran's Day, and there will be posters in the hallway of Ella's, my main character's, school. The time is 1943, 1973, 2003—or right now.
I draw a picture of my brother and write
in my best penmanship:
My brother is brave. He is in the war for a long time.
Now my picture hangs in the front hall at school,
beside a picture of Michael’s mother.
Michael drew red hearts around his mother’s name and wrote:
My mother is brave! She came home from the war last year!
She was a nurse! She still is a nurse!
Michael’s picture hangs
beside a drawing of Claudia’s grandfather.
Claudia painted gold stars around her grandfather’s face
and wrote very small, so I have to lean close to read:
My grandfather was brave. He died in a war a long time ago,
before I was ever born. I wish I could have met him.
Every time I pass the picture of Claudia’s grandfather,
those little words shout at me.
I wish her grandfather hadn’t died
in the long-time-ago war.
I wish she could have met him.
© 2007 Stephanie Parsley