Monday, February 04, 2008

A Night at Suzette's

The smell of the sheets and the geranium on the nightstand sends me back to my youth, just 8 or 9 years old, and we were living at my Nana's house. Funny how the memories of nearly 40 years ago can swirl around so fresh and clear, like a slideshow of movie clips. We had just returned from Iran and were staying with my mother's mother while my father finished his tour. I slept in my grandmother's sewing room off the living room. I can remember sneaking out of the room to watch the news, army-crawling across the floor and ducking down behind a chair. I would hear the announcers say "and now you may want to have your children leave the room" or some such ans it would draw me out. And I would watch while the news showed the daily clips from Viet Nam. It was like watching a war movie, but more real in some way.

It wasn't like the Gulf War, where you could follow the war 24 hours a day. It wasn't like the Iraq War, with its embedded reporters chronicling every fire fight. In my Nana's house, it was a time of Lawrence Welk and Pro Bowling during the day, and body counts from Viet Nam each night. There was footage of men in trenches shooting over the edge, medics caring for wounded, reporters shoving their microphones out into it all. And then the news was over, and you'd watch Laugh-In or the Smothers Brothers, or Sony & Cher; whatever you could until some grownup caught you and sent you back to bed. Looking back, very bizarre.

Oh, there are lots of other tangents I could follow in the swirling mist of memories, but that is where I leave it tonight.

It is hard to believe I was, I am, that cute little boy. The connection escapes me.

I am,

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